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Wi-Fi Connect Issues and their Impact on DSTV Services

2 REPLIES 2
Red Carpet

Re: Wi-Fi Connect Issues and their Impact on DSTV Services: Dealing with "Sticky Client Devices"

So, "sticky Client Devices is nothing new!  Just very often completely ignored by those that run Wifi networks and Meshed AP networks.  Why? because "they" believe it is "not their problem".  After all, Client devices are the ones that have to connect to "our" network, we just provide the service. So, mostly after providing users with the sign on credentials, the IT guys wash their hands and hope like hell those that have problems give up and go away.

 

Nothing is further from the truth however, it IS their problem IF they want to provide reliable services for users with old and new devices alike. It takes work, includes the proper layout and placement of APs, proper settings of parameters and timers etc to ensure a Client device will roam and connect to the AP with the strongest signal. But then, you have to make the effort AND you have to be able to access the configuration settings!

 

With these monkey-see-monkey-do mesh setups such as the Deco M series, you don't have access to all the parameters, and you don't have a web interface and you have to deal with an Android App, where the supplier (Deco) has pre-determined what he will allow you to access and change.

 

So how then do you move on and get a "sticky client" to change its allegiance from one AP to the next? Those of you that read the references will see what was involved in the testing phases.  It involves somehow "forcing" the signal strength of the current connection down low enough so that the client device has no choice but to initiate and negotiate a new connection form the better AP. And for that to work is fine for the occasional "fixed" client like a DSTV decoder and its wi-fi card or adaptor.  Just do it!.

 

How? Fold in the antennas on the main router if that is what the client is currently connected to, throw a wet towel over the router or AP, just attenuate the signal below the threshold and then set the offending client device up again! It is that easy.

 

But, the Wi-Fi gods have other plans.  They came up with two things, Band Steering and AP Steering. Both are patented ideas, that do not adhere to a specific standard and are implemented in different ways by various suppliers. The IT guys then say, well the supplier has provided these facilities, the problem is solved. Well NOT so, as we see with the Deco M series of mesh networks, where both are enabled by default and apparently the user can't disable or adjust any parameters that would determine how APS and BS work in their equipment. So this solution will bite you in the backside as well, with legacy client devices and make no mistake, the way MC has implemented their W-Fi adaptor it is a legacy device with an added twist -- an interface pre-configured the way MC wants it to be NOT what will work always and everywhere on a mesh network.

 

If you are serious about providing a decent mesh network in your home, you will pick equipment that can be configured to suit your requirements and not some pre-conceived idea a supplier has, which may boil down to them simply telling you to place the main node in the lounge where your entertainment system is located.

 

Here are two references worth reading about APs and BS.  One is nothing more than the original patent, but it is useful because it shows the flow chart as to how it works. The other is an article that refers to the Myths about BS.

 

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2016/0249267.html

https://www.networkcomputing.com/wireless-infrastructure/4-wifi-band-steering-myths

 

The previous references I posted have some insights into all of this that are worth noting:

 

  • People have different needs and expectations from Wi-Fi roaming. The toughest application is VoWiFi, i.e. voice callers using some form of VoIP over Wi-Fi. The rule of thumb for these users is that a roam must be completed in 50 - 100 ms to avoid call interruption.
    Most of us, however, would be happy if our devices would move at all to a better connection instead of stubbornly hanging onto the first AP they see. And, oh yeah, it would be nice if when the device moved, it didn't drop our video call or make us have to restart the video we were watching.

    So given the same conditions, is a device's roaming behaviour always the same? Well, in real life, it would be impossible to duplicate the exact conditions from roam to roam. Device signal levels, RF environment including neighbouring networks and traffic levels are constantly changing, all of which can affect roaming behaviour.

 

Octo LNB; 2 by 2x4 MS; 2 by ES 5-2; Dedicated PSU for LNB, ES's, MS's; HD PVR 4P x 2; Explora 1; DSD 660; FSM
Red Carpet

Re: Wi-Fi Connect Issues and their Impact on DSTV Services

Wi-Fi routers and devices should not "just be dumped" in a corner next to your ADSL connection point. Even more so when deploying APs and absolutely critical when implementing a Wireless mesh network in a home.  Wireless mesh networks have been the domain of companies and organisations, but more and more you now see equipment supposedly suitable for installation in a home, sold as "Plug 'n Play".

Wireless Personal Area Networks are not that easy! Don't believe all you read on the Internet and don't fall for the rubbish marketing from companies trying to flog their specific brand of snake oil systems.  Do some reading, understand what you are letting yourself in for and then venture into this field -- unless of course you have deep pockets and are not bothered about throwing away money.

 

There are many Internet references you can have a look at.  Some of them are starting to compare wireless mesh systems. At least two of them have very good sections on what wireless connectivity is and detail some of the issues to watch out for.  I am not going to try and re-invent the wheel, just go and read it for yourself. Both are sites I have been following for a number of years. Ond is rather old --- 2011 --- more or less when I first got involved with establishing wireless networks for University Campuses.

 

The second reference starts with a very interesting introduction which is amusing but absolutely true.

 

  • In the beginning, the Wi-Fi gods created the router.
  • And it was good, at least for small spaces. But then the people discovered Wi-Fi dead spots and became displeased with the gods, gnashing their teeth and shaking their fists.
  • So the Wi-Fi gods created Wi-Fi extenders and all was good again. Until the people discovered that their devices would not always use those extenders, preferring to stay connected to their old, familiar Wi-Fi router.
  • And the people were unhappy once again, feeling their gods had tricked them.
  • So much for allegory. So why won't your devices behave and connect to the extenders or access points you've added to your Wi-Fi network?
  • Or the shiny and expensive new mesh Wi-Fi system you ripped and replaced your old setup with?
  • And why, when you seek help for fixing your sticky devices, do you hear maddening stories from other people that say their devices roam perfectly well using the same router/extender/Wi-Fi system you use?

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/basics/wireless-basics/33180-how-to-fix-wi-fi-roaming

 

Start reading about this on this site, and then keep reading the references until you get moeg. And then go ahead and spend your money on the TPlink Deco M9 Plus in the belief that they actually do know what they are doing - which they don't -they are just as in the dark as the rest of us, blundering along coming up with solutions to a problem they don't yet understand.

 

https://revolutionwifi.blogspot.com/2011/12/wi-fi-roaming-analysis-part-1.html

That particular site ran out of steam after the first 4 parts, unfortunately. But what he says is still true today as will become apparent if you go and look at the wi-fi connect thread on this forum.

 

  • Part 1 - Connection Control and Importance of Roaming Analysis
    Part 2 - The Many Variations of Wi-Fi Roaming
    Part 3 - Methods of Measuring Roam Times
    Part 4 - Analysis with Wireshark and AirPcap
    Part 5 - Analysis with Wildpackets Omnipeek (coming)
    Part 6 - Tips for Roaming Performance Improvement (coming)

Then tackle this reference and read as much as you want to.

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/basics/wireless-basics/33180-how-to-fix-wi-fi-roaming

 

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-features/33195-wi-fi-roaming-secrets-revealed

 

Start at the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

Octo LNB; 2 by 2x4 MS; 2 by ES 5-2; Dedicated PSU for LNB, ES's, MS's; HD PVR 4P x 2; Explora 1; DSD 660; FSM
Red Carpet

Wi-Fi Connect Issues and their Impact on DSTV Services

Lately, we see in excess of 20 or more complaints on a daily basis of people having problems with their DSTV Now services.

Then, recently, along came a Wi-Fi Connect Issue with a DSTV USB3000 "extender" showing up some more problems. 

This thread, will try and show just how complex some of these issues can be and why what MC does at the moment does virtually nothing to make it easy for their customers to use their so-called "wireless roaming services".

I do not for one minute try to claim that I have all the answers. All I am doing is to say this issue is a lot more complex than MC realises and that many customers are completely unaware of how their own home networks may be contributing to the connectivity issues.

 

Wi-Fi connectivity is by far, NOT a mature technology.  It is full of issues, standards conflicts, privacy conflicts, security conflicts and for MC with its own Piracy Paranoia, another level of problems with the way they insist on running their Internet services from connecting a decoder to the Internet for streaming services and control to running their own brand of streaming services.

 

The next post will deal with one specific aspect of all of this and that is using a wireless connection to a decoder (any model) instead of a good old fashioned cable connection.

 

A wired cable connection for a device like a decoder, (which in any case has at least 3 cables already connected to it), is and will always be the best way to connect a decoder to the Internet service in your home. 

 

But for those that live in the World of Wireless and mobility here are a few tips before you buy and install a wireless router or try and use extenders, or a wireless network built up of wireless Access Points (APs) or now go and spend money on that wireless Mesh system you have seen online.

 

Beware --- there be Dragons and Demons waiting for you! 

 

 

 

Octo LNB; 2 by 2x4 MS; 2 by ES 5-2; Dedicated PSU for LNB, ES's, MS's; HD PVR 4P x 2; Explora 1; DSD 660; FSM