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WNDR4500 as access point

MickeyS
Aspirant

WNDR4500 as access point

I just finished setting up the Netgear 4500 as an access point with my Verizon ActionTec router revision I. The set up was easy, and straightforward I even upgraded the firmware. It was pretty simple and the ActionTec was configured so that only the Netgear is providing wireless services. However, I am not getting the expected speeds should get. I am provisioned for 150/65 Mbps with Verizon, I'm only getting around 70 Mbps with my MacBook Pro when I am near the router, and about 50 Mbps when I'm on the 1st floor in my house. Both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz modes are enabled, and my MacBook Pro is connected with the 5 GHz mode. Why is it that I'm not getting better speeds than that? I should be getting higher speeds than 70 Mbps. What other settings I should be looking at, to speed up my wireless connection. Thanks in advance for all the help you can give me.
Message 1 of 11
StratmanX
Tutor

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

1) Did you get better throughput speeds with the Verizon ActionTec router?

2) How are you measuring throughputs?

3) What NIC adapter card is in your notebook?

4) What happens when you hardwire your notebook to a LAN port on the 4500? To the Verizon ActionTec?

5) Have you tried hardwiring one computer to the 4500 and teesting wireless throughput to your notebook WITHOT the Verizon ActionTec connected?

If the 4500 is set up as a Bridge/Repeater AP then you will have throughputs cut in half.

If you are running a Double NAT situation, then all kinds of funkiness can happen.

It may be a bad 4500, or, you may just need to hard reset to factory default and reflash the firmware.
Message 2 of 11
MickeyS
Aspirant

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

I never had good speeds with the ActionTec, the most I got with the ActionTec was 10 to 15 Mbps, and I was using the Verizon speed test site to check my speeds. I also used speedtests.net website but this website gave me lowered speeds. According to the MacBook Pro system report, it has an airport extreme card and he says supported modes 802.11 a,B, G,An. I see also that it's connecting to my network using 802.11n, but at this point I don't know if this card can handle faster speeds. When I connect my MacBook Pro to the ActionTec and the Netgear router via a patch cable, I get the speeds that I am provisioned which are 150/65. I'm not running a double N A T or a repeater AP. I don't know what a bridge is, can you explain it to me in simple words. Are you referring to a hard reset when you use a paperclip and push the button in the back of the router for about 10 seconds? Also, can you explain how to reflash firmware? Thank you very much for taking time to answer my post you have been very helpful!
Message 3 of 11
MickeyS
Aspirant

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

i checked my MacPro wireless card and i definitely got the speeds I was supposed to get, which means that the router is configured properly, I basically got the same speeds wired or wireless with my MacPro which shows that the router is connected properly.
Message 4 of 11
StratmanX
Tutor

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

I don't know Mac, but some principles apply to Mac and PC.

Your network adapter card in the notebook looks to be an Airport Extreme. These can be 2 X 2 (Radio X Antenna), 2 X 3, or 3 X 3 configuration. See here for more to help identify what you have by chipset, or model year, etc.

The theoretical maximum throughput for 1 radio is 150 Mbps, for 2 radios is 300 Mbps, and 3 radios is 450 Mbps. the best way to see what throughputs you can get - data transfer speeds - is to hardwire one computer to the router's LAN port, use wireless on your notebook, and then use software such as LAN Speed Test or some Mac equivalent to test wireless throughputs. You can test all around your house with the notebook to get a feel for how well wireless works for you.

Testing speeds across the internet such as with Verizon or Speedtest is a not a proper way to guage wireless performance. Anything from your notebook to the internet speed test server and then back again to your notebook can cause poor results. You want to know how well data flows between the router and your notebook ONLY and nothing else to understand where a problem might exist.

Forgetting a router or NIC card or software based issue for now, your wireless signal can be interferred with by numerous things. Neighbor's wireless signal on the same band channel can slow both of you down. Let's say you are using Channel 6 on the 2.4 GHz band. So is your neighbor. As long as only one of your are doing anything data transfer intensive operation - UL/DL files, streaming movies/music, etc, then both will be ok. But if both of you are moving a lot of data simultaneously then both of you will slow down as each waits their turn to transmit data because you both are sharing the same channel frequency.

In this scenario you will want to find a channel that is not used by a neighbor to move a lot of data at the same time as you. Generally, you want to choose Channel 1, 6, or 11 in the 2.4 GHz band. I don't know what Mac users can use, but PC users can use inSSIDer on their wireless notebook to see neighbor's signal beacons which tell you who is using what channel. If channel 1, 6, or 11 are unused then select that in your router's Genie set up. If there are people using all three of those channels then it gets a little more complicated.

The signal beacon that allows us to see who is using what channel does NOT tell us about how intensive they are using that channel at that time. All we know is they selected that channel for transmission. The key is to find a channel that is unused or lightly used - grandpa nextdoor just checks his email and occasionally orders his viagra. You want to stay away from the family who have 15 different internet devices and are downloading files and streaming movies all the time.

So how do you tell if a channel is being used intensively by a neighbor(s)? You could buy expensive equipment and software. Barring that, one way to tell is your wireless performance slows down. When the neighbor's aren't home then your wireless is fast. When the neighbor's are home and awake, then your wireless sucks. Another way is to ping for latency. Another way is to test throughput as I described above.

You will probably need to test more than once, at different times of day and from different locations to get a good picture of what's happening with a wireless Channel.

Moving on to another reason for poor wireless performance -- electrical devices that interfering with your signal. Electrical devices such as cordless phones, baby monitors, refrigerators, computers/monitors, remote control devices --- any electrical device can cause interference, or at least you should suspect it. Someone used an electric knife 3 rooms over while I was playing with inSSIDer and my wireless signal dropped more than 50%. Try to separate routers from computer/monitor as best as possible unless you know they are shielded.

Another reason for poor wireless performance are obstacles to signal in the home. Obstacles are anything - walls, plumbing, electrical, glass, furniture, ceilings, floors - whatever is in between the router and the wireless device. Placement and orientation in space of the router can help improve signal. Do not enclose the router. Place the router as high above obstacles in the room. The router in its native upright position is better for multi-story signal transmission. The router laid flat may be better for horizontal signal transmission if you have a single story dwelling BUT heat dispersion will NOT be as good and you have an increased risk of overheating the router.

Another reason for slower than expected wireless throughput is you are using a mixture of N and G (or heaven forbid B) devices. When only the N device is transmitting dat then all is well. But when you are using both N and G devices then the router is slowed down to G throughput speeds -54 Mbps - even though your N devices can theoretically go 150/300/450 Mbps based on the number of radios and antenna I mentioned before. Once the G device stops transmitting then the router reverts back to full speed availability for your N devices.

Another reason for wireless slowdown is you have chosen the "wrong" Mode or the wrong Security setting. If your device can handle WPA2 then select that for security. Using WEP will slow you down no matter how many radios and antenna or Mode you choose.

Additional info:
1) Wireless Bridging
2) Hard Reset - I prefer the "30 - 30 - 30" method.
3) Firmware Flashing - Download the firmware of your choice from Netgear. Use this web page to select which firmware to download and save to your hard drive. Follow Netgear's instructions for flashing in the downloaded file. I didn't see Firmware version v.1.0.0.70 in the list on the web page above. You can find it here.

What would I do if I were you:

0) Find out what the specs of your NIC adapter card are so you can temper your expectations. Forget about software settings for the card and your operating system for now. Besides, I couldn't tell you what to do wuth a Mac anyways. :confused:

1) Test wireless throughput with an application like LAN Speed Test.

2) Get an application like inSSIDer that works on your Mac and see what wireless channels your neighbors are using.

3) Experiment using different Channels 1, 6, 11 at different times of day/night to see what seems to work best. this may change if your neighbor(s) get a new router or change their internet habits, so you may need to investigate again in the future.

4) Make sure your Security settings are appropriate for your devices. If you can utilize WPA2 then use it.

5) Even if you have a 3X3 NIC adapter card, setting the Mode to 450 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band may offer you no added benefit and might even slow you down if neighbor's are operating on the same channel. (See the Good Neighbor policy for WiFi) Try all Mode settings to see what works best for you.

6) Sometime legacy devices will not operate well on Mode and Security settings too high for their specifications. Sometimes you are forced to set Mode = 54 Mbps. Even some current 2 X 2 NIC adapter cards don't like high Mode settings. This is something you'll need to experiment with at some point if you don't get satisfaction otherwise.

7) Consider flashing and hard resets if the other steps bring you no joy. Starting from scratch with factory default settings and then making the minimum changes to Mode, Security and Channel may be a good strategy if you think you might have played around with setting too much.

8) Consider upgrading your NIC adapter card to a 3 X 3.

9) Consider router issue if you can't get near your NIC adapter card's performance specs when testing within a few unobstructed feet of the router.

10) Do NOT rely on internet speed test to determine how well your wireless is performing.

I think that's enough for now. :eek: Smiley Happy
Message 5 of 11
StratmanX
Tutor

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

Oh crap. I just submitted a monster of a post and now see you have no problem at all. :eek:

C'est la vie! Smiley Very Happy
Message 6 of 11
MickeyS
Aspirant

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

On the contrary, this post has been very helpful and enlightening. Thank very much for taking time to answer my posting, you have pointed out several topics that are quite interesting and important. I downloaded an app for the Mac as you suggested to scan the wireless networks around me and found out that several 2.4Ghz networks are on the same channel, so I changed my wireless network channel. Also, tests speeds over the internet don't yield accurate results, every test gives me a different number, so I won't depend on the tests as much as I used to in the past. I love the 30,30,30 reset, I will use this procedure the next time I need to reset the router. I also found an app to test throughput for the Mac called WifiPerf, I haven't downloaded it yet but I am sure it will give lots of info about my network. Finally I think you should work for Netgear because you are very knowledgable and they should pay you for such great work, thanks
Message 7 of 11
StratmanX
Tutor

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

MickeyS wrote:
I also found an app to test throughput for the Mac called WifiPerf, I haven't downloaded it yet but I am sure it will give lots of info about my network.

Thank you for the compliment.

I use iperf to test throughputs. WifiPerf appears to use same/similar parameters even though they say it is not the same as iperf.

Netgear recommended use of iperf for testing with my PC setup. Their recommended settings for iperf are
Server Computer: iperf -s

Client Computer: iperf -c "Server IP Address" -w 100M -t 30


"Server IP Address" -- eg 192.186.1.9. Do not type quotation marks.

Run iperf twice in succession from each location of your choice.

It looks like you can use the same parameters with WifiPerf and there are plenty of settings you can play around with. Hopefully this gives you a point of reference in starting your testing. The testing doesn't take much time and is satisfying to get objective data on your LAN performance.

Let us know your experience with WifiPerf and the results of your testing. Have fun! Smiley Happy
Message 8 of 11
MickeyS
Aspirant

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

Thanks for the tip, there are some settings in the router's GUI that I don't know if I should deal with them or not since I am using it as an access point. For example:
WAN setup
QoS setup
Wireless Repeating
Dynamic DNS
Static Route

If it were you, would you have the need to deal with these settings?Smiley Happy
Message 9 of 11
StratmanX
Tutor

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

MickeyS wrote:
If it were you, would you have the need to deal with these settings?Smiley Happy

If things seem to be working to your satisfaction then NO, don't change settings.

If you do decide you want to mess with your settings, download the manual for the router from Netgear and and read it before doing anything else.

Before changing a setting, save the current working router configuration via Genie. You will have now have an opportunity to easily go back to your former working state with little hassle.

Only make a single change to the configuration at a time unless you know what you are doing. In this fashion, if the router misbehaves you can more easily retrace and correct the setting change.

Lastly, unless you want trouble, only make changes in your settings or update the firmware in order to solve a specific problem. Don't make changes for the sake of making changes. You may create a headache.
Message 10 of 11
MickeyS
Aspirant

Re: WNDR4500 as access point

Thanks a bunch, I think I am done for now. I'll follow your advice and leave things the way they are right now.
Message 11 of 11
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