WiFi Tuning

I was having problems with WiFi at home. The most worrisome problem was not having a reliable connection from my backyard. This was useful because when I have parties I use AirPlay to play music over my outdoor speakers. People can connect to my WiFi network with the iOS devices and if they have the free “Remote” app installed, they can vote on songs like a JukeBox. Or, I just pass around my phone. But when the WiFi signal is weak, you keep getting disconnected and people just don’t bother. I also noticed weak signals inside the house, which was strange.

I have three WiFi access points in my house. One is an older AirPort express I use for the AirPlay/outdoor speakers. The other is a Time Capsule/AirPort Extreme. The AirPort Extreme one also sports a 5Ghz/N network. Finally, I have my Verizon home router which has a wireless feature.

I always figured things were not configured optimally and only recently did I do something about it.

I did three things:

  • Physically reposition my AirPort Express from a floor socket where there was probably a lot of electrical interference and moved it to place on my cork board about chest level.
  • Manually configured the channels both of my routers are on to make sure they were distinct and non-interfering and tried to also navigate away from neighboring networks in the vicinity of my house.
  • I completely wiped away my Verizon routers config to eliminate any crazy routing rules, DNS settings, or DHCP madness I may have tweaked over  the years.

To help me see what’s going on, I searched for an iOS or Mac app which would help figure out what the situation was. I found a Mac app called WiFi Explorer I think it’s $3.99 on the Apple Mac Store. Here are some of the near graphs it produces.

You can also view signal strength, noise, and signal-to-noise ratio… but not all networks on one graph, for some reason.

And here is some tabular info that’s pretty interesting:

After all of this tuning, my WiFi signals are very strong and I have no issues maintaining a stable connection from my backyard.