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  1. #1
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    My Office Internet Failed

    I've been without internet in my home office for over a week now. After extensive troubleshooting from four different technicians, and six different visits, I discovered the issue is inside the wall of this room. Comcast says they cannot fix the issue since it is an internal wiring problem.

    I'm paying for 240 Mbps download speeds, so I'd prefer not to use wireless from another part of my apartment (the speed drops to 10-15 Mbps due to walls and neighboring Wi-Fi interference). I also do not like the idea of wires running throughout my home since my wife is prone to tripping over the wires we already have strewn about the apartment. Any advice?


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  2. #2
    Tekno Venus's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    I assume you have Cat5e running through the walls to jacks in the room?

    If you want a quick way to get internet there again, powerline adapters might be worth a shot: Amazon.com: Zyxel 600 Mbps Mini Powerline AV2 Gigabit Adapter, Starter Kit - 2 Units (PLA5205KIT): Computers & Accessories. They can perform better than wireless if there are lots of walls/interference
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  3. #3
    writhziden's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    We have coaxial cable running to the outlets. An issue I have is that the current router junction I am using is behind my wife's plants. The router doesn't have a safe place to stand. I currently have it sitting on top of two stacked cardboard boxes just for testing. The only other location to get internet is in our master bedroom, but I don't like the idea of having to sleep right next to so much EMF radiation.

    I'd hate to think I might have to just deal with this until we can move.

  4. #4
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    You can't run new coax cable through the walls by fishing it from an attic or somewhere else?

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  5. #5
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    Trying to work out the network structure here

    Do you have ethernet over coax in each room? (Ethernet over coax - Wikipedia). Or are you talking about the coax in from your ISP to your cable modem? From your first post, I get the impression that you still have WiFi connectivity (but poor)?

    the current router junction I am using
    Not quite sure what you mean here?? Do you mean a router, a modem, WiFi access point or a switch (or combo device?). Is this the device provided by the ISP or your own?


  6. #6
    writhziden's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    Quote Originally Posted by jcgriff2 View Post
    You can't run new coax cable through the walls by fishing it from an attic or somewhere else?
    Not in an apartment, no.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekno Venus View Post
    Trying to work out the network structure here

    Do you have ethernet over coax in each room? (Ethernet over coax - Wikipedia). Or are you talking about the coax in from your ISP to your cable modem? From your first post, I get the impression that you still have WiFi connectivity (but poor)?

    the current router junction I am using
    Not quite sure what you mean here?? Do you mean a router, a modem, WiFi access point or a switch (or combo device?). Is this the device provided by the ISP or your own?
    Coax in from my ISP to my (not really mine, but rented from the ISP) cable modem, then Ethernet from the modem to my PC. I have a better understanding of the devices you linked, but I doubt they'd serve me based on reviews read. I imagine in an apartment complex, the noise through our power lines would be pretty high.

    The ISP router does provide Wi-Fi, but it's very limited. Even the 5 GHz band drops to about 20-25% strength in my office space.

    I plan on pushing back on our apartment management. They had the wiring installed originally. I feel they should be responsible for maintaining the connections. Given what we pay for rent, and their promotion that apartment living is so much better than owning your own home (right ...), I'm not letting this matter drop without a fight.

  7. #7
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    Is your wifi connection all that much worse that you can't utilize it until you move?

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  8. #8
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    the issue is inside the wall of this room. Comcast says they cannot fix the issue since it is an internal wiring problem.
    If you need a wired connection and the wire in your office is bad, perhaps you need to do what those of us do in homes without wires/jacks in all rooms.

    Our home was built in the mid 50's. We had an electrician come in and install a jack for the cable modem. So we have the modem attached to the one jack in the house.

    Powerline networking: what you need to know | TechRadar


    I don't want to go wireless either on desktop computers. My husband's computers are in the basement. I bought a Powerline adapter set (2 units) and use the electrical wiring in the house.
    One unit plugs in the wall near the router and connects to it by a short ethernet cable. The other unit can be plugged in anywhere you want wired internet access (providing it is on the same side of the electrical panel).
    I plugged the other into a basement outlet near his computers (he had 2 online at the time) and I also attached a switch so both computers could get online. Again, a short ethernet cable runs from the powerline adapter to the computer - so no wires on the ground to trip over.

    We've been using an old Netgear set since perhaps2011 with no problems.
    Last edited by plodr; 10-26-2017 at 10:58 AM.

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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    I still don't quite understand where the issue is - sorry Mike.

    If your WiFi works fine, then you have internet. How do you your internet from your modem/router to your office? I assume it is this link between your router and your office that is the issue from your first post.

    Why would Powerline not work for you?

    Would purchasing a more powerful WiFi router/AP not solve the issue and allow you to get WiFi in the office? How old is your WiFi router? 5Ghz signals will not penetrate thick walls well due to their higher frequency, although they allow for higher performance when in close range. A modern AC router should be able to work through multiple walls with ease. In my house, we have the router in the kitchen and get very good performance on the 3rd floor (so the signal is going through 2 floors and a wall).


  10. #10
    writhziden's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekno Venus View Post
    I still don't quite understand where the issue is - sorry Mike.

    If your WiFi works fine, then you have internet. How do you your internet from your modem/router to your office? I assume it is this link between your router and your office that is the issue from your first post.

    Why would Powerline not work for you?

    Would purchasing a more powerful WiFi router/AP not solve the issue and allow you to get WiFi in the office? How old is your WiFi router? 5Ghz signals will not penetrate thick walls well due to their higher frequency, although they allow for higher performance when in close range. A modern AC router should be able to work through multiple walls with ease. In my house, we have the router in the kitchen and get very good performance on the 3rd floor (so the signal is going through 2 floors and a wall).
    I do not know how well Ethernet travels through power lines in an apartment building. Will the fact that our outlets are on several circuits make a difference? Can it travel across circuits to different areas of the apartment?

    Same issue with Wi-Fi - We live in an apartment building. Your Wi-Fi goes through two floors and a wall. Mine goes through one wall. The difference is that on its way to that wall, it hits about 11 different Wi-Fi signals broadcast from neighboring apartments, and that's just in this building. The neighboring building also has 12 Wi-Fi signals that interfere. By the time Wi-Fi reaches my desktop PC in the office, the signal has degraded to the point that the connection works maybe 25% of the time.

    My Office Internet Failed-2017-10-26-184551-png

    The other issue is that I pay for 240 Mbps. In the office, I am lucky to get 10-15 Mbps (when it works, which is rare). Why pay for such a high speed if the internet provider can't provide it in an area that is supposed to have internet? Why pay such high rent if my apartment management can't guarantee internet/cable from the already in place outlets? I feel that one of these two companies should fix the service. I didn't make any changes to the internal wiring; it just failed from normal wear and tear.
    Last edited by writhziden; 10-26-2017 at 08:49 PM.
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  11. #11
    Tekno Venus's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    That's quite a crowded WiFi spectrum..... Is it that busy on the 5Ghz frequency?

    Do you get the full 240Mbps if you connect your PC to the router directly via Ethernet?

    Getting 240Mbps over WiFi is going to require a pretty modern, 802.11ac router. Wireless N routers max out at about 900Mbps theoretical (300Mbps on 2.4Ghz and 600Mbps on 5Ghz normally). Since WiFi is half duplex, you can halve those speeds which means that theoretically you can get 300Mbps on the 5GHz frequency maximum. However, this is theoretical, so real world speeds will be much lower. What is the model number of your WiFi router?

    Regarding powerline, devices need to pair to each other to connect, which involved holding a physical button on the two devices you want to connect. Once they're paired, then they're encrypted and no one else in the apartment could connect to them. As to how well they will work in an apartment, they should work fine. They work over the same wiring ring, so only outlets on that circuit would be able to even attempt to connect to the powerline. Without knowing how the wiring is done, I can't say for sure how well they will perform, but I would expect them to do OK. Make sure you get ones with gigabit ethernet, a lot of the cheap ones are 500Mbps standard, but only have a 100Mbps ethernet port so that extra theoretical speed is useless since you're physically capped at 100Mbps.

    However, all this powerline stuff is redundant if you get really slow speeds with a direct ethernet connection to the router. If you get slow speeds when your network is:

    modem-->router-->ethernet-->PC

    then there is nothing you can do since the issue lies outside your home network.


  12. #12
    writhziden's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    Yeah, the 5 GHz frequency is about the same. The new routers broadcast on both bands, so each apartment has at least one 2.4 GHz and one 5 GHz connection. My laptop gets 210-230 Mbps through Wi-Fi right next to the router. I get about the same through Ethernet on my desktop (210-240 Mbps). I think my laptop Ethernet circuit is a little weaker since I tend to get around 160-190 Mbps through my laptop Ethernet. The Wi-Fi connection is stronger on my laptop, so I just use that for the laptop.

    The router is connected in our living room. The office outlets are on a separate circuit, so I'd need at least two sets of the Powerline adapters to make it work here: one set to extend our Ethernet to the edge of this circuit, and another set to extend that Ethernet to the other circuit.

  13. #13
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    The office outlets are on a separate circuit
    Then you don't want a powerline adapter! Don't waste your money trying to jerryrig something by using 2 sets. Poweline adapters work when the units are plugged into outlets on the same circuit. I studied the electrical box before I bought my unit to be sure the router outlet and the basement outlet were on the same side of the box.

    What you want is something to repeat the good wifi signal you are getting close to the router. I've never used a wifi repeater so I'll let someone who knows about them to explain.
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  14. #14
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    WiFi repeaters are not what you want either. At best, they will only be able to provide 50% of the speed, and they will just add more noise and chatter in an already crowded set of channels. .

    Strongly recommend avoiding a repeater, especially with your WiFi environment.
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  15. #15
    writhziden's Avatar
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekno Venus View Post
    WiFi repeaters are not what you want either. At best, they will only be able to provide 50% of the speed, and they will just add more noise and chatter in an already crowded set of channels. .

    Strongly recommend avoiding a repeater, especially with your WiFi environment.
    Yeah, I've tried a repeater. Back when I had my router in the office, we needed a way to get Wi-Fi to the rest of our apartment when family visited. The repeater only provided a 1-2 Mbps boost, so I returned it. I ended up just setting up all Wi-Fi devices to use the Xfinity hotspot. The hotspots are great for most browsing activities. The catch is that they are limited in their Download/Upload speeds. Browsing on hotspots is fine. If I need to upload or download large files for work, I hit a snag.

    I am currently using the hotspots for my internet usage in the office. Areas I'm running into problems:
    • As mentioned, work related uploads/downloads of apps
    • I purchased NBA League Pass Broadband, but I'm missing the Broadband part of that, so I cannot watch live games at this time. I can watch pre-recorded games the next day because they require less bandwidth for the HD quality after they've been edited/compressed.
    • You may ask: Why can't I just move out to my living room for those tasks?
      I can and have for my work related stuff. NBA games are on at night, and the living room is where my wife spends her time to unwind after work. She works with people all day, so she likes to have more alone time after work. Me being out there interferes with that.

  16. #16
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    I am not a fan of powerline networking - except with brand new wiring in new buildings. And any connections must be on the same circuit (in the US anyway), controlled by the same breaker. Plus, other devices can affect continuity like a UPS or surge and spike protectors.

    It sounds like your walls are full of metal pipes and electrical wiring. They may also use metal studs in the walls. These will indeed affect RF propagation and reception.

    If the problem is EMI/RFI, there may not be much that can be done if the source cannot be determined. If the problem is due barriers in the wall blocking the RF, there's nothing you can do there either. But if the interference is due to wifi crowding, there is a chance it can be overcome.

    Since Ethernet seems out of the question, I recommend you use a wireless network "sniffer" like XIRRUS WiFi Inspector to see what wireless channels are in use and available. There's a good chance most users in your apartment complex use the default channels. With a sniffer, you can see what channels are not being used, then select that channel in your WAP (wireless access point - typically integrated into wireless routers or residential gateways) via its admin menu. If your network is only one on that channel, it will not need to compete with other networks.
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  17. #17
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    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    I've tried the default channels: 1, 6, and 11 with similar results. I would get one channel that provided slightly better performance than the others, but the difference was marginal and could change depending on the time of day. I've also read that it is bad practice to use intermediate channels since that can cause more interference for other users who are on the default channels. I also doubt it would make much difference since the default channels have pretty well saturated all channels 1-14.

    With 12-36 strong signals in the same area (our buildings are separated by 10-15 feet), it is incredibly difficult to find a channel that does not have strong overlap and interference. If it was not for the Xfinity hotspots, I would be hard pressed to have any Wi-Fi more than 10 feet from the router within this apartment. All of this is why I am determined to have the issue resolved by either Comcast or my apartment management.

  18. #18
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        BWS-6 E-IV
      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    I've also read that it is bad practice to use intermediate channels since that can cause more interference for other users who are on the default channels.
    Ideally, yes, but there is often no choice in crowded environments. But that interference would still be considerably less than when networks are on the same channel.

    If all channels on both bands are saturated, there is nothing Comcast can do. So that leaves it up to apartment management giving permission to pull Ethernet through the walls, floors and ceilings to bring a wired connection to each room.

    I am assuming there is not a nearby device that is faulty and spewing a bunch of extraneous RF energy causing the interference.

    Got a microwave or cell tower out your windows? Or a nearby airport's RADAR antenna nearby?
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP Windows and Devices for IT, 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

  19. #19

    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    1. Has someone confirmed exactly what is wrong with your existing ethernet wiring using a meter or is the tech just guessing/passing the buck?
    2. If you actually have a bad wire, is there any reason you can't use the old one to pull a new line?

  20. #20
    Digerati's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    3,368
    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        BrightWorks Systems
      • Model Number:
        BWS-6 E-IV
      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: My Office Internet Failed

    but I don't like the idea of having to sleep right next to so much EMF radiation.
    Ummm, EMF = electromotive force. This is just the proper term for "voltage" in a circuit. It is the "E" in Ohm's Law ("E = IR" or voltage = current x resistance). This voltage is what is running through wires. While it is also used in inductors and transformers as electromagnetic induction, these components are generally shielded to prevent spurious signals or magnetic radiation from "entering" the circuit from the outside and from radiating out too as that would indicate an inefficient loss of power. Not to mention the FCC and other regulatory agencies frown on unwanted EMI/RFI emanations.

    Surely you have much more than what a router utilizes running through the walls next to your head powering the HVAC, TVs, lights, kitchen appliances and more - especially in an apartment complex.

    If you meant RF energy, if a worry, I would be much more concerned about holding your cell phone right next to your head than what emanates in an omnidirectional pattern from a wireless router several feet away. From a single "smart" cell phone, you have RF radiation from the cell network, wifi, Blu-tooth, and NFC.

    With your wireless router, you typically can set access times in the admin menu too - that is, you can disable the wifi side while you sleep. Then you only need to worry about sitting 2 feet away from your computer's wifi adapter for hours on end.

    Note that many of these wireless router/residential gateway devices have mounting holes on the back to "hang" the unit off the wall with 2 small screws. This will get the device off the floor and the cardboard boxes out of the room. You can hang it up as high as the power cord will allow which would hopefully improve propagation.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP Windows and Devices for IT, 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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