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Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

MachineLearner
Apprentice

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Sorry, I have no idea how to do that.  Sounds like I need some software I don't have. 

Model: Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)
Message 101 of 147
ryman982
Tutor

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Sounds like there is a beta patch for the RB50 but nothing for the other models... Unfortunately, my Orbi is back in the box and being returned.  

Message 102 of 147
ikjadoon
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

@MachineLearner

 

In this backhaul issue, I think it's actually just two issues: hardware failures & FW w/ critical bugs. The former stems from my experience and the latter stems from Netgear's repeated efforts to get a usable firmware out to those affected; I think they can reproduce these issues in-house: how else would they be writing a firmware update?  I appreciate their acknkowledgment of the problem and continued efforts, but at some point, a transaction is a transaction and WiFi is too integral for our work.

 

Hardware and FW bugs: neither of these are the concern of customers and no customer, to be blunt, should need to be doing beyond their due diligence in troubleshooting. But, I think most are because they have no other choice and as @Retired_Member has noted, there is a definitive Netgear-based failure: the backhaul should work seamlessly and should never require any user intervention besides moving the Satellite closer. Yet the Netgear-to-Netgear connection dies every 15 to 30 seconds? 


FWIW, our setup is far simpler than yours: one Arris SB6121 mode on IPv4 (Cat6 connection), one hardwired client (an Xbox One; also Cat6), ~10 personal WiFi devices (5 phones & 5 laptops), and a Roku 3 + TiVo Bolt. We have a mix of Android/iOS & Windows/MacOS, all fully updated. I'm not sure how much simpler a "no problem" customer needs to be for a $400 WiFi system. We have no Sonos, no Nest, no WiFi cameras, no interior brickwalls, the closest connection to our CO (fully rewired in March '17 for a bandwidth upgrade), one floor between the router and satellite, and yet we couldn't get it to work.

 

To be quite clear, the entire Satellite's WiFi SSID disappeared: that cannot be related to the quantity or quality of clients. Right? 

 

 

 

I returned the Orbi today. I'll be keeping my eyes out for the choruses of success after the FW drops (and otherwise full hardware replacements by Netgear on those still affected by this particular issue). I suspect there are a few who have quite complicated systems, but I encourage them to test their backhaul connection: that should not be affected by any customer devices. And I'll buy on Amazon, to increase my chances of avoiding a Best Buy return by another customer (ours looked new, but who knows what Best Buy does with bad returns?) and get a longer 30-day return period.

 

True; I saw these threads and made the same conclusion before purchase; this is a corner case that stems from old devices, too many non-compliant devices, and/or very complex multi-modem, multi-router setups (that would be common for those buying a $400 WiFi ystem). My recent testing shows this not to be the case unless BobertSaget and I are the only ones with this issue and backhaul problems. Maybe everyone else affected has excellent backhauls.

 

To test, it's simple enough with an Android device (unfortunately don't have an iPhone nearby to confirm):

 

1. Download WiFi Analyzer by farproc

2. Tap the 2.4G button to switch to 5G mode.

3. Here in the lowband channels, find the Orbi 5GHz and note the MAC address.

4. Then scroll to the right for the highband channels. Find the backhaul connection (~130 to 150 is the channel number, IIRC), that almost exactly matches the Orbi MAC address, give it an alias by tapping and holding (as it is unnamed), and then filter out all other 5GHz networks to make the backhaul easier to see (3-button menu). 

5. Watch it for about 5 minutes (if you're having constant disconnections like me) or open it up when you lose connection on your devices.

 

@Retired_Member

 

Right, OK, how is this a WiFi system if it just routes clients to the single working device inside the system? Have you been able to test that or is this a strategy acknolwedged by Netgear?

 

My technical representative seemed to be knowledgable about the 5GHz highband backhaul, but just stated they had no way to test it. That's answer enough for me, if my only issue is the backhaul. 

 

No way: you've gotten both the router and satelite replaced by Netgear, yet you still have the issue? Man, I feel you. Is there some crazy 5GHz highband interference? Microwaves only affect 2.4GHz, our cordless phone system uses DECT 6.0, we're fairly isolated (3-4 feet and a table) away from power adapters, etc. Hmmm.

Message 103 of 147
MachineLearner
Apprentice

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Wow!  Check the community forums for whatever you decide to try next.   I thought Google WiFi had a lot to like, of course, there are also some issues, which you will see on the forum.  

 

Looks like the wifi analyzer software everyone is using runs on Windows and Android.  We've drunk the cool-aid here, and computers are all macs, and the phones are all iphones.   There are some tools for our world too, but I may not run out and buy one, since we are among the lucky ones who don't seem to have a problem, yet.  I've noticed these things can change. 

Model: Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)
Message 104 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

A quick update.

After updating my MBP OS from El Capitan to X Sierra, I have much improved WiFi connections with Orbi (RBR40 and RBS40). However, both MBP and iPAD are still experiencing intermittent dropouts. This morning I recieved an email from Netgear level2 support asking me to sign a beta FW agreement. I just did and expect to receive the beta FW soon. Will see what happens.

Message 105 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

PS. I was told previously beta FW was available only for RBR50, not RBR40.

Message 106 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

I have beta FW V1.10.1.4 installed for both RBR40 router and two RBS40 satellites.  So far so good in terms of WiFi connection to iDevices...

Message 107 of 147
ikjadoon
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Can I ask the scary question? How is the backhaul? Does it yoyo from -110 to -xx? 

 

I only ask because there's a fear that small intermittent drops might not register as disconnections in the WiFi status symbol (but are noticeable in real-time communication like Skype) or maybe clients (that are close enough) rapidly connect to the router's SSID during the dropouts?

 

I don't know if the backhaul is the be-all end-all, but it might be a positive sign. No worries if you aren't able; I'm only curious.

Message 108 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Frankly I have no idea what backhaul is and how to measure it, but am willing to try when I get home tonight. I believe I saw instructions in this thread somewhere...

Message 109 of 147
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

That's the spirit DrCal! Do you have an android phone? It's ok if you don't but that will make it easier. Thanks
Message 110 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Yes, I have a Samsung Note 4. I just need to know what to download and how to run the app. Thanks.

Message 111 of 147
ikjadoon
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Hii! I apologize for the delay. You are amazing for testing this. I have high hopes for Netgear's FW.

 

So, the Orbi router has two simultaneous 5GHz networks. One is your normal 5GHz SSID that all your devices connect to (this network uses a low channel number in the 30s or 40s; also known as a lowband 5GHz network). This one can be enabled/disabled, given an SSID, used to connect to the internet, etc.

 

The second is a hidden, nameless 5GHz connection that has a high channel number (thus is a highband 5GHz network; channel is something like 140 or 150). This one is solely used to connect the Orbi router with the Orbi satellite, unit to unit. This is the "backhaul". Right, typical "mesh" WiFi systems carry both the unit-to-unit communication and the internet on the same WiFi network. This necessitates a 50% drop in bandwidth for every new mesh unit. Orbi is different: it has a dedicated, hidden "backhaul" for its unit-to-unit communication, that doesn't steal bandwidth from your normal internet SSID.

 

Right, two 5GHz neworks running on different channels. Lowband network for the internet; highband network is the backhaul. The issue is the backhaul keeps crapping out every few seconds. How to check it:

 

1. Download WiFi Analyzer by farproc (free app on the Play Store)

2. Tap the 2.4G button (top-left) to switch to 5G mode.

3. Here in the lowband channels (30s to 40s), find the Orbi 5GHz SSID and note its MAC address. 

 4. Then scroll to the right for the highband channels (go to around ~140 to ~160 for the Orbi backhaul). The backhaul will be here, have no SSID name, and almost exactly match the Orbi MAC address. Tap and hold its signal hump to give it an alias. 

3. Click the "eye" button (top-right) and pick "Time Graph". Then press the 3-button menu to fiilter out all the other channels except this newly-named backhaul; it'll make it easier to see.  

5. Watch it for about 5 minutes (if you're having constant disconnections like me) or open it up when you lose connection on your devices.

 

Message 112 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Thanks ikjadoon! Glad to learn somethign new today Smiley Happy

 

Already downloaded the app at work, will run the test when I am home and report.  Quick question, does it matter where I stand, e.g. near router or one of the satellites?

Message 113 of 147
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Thanks DrCal! Doesn't matter where you stand but the signal comes from the router so it will be strongest near the router.
Message 114 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

I have the RBR40 backhaul graph but don't know how to upload here.

Message 115 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Hope this works. 

 

https://imageshack.us/i/pmE5YfoFp

 

Message 116 of 147
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Hey DrCal, it works and thank you for posting! I think that is the first RBR40 backhaul that has been posted.
Message 117 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

You are welcome BobertSaget. No sure what this means. Too bad that I was not able to do this before installing beta FW. Would be interesting to compare.

Message 118 of 147
DrCal
Star

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

http://imageshack.com/a/img923/7896/zSzYnc.png

 

Here is another graph with scan interval set to L0 (last one was L2).

Message 119 of 147
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Thanks again. I think it's pretty safe to assume this is probably affecting every single Orbi Router. The interesting part will be trying to figure out why it's happening and how some users/devices are affected by connection drops and others like you aren't.

Does anyone know of a way to track a device's Wi-Fi connection and see when it is either switching bands or switching to a different access point? Thankfully there are a bunch of brilliant people in these threads with a ton of networking experience. I think the more examples we can collect the better.
Message 120 of 147
MachineLearner
Apprentice

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

BobertSaget,

 

For those of us who lack this background, how are you interpreting the backhaul graphs from Dr. Cal?  What is that telling us?

 

Thanks,

 

John

Model: Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)
Message 121 of 147
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Hi John, I also have a limited background in this but I know there are others on these boards who are experts.

All I know is that a Wi-Fi signal is not supposed to drop like that. It is clearly unstable and there appears to no logical frequency, trigger, or length to the drops. Myself and many others have frequent disconnect issues especially coming from the satellite which gets it's data completely through this backhaul.

There has not been a single posting that shows a stable backhaul and Netgear is being completely silent about it.

If the backhaul is supposed to drop like that, or if it has nothing to do with the disconnect issues, I wish Netgear would just let us know so we can move on and try to find the true root cause.
Message 122 of 147
Donnnn
Aspirant

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

I have Orbi on an extensive mostly apple system. I have no drops, and do heavy backhaul (wireless video from both hdhomerun and DVR). The MPEG2 is uncompressed from broadcast, and the remainder is 10 mbps. Not only do I have no drops, but I've never seen the wireless network approach capacity. 

 

I wonder if some Orbi hardware is bad. I have a electrically noisy house with old wiring, wire lath walls, and an extensive zwave network in an urban environment. There are many wifi netowrks with 100 feet of my system. There is no way my system works because it operates in a pristine environment.

 

If I had many drops I would return the system.

Message 123 of 147
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

Thanks Donnnn, I wonder the same thing about the hardware. Are any of those devices connected to the satellite?
Message 124 of 147
Donnnn
Aspirant

Re: Orbi drops wifi for iPad Pro, iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro intermittently

My HDHomeRun Connect is hardwired to the Orbi satellite in the attic along with with the over the air antenna. It has two tuners and streams uncompressed video to the DVR.

 

 

Message 125 of 147
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