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Shut Your Noise, You: Part 2

So, how do we go about improving the RF environment in our scenario? I’ll be focusing on removing unnecessary WiFi sources, and changing my home mesh network from using wireless backhauls to wired uplinks. Mesh network systems consist of one router, and additional access points that essentially funnel all data back to the main router device. Since they aren’t hardwired via ethernet, they still rely on using the 2.4 or 5GHz spectrum to communicate, which can add to the noise floor. By removing the wireless backhaul, it’s possible to remove some of the excess noise from the wireless environment and create a better functioning network. I’ll also be disabling my WiFi guest network to reduce the overall number of frames (what WiFi data is called as it communicates over the air) transmitted.

First things first: here’s our channel and spectrum graphs to establish our baseline.

I apologize to any WiFi professionals who might have just cringed.

Step 1: Disable the Printer WiFi Direct and Dlink networks.

Not a whole lot better, but some improvement!

Step 2: Disable guest wireless network.

Fewer networks, but still pretty noisy.

Step 3: Reconfigure network topology to wired backhaul.

Ahh, much better.

As you can see now, the background noise has been reduced substantially, and we now have a much better wireless environment! The channel changed during the reboot process, but the drop in the noise floor is still a considerable improvement.

Side note: TP-Link, I hope you can find another person to work in your user interface programming department. With this equipment (TP-Link Deco X20 and one M9 AP) it’s not possible to change the wireless channel. This is widely considered to be the most basic functionality that can be given to a user. We could further reduce the noise by changing the APs to transmit on different channels, but that will have to wait for my new WiFi equipment to arrive. Also, using channel 2 as the center channel is bad practice, as this will cause co-channel interference with any equipment on channel 6- another common source of packets failing. If I’m going to be stuck on a channel with no option to change it, it would be great if we could make that channel 1, 6, or 11!

My name is Matt, and thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

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