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Thread: Trying to get started...how to identify this stuff?

  1. #1

    Default Trying to get started...how to identify this stuff?

    I just got my Wi-Spy 2.4i in the mail today, I'm trying to get started on better troubleshooting of my random wifi issues with Chanalyzer Lite. Can someone take a look at these screenshots and let me know what you think? Are there posts somewhere I can look at to see known stuff to learn?

    I turned off my wireless routers while taking the measurements so I don't think it's traffic on MY network but I can't speak for the many, many other networks nearby.

    Here's one room -- notice the seeming random blips here and there
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And another room on the other end of the house -- same kind of random blips
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    I went into the same room as my TV video sender (RadioShack, on "Channel D" to get as hich and far away from wifi channels as I can)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I tried boiling some water in the microwave, that seems too broad
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I tried turning on/off some of our 5.8GHz Uniden cordless phones and they didn't appear to change the graphs at all.

    [EDIT: Also, is there a Linux (Ubuntu 10.04) version of Chanalyzer so I can complete my netbook "swiss army knife" of computer tools?
    Last edited by mmiller7; 06-11-2011 at 08:17 PM.

  2. #2

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    bump...anybody?

  3. #3

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    Hello,

    I took a look at the screen shots and the TV video sender would interfere with anything running on Channel 11 so I would make sure you AP is on Channel 1. The Microwave will effect all channels in the area of the Microwave. Can you provide more information on the trouble you are having? You might want to upload a recording here or send it to support@metageek.net.

    Your cordless phones run on the 5 GHz frequency band so the 2.4i will not see them as it only analyzes the 2.4 Ghz band.

    We do not have a Chanalyzer version for Linux.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richp01 View Post
    Hello,

    I took a look at the screen shots and the TV video sender would interfere with anything running on Channel 11 so I would make sure you AP is on Channel 1. The Microwave will effect all channels in the area of the Microwave. Can you provide more information on the trouble you are having? You might want to upload a recording here or send it to support@metageek.net.
    Can the 2.4i make "recordings" that I can upload? I was under the impression I needed the much more expensive one to do that?

    The problem I've been having is everything works but then I randomly have really low signal strength, or everything disconnects. Sometimes the network speed on b/g cards will drop to <1Mbps for a while without any apparent reason.

    I'd been running on channels 1 & 6 (now 1 & 7 because I saw a wierd spike falling at the low end of CH6 when I was near my video sender) but for the survey I unplugged my wireless devices. I have two APs -- one on a second story and one in a basement.

    I saw some random activity on the WiSpy that I was speculating might be responsable but I don't know what it could be. You can see the yellow spike randomly in a couple of the screenshots I posted already.
    Your cordless phones run on the 5 GHz frequency band so the 2.4i will not see them as it only analyzes the 2.4 Ghz band.
    That's what I would have thought but Google told me some 5GHz phones still used 2.4GHz for some stuff. I was just trying to rule them out.

    We do not have a Chanalyzer version for Linux.
    Fair enough, just checking.

  5. #5

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    Like Rich said, we don't have a Chanalyzer for Linux, but you can download Spectools by Kismet. That's what I'm using on my netbook running Peppermint (Ubuntu 10.04). You can find it in Synaptic by searching for "spectools" or on Kismet's website: http://www.kismetwireless.net/spectools/

    It's not quite as pretty as Chanalyzer Lite, but it has the basic views.

    Looking at the waterfall views in your screenshots, it doesn't appear that there's enough activity around to be causing interference serious enough to disconnect you (except, of course, for the microwave and video sender). You might try running Chanalyzer constantly until you get disconnected and then send a screenshot of that moment. It might be intermittent interference that wasn't present when you took these screenshots.
    Last edited by bret; 06-15-2011 at 11:34 AM. Reason: There's no such Linux distro as "Pepperming"

  6. #6

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    Sorry you are correct about the recording in Chanalyzer Lite. That is what I get for posting with a head cold and having medicine head. :-) I wonder if when you are seeing this drop in performance if one of the other AP's are doing an upload. Are the screen shots from when the problem occurs?

  7. #7

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    Sorry for the long delay, things were working great for a while. A few minutes ago I was having pages time out and thought it was my internet connection (Vz FiOS) but tracked it to wireless.

    I only got one screenshot before the interference went away and that was hard to grab because I haven't figured out how to work Chanalyzer completely.

    I also included speed-tests for wireless and wired from speedtest.net during the problem.

    Wireless:
    Wired:

    Wi-Spy screenshot: Click image for larger version. 

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    Any ideas? I have no idea what changed, I've been sitting at my desk and I'm the only one at home so I'm fairly sure nobody nearby is using phones/microwaves/etc to interfere.

    Wireless card: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200AGN
    Connected to channel 1, speed 144Mbps, signal "Good"
    AP: Linksys E3000 firmware 1.0.04

    Trouble only happens in 2.4GHz (to try and debug this, I set my AGN card to 2.4GHz-only mode) and I confirmed the same poor performance at the same time with my Linux netbook (Asus 1005HA Athros BGN wireless). Now the problems seem to have all gone away as quickly as they came.

    Any new suggestions?

    P.S. if there's any way to upgrade from Chanalyzer Lite to normal Chanalyzer that can record for a reasonable price, I might be interested. But I definately couldn't and still can't justfy the price of the next model of WiSpy just for the software.
    Last edited by mmiller7; 06-21-2011 at 01:19 PM.

  8. #8

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    mmiller7,

    Ok please do this:

    -Un-check the "Networks" tab at the top of the screen so that you don't see that.
    -Next, right-click on the separator line between the 2 images and a menu should pop up.. left click on "Density". Also change the "WIFI channels" to "Frequency".
    -Un-check the "average" tab at the top of the screen. I just want to see the (Coloured areas) and the max. you can turn off the "Current" tab too.
    -Make the bottom of the screen 1/3rd of the size of the top of the screen by pulling down the boarder in the middle of the 2 images.

    Now let this record for at least 30 mins when the problem is happening. Otherwise we cannot get a long enough look at it to see anything.

    EDIT: Also turn off your wireless card or Disable it. Either way, make sure you disconnect if from the AP before you make any recordings and turn it off! We don't care about the traffic from your card if you are having problems/interference. I would also turn off all other Bluetooth, wifi, cordless video, ect.. when making the recording.

    It is true that so far there is not enough interference (it seems) to be kicking you off, so by turning all that stuff off we can see the background RF environment. Then you can turn things back on one-by-one, recording for 30 mins each time after turning it on and posting a capture..


    Upload a screen shot at 10mins, 20 mins, & 30 mins..

    Oxygen
    Last edited by oxygen69; 06-25-2011 at 12:11 AM.

  9. #9

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    I'll turn off my wireless card & avg next time I post a screenshot. As I said before, I only have the Lite version so afaik I can't do a recording.

    As for screenshots over 10-20 minutes when I have problems, it seems to cure itself after 5-10 minutes which is partly why I'm asking for help identifying it. I haven't found any trends with X event when it acts up. And its not daily or predictable so I can't easily say when my next chance to check will even be :/

    I did try unplugging my APs and turning off my wlan card one time to get a base reading and it was barely hearing anything. Peak was -90 to -95 with one spike at the far left (almost off the scale) corrisponding with HD activity on my netbook but that should be well below channel 1.
    EDIT: if you want to see the baseline scan I can post when I get home.

    If only I could predict this it would be easier to diagnose...sorry I can't get back with more details sooner.
    Last edited by mmiller7; 06-25-2011 at 10:35 AM.

  10. #10

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    If you are running a Linksys E3000 dual-band router, then why are using the 2.4 GHz band at all if you are having problems? Why are you not running just in the 5 GHz band? That is what I would do. Run fully in 5 GHz or if you have to, split it with 2.4 on one channel and 5 GHz on the other (hence dual-band)

    Also, this could very well be your internet connection as evidenced by a 155ms ping. However you really need to test out the router to your computer ping time first.
    -What is the ping time from your computer to the AP when trouble is happening?
    To Test this open a Command prompt and type:
    ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

    where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is the IP address of your router.

    -Also when you are having problems try running a trace route.. To do this open the command prompt and type: tracert www.google.com

    or if that doesn't work type: tracert 74.125.225.49

    Put a screen shot of the results of the up next time the problem happens.

    However, I (suspect) that you are either having one of 3 things happening:
    1) You do not have the wireless routers configured correctly to work with each other and they are interfering with each other somehow. I would turn one of them OFF and leave it off and see if the problem comes back.

    2) If you are using dual-band 2.4 & 5GHz, how do you not know that there is interference in the 5 GHz spectrum happening at all? Are those channels hard set or on Auto. The 5.8 Uniden phone is running at about 5.815 GHz & also on 915 MHz (one for the base station & one for the handset).

    3) You are actually (somehow??) trying to run 802.11n in the 2.4GHz mode only.. This probably won't work as others around you will interfere and cause problems. 2.4GHz is trashed for speed these days and only getting worse.

    In your case I would put everything at AUTO since you are having problems and don't seem to know what is wrong, also reset the router & wireless card entirely and get back all the original configurations. Also, try turning the router down to 802.11g/b and see if that solves the problem.

    Also try this suggestion I found on the web, as it appears you may not actually have any wireless inference (per-se)...
    http://homecommunity.cisco.com/t5/Wi...al/td-p/357307

    And read about wireless in this chat too:
    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1477617

    If you are still having problems, I would then suggest you start over with your POST and tell us EVERYTHING to start with from the beginning... What is happening, when it happens (time of day, what you are doing, ect), what is in your house, people around you and there networks, your network, ect, ect, ect... Because your thread started out very empty of required info, and I think we are all just mystified as to what is really happening. There does not APPEAR to be any interference - that we can see - that would be killing you currently, but my suggestions above could be happening or help things. Please try them and get back when you find the problem, or want to go over everything, with screenshots of EVERYTHING ..


    Oxygen

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