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Campground wifi disconnects users

Last response: in Wireless Networking
August 24, 2012 12:59:00 PM

Hello, I operate a campground in MN where we installed a teletronics TT2400 AP with 1 Watt transmit power everything worked well for about a year but now we keep getting complaints where the signal from the AP will temp drop to zero and back to full power. During this process everyone will be disconnected. While troubleshooting the issue we replaced every part of the system and still have this issue.

We've used a new replacement identical AP, 3 different small biz class routers, and replaced all the wiring between the antenna and the router. Finally we tried a different AP.

All combinations have showed good/strong Signal Strength but then everyone is kicked off and really slow to get back on. As they have to reconnect and wait for dhcp.

Current hardware is a Linksys 4 port security router w/ WPN. and a Hawking Hi Gain AP (HOWABN1). All new CAT5 cables for PoE to roof.

Original build included a Teletronics TT2400 1W AP with 12 dBm omni antenna.

Any help or ideas would be great as we've spent over $1000 in replacement hardware and many hours of our time and can't seem to make this go away.
August 24, 2012 3:09:20 PM

Just a thought, esp. since this worked fine for a year, and now replacement parts have had no effect. It makes me wonder if perhaps someone is jamming the 2.4GHz freq in your area, perhaps even intentionally. It would be so easy to do. Things don't work splendidly for a long time, then fall over the cliff for no reason. And if equipment failure was to blame, why wouldn't replacement parts resolve the issue?

Since it’s an open freq., the 2.4GHz band is used by countless devices, and therefore it’s entirely possible someone/something else in the area is now using that same freq. And unlike wireless routers/APs, most other 2.4GHz devices don’t play nice together (ever notice that a 2.4GHz cordless phone completely kills your wireless connection, that’s how easy it is to jam). I’d be tempted to grab a radio spectrum analyzer, turn off your own wireless APs, and see what other radio “noise” you can detect and hopefully pin down the culprit.

Of course, these losses in signal could be “local” to the user. IOW, *they* could be the source of their own jamming due to their own 2.4GHz wireless devices (cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, etc.). So I’m this assuming isn’t the case, and when this loss of signal occurs, it’s happening to all or most of your customers at the same time, not just one or two here and there.
August 24, 2012 3:55:45 PM

That's a very good point. I've actually done whole bunch of scanning and such. So in real-time I've watched these issues happen. One note would be, since this is a campground/RV Park. Many folks are already geared for their own internet access during travel and what I've seen is many Mi-Fi and other personal devices cutting into the radio range. At the very end of my range (350-400 ft) I do see these device competing and being stronger than my signal at times.

I'm also wondering what the total load cap (session #) would be for one of these APs. Typically we will 30 devices listed holding a DHCP address on a normal day but on a business weekend it could be near 100.

Brainstorming ideas:
1) This Hawking AP doesn't have the power to reach all areas so I'm back to one of the Teletronics devices.
2) Or do I try to run both of them on two different channels to try to share/offload between them.

I'm going to keep the Linksys router in place as my Point-of-Sale router may have been heat stressed over the summer.

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August 24, 2012 4:46:43 PM

Putting it in better terms. When troubleshooting this myself, I personally seen, while doing real-time scanning have an instant drop of layer one. When doing some performance testing, speedwise, I've seen issues somewhere in Layer 3. Where I have high signal strength and quality but then network and internet connectivity drop to zero and appears to time out before reconnecting.