Low wireless connection on E3000 with Tomato

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by chinda, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. chinda

    chinda Networkin' Nut Member


    I flashed Tomato RAF 9007 on my brand new E3000 yesterday. All ok so far. But wireless connection is very low when I connect with my Smartphone or PC (2.4 Ghz).

    Even if I stay in the same room where the router is, I only have 80% instead of 100%. If I stay two rooms away I just reach 20%!

    With a Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH with DD-WRT I had no problems concerning wireless connection.

    I also tried different settings (Channel, transmit power, etc.), but no luck...

    What can be my problem? Or, what settings should I use exactly?

  2. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    I think I have similar issues. My E4200 on tomato sometimes gets 2/3 bars while in the same room as the router. The only thing I can think of is Tomato's stock of 42 transmit power is too high for being in the same room. The linksys default is 17.
  3. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    I have always been puzzled by these reports of low signal on the RT-N16, as all experiments I have ever conducted with any version of firmware and any wireless driver has always showed more or less exactly the same signal strength - which is also almost exactly the same as an old WRT54GL used as a control. Trying to get an overall picture of how often this happens is very hard, but the concensus seems to be that most people don't experience the problems.

    It's a mystery to me. I remember Teddy Bear making a similar observation some time ago.

    [I should point out that some of the very early wireless drivers DID give a signal a few dB stronger. That's actually such a small amount it isn't really very significant for most people. The reports I'm talking about are when people complain that they can't get a signal in the next room and so on - this I do find pretty hard to believe].

    I don't think this will help everyone, but here's some ideas to mull over that have worked for some people.
    • Default setting of 0 is probably equivalent to 17
    • Setting Singapore as country allows any power and channels 0-13 to be used
    • US similarly except no channel 13
    • Japan is limited to low power but has channels 1-14
    • Some clients cannot use channel 14, sometimes even 12-14.
    Many modern devices have small batteries and a whole bunch of new power saving features has appeared to avoid them running out of steam. These are not always implemented in clients, and may also be implemented in different ways on different clients. It seems they are often not compatible with other devices. Some clients go to sleep and don't seem to wake up again until the router is rebooted and perhaps then wakes them up again. Intel's wireless clients are particularly troublesome.

    Problems such as low signal, dropped connections, stuttering in streamed content, failure to have a connection after a long period of not using the client, are often cured by one or more of these:

    • Disabling sleep mode on the client.
    • Disabling power saving mode on the client.
    • Enabling full power.
    • Disabling APSD mode on the router (Advanced/Wireless).
    • Experiment with WMM (NECESSARY for >54Mbps in mode N but set to "off" may help otherwise).
    • Set interference mitigation to OFF. Or experiment with the different settings.
    • Transmit power is around 60 for maximum output. Set to 0 for default from the wireless driver itself. 17 for known "stable" setting according to some forum posters.
    • If you are too close to the router you can also get problems with receiver overload, in this case lower the transmit power to see if it helps.
    For some laptops having a persistent problem with the routers/AP's on the University campus here, (which are mixed devices from several different manufacturers) the only solution that has always worked is to use a USB adapter instead of built-in wireless (mostly Intel client wireless). For Intel wireless problems with "N" speeds do check that you have WMM enabled.

    Use the free program for Windows, called InSSIDer, to look at the changes while you do them. This will give you a better "feel" for what is going on. Don't use InSSIDer for mobile devices to try to measure anything, many of those who have done so have reported some extremely silly or impossible readings. Before you use it for serious comparisons, check that it really does give sensible readings by moving close to the router's antenna and see that the signal gets extremely strong, then move, say 30m away, and see if it's now weak.

    It would be really nice if there was a wireless driver that suited everybody, that was known to be bug free, fast, and stable, which worked on legacy routers, all the different newer routers from all the different manufacturers, and supported both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

    Sorry, but it appears that there isn't one. And things will probably get even more complicated in future as new developments come along.

    Here's my simple tip for stability and also for testing of wireless. If your application is mission-critical, then you should take special notice of this.

    Simply - don't use wireless on your router. A router's job is to route. Use an AP for your wireless. You will find that the routers with wireless disabled are practically 100% stable and remain up for years. Most current issues are down to the wireless. By this, I mean OEM firmware as well as the 3rd party mods. WiFi is inherently an unreliable connection medium on a shared radio band with too many incompatible devices on it. There are too many bells and whistles in the drivers for both routers and the (often incompatible) wireless clients for us to know what is going on. And we do not have the source code for the drivers so we cannot easily make any changes. So if you really want the absolute best stability, just don't use wireless, it's really that simple. If you DO have to use it, then an AP can be flashed with different wireless driver versions and make it easier for you to decide which one is best for you. You get the uncertainty removed from the router and it's very easy to run the comparisons on an AP. But you do have to experiment.

    Good luck!
  4. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    Is it possible to use both radios (eth1 and eth2) for a single wireless G signal? Or should eth2 always be disabled if I don't have any 5ghz devices?

  5. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Best disable it. For one thing, there is no supportive circuitry and no 2.4GHz antennas on the 5GHz wireless section:)
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