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Vodafone Broadband - Router Wireless Device Limit / Problems

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3: Seeker

I've just had Vodafone Broadband installed and am having issues with wireless so was pleased that I found your post but not pleased it seems a common issue. The broadband signal seems ok with consistent speeds when using ethernet but when it comes to wifi it is inconsistent with drop outs on airplay, streaming, uploads etc. It also becomes unresponsive when you want to log in to it with the app or using http - all the while ethernet was working ok - so definitely looks like a wireless issue. 

 

The only way to resolve was to reset the router - 2 restarts didn't resolve it.

 

I had BT and used an airport extreme for many years and no issues. 

 

I've never posted before and been a Vodafone customer for many years but wanted to highlight that the router they supply may have issues

 

From your own experience I will look at connecting the airport extreme into the VC router and switch off the wireless.

 

Maybe vodafone will correct their router issue or issue detail so people can use their own choice of router.

 

Apart from the router issues the actual broadband service has been ok.

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4: Newbie

Had very similar issues - thankfully Vodafone updated the firmware (remotely) for my router (now version 5.4.8.1.271.1.41).

 

This now makes use of both processors inside the router, allows splitting of the 2.4/5GHz networks, and I have about 20-30 devies connecting without issue.

 

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2: Seeker

Can you tell me how to turn of the wifi on the VC router? I am planning to go down the Airport Extreme route.  Cheers.

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4: Newbie

You just need to log in to the router interface and you will find a slider switch under the WiFi tab.

But - I think the information in this thread is now well out of date. I have just checked my router for the first time in a long while and found that the firmware has been updated in the background, it's now at 5.4.8.1.271.1.59  - there are way more configuration  options now so using a second router may not be necessary any more.

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2: Seeker

Story and key learnings about fixing the Vodafone Connect DHCP server capacity issues.  Long story, but done so anyone in my position can relate their situation to mine.  I hope it is useful for someone out there.

 

...

 

I switched to Vodafone Fibre 76 in November 2016; away from BT that to be fair had provided a faultless service for more than a year.  I switched to save money.  My technical knowledge is more than most and boy, did I need it to get through the problems faced with setting up my home network.

 

I am fortunate to live in a large property - over 9,500 sq/ft set over three floors.  It’s a double lined internal wall structure, and all floors are concrete with underfloor heating (think wire mesh).  Built 8 years ago, it surprisingly missed out on being cabled with Cat 5e.  The gardens are a little over 2 acres.  I am the sort of individual that needs Wifi everywhere I go; particularly at home.  My needs aren’t that unusual - I think I represent a pretty normal ‘dad’ who has an ever demanding ‘data hungry’ family.

 

In short, we are severe users of the internet.  We consume anything between 350 - 550 Gigbytes per month.  This comes from all manner of activities - everyday app updates on 4 iPhones, 4 iPads and 6 Windows workstations account for 40Gb per month alone.

 

Here is a quick run down of what we have;

 

7 smartphones

5 tablets

6 laptops/desktops

8 Sonos Play 5’s and 4 Sonos Play 3’s

2Tb NAS

Playstation 4

18 (yes, you heard right) Smart TV’s

A CCTV network with 8 HD cameras (filming in 720p)

 

When we have guests (with children) the mobile device count goes up - we’ve had 23 phones on the network at one point.

 

It may sound like a lot - but do your own audit and you’ll be surprised.

 

Anyway; with my BT setup, I had a Billion VDSL modem router attached to a Powerline network, that used the electrical circuit in the house to carry data to every room in the house that had it’s own Powerline adapter of the cabled and/or wireless variety.  I used TP-Link AV500 devices to achieve this.  I had a single SSID called ‘House’ that meant I could roam the property and my phone would ‘hop’ between wireless nodes.  For static devices, such as TV’s, laptops, NAS drives etc I cabled it in where possible and where Wifi was the only option, the device would generally hook on to the same ‘node’ and stay on it without issue.

 

My BT fibre credentials were supplied to me by BT so I could leave their HomeHub router in the box, and use my much better, much more reliable Billion router.  Everyone has a favourite, but the key issue here is that I controlled the hardware choice.  This meant I could get a chunky piece of kit that could handle the load.  I’ve also used them at the company I own and it could handle 100 devices on Wifi no problem.

 

Quite often (as in, more than once a week) the home network would fail.  Either the TP-Link hardware would need power cycling to restore the internet connection, or I would get a confused wireless state where no device could join the network.  There is nothing more annoying than spending an evening restarting all of the Powerlines in sequence; in some cases their settings would be wiped so I was continually up and down the stairs with cables and laptops to re-configure them.

 

During the entire time of my BT/Billion/TP-Link configuration I was only ever surprised when the internet actually worked.  Add a Sonos system into the mix and it fell over every couple of days.  There were too many things going on; channel conflicts, noisy data lines, roaming IP addresses, DCHP madness - I wasn’t in the business of spending too much time trying to polish a ##~##.  What I wanted was a large WiFi network that worked reliably and could carry all of my devices.  I am asking too much?

 

A few weeks ago, my BT contract came up for renewal and I decided to go with Vodafone.  I’ll save you the Openreach sob story for another day, but suffice to say I was delayed by three weeks in the switch over, and ended up trailing 400m of Cat5 cable from my house to my neighbour, just to put internet access into our house while we waited.  If you are sat reading this, and have not yet switched to Vodafone - ensure you have contingency in place for when it is delayed, not if it is delayed.  Assume you will be without internet for weeks; and get something sorted so you are not killing yourself speaking to their broadband team, who quite frankly, have no control over installation time or fault resolution.  

 

On an afternoon in late November, my Vodafone Connect router suddenly ‘lit up’ and I was back on a fibre service.  At the same time, I had sold all of my Powerline adapters and bought all new Apple Airport hardware - 5 Extremes and 3 Expresses if you are interested.  

 

Some wise ##~## (OK, me Googling it - to try and achieve a single seamless SSID that would allow me to roam on FaceTime through the house) told me to configure them in ‘Bridge Mode’ and this is where my problems really started with the Vodafone Connect box.  

 

Using the router control panel via a web browser I could see that the internet connection was up and stable, yet the ‘Network’ list was showing a full run down of every single device; around 40 IP addresses had been handed out from the built in DHCP server.  If I got lucky, I would have 2-3 hours of ‘normal internet’ access - I clearly lost Wifi strength and quality as I bridged out to the back of the garden (the speed and signal is roughly halfed on each bridge) but in the main I got coverage whereever I was.  During these golden hours, everything worked - Sonos played, Netflix on any TV, Plex on an iPad etc.

 

I knew something was up when I kept getting DNS failures on HTTP browsing (that’s normal Google Chrome surfing to you and I) - often I would type in a URL and I’d get nothing and then a timeout screen. Refreshing didn’t work.  On checking the network via the Airport Utility, I could see that everything was up and normal. Was the Vodafone Fibre service down or intermittent?  Not according to the control panel that gave me the ‘Up’ status.  So, I asked myself, what other failure points could there be?  And it turns out, the router itself is a crock of ##~##.  It can’t handle more than 6 or 7 devices (the official party line according to Vodafone is 5 devices !!!).  Loading devices on one by one (as I did) allowed me to isolate the problem precisely.  Any more than 3 iPhones and it dies.  Any more than 3 laptops and it dies.  Any combination of iphones with smart TVs and it dies.  You want to know how long it took me to arrive at these statistics?  Yes, a long time and yes, I am sad.

 

Now, if you are a divorcee living in a one bed flat with nothing more than an iPhone and a laptop I am sure the router works just fine for you.  But for the rest of the entire population - it’s about 5 devices PER PERSON these days!

 

I am obviously locked in to Vodafone for a while and there is no point trying to get the Fibre credentials like I had with BT to swap the hardware.  Party line from them: no way.  Until someone hacks the box and provides these details, we have to make do with the piece of junk they so lovingly call ‘Connect’.  

 

I had to find a way to stop the Vodafone Connect box dishing out IP addresses (this is the DHCP server that’s built in and on by default).  I needed to lean back on the Apple Airports to do the device IP management, and then have all internet traffic routed via the Vodafone hardware.  Here is what I did:

 

  1. I turned off DHCP on the Vodafone Connect box under Settings > IPv4 and then assigned it a static IP address of 192.168.1.1.  
  2. I also turned off the Vodafone Wifi SSID so I would only have one Wifi network at the end (from my Apple Network)
  3. I cabled my first Airport Extreme to back of the Vodafone Connect box (in port 1)
  4. I then configured the first Airport Extreme on my Macbook using Airport Utility to ‘Create a Wireless Network’
  5. On the Airport Extreme settings under ‘Network’ > ‘Router Mode’ I stipulated DHCP & NAT.
  6. On the Airport Extreme settings under ‘Internet’ > ‘Connect Using’ I chose ‘Static’ and then gave it an IP address of 192.168.1.2, a subnet mask of 255.255.0.0, a router address of 192.168.1.1 (Vodafone box) and a DNS server of 192.168.1.1 (Vodafone box)
  7. On all the other Airport Extremes I chose the ‘Extend my wireless network’ and Apple took care of the configuration.
  8. Finally, I altered the DNS settings on the Vodafone box to the Google ones - 8.8.8.8 (primary) and 8.8.8.4 (secondary) as I ‘trust’ Google more than Vodafone for reliable and fast DNS services.  And really finally, I ignored the error of ‘Double NAT’ on my Airport Extreme - I have no idea what this is anyway.
  9. And voila - it worked.  Now, when I log in to the Vodafone Router it shows me nothing under the ‘Network’ tab and therefore behaves itself.  It thinks it has nothing connected because in reality, it doesn’t.  

My Apple hardware is now doing the heavy lifting, Wifi coverage and data transfer for home cinema etc - all internet traffic goes out and in via one ethernet port, into one Airport Extreme and then out to whatever extension it needs to get to.

 

So, for those of you that are tearing your hair out at the faulty nature of the Vodafone Connect router; it because you have more than 6 or 7 devices connected and it can’t cope.  To get around this, suck in hard and purchase decent hardware - Apple conveniently announced that they are discontinuing the Airport Extremes now (why?) but it’s probably the best £2k I’ve spent (!) on networking gear.  It works and it’s the price I pay for choosing to live in a big house.  My solution above would work just as well in a meagre 5 bed property too :-)

 

[MOD EDIT: This post has been edited to remove off topic content please see community guidelines]

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4: Newbie

Slippy is spot on - and thanks for making the time to explain how to do it in detail, hopefully it helps some people here.

 

If you want more than 4 wired and 4 wireless devices then the only way is to configure the Vodafone box to act as a modem and pass through traffic to a router that can handle it. It's just a complete ##~## to spend the time and money re-networking your setup.

 

I had the same communication from Vodafone support on the phone, turns out they only recomend 6-8 devices running at the same time, they were a bit shocked at the number of active devices and I was a bit socked at their lack of support for that! perhaps 10 years ago that was the norm, now it's banging on 2017 now and there's IoT and connected stuff everywhere.

 

That makes me think of what my setup was in 2006... 1 desktop, 1 printer, 1 media player and 2 laptops all wireless - 5 items. And now:

 

3 Switches (wired), 1 WiFi Booster (wireless), 3 Phones (wireless),

2 Tablets (wireless), 1 Laptop (mainly wired), 1 Desktop (wired), 1 Printer (wireless/wired mix), 2 NAS (wired), 19 Sonos (wired), 7 Echoes (wireless), 3 IP Cameras (wireless), 1 Solar Inverter (wireless), 1 Hue (wired, 22 devices via Zigbee), 1 Hive (wired, 4 devices via Zigbee), 1 Satellite box, 1 Blu-ray recorder ... and working on adding smart TVs next month ... plus any guest devices that come and go, just wait until Christmas! And I probably missed some...

 

That's about 44-ish IP addresses, it's a bit more than your average Joe, but it should all just work, which it did with BT and it now does with my Netgear. I'm incredibly fortunate that I was an early adopter and I got my username and password to use else I'd be going nuclear with Vodafone and Ofcom right now as nothing worked with the Vodafone router. As Slippy says if you're a single person in a flat then you might just have a few devices, else it's just not the case. Even my folks who are in their 70s have 16 devices.

 

Vodafone, please take note!

 

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2: Seeker

All correct in my experience.  I have not got quite such a varied and extensive installation, but had total disruption of all my Airplay devices after switching to Vodafone from BT.  Problem resolved by tethering an Apple Airport Extreme router (an old one 4th gen from eBay) to the Vodafone one, setting it up in bridge mode and switching off the wireless capability of the Vodafone router.  I also subsequently discovered another wifi problem that was affecting devices connected to TP Link home plugs.  They do not work reliably with BT home plugs so I have switched them all over to BT and now all is solid.

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3: Seeker

Could you please confirm this works. Also how easy is it to use an alternative router??

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2: Seeker

It works - at least with the AirPort Extreme.  I found it pretty straightforward to set up.  Even if you buy a second hand router you can find the set up guides online usually.  You can turn off the Vodafone wireless via its app. For me my problems have gone away so I am now a happy camper.  I just wish Vodafone had been more honest about the shortcomings of their own router and helpful about solutions.  I was tempted in by the excellent pricing and, guess what - the old adage seems to be true!

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2: Seeker

Slippy here again.

 

I've been helping people offline with their individual set-ups.  Private message me if you have any specific questions and I'd be happy to help.

 

I continue to enjoy uninterrupted access to the internet on my Airport Extreme setup.  I think I am in a position to say that the actual Vodafone service is reliable - it's not like I have had any dropped internet connections from the Vodafone box to the outside world.

 

My only conflict at the moment is on the Wireless Internet battling with the Sonos network.  I intend to fix that this week but hard coding different wireless channels for the Airports and the Sonos.  That's a seperate issue to this thread.

 

I think most of us with a slight technical bent accept that the hardware supplied by the ISP is going to be a cheaply produced unit, that will inevitably have its limitations.  TalkTalk, PlusNet, BT - most in fact - supply an inferior product that does not adequatly support the needs of the modern household.  Having said that, the lack of wireless devices on the Vodafone hardware is shameful.

 

Our saving grace with Vodafone is that it can be configured to 'just hold the internet connection open' and allow more expensive, but better quality hardware sit behind it and take care of the local network connectivity.  

 

I will be interested to hear from anyone who rolls out the new 'mesh' wireless networking with Vodafone.  It's early technology yet, available in the US but not quite here.  Given that Apple are discontinuing the Airport Extreme, perhaps someone can put forward an alternative that is as intuitive to set up and as reliable.  Everyone has their preference I suppose.

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2: Seeker

I suspect that the Apple AirPort Extreme is relatively easy because it is 'just' a router and does not perform any modem function.  Hence it is 'designed' to be tethered to another device.  I do not have any knowledge of other products that work in a similar way but they may be out there.  I had not heard that the AE was to be discontinued, but it makes me think that perhaps I should pick up a spare to keep in a drawer somewhere!

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2: Seeker

Thanks @slippy62.

 

Your post inspired me to try and use my Netgear Nighthawk D7000 as more than a Wireless AP plugged into the vodafone router. I was using this to overcome the various issues with VF router discussed on this forum. 

 

I can confirm I now have it working perfectly as the main router on my network. 

 

I did use a different set of private IP addresses for the Vodafone side, changing the VF router to 10.0.0.1 and 10.0.0.2 for the external IP of my Netgear. I have various bits of hardware and servers with static IP addresses and wanted to keep the 192.168.1.x addresses for these. When specifying the DNS servers for my Netgear I used the Google DNS addresses and bypassed the VF connect all together. 

 

I also added the Netgear's IP address (10.0.0.2) to the DMZ setting in the VF router to bypass any potential double NAT issues. This was important as I am running a Plex server and need to be able to reach it from outside my network. 

 

The VF router now reports no devices connected on the LAN or NAT connections. I have 14 devices connected to the Netgear via WiFi and LAN cable, all of which can access the Internet. 

 

Two issues arose after switching to the Netgear:

 

1. Plex reported a double NAT and was unreachable from outside the network. To solve this I specified an external port in Plex and added this to the port forwarding section of the Netgear router manually.

 

2. Fire TV box would loose connection to Amazon servers until rebooted. I added a static IP address and it now works flawlessly. 

 

I hope this helps anyone looking to use another router. 

 

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2: Seeker

Slippy,

 

Great post. Thanks for the details.  When you effectively bypassed the VC router, did you manage to set up a guest wifi network to only provide internet access to guests rather than access to everything else on your lan?

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2: Seeker

With my Apple Extreme network, I am able to enable Guest Wifi network which simply allows visitor to access the internet and no other devices in my house.

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3: Seeker
Could someone give more detailed set up so I Candi the same with my tplink router, I'm really struggling and not quite sure what to disable on the voda router and how to route traffic. I thought it would be easy but I am seriously struggling - I need a fix as my network breaks regularly on using vodaphone to route traffic
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Administrator

@Alekin As we don't support third party routers, we would be unable to advise. 

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2: Seeker

Not too helpful are they?  Disappointing, given that the Vodafone router really does not do the job.  I cannot unfortunately help with TP Link, as I am unfamiliar with them. What worked for me was a second hand AirPort Extreme, acquired from EBay - it was a 4th gen so not too expensive.  You just need to follow the Apple start up guide, available online, and turn off the wifi on the Vodafone router via the app.

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2: Seeker

Hello all, I just joined Vodafone broadband and already having annoying issues. Spoke to them on live chat and on the phone but I don't think I was given the right help or answers due to conflicting answers from different people. On live chat the lady said TP LINK should work ok but on the phone another lady said that none of the extenders would work because the vodafone router does not support 3rd party devices... I have the BT ones at the moment.

 

Which is true and is there a way around it that won't cost me a fortune?

 

My issue is that the router is in the kitchen because that is the only socket I have that works with it but my tv and ps4 are obviouly in the sitting room.

 

I managed to connect my ps4 through wifi by my tv wont connect at all without an extender!

 

These all worked perfectly fine and fast with BT router and their extender.. kind of wish I never left them now if I have to end up getting a long ethernet wire through my house.. which seems ancient to me.

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Administrator

@Raybateman As mentioned above in this thread, our router doesn't support third party devices. 

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2: Seeker

Homeplugs may be the right way for you to go. As long as your power circuit is all on one board.  Go for the BT hotspot package and as well as being able to hard wire your TV/PS4, you also get a local extender on your wireless signal for other devices.  I have a smart TV, Receiver, Blu-ray and Apple TV connected to one home plug, via a little Netgear switch and some short ethernet cables.  Contrary to some modern mythology, wifi should not be a first resort, rather a last resort when hard wiring is not an option.  

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