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Author Topic: Too many WiFi devices?  (Read 1475 times)

dave w

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Too many WiFi devices?
« on: September 09, 2017, 11:46:14 AM »

OK this is one of those "inquiring minds must know" questions: It seems like everything is getting on the internet. Many IoT devices such as Siri, Alexa, Google, WiFi Light bulbs, cameras, refrigerators, thermostats, toys, watches, remotes, etc. etc. etc. are vying for attention on the homes router.  Not all devices are sucking up bandwidth at the same instant, but doesn't the router have to continually scan each of these devices, looking for activity? Assuming the router only has one 2.4GHz receiver, it would seem the more devices, the slower the router, and the lower the bandwidth.
Thoughts?
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dhouston

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2017, 03:29:36 PM »

...doesn't the router have to continually scan each of these devices, looking for activity?

I don't think the router needs to scan continually. The IoT devices request a connection and once it is confirmed, transmit their data. Then they go back to radio silence until their next scheduled report. Also, IoT devices use minimal bandwidth so within any one home, it should not be an issue. A bigger issue is IoT security which few IoT devices have brains enough to handle - a few new routers/firewalls monitor all traffic for security issues and handle them at a central point.
http://www.popsci.com/most-exciting-tech-at-ces-2017-are-wi-fi-routers
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cujo-the-smart-way-to-fight-hacking-security#/
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 03:47:04 PM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 08:25:06 AM »

A router doesn't slowdown you internet connection looking for or listening for incoming LAN traffic.
However there are some devices that connect to it sending constant streams that will.
Streaming video or music will slow things up, but for the most part as dhouston stated IoT devices use minimal bandwidth.
I suppose if one was still using dial up ::) :'
With faster internet and router speeds now being the norm a upgrade would fix any lag.

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dave w

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 04:48:33 PM »

I don't think the router needs to scan continually. The IoT devices request a connection and once it is confirmed, transmit their data.
There is where I am confused. If the router does not scan, how does the router "hear" a request. Is there a control channel as in cellular and trunking systems, with requests going in on the control channel? I set channel 11 as my "communications  channel for your gateway" on my router. Perhaps that serves as a hailing channel(?)
I never really understood spread spectrum and CDMA and I think routers are spread spectrum(?). I need to look at the wiki on the 802.11 standards.
Thanks dhouston and Tuicemen, your information helped.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 07:34:45 AM »

Your communication channel is used to set your router to one less used.
There are some apps that will scan channels to find the one which other routers may not be used.( names slip my mind right now)
If your in an area with lots of Wi-Fi routers in use you should try to find a channel that is least used, It will help.
I had a buddy who lived in a town house his neighbour also had a Wi-Fi which was set to the same channel as his.
This caused areas in his home where he couldn't connect to his router switching to a channel farthest away from his neighbour fixed his connection dead spots it also improve his connection speed  in all areas.
Using the app we seen there actually 6 wi-fi routers seen from the problem areas 3 were using the same channel he was. :o
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bkenobi

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 12:17:39 PM »

I use FING on my android to scan my network.  There's another one I've tried that does mapping which I think is what you are asking about (you move around your location and it reports devices and signal strengths in real time).  I think the app was not full featured unless you pay.  There was a Windows version that was full featured and free.  I might be able to find it if anyone cares, but no guarantees.
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dave w

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 06:11:37 PM »

All,

Thanks for the info. I have a signal strength analyzer on the phone, and know that there are five or so WiFis around our house. It does show channels being used but  I will check in to FING also.
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HA Dave

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 07:57:03 PM »

There is where I am confused. If the router does not scan, how does the router "hear" a request.

I thought the routers used the same old handshake protocol wirelessly as used when wired (like in the old days). Which is pretty much like human communication. If you had a request of me... you yell hey dave HA, dave w here..... I need...

Wifi can and (in many cases) is getting crowded. Just like Denial of service attacks bog down a server or PC with unauthorized requests... dozens of devices from a neighborhood full of devices are regularly shouting out the handshake protocol.

If you look on the packaging of the router boxes in stores they should indicate the volume of data they are designed to handle. I've noticed in my household the biggest drain of data appears to be when we have lots of family over.... younger adults and teens draw a lot on there mobile (phone) devices.

I saw a post on Facebook..... where a friend posted that:  She was having people over to stare at their phones Friday night. And anyone needing an internet connection should stop in. (rofl).
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roger1818

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 01:42:59 PM »

Of course the other factor with adding too many IoT devices to your LAN is it won't be long before some people start running out of IP addresses.  Not only do most consumer grade routers only support Class C networks (for a maximum of 254 IP addresses) but typically the default configuration is for only a fraction of those to be available to the DHCP server.  While there are many ways to resolve this (shorten the lease length of IP address on your guest network, increase the number of IP addresses available to the DHCP server, use multiple Class C networks (optimally intelligently subdividing them), use a Class B (or Class A) network, or migrate to IPv6), many may not know how to do any of these things or even know that is what the problem is to know to do it.  My preference is to not give bulk, low bandwidth devices (such as light bulbs or switches) an IP address but use an alternate protocol (like X10) instead and then bridge them to the internet, thus only tying up 1 IP address to be shared by all devices of that type.
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dave w

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 08:29:18 PM »


I thought the routers used the same old handshake protocol wirelessly as used when wired (like in the old days).
Well I'm not sure. I read the Microsoft info (thanks) but under the "Cipher Suite Negotiation" heading, the first words are:"The client and server make contact... "
Now I am curios about the actual mechanics of how that is done. I now understand the router does not scan the channels. I think there must be some "beacon" of sorts coming for the router, otherwise  my phone app WiFi analyzer would not know that I have four neighborhood WiFis and what channel they are using.

Thanks

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dhouston

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 09:34:42 PM »

Now I am curios about the actual mechanics of how that is done. I now understand the router does not scan the channels. I think there must be some "beacon" of sorts coming for the router, otherwise  my phone app WiFi analyzer would not know that I have four neighborhood WiFis and what channel they are using.

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/SSID.html
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HA Dave

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 10:31:04 PM »

......I think there must be some "beacon" of sorts coming for the router, otherwise  my phone app WiFi analyzer would not know that I have four neighborhood WiFis and what channel they are using.

Again... handshake protocol. Your phone (WiFi analyzer app) shouts out (it uses radio waves... sending 16 bit packets) Hey dave w's phone app here.... who there. And all the routers holler back... secure Linksys router here.. etc..

The entire Interweb is based on the same simple introduction/identification system. That is the same mechanism/process/procedure/software used by routers and the various PC's.... and the PC's connecting to Web Sites.

Or at lease that is the way it was expanded to me. I never did take a Microsoft cert exam.... so. 
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dave w

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 09:19:03 AM »


Again... handshake protocol. Your phone (WiFi analyzer app) shouts out (it uses radio waves... sending 16 bit packets) Hey dave w's phone app here.... who there. And all the routers holler back... secure Linksys router here.. etc..
OK I think I got it. But set aside the WiFi analyzer app. Under normal conditions, is the phone continually sending this WiFi "I'm here", or does it have to see a WiFi signal and then send the I'm here?
Maybe a better way of phrasing this is: If a router (host) has no connected WiFi devices, does it continually send a SSID?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 09:24:09 AM by dave w »
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dhouston

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 09:38:47 AM »

If a router (host) has no connected WiFi devices, does it continually send a SSID?

Yes.
You can usually turn this off in the router software. It's a good security practice to turn it off. See #05 here...
https://www.lifewire.com/wireless-home-network-security-tips-818355

I have occasionally come across devices that will not connect unless the router SSID Broadcast is enabled.
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HA Dave

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Re: Too many WiFi devices?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2017, 11:58:22 AM »

.... Under normal conditions, is the phone continually sending this WiFi "I'm here", or does it have to see a WiFi signal and then send the I'm here?
Maybe a better way of phrasing this is: If a router (host) has no connected WiFi devices, does it continually send a SSID?

OK... with my phone, tablet, and laptop.... if the wifi is disconnected or if the device is removed from the wifi's range... the device remains unaware. In other words.... my phone will not realize the wifi source has disappeared until a request is made to the wifi source. Then it will once initiate the handshake protocol.

If there is a NEED to talk... the devices talk... even if that need is merely part of a software glitch like position locator... or malware. Otherwise they remain silent.   

The use of bandwidth by a "setting" device should be negligent.

My wifi HA lightbulb sets there silently 24/7... until I tell Alexa to turn it on (or off). Then Alexa sends a 16 bit packet to the router which relays it to the hub which replies back to the lightbulb (via the router). All this is accomplished using tiny little 16bit packets of identifiers and simple commands. So in a fraction of a second and using hardly any bandwidth in the home automation processes.

But keep in mind... just like when you holler over to me (remember handshake protocol)... not only do I hear you but so does everyone else in hearing range. Just like at a party.... lots and lots of voices making lots and lots of statements (requests).... can be really distracting. (Particularly since so many Dave's are in any given party... any request to "dave" may get multiple replies.... even if most replies are a denial to the request.) That has always been at the basis of how a DoS (denial of service) attack works.

If you live in a crowded city... these requests can be considerable. Doing things like using the lowest power setting need in your router setting will help. So will setting the router to ignore neighboring routers and prioritizing your own bandwidth requests in the router setting. 

But realistically.... in my household we use a LOT of bandwidth. And so I had to acquire a suitable router to meet my/our needs. Just like with PC's the faster the processor the pricier the router.... and the better the performance. 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 01:06:52 PM by HA Dave »
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