Networking & Wireless forum


Multiple Devices at Home - Intermittent Internet Access

by pzoorek / June 27, 2013 4:42 AM PDT

I have been having problems with my Internet for over a year and a half now. Have no idea what to do. Maybe some of you would be able to help me. Thanks in advance for any guides, ideas, suggestions you may have.

Please accept my apology for the length of the post. I just want to make sure I have written everything I think is needed to understand the problem.

Long time ago I took ADSL Internet from UK TalkTalk. That time I had two iPhones, iMac and Windows7 based laptop connected wirelessly to the router that was provided by TalkTalk. I should say that besides some minor problems I could use it on fairly high level. About a two years ago I moved to a different part of town taking the Internet with me. It was a brand new building so they had to lay new cables. A TalkTalk engineer came to my new home and installed everything. He gave me a new router that was identical to the one I was using in my old apartment. Everything seemed to be fine for 4 to 5 months. Then gradually I started having more and more problems with Internet connections.

There were two different types of the problem. One was that I cannot see the router at all (I mean that I could not see my SSID listed between the others). The other type was that I could see my network but was getting "Connection Timed Out" message when trying to connect to it. On the beginning I was getting either of these problems once per two weeks but over time they started to get more frequent eventually getting to the stage where I was able to use Internet for 2 to 3 hours a day. I had no problems with the speed at all. It was just the connection problem no matter where I was in the house and what device I was using.

Coincidently a TalkTalk selling team called me to offer a new Fibre Broadband. I explained them my problem but they said that it will disappear when I take their offer so I took it. They installed everything and I was so happy as not only it was working all the time but with 4 times the speed. Until 2 to 3 weeks later when the first lost of connections occurred. Then it started to be more frequent increasing to once a day. They were exactly the same problem types as before. I phoned TalkTalk and the engineer visited me to solve the problem. Unfortunately the Internet was working perfectly that time so he could not replicate it so no solution was even suggested. Instead he replaced the router (for identical one).

Again the situation repeated. It was 2 to 3 weeks before the problem started appearing and getting more frequent. Again I phoned TalkTalk, engineer came, Internet was there during his visit, he changed the router and after 2 to 3 week problem occurred. TalkTalk stated that there is not even slightest problem on their side so I was under impression that the problem is caused by router. As I am an Apple fan I bought a Time Capsule, which is a router and HDD in one. Again I was happy for about a month before the problem started.

Over a time I accumulated more devices that require wireless Internet access: 3 iPhones, iMac, MacBook Pro, Windows7 based laptop, Windows Vista based laptop, Galaxy Pad2, Samsung TV, HP Printer, Satellite TV tuner box. They all require Internet access at different times (apart from the printer that is connected all the time). If the problem occurs then none of these devices can access (or discover) the network. Apple give me a limit of 128 devices, TalkTalk gives limit of 24 devices connected at the same time.

The Internet changed from ADSL to Fibre Optic, routers were replaced several times, devices changed. The only thing unchanged is the place of the router and the fact that it is placed next to the cordless phone.

There is no pattern I can figure out. Distance between devices and router differs from 1m visible to 10 metres invisible. Times of the day of occurrences differs.

I can always connect via wire, no matter whether I can connect wirelessly or cannot.

Of course I tried to reset the router by pressing "Reset" button on the back of the device.

Again, I am sorry for the length of this. Any even slightest help is much appreciated.

Thank you.

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All Answers

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Remember WiFi is not a sure thing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 27, 2013 4:49 AM PDT

It's an open standard that can be easily interfered with and that's on top of issues you encounter in the routers (with WiFi options.)

Due to the length of the post I'm going to write it's a defective router OR there is something/someone interfering with the router. The lack of the SSID showing is your best clue.

-> Back to basics.

Use the router defaults and secure it with WPA2 AES personal security.

Do not use odd characters in the SSID. Do not hide the SSID. Try SIMPLE (I mean this literally) for the SSID.

It is possible to install a second WAP to stand in for the failing WAP in the TalkTalk router. Google this -> How do I use a router as a WAP?

-> Sorry but no, I don't expect these to be easy to solve. I send out the tech with a WAP (or a router as a WAP) when such a complaint needs to be solved.

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Can 5 different routers be faulty
by pzoorek / June 27, 2013 5:36 AM PDT

Thanks for your suggestions Bob,

Please remember that this problem occurred on 5 different routers:
First - TalkTalk ADSL router
Then - 3 identical Fiber Optic routers
Eventually - Apple Airport Extreme in Time Capsule

I would not think that this is a router's fault. The interference; however, is possible. What possible devices do you have in mind? Could a cordless phone cause it?

My current router (Time Capsule) is secured with WPA2 Personal.

I experienced the problem with different SSIDs. The oddest character I has ever used is " " (SPACE) or "-" (DASH). Do you think these characters can cause a problem?

While I am tempted to use my old router (or even two) as access point(s) it is not the ideal solution.

Anyway, thank you very much for your input. Hopefully I will eventually find the solution.

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Yes, a cordless phone does cause such.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 27, 2013 5:39 AM PDT

My dad had one, it would ring and all WiFi dropped dead.

No, I never use anything but A to Z or 0 to 9 in the SSID. Yes, the standard allows more but if you work in this field, you learn what's allowed can have issues.

The best clue is when the SSID vanished. Here I might try a 5.8GHz band.

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I will change my SSID
by pzoorek / June 27, 2013 7:50 AM PDT

Unfortunately my ISP has some problems providing Internet to my area. I will test my new SSID as soon as the Internet is back.


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What is your suggestion then?
by pzoorek / June 27, 2013 7:53 AM PDT

Let's say that the cordless phone cause this problem. What should I do then? I need a phone at home.

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Then this is easy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 27, 2013 8:59 AM PDT

We chucked out the old phone and got another. The new models are not on the 2.4GHz band.

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Thank you
by pzoorek / June 27, 2013 9:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Then this is easy.

Great, thanks. I will check specs of my one.

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And yes, 5 routers can be faulty.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 27, 2013 5:43 AM PDT
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"Fortunately" I have the old Time Capsule
by pzoorek / June 27, 2013 7:56 AM PDT

I have bought my Time Capsule before WWDC not knowing that they can announce a new hardware there. Looks like I saved myself a problem Happy

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