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New Member
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-04-2017
Solutions: 2

Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.

The primary symptom prompting me to write today is my Pixel 3 repeatedly dropping T-Mobile WiFi calls in my house (using WiFi Calling). T-Mobile service in this particular spot is terrible, and so LTE is unreliable. Whenever I drop a call, it's when I'm walking through the house. If I look at the screen quickly upon dropped call, I notice an X'd out WiFi symbol. My interpretation is that the phone is losing its wifi connection momentarily (or roaming to another AP within the house), thus losing my WiFi call. I've tried setting up Fast Roaming to combat the issue, but I'm not sure it's in effect, as the event logs don't show Fast Roams (see below).

 

While I'm trying to solve the issue, I'm also looking at optimizing everything while I'm at it. The idea should be that my Pixel connects to the strongest signal rather than a weak one (sometimes I'll notice the Pixel is connected to a distant AP with low signal rather than the AP that's more close-by with a strong/stronger signal). I've tried to set up channels so as to avoid interference and overlap, though this isn't always possible on the 2G band (since there are 5 APs).  

 

I appreciate any insight anyone has to offer, thank you! I'm tired of dropping calls just because I move about, especially since I work mainly from home.

 

Some basic facts, FYI:

  • I live in and manage a 4-unit house/building. Each unit is ~1400 square feet
  • Service is provided from Centurylink (1gbps)
  • The gateway is an EdgeRouter Lite (in unit A)--there are discrete VLANs set up for each unit
  • The ERL feeds EdgeSwitch XP (aka ToughSwitch 5) switches in units C and D (this was to power the APs via PoE, but one of the switches is faulty and won't power its 2 APs without constant PoE power resets, so those APs are unfortunately connected with bricks for power)
  • Each VLAN has its own SSID that tenants connect to
  • All APs are UAP-AC-LR model. There's one in Unit A, mainly serving Unit A and B (the basement unit below). Units C and D each have 2 floors. Each floor within each unit has its own AP, centrally located. They all are on 20Mhz 2G bandwidths, and 40Mhz 5G bandwidths. Power settings are mostly at Low, with some set at Med in order to provide better coverage to downstairs units. Interference is relatively low (<= -92dBm interference as far as I've scanned), and the next house is 75+ft away

topography, channels, etc.jpg

 

The setup has been relatively stable for the past 6 months, but also of note:

  • Originally 802.11r (Fast Roaming) was turned on. I recall looking at event logs through CloudKey and seeing successful Fast Roaming events, but it's been months and so I'm basing this on my own fallible memory.
  • When tenant C moved in, their older MacBook was incompatible with Fast Roaming. This forced (only) that unit's APs to be set to 802.11r OFF. Lately, in response to the dropped WiFi calls, I noticed that the event log no longer shows any clients Fast Roaming, but rather just simply Roaming
SuperUser
Posts: 9,601
Registered: ‎01-10-2012
Kudos: 6206
Solutions: 387

Re: Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.

Did you ask T-Mobile for a free microcell?  I understand they are pretty liberal in handing them out.

When you receive a solution to your question/issue, don't forget to mark your thread as solved and to give kudo's to the people who have helped you out!

Having wifi problems? Take a look here first: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/221029967-UniFi-Debugging-Intermittent-Connectivity-Issues-on-your-UAP
New Member
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-04-2017
Solutions: 2

Re: Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.

They are liberal in handing them out. Unfortunately, even though I replaced mine twice, it has its own issues where the connection periodically resets (often while i'm mid-conversation). Wifi is a helluva lot more stable, as long as i don't move out of my AP's range. Hence the questions about fast roaming--I'd expect this to be a quick seamless handoff from one AP to another, and it seems like there's something 'broken' there...

Emerging Member
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎06-21-2014
Kudos: 4
Solutions: 1

Re: Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.

[ Edited ]

It looks like you don't have a single SSID for your own use across the entire building.  If so, that's the explanation for your dropped calls.

 

Client's don't roam seamlessly across SSID's.  Furthermore, on the flip side, having multiple SSID's for your phone to join in one building can be somewhat problematic.

 

What SSID / VLAN are you using?

 

It also seems odd to me that you have the 5GHz bands tuned to low on some AP's.  That's usually not the right thing to do.  Have you done a site survey to figure out what your signal levels are?

New Member
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-04-2017
Solutions: 2

Re: Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.

That is not the case. The device in question is using a single SSID (A) in all its travels. Each apartment gets its own SSID. Since occupants don't typically visit other units, I did not find the need to have each SSID available in each unit--this is proabably what you're referring to?

 

Minutes ago, I upped all the 5G signals to medium, based on another article I'd read. I'm trying to use channels with low interference/utilization--doing RF scans when possible (trying not to affect occupants while there's ongoing traffic). I also upped the minimum threshold on some of the RSI numbers to -75dBm. 

Emerging Member
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎06-21-2014
Kudos: 4
Solutions: 1

Re: Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.

[ Edited ]

OK!.  None of your SSID's are available across all AP's, which is why I asked (A for example is not available in the top of Apt C).

 

You definitely don't need every SSID in every unit.  But you need a single SSID for yourself across all AP's if you want connectivity and Wi-Fi calling to remain seamless.  And you don't want your phone to "know" about the individual SSID's for each unit, otherwise your phone may accidentally connect to those and stick to them with bad reception.

 

Do not enable any advanced features such as minRSSI or band steering until your wifi is in a known good state.

 

You should run a site survey with your phone and determine if you have any weak spots in 5G next.  -70 is probably the weakest signal you want.  It's likely with low 5G power you didn't really have good coverage across the house.  Don't be afraid of high 5G if the situation warrants it.

SuperUser
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Registered: ‎01-10-2012
Kudos: 6206
Solutions: 387

Re: Multifamily Wireless Setup -- optimizing, and generally troubleshooting dropped calls, etc.


@jnagar wrote:

I also upped the minimum threshold on some of the RSI numbers to -75dBm. 


I wouldn't do that.  Not to be rude, but you really don't understand enough about Wifi to be changing a setting that is way easier to shoot yourself in the foot with than be beneficial.  


Just because Unifi has lots of knobs and dials doesn't mean that you should be twiddling them at random Man Happy

When you receive a solution to your question/issue, don't forget to mark your thread as solved and to give kudo's to the people who have helped you out!

Having wifi problems? Take a look here first: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/221029967-UniFi-Debugging-Intermittent-Connectivity-Issues-on-your-UAP
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