Robert_02's profile

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Sat, Dec 5, 2020 12:00 AM

Unstable Wi-Fi

Hello. I am sorry to bug you here, but my family has been having a fairly common issue. We were told a while ago that changing from a 200mb/s to a 1GB/s plan would fix an issue where a device farther from the old modem would be able to reliably play video games. Now that I am back from college, however, while on the 2.4ghz signal with all five bars, I often experience an unstable internet signal, ranging from a nice 350mb/s download to a more common 20mb/s. I am mostly the only one with a device that's hungry for our internet thanks to streaming, gaming, and Zoom, so there are no signals blocking it. There are also about two walls or so in the way, but once again, the new plan and the five consistent bars were supposed to 'fix' the issue since the router is in the most ideal position and should be a lot stronger, which on paper, it is. Furthermore, an ethernet cable is not possible due to the time when the house was made.
Now when I called the support, I was dismissed with the idea that since the ethernet reliably gave me my speeds instead of the Wi-Fi at any location in the house (500-600mb/s vs the supposed 1G). I pushed that we were told that this new, 'cheaper' plan (which is not true in the long-run) was supposed to fix my issue, and I was only upselled with 3 xFi pods at a high price that's out of our already stretched budget thanks to Covid-19. This type of treatment raises a question now. How do we fix this issue that won't require us to throw more money at it and hope that we're being told the right answer when the previous worker was incorrect? 





87.2K Messages

7 m ago

Some tips for improving WiFi performance;

There are other options. Google for WiFi repeaters / range extenders, WiFi mesh systems / pods, powerline ethernet adapters, MoCA adapters. Good luck !


Regular Contributor


393 Messages

7 m ago

Just a few thoughts in no particular order… I wouldn't expect a faster plan to fix wi-fi. In general, I wouldn’t expect faster plans to "fix" things. My experience is when you're having communications problems, it's usually better to try to reduce bandwidth rather than to increase it.  But in any case, if you're getting good performance via ethernet, then Comcast is doing well and Wi-Fi is always variable.  You can, of course get your own router, mesh network etc.  You will find quite a few people who say that this is ALWAYS better than the stuff an ISP provides. 


You've already dismissed wiring, but that would be high on my list.  Maybe just move your room nearer to the room with the router. Near enough to get a better wi-fi signal, or better-yet, near enough to get a wire to you.  I've always had glitches on wi-fi with Zoom and Skype (and no noticeable issues in anything except video calls) so now I just do them plugged into the ethernet.  It took some rearranging but back in April, when I did it, we knew that COVID was going to be an issue for ~18 months if things "went well" so it was easily worth it.  If you're home for a few weeks, maybe not so much.


Cheaper plans with more/better stuff are always promos.  You can play that game and figure out what you want to do when the promo expires or just ignore them.


I would generally expect streaming and gaming to work even at 20mbps.  So, maybe downgrading the plan and saving for better equipment is an option.  On the Roku forum, there are people streaming TV on 1Mbs DSL plans. (Not with high quality, obviously, but they find it acceptable.) 5-10Mbps should be fine for HD streaming.


Are there neighbors within a few hundred feet?  Have you checked what channels they're on?  (Unfortunately, I think some Xfinity equipment doesn't give you choices on wi-fi channels – if so, another reason to get your own.)


Two walls doesn't sound like much.  Both in terms of Wi-Fi and in terms of how hard it would be to wire.  Sounds like there isn't even a change of floors, so there's usually a crawlspace or attic that can be used. That also makes me suspicious that interference rather than distance may be part of your problem. (Unfortunately, interfering neighbors on Wi-Fi can become a bit of an arms race.)


Oh and you said 2.4GHz – but what about 5GHz?  5GHz is much cleaner in my home.


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