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2.4GHz WiFi unusable during daylight on my THG3000

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2: Seeker

For the first couple of weeks we had no issues with our internet, it was below the 55Mbps spec but was stable and performed well. Three days ago we had our PV system upgraded to use Tigo optimisers on our solar panels, since then we can't connect to 2.4GHz during daylight hours.

 

I have run multiple tests across the house with different devices. It seems clear that we have WiFi interference, probably caused by the optimisers, though this is only evident on 2.4GHz, and devices connected to our 5GHz WiFi work fine. Running WiFi Analyzer shows a strong 2.4GHz signal, which after a few seconds changes to OUT OF RANGE, before coming back. This happens every 30 seconds or so, but can vary in duration. Any device connected or trying to connect gets kicked off, rendering 2.4GHz unusable. Once it is dark and the PV system is generating no electricity at all (and hence all of the optimisers are turned off) 2.4GHz WiFi works normally throughout our house.

 

We have a number of WiFi sockets and security cameras, plus a tablet and mobile phone which are unable to utilise 5GHz and only work on 2.4GHz. Currently these can only be used during the hours of darkness.

 

I tried setting up an old ASUS ADSL router (not connected to the internet, obviously) and that seems to handle any interference with aplomb, devices connect to it and stay connected on 2.4GHz. Yet try to connect them to the Vodafone router and they either fail or get dropped very quickly.

 

The router has already been exchanged this week, the second one was supposedly new but had a scratch on the case. The effect was exactly the same, it fails to work on 2.4GHz during daylight.

 

I fail to understand how a supposedly new "high spec" router is unable to handle WiFi interference that an old ASUS model can, it's either badly designed, poorly manufactured or has firmware issues. I've been asking to be put in contact with someone technical to discuss this and find a solution, as the customer service reps that I have been talking to clearly don't have the technical understanding to get to the bottom of this issue. I am also in communication with Tigo to ascertain if this issue has been reported with any other hardware, or if it just relates to the THG3000 Vodafone WiFi Hub.

 

(Attached, a WiFi Analyzer shot showing part of the visible network a few seconds apart, 5GHz stable, 2.4GHz out and back in)

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9 REPLIES 9
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Moderator

Hey @Davius,

We're unable to guarantee a Wi-Fi connection speed as there are many things that can affect that, for example, if the router is facing a mirror or fish tank, the materials the walls in your home are made of, the thickness of the walls, the amount of devices you're trying to connect to the router at the same time etc. What we can guarantee is the connection between the green box out on the street and your router, which is the speed you were quoted and agreed to when you took out the broadband with us.

You may need to split your Wi-Fi into two separate frequencies. This is particularly useful if you use a variety of devices as the 5Ghz provides a much stronger connection over shorter distances, so is better for consoles, smart TVs and PC's. Whereas the 2.4Ghz is a slightly lower connection but reaches further so is great for mobile phones, tablets and small electronic devices that connect to the internet.

To separate your frequencies, please follow these instructions:

  1. Download the Vodafone Broadband App 
  2. Start the app and follow the prompts to pair the app with the router. 
  3. Select 'My Wi-Fi' 
  4. Tap the slider next to Split SSID
  5. Done

Once you've done this, just follow these next steps to change your Wi-Fi channels:

  1. Tap on the 'My Wi-Fi' option, then scroll down and tap on the 'Wi-Fi Channels' option. 
  2. The next page will show you the two frequencies the Wi-Fi is broadcast on; 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. 
  3. Select 2.4 GHz, and the app will display a list of 13 channels, change the selected channel to one that has no numbers next to it on the left hand side. 
  4. Monitor the performance for 24 hours and change the channels again if the performance is the same or worse.

Could you please also ensure the three steps below are followed:

  1. Please make sure the router is in the most central location possible within the home and isn't behind or inside any furniture that can block the signal from it.
  2. Please ensure there are no baby monitors, radios, microwaves or other routers nearby as this will disrupt your signal.
  3. Ensure the router is away from any reflective surfaces such as mirrors, polished metal or fish tanks as this will bounce the signal back to your router and stop it reaching your devices.

Please let us know how you get on 😀

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2: Seeker

Hmm, a stock answer is not really very helpful.

The SSIDs are split into separate 2.4GHz and 5GHZ channels, they had to be as when combined we had no WiFi at all.

Selecting a different channel doesn't help. The router fails to maintain 2,4GHz WiFi on any channel, whether manual or auto, I've tried.

There's nothing remotely close to the router that would cause interference, it was working fine for the 13 days prior to our PV upgrade, it hasn't been moved. We have no mirrors downstairs, and it's by the front door, 2 feet from the phone socket. Standing next to it with a device doesn't help, as described and demonstrated in the screen shot with my original post, the 2.4GHz WiFi drops in and out repeatedly. This really should not happen, regardless of interference, implying the router is poorly designed or not very well made. Or it could be the latest firmware update messed it up.

It certainly appears that the router isn't up to handling interference from the PV system. An old Asus ADSL router with WiFi can be successfully and reliably connected to via a phone and tablet yes neither will connect to the Vodafone router. If that can be explained we might have an understanding of the issue.

This really needs to be looked at by an expert in radio interference.

Incidentally, the recent firmware upgrade means that the channel cannot be manually changed via the router directly, only in the app. I'm told that this change was made by Vodafone as an upgrade to ensure that the least busy channel was always automatically selected, and that this firmware update went in last weekend, around the same time our issues began.

 

 

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Moderator

@Davius We'd be happy to take a look into your account with us. Please click here to speak to an agent via social media and we can troubleshoot your issue 😊

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16: Advanced member

Quite frankly some Asus routers can be bullies!  Yes I have a Mesh here so that we have great coverage throughout the house, but my phone will connect to our Asus network (at a very slow rate) when I drive onto the housing estate!

Having the SSIDs combined should not prevent you from getting a WiFi connection, your devices still use either one band or the other and not both at the same time!

As for the issues that have occurred since the installation of the PV system, it would seem to me that either the PV system is interfering with your WiFI, or is having an effect on the household power system - both of which would suggest a fault with the PV system!  It is not normal for a PV system to affect household WiFi, though my only direct experience is with an EE install, and that router is no better than the Vodafone one!

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12: Established

@KeithAlger wrote:

As for the issues that have occurred since the installation of the PV system, it would seem to me that either the PV system is interfering with your WiFI, or is having an effect on the household power system - both of which would suggest a fault with the PV system!  It is not normal for a PV system to affect household WiFi, though my only direct experience is with an EE install, and that router is no better than the Vodafone one!


My PV system has its own wifi router.  The system was installed by the previous owner a couple of years before I bought the house.  This year, having ignored the unsecured SSID four three years, I thought I’d have a look at it.  

  • I could connect to it with unrestricted internet access
  • By wandering round the house with my Ipad to get an idea of this SSID’s location I determined it was actually  in my house. 
  • My first thought was the Wireless intruder alarm system as it was the only wireless device in the house apart from my router and the PV smart monitor device. SSID still broadcasting with both shut down
  • More tracking and it found to be lurking inside one of the two inverter cabinets in the attic.

I then set about hacking into it - easier than an easy thing in Easyville on Easyday.  An admin/admin type of log in gave me full access.  Wifi disabled and it is no longer a worry.

Why it was there and active I have no idea.  The system is owned outright rather than a ‘roof rental’ that conceivably could report generation values back to the system owner.

 

Point is... could the OP’s newly modified PV system be piggybacking onto his VF connection?

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2: Seeker

Unfortunately leaving the 2.4GHz and 5GHz combined meant I had no internet access, perhaps my laptop was trying to default to 2.4, but couldn't get anything usable until they'd been separated.

 

The Tigo optimisers appear to use WiFi and I expect that they use 2.4GHz which is why I suspect them to be the ultimate culprit. However, they only connect to the cloud if additional hardware is installed, which is a sensor living under the panels hard wired to a box somewhere in the house. That then talks to the router via WiFi. This is quite expensive and only provides monitoring so we didn't go for it, hence the optimisers MAY be broadcasting on 2.4GHz but won't actually be connecting to anything. WiFi Analyzer doesn't show any particularly high activity on any channel other than the (varying!) one Vodafone is proving, and my neighbours Sky, both well apart in the range.

 

Something else worth mentioning, is that the rear of the house is still scaffolded, I wondered if this could be acting as an antenna, amplifying the effect the optimiser might be having.

 

It's still my view that the router should be able to handle any WiFi interference from something on the roof 30 feet away. If the problem stops when the scaffolding is removed, I hope that Vodafone will at least be aware of the issue for future customers.

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16: Advanced member

Could the PV system be piggybacking onto the VF connection?  I'd love to be able to say not...  But unexpected clients on the WiFi are far more common than they ought to be!

 

The fact that it's only happening on one band, and during daylight hours, still tends to draw me to interference caused by some kind of malfunction.  *It may well be because that's what I expect to find and have the equipment to find - a bit like the VF techs suggesting splitting the SSIDs as a cure to your pet cat kicking the bucket....

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2: Seeker

I have 7 devices connecting to 2.4GHz (when it's up, about 30 seconds in every minute!) which more or less corresponds to my wifi sockets plus tablet and phone.  I didn't get the cameras configured as can't really do those as night! So it doesn't look like the optimisers are connecting, but then they wouldn't have been provided with the WiFi password so not sure how they would (though they could be attempting to perhaps?)

 

I'm trying to get a response from Tigo to find out if they use 2.4GHz.

 

I see the router has another option for WiFi-2, this appears to set another SSID and wonder if this might be worth a try.

 

I'm also concerned that last weekend Vodafone performed a rolling firmware update, to get the routers to change channels automatically if it found interference. When online with technical support they kept telling me to change the channel manually, but this option wasn't available when logging on to the router. I only discovered, when talking to a rep last week, that the manual channel option had been removed, the support guys in the call centre clearly weren't aware of this change. The channel can be manually set in the phone app, but seems to change itself back to auto, on my router at least.

 

My best guess is that the optimisers are causing some interference, and that the coincidentally timed firmware update means that the router sees this and keeps trying to find the best channel, rather than leaving things alone. I think the router is the cause of the problem. I'm loath to buy a compatible router as then you get the "that's not our product we don't support it" routine whenever you hit problems.

 

On the plus side, I downloaded a game (18GB) bought at the weekend, at a very acceptable 42Mbps 🙂
(on 5GHz WiFi of course)

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12: Established

@Davius wrote:

I see the router has another option for WiFi-2, this appears to set another SSID and wonder if this might be worth a try.

Been a while since I used my Vodafone router but isn’t WiFi-2 simply what would otherwise be called guest wifi?   Internet access only to keep ‘guests’ off of and out of your LAN?

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