Solved: Noisy Wi-Fi environment with dd-wrt Tx power (I did it backwards!)

I’m including this stuff on my site because I haven’t found good answers out on the Internet. I may need to be reminded of how I did various things, or maybe you’ll do a search that turns it up…in which case I hope it helps. Incidentally, I have published a book on privacy and internet security. If you’d like to leave me a tip, feel free to buy it from one of the links posted on that page. Or download it for free (same page), and then consider buying something else…maybe fiction? If your mind is twirled pleasurably by sf/fantasy/crime/thriller stuff. Regardless, welcome to the site!

Very short post. Basically, as you might expect, the issue revolved around Tx power. Surprisingly, more juice wasn’t the answer.

Before you mess with this, it’s probably worth checking the local Wi-Fi networks to make sure the one you’re having trouble with (if it’s only one) is on a channel away from the others.

That said? If you go to your dd-wrt admin, under Wireless/Advanced Settings, you’ll find a Tx power option that’s probably set to “Auto.” FWIW, my router at least doesn’t seem to handle “auto” very well for this any more than it does channel selection. So the allowable range is from 1-1000mW. Mine had selected “71” for me. I lowered it to “67.” Problem solved. Does that mean your magic number will be 67? Maybe! Try it and see.

Note: I was doing some semi-complicated stuff, and had noticed very slow Internet connections from various devices. I pinged my initial router, which was fine, and then another router beyond that, which was also fine, and then the next device on my path to the Internet–which was creating a Wi-Fi network the previous “router” was actually repeating–was dropping, sometimes, over 50% of my packets. After the fix above, the rate dropped to more like 2%. Or less, on a good day.

A bit counter-intuitive? Yes. Therefore not the first, second, or third thing I tried. But it works really well. For me, in this particular situation.

Another note. The “Advanced Settings” page URL actually included the interface name: “http://192.168.3.1/Wireless_Advanced-wl0.asp”…so, since my setup includes a couple of virtual interfaces (additional Wi-Fi networks, same router) I tried entering “http://192.168.3.1/Wireless_Advanced-wl0.1.asp”…and the page actually appeared. Was that intentional on the part of the dd-wrt developers? I don’t know. If I were to change settings for a virtual interface, would they actually work? Should I assume all settings from the original interface carry over? I don’t know. But if you have further issues, or feel the urge to experiment…there are possibilities. I’m currently too lazy, myself, to look into it when my actual problem is solved beforehand. Sad, I know.

Have fun out there!

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