Unexplained Download Speed versus Upload Speed - Any thoughts Appreciated

Merry Christmas and thanks in advance for any responses. My parents have constantly struggled with poor wireless access in their living room, driven in part by the fact that the wireless modem is in their study (opposite side of the house). The stats are as follows:

Direct connection to wireless access point: 17mpbs down (expected),

3up (expected) In living room: 0.8mpbs down, 5up (unexpected)

The 0.8mpbs down is expected and the main problem. I have no idea how we can be getting the 5up (tested using several sites).

Two questions:

1) Any idea why there might be the anomaly in the living room?

2) Does anyone know a good reference piece for setting up a second wireless access point (we'd hard wire it in the living room) . . . .the key being that we want seamless transitioning between the two access points, which I'm told is harder to achieve. Just to explain further through an example, if I were downloading a large file on my computer in the living room and walked back to the study with my computer, I'd want the computer to be able to seamlessly switch from one WAP to another without any hickup (the file would keep downloading). We have this setup in our corporate headquarters but I don't know how difficult it is to accomplish in more of a home setting.

Again, any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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Test locally with iperf to a PC on the wired LAN instead.

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You need to check your units. I'm going to assume you mean 17 Mb/s and 3 Mb/s for the direct connection. But what units are you using to provide the 0.8 and 5? (M is not m, and B is not b, so this is really important).

It's possible that there isn't an anomaly but that you are misreading (or misunderstanding?) the results. Or that they are being reporting in the wrong units. BICBW.

Either run a cable between the two APs and have them broadcast on different channels, or else run the cable only to the first and configure them as master/slave on the *same* channel (this will halve the wireless throughput so is not an ideal solution). In both cases they must have the same SSID and the same WPA/WEP key, and must not be "hidden".


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Chris Davies

How many walls are they going through between the unspecified model wireless router and whatever style of computer they're using in the living room. In general, you can go through one wall fairly easily. Two walls are a crap shoot. Three or more are very difficult. If there's aluminum foil backed insulation in the inside walls, forget it.

Ok, you have cable modem service. Thanks.

That sucks.

The basics... Find the connection manager on your unspecified model wireless client adapter and get the wireless connection (or association) speed. With 802.11g, it will vary between 1Mbit/sec and

54Mbits/sec. The actual thruput is half or less the connection speed. Note that the connection speed can be different in each direction.

When I see the upload greater than the download, I look for RF interference at the client end. Wireless camera, TIVO, security camera, cordless phone, etc?

It might be haunted. Please consult an exorcist or building contractor for remedial actions.

It's easy. Just find either a wireless access point or ANY wireless router. Run a CAT5 cable between your existing unspecified model wireless router and the 2nd wireless box, from LAN port to LAN port. On some ancient models, you might need to wire one end of the cable as a cross-over cable.

The setup on the 2nd wireless box is detailed here:

You'll also find the same thing on the manufacturers support web pile.

There are some decisions to make. You can use the same SSID for both wireless access points, and hope that you'll get seamless roaming. The reality is that you probably won't unless the access points are identical, and support 802.11r:

With a random mix of access points, it probably won't work. Note that this is fast BSS switching, not seamless roaming. You'll loose a few bits during the disconnect and reconnect cycle, but it won't loose the connection.

The client software must also be compatible for roaming to work. Many clients will tenaciously stick to the initial access point connection and not switch to a stronger signal, unless you first disconnect. Even worse, some will remember where they connected last, and will reconnect even if it's the weaker signal.

It can be done. Have your checkbook ready.

Instead, I suggest you give up now while you're still sane. Pick two different SSID's and two different non-overlapping channels (1, 6, 11) for your two devices. If you want to switch location, disconnect, and reconnect to the desired SSID. If your parents have a difficult time with this, you might be able to automate it with a script.

Yeah, that's a worthy goal. One should always be downloading something while walking around the house. However, I don't know of any consumer grade hardware that will do 802.11r. I can probably find something if you give me a clue as what you currently have to work with and how roughly how much money you want to spend in order to waltz around the house while downloading.

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Jeff Liebermann

There shouldn't be foil backed insulation or wallboard on interior walls. Generally the radiant heat barrier faces an exterior wall. I suppose if you had multi-zone heating and wanted to overkill everything, you could put radiant heat barriers on the inside, but I bet that isn't common. Most construction doesn't insulate interior walls unless they are done to "party wall" standards (two sets of studs,etc).

Note when you build a SCIF, they do have that foil backing on one layer of the drywall. ;-) A friend of a friend bought a house that turned out to be a former CIA "safe house". Lots of odd tweaks in it.

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Several of my customers have that. It's called an interior firewall designed to prevent a fire from spreading across the barrier. It's required when a house shares a wall with a garage. For interior walls, it's optional. I've also seen it in apartment buildings between adjacent apartments. It's also considered an energy saver as you can heat parts of a house, while letting the rest freeze. Works nicely, but is hell for wi-fi penetration.

These are all high end custom houses. I wouldn't expect it for cookie cutter houses.

Standard 2x4 interior studs. R13 insulation as I vaguely recall. Close the connecting door and you can't hear anything from the other size.

Tempest qualified house? Nice. Goes well with the foil backed wallpaper.

Ask your friend to search for the hidden microphones.

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Jeff Liebermann

Hmmm, No mention of router model or which band,channel, mode being used. Signal can be affected by moving router little bit in any direction.

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Tony Hwang

Yes, I could see this for fire protection. Also at some point in construction, people will use what is handy. Certainly you can use foil backed drywall where it isn't required. Or they just buy one type of drywall to cover multiple applications. Less line items to screw up, plus it may not make much difference when you consider labor.

You can troll fbo.gov to get SCIF construction guidelines.

I haven't been there in years, but UPS in Sunnyvale would rent space in a nearby building during Christmas to handle the overflow from customers. The building still had all the spook notices. Things like "no classified conversations by this door" and such nonsense. Weird Stuff back in the day would often be peddling old TEMPEST qualified computer items like printers.

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For those interested in turning their house into a RF shield room:

You can also get foil backed wallpaper, foil backed fiber board, and doors laminated with foil between layers.

There's also titanium nitride low-E window coatings, that are quite good at blocking cell phone and wi-fi signals.

Of course, we can't leave the roof unshielded:

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Jeff Liebermann

I suggest vibrating the glass with white noise.

There is a bit of controversy with the attic foil, mostly because it makes the roof hotter. But some states mandated it IIRC. Foil against a conditioned surface makes sense.

For someone in need of a refresher, there are three types of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. Those "emergency" covers you see in camping stores are to reduce radiation, but they don't insulate. I only know one person that attempted to use one instead of a sleeping bag and he said he froze all night. Anyway, the radiant heat barrier can also cut down on convection it sealed.

I'm trying to recall the court decision, but there was a case where the cops tried to use thermal imaging to see if someone is in the house. Now this is like seeing through walls, so it went to court to determine the legality. I think foil would nix thermal imaging. Or the cop would see his own reflection.

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Think isothermal contour. They'd see bugger-all.

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who where

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