Good WiFi is critical to modern life, as many devices depend on it exclusively for their Internet connectivity. Ensuring your setup is as optimized as possible is an important step in achieving that goal. This starts with having good information about the current WiFi context in your home.
The IQrouter has a built-in WiFi survey tool, accessed from the Status->WiFi Survey menu, that displays your router’s current WiFi settings and the results of surveying the neighboring WiFi access points. This can be used to ensure your unit is not conflicting with other neighboring devices.
What follows is a guide to that page along with suggestions for how to use this information to optimize your WiFi deployment.
The Wifi Survey page is a constantly refreshing (every 15 seconds) page that displays the IQrouter’s current WiFi information and the survey results in each of the two enabled radio bands. If there are significant or potential conflicts, those values will be highlighted in red.
A Wifi survey is basically the listing of neighboring WiFi access points, listing key information that can be used to determine if there will be a conflict or not.
Why is this important?
WiFi is a shared spectrum connection model, that means only one device can talk at a time on a given channel. So if two access points in close proximity are both on the same radio channel, then the traffic from either one will interfere with the other, significantly affecting the speed and latencies both will experience.
On the 2.4Ghz radio band, there are only three non-overlapping channels, which are 1, 6 and 11. All the others in-between might overlap with one of those three, and therefore cause interference, just not as much as if they were the same. So it’s best to avoid say being on channel 8 if there is strong channel 11 nearby.
Your IQrouter comes pre-configured to perform an automatic channel selection (ACS) during startup, this sophisticated algorithm integrates a lot of information, but it is taken during a brief period at startup. If things change after that, then usage could be impacted. That’s why the WiFi Survey page also has the ability to let the user restart the WiFi and force a new channel selection process to kick off. This may result in improvements if a neighboring WiFi access point was recently deployed in close proximity with a conflicting channel assignment. The WiFi Survey page also lets you reboot the IQrouter and force a more detailed new channel selection process. If restarting WiFi does not move to what appears to be a better channel selection rebooting the IQrouter may move to a better channel as it takes a longer and more detailed look at competing WiFi signals.
The WiFi survey page will also highlight access points with the same name (SSID) as the IQrouter. This might indicate an old router whose WiFi has not been turned off allowing clients to mistakenly connect to it instead of the IQrouter. Or it could be additional access points you have configured to increase coverage, which is fine as long as those access points are plugged into the LAN of the IQrouter. It’s important that ALL traffic run through the IQrouter so it can enforce appropriate traffic management.
Your current IQrouter WiFi settings are shown for the enabled 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz radios. If a radio is disabled no settings or survey information is shown for that radio.
The WiFi name shows the name you will use to connect to the IQrouter WiFi network. If the name is also used by another WiFi network then a warning is displayed to ensure all connections to that WiFi name are routed through the IQrouter.
The Channel column shows the current channel being used by each radio. The Auto column shows if the channel was selected using automatic channel selection (ACS). If ACS was used then you will see options to restart the WiFi network or reboot the IQrouter in order to force the IQrouter to go through the ACS process again. Rebooting the IQrouter will perform a longer and more detailed ACS process. If you believe a better channel is available and not being selected by ACS you can go to the Configure ⇒ WiFi menu option to configure a specific WiFi Channel for each radio.
The TX Power column sows the current transmit power for each radio. If less than 100% it is likely that another WiFi signal is interfering with the IQrouter. If using ACS restarting the WiFi network should cause the IQrouter to move to a new channel if a better option is available.
The 2.4 Ghz WiFi Survey table shows all 2.4 Ghz WiFi networks in reach of the IQrouter. Any potential conflicts are highlighted in red. These issues are only potential problems and may not require any action. The most often highlighted issue is when an identical WiFi name to the IQrouter is found. In most cases this is not a problem as it will be a common occurrence when using additional WiFi access points/repeaters. The names are highlighted to make sure you verify the access points/repeaters are correctly installed and connected to the IQrouter. If these access points/repeaters bypass the IQrouter and connect directly to the modem/router connected to the IQrouter’s WAN port then traffic will be able to bypass the IQrouter and not participate in the IQrouter traffic management. If the highlighted WiFi name is not an access point/repeater but is the WiFi network of the modem/router connected to the IQrouter’s WAN port then you should turn off WiFi on that modem/router as anyone connecting to that modem/router instead of the IQrouter will also be bypassing the IQrouter traffic management.
If another WiFi network is found on the same channel as the IQrouter with a strong enough signal to indicate a potential problem it will be highlighted in red. Additionally any WiFi network on any channel with a strong enough signal to potential interfere will also be highlighted. These conflicts should be resolved by restarting the WiFi network or rebooting the IQrouter if using ACS. If not using ACS you may be required to select a new WiFi channel to find a better channel with less signal interference.