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TalkTalk HG633 Router 5GHz WiFi Connectivity Issue

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This post brings together and updates two earlier posts from me (9/10/19 & 21/10/19) in the hope that someone from the community/OCE can help resolve a problem using 5GHz WiFi at maximum 80MHz bandwidth.

I recently bought new 801.11ac capable Windows 10 devices. With the HG633 router at its default 5GHz bandwidth setting of 80MHz the devices are able to connect at a maximum speed of 390Mb/s. However, at this setting/speed connection to Microsoft “Update/Sign In” services is unreliable. Reducing the bandwidth as suggested by Keith French to 40 MHz resolved the problem but also halved the connection speed to 180Mb/s which has an adverse impact on use.

Investigation of the WiFi connectivity at 80 MHz identified that:

  1. When connected to friends WiFi broadband networks the laptop(s) was capable of connecting at 433Mb/s without any “Update/Sign In” issues. Noting that 433Mb/s is the maximum speed the laptop Qualcomm adaptor can handle and is greater than the maximum 390Mb/s that the HG633 appears to be capable of.
  2. Analysis of the TCP/IP traffic using Microsoft’s Network Monitor revealed multiple Retransmission, FastRetransmission, Duplicate Acknowledge and Zero Window TCP wifi packets at 80MHz bandwidth associated with Microsoft Update/Sign In failures. None of these problems are evident when restricting the router bandwidth to 40MHz.
  3. Having been advised that the HG633’s internal WiFi stats are not reliable for investigation purposes Acrylic’s free analyser was used with interesting results (see attached screenshots – 2.4GHz is always the upper signal):
    1. With both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands enabled the 2.4GHz signal exhibits large variations in strength when actively trying to access Microsoft “Update/Sign In” services and the 5GHz signal also shows random breaks in the signal which may be the cause of the Retramission etc requests.
    2. The 5 GHz signal is significantly weaker than the 2.4 GHz signal even when the laptop(s) is within 1 metre of the router. When moving the laptop 3m – 5m further away but still in reasonable line of sight of the router the 5GHz signal falls away significantly.
    3. Turning off the 2.4 GHz signal and operating the 5GHz signal at 80MHz bandwidth provided a major improvement in connection to Microsoft “Update/Sign In” services with only very occasional failures.

Random 5GHz BreakRandom 5GHz Break

 

5GHz break and 2.4 GHz Drops5GHz break and 2.4 GHz Drops

 

2.4GHz Swings (When 5GHz Busy)2.4GHz Swings (When 5GHz Busy)

 

Weak 5GHz Signal 3m - 5mWeak 5GHz Signal 3m - 5m

 

 

 

During these investigations the router has been fully reset, is at the latest software version, no other 5GHz SSIDs are identified and other nearby 2.4GHz SSIDs are at -90dBm or less.

 

A call with TalkTalk tech support confirmed that the HG633 is capable of simultaneous dual band operation but was less than helpful stating that connection to other broadband networks did not prove anything and that different WiFi channels used different technology so there was no problem with the router. No explanation was offered as to why there were gaps in the 5GHz signal or why there were multiple TCP/IP failures.

 

I am not a data comms expert but it would seem to me that the cause of the “Update/Sign In” connectivity failures lies with my HG633 router not being capable of providing simultaneous and reliable dual 2.4 GHz and 5GHz (at 80Mhz) WiFi connectivity.

 

I would be grateful for any comments by others more expert than myself on whether my conclusion is correct and how to get it resolved.

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Hi @jerryf  again,

 

The HG633 is most certainly capable of simultaneous 2.4 & 5GHz band usage. You signal/strength over time graphs do not mean much as there is no way if knowing what SSIDs the graph colours represent.

 

One thing to bear in mind with any 802.11ac router, AP or adapter, is there are quite a few variants of this standard (down to hardware & chipset) that the overall connection between them will be limited by the highest theoretical link speed that both the router & device support. 

 

The HG633 router supports the AC1200 standard allowing a max of 867MHz when connected to a device supporting AC1200 or higher. What does your device support?

 

Then you need to consider router and device location as well as what is around them.

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please mark it as the Best Answer.
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Conversation Starter

Hi Keith

To answer the points in your reply:

1.  The two main traces in the graphs are showing the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals from the HG633 router.  The stronger signal when stable is always the 2.4GHz band.

2 & 3.  I appreciate that as with all standards there are some variations in implementation.  The laptop(s) is fitted with the Qualcomm QCA 9377 single stream 802.11ac adapter with a maximum peak speed of 433Mb/s, as defined by the standard.  This is the speed that is actually achieved without any "Update/Sign In" problems when connected to friend's WiFi routers/networks - no drops in signal or wide variation in signal strength.  This suggested to me that it is not the laptop configuration that is the problem.

4.  I have tried a number of different orientations and distances between the laptop and router but this has not resolved the problem.  What it did highlight is the relatively poor signal strength of the 5GHz band even when almost next to the router and rapid fall off when the distance was increased even in line of site.

5.  When conducting the analysis there were no other 5GHz SSIDs identified and other 2.4 GHz signals were at least 60dBm lower than the routers own steady state 2.4GHz signal so I would be surprised if cross channel interference was a major factor. 

 

The point that puzzled me was why disabling the router's 2.4 GHz band seemed to resolve the problem at 5 GHz and wondered if there is some sort of processing bottleneck with simultaneous operation even when no active devices are accessing the 2.4 GHz band.  Unfortunately I have some legacy 2.4 GHz only devices so just switching off the 2.4 GHz band is not an option.

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All I can do then ask the OCEs to perhaps consider changing the router.

Keith
I am not employed by TalkTalk, I'm just a customer. If my post has fixed the issue, please mark it as the Best Answer.
OCE's and Community Stars - Who are they? 

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Community Team - TT Staff

Hi jerryf

 

I can send a replacement router for testing, would you like me to arrange this?

 

Thanks

 

Debbie

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Hi Debbie

 

Yes I would be grateful if you would send a replacement router for testing so that I can finally resolve this problem while the new laptop(s) are still under guarantee.

 

Many thanks

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Community Team - TT Staff

Hi

 

A router is on the way for testing.

 

Thanks

 

Karl. 

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Conversation Starter

Hi

Update on issue:

1.  New router delivered this lunchtime - within 24hrs of request!

2.  10 minutes to install and configure new router - easy.

3.  Laptop(s) connect at maximum 433 Mbps AND no issues with Microsoft "Update/Sign In" services.  One Drive signs in as soon as user logs in.

4.  Router capable of handling simultaneous Microsoft updates by two devices without any issues apparent.

 

Brilliant, so a big thank you to Keith, Debbie and Karl for all your help in resolving this for me.

 

 

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Community Team - TT Staff

Hi jerryf,

 

I'm glad to hear this and thanks for the update 🙂

 

Thanks