Purpose: Use this Reference Guide to review what impacts the home environment can have on WiFi signal

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1 Purpose: Use this Reference Guide to review what impacts the home environment can have on WiFi signal More so than wire-line technologies such as Ethernet and MoCA, WiFi is highly impacted by the environment in which it is installed. This is because, unlike the wire-line technologies, the WiFi signal is broadcast widely over the air, and is not shielded within the wire from other signals that may interfere with it. Factors that impact wireless performance: Distance between the AWG and the customers connected device can impact performance. The WiFi signal loses its strength the further it travels from the AWG. Obstacles, such as placing the AWG in a closet, filing cabinet or behind a TV, block the signal and reduce the signal strength available to a customer s devices Other WiFi networks compete for bandwidth on the same radio channels. The more WiFi networks that can be seen from a customer s home, the more likely they will be to have performance issues. Non-WiFi devices such as microwaves, baby monitors and Bluetooth devices may use the same radio frequency as the WiFi network. Similar to other WiFi networks, these devices compete for bandwidth. Other devices may include: wireless audio, wireless video cameras, zigbee/zwave devices, and more. WiFi devices share the single WiFi radio of the AWG. Our AWGs can support a large number of WiFi devices in normal conditions. If the customer is already getting a weak signal, more WiFi devices will reduce overall performance. 1

2 TWC AWG (Advanced Wireless Gateway) coverage is donut shaped From the AWG, the coverage expands upward/downward and outward Dependent on how many radios and antennas the device has, the strength of the signal can vary within the coverage area Orientation of the AWG can change the coverage in multiple antenna models WiFi can extend outside the perimeter of a home o WiFi security guidelines should be adhered to in order to protect the customer s personal information o Weather and nature (eg; trees, bushes, etc..) may impact outdoor performance if customer wishes to use on patios or in the yard as well Given the number of walls or floors or the type of material used in the construction of the customer s home, WiFi strength can vary from room to room and floor to floor Due to the shape of the projection of the signal, gaps of coverage may exist in a home, especially at the extremities of the home Remember that advertised speeds are the sum of bandwidth being delivered to all connected devices on your network All applications running on any device are drawing on that bandwidth simultaneously. 2

3 o A customer has 20 Mbps of available bandwidth and is running 2 Netflix streams (5 Mbps each) and 1 Skype session (2 Mbps), would share 20Mbps across the 3 applications Additional devices and/or applications would likely cause the customer to experience slow speeds Speed tests are highly dependent on the type/version of hardware and software running on the client device. (Reference table below.) Speed test variables include: Number of radios, utilization of AWG, utilization of channel, distance from access point, hardware of the client device, etc. o A device streaming video often needs a minimum speed test speed between 2-6Mbps dependent on the device screen size/video format (1080p vs 720p) to ensure a consistent stream. Smaller devices with lower resolutions may be sent lower rate video files and require lower speeds. o A client device surfing the internet or using may benefit from a speed of 1-3 Mbps for great user experience. The higher the Mbps, the better the experience. o If a customer subscribes to a 300 Mbps tier, a speed test run from a wired device such as a PC connected to the 1G Ethernet port should show a speed of 300Mbps provided the PC also has a 1G Ethernet network card fitted. However, a 10/100Base-T Ethernet port will limit the speed test result to 100Mbps. o A speed test run from any specific WiFi client may result in a single digit (e.g. 3Mbps) which still indicates a healthy WiFi connection 3

4 RSSI db The speed obtained with a speed test depends on a number of factors: Distance from the Access Point (AWG). The speed will drop as the user moves away from the AWG 2.4GHz band provides a greater distance of coverage. 5GHz band allows for greater throughput (in the same time, you can transfer twice as much). The use of 5GHz band is also limited to client devices that support this band as well. Legend: Red Poor RSSI value, not acceptable coverage Yellow Fair RSSI value, minimum acceptable coverage (-78dBm) Green Good RSSI value, good coverage Freq (MHz) 2430 Freq (MHz) Distance in feet from AP * Red is 5GHz. Blue is 2.4GHz. The graph shows how the RSSI value will fall with distance from the AWG. ** Graph represents a free air scenario with no walls or other physical interference. Though the default recommendation is to use the AWG s Auto Channel Configuration tool, the AWG2.0 user-interface allows the installer to set the number of channels used by WiFi if troubleshooting. o In n devices, the default channel width is 20MHz at 2.4GHz and 20/40MHz at 5GHz Typically 40MHz will give speeds up to twice as fast as 20MHz o In ac devices, the default channel is 20/40 at 2.4GHz and 20/40/80 at 5GHz ac devices have an Auto Scale-back feature that allows the device to choose 20, 20/40 or 20/40/80MHz in the 5GHz band depending on the level of interference detected. This allows client devices that support higher than the standard 20MHz channel width to channel bond up to 4 channels to 80MHz channel width, and give greater link speeds. In high-density situations (eg; MDUs), it may potentially be useful to lower the channel width to avoid incremental interference from surrounding channels. This could lower the total throughout but maintain a more consistent WiFi signal In low-density situation (eg; single family home with little overlap of WiFi signals), maximizing the channel width will allow for highest possible overall throughput 4

5 RSSI db WiFi broadcast range is reduced by obstructions because some materials attenuate the signal more than free space. o The RSSI value is the reading of the AWG s received signal at any client location. 2.4GHz 5GHz Brick 6-18 dbm dbm Metal dbm dbm Wood 3-4 dbm 6-7 dbm DPCG (Double Pane Coated Glass) 13 dbm 20 dbm Impact of lost db based on building materials Walls and Home Construction Impact 1 Drywall Floor Freq (MHz) 2430 Freq (MHz) Distance in feet from AP Red is 5GHz. Blue is 2.4GHz. The graph shows how the RSSI value will fall with distance from the AWG with two walls or floors inserted. 5

6 The AWG2.0 devices have three radios that allow the device to transmit three data streams simultaneously to clients without interfering with each other. This allows the AWG to almost triple the capacity available to a customer s device Most smartphones, older tablets and laptops have one radio (1x1 stream) and therefore do not get the speeds associated with all three streams Newer smartphones and tablets have 2x2 stream capability, allowing for twice the speed of 1x1 devices High-end laptops purchased after 2009 may have 3x3 streams enabling almost three times the single stream speed. (These laptops may contain either Intel Centrino Ultimate 6300 or Broadcom 4331, or later). Devices with multiple antennas and radios allow for more bandwidth and increase the speed of network activity. This will also increase reliability. At 5GHz each stream is capable of 6Mbps to 433Mbps (for n and up to 1.3Gbps for an ac) depending on range and then further dependent on individual device capability.(see table below). 6

7 Some older consumer WiFi capable devices may only support b or g Wi-Fi standards. WiFi performance will be lower when the AWG needs to broadcast these b or g standards. Turning off either or both of these slower standards can lead to higher throughput speeds. Households with consumer devices all able to broadcast n or ac can be more confident of achieving maximum WiFi throughput b: o b devices will cause the overall network speeds to be reduced due to additional beaconing which all WiFi capable devices will read, b devices will run at slower b speeds however n devices will run at faster n speeds b devices only operate in 2.4GHz radio If the customer has an b device, the network must stay on the default support for b/g/n g: operates at a maximum data rate of 54 Mbps at 2.4 GHz (20MHz bonded channel_). o If the customer has no b devices, set up the network as mixed mode for g/n only n: operates at a maximum data rate of Mbps at 2.4GHz /5 GHz (in the 20MHz bonded channels) In a real world scenario, most N adapters will produce speeds of Mbps. o If the customer has no b or g devices, set up the network as mixed mode for n only ac: operates at a maximum data rate of Mbps at 5 GHz (assumes 3x3 80MHz bonded channels) 7

8 Device Radios Protocol Supports 2.4GHz 2.4GHz Speed Range (Mbps)* Supports 5GHz 5GHz Speed Range (Mbps)** Laptop 1 to 6 to Apple MacBook Pro 3x3 b/g/n Yes 216 Yes 450 Apple MacBook Pro x3 b/g/n/ac Yes 216 Yes 1300 HP EliteBook 8470W N6300 3x3 b/g/n Yes 216 Yes 450 HP EliteBook 8470W N6205 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 HP EliteBook 8470W x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Samsung 550 Chromebook 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Tablet Apple ipad 2 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Apple ipad (4 th Gen) 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Apple ipad Mini (1 st Gen) 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Apple ipad Air 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Apple ipad Air 2 2x2 b/g/n/ac Yes 144 Yes 866 Amazon Kindle Fire 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Google Nexus 7 (1 st Gen) 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Google Nexus 7 (2 nd Gen) 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1(2014) 1x1 b/g/n/ac Yes 72 Yes 433 Microsoft Surface 2 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Phone Apple iphone 4 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Apple IPhone 5s 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Google Nexus 5 1x1 b/g/n/ac Yes 72 Yes 433 HTC Evo 4G/Thunderbolt 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na HTC One 1x1 b/g/n/ac Yes 72 Yes 433 Motorola Droid Bionic 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Samsung Galaxy S3 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Samsung Galaxy S4 1x1 b/g/n/ac Yes 72 Yes 433 8

9 Samsung Galaxy S5 2x2 b/g/n/ac Yes 144 Yes 866 Nokia Lumia 635 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No 150 Other Roku LT 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Roku 1 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Roku 2 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 No na Roku 3 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Apple TV 2 1x1 b/g/n Yes 72 Yes 150 Apple TV 3 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 PlayStation 3 2x2 b/g Yes 144 No na PlayStation 4 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 No na Xbox 360 1x1 b/g Yes 72 No na Xbox One 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 Wii 1x1 b/g Yes 72 No na Wii U 2x2 b/g/n Yes 144 Yes 300 These are physical layer link rates, not UDP, TCP or speed test speeds. * Assumes 20MHz channel only for 2.4GHz, due to AWG default of 20MHz channel width, and no OBBSS Co-existence mode ** Assumes 80Hz channel bonding at 5GHz 11ac with OBSS Co-existence mode, but only 40MHz channels for 11n. Actual speeds may vary within the limits. TWC best practice recommends WPA2-AES encryption due to the optimal security provided. It is highly encouraged that technician not change the encryption mode. If a customer insists due to inability to connect an older device the technician would need to inform the customer: o WPA2-AES will allow for near open throughput while maintaining an encrypted connection o WPA-AES TKIP should be avoided as a selection protocol due to maximum of 26 connected devices using protocol o Other encryptions will provide lower security standards and may also slow down the network 9

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