Inconsistent Speeds

I’ve been troubleshooting an issue where download speeds will be extremely fast anywhere from 600 - 750 Mbps (previous Orbi would only give me 200) but upload speeds will be at 1- 3 Mbps (Orbi 35+). I reboot the AP6 Prom from the Alta 8 switch and then will get download speeds from 70 - 95 Mbps with upload speeds from 36 - 39.

After running a scan on the network I changed the channel on 2GHz and got the fast download but slow upload. Reboot and get the slow download with fast upload. This was with just 1 AP so added my second about 40ft away and got the same results and made adjustments to the TX power on both 2GHz/5GHz but get the same results with multiple configurations.

Currently only running with 1 AP with download speeds around 500 but upload at 3Mpbs. My setup is:

Arris 3.1 Modem —> Firewalla Gold SE —> Alta SE-POE Switch —> Alta AP6 Pro

With the following settings:

2GHz - Channel 1 - 20MHz

5GHz - Channel Auto - 80Mhz

TX Power - Auto for both 2GHz/5GHz

Testing with old MacBook from 2016, iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPad mini 6th Gen

I would appreciate any help!

Not really sure what to try and get my upload speed faster. I’ve disconnected wifi devices, tested speed but can’t seem to figure out why my upload is so slow. Any help would be greatly appreciated since I’ve had to rely on wired connections during the day to be able to vpn to work.

There are some good tips in this thread below. Within the Firewalla iOS app, I use the Wi-Fi Test to validate my speeds from the phone to the Firewalla before checking ISP speed connections. My biggest issue on the 5 GHz band was interference previously, by performing a scan in the controller I was able to manually set 5 GHz to a channel that wasn’t being used and I disabled meshing in the AP settings since both of mine are wired. Even with just one AP, I was getting 300-900 Mb/s in the Firewalla test throughout my house setting a channel for 5 GHz manually. This is on an iPhone 15 Pro Max while trying 20/80 MHz and 20/160 MHz for the 2.4/5 GHz bandwidths. I also WFH and have similar Apple devices to what you listed.

Thank you for the tips and the other post. I wasn’t aware of the Firewalla test and have been using it to make adjustments and now have my download above 800 consistently but still cant get my upload speed where it should be around 25. The wifi test starts at around 25 for a quick second and just jumps around during the test 1 - 5. I’m starting to lose hope and thinking of going the erro in bridge mode like others have used with Firewalla.

Currently on 2 GHz channel 3 and 5 GHz channel 36 but it looks like there’s a lot of noise around me. Should I not be expecting to get close to my 40 mbps up speeds? This is with just one AP but do have another since I purchased the starter pack from ISP Supplies.

Are you in an apartment building or a house? The reason I ask is both your 5GHz and 2.4GHz scans indicate you have APs fairly close to your Alta APs.

If you’re in a house, is there any other device that may be broadcasting WiFi such as your ISP provided modem?

Hi Matt. I live in a one story home that is under 1500 sq ft. We don’t have any ISP Modem but when I do a scan using my iPhone with the AirPort Express utility it does find some CoxWiFi which makes me believe that some of my neighbors have their all-in-one modem that they offer. I’ve disconnected devices that I thought might be interfering like AirPort Express, Hubitat smart home hub, Hue hub, AppleTV’s, Amazon Echos and various other WiFi devices but no luck.

The AirPort utility doesn’t appear to show you hidden SSIDs or…blank SSIDs (I’m guessing someone did an Alt code for their SSID).

These results suggest you should avoid channels =< 48 and > 153 if you’re going to use 80MHz wide channels in 5GHz. That’s a bummer given that leaves you with basically only DFS channels.

Your 2.4GHz is pretty bad but it does look like you have channel 1 available as the clearest and most usable channel.

Over the weekend I mounted the AP central to our home about 11ft high and reset the AP. With the default settings it was set to CH11 on 2ghz (20Mhz) and CH165 on 5ghz (80mhz). With these settings I’m getting under 100mbps down/40mbps up speeds throughout our home (haven’t tested outside).

Do you see any other adjustments I could make that would increase download speeds but not affect upload?

Yes, I would advise changing your channels. With channel 165 you’re catching interference from whatever is broadcasting on what appears to be channel 157 @ 80MHz. For 80MHz, you’re generally going to be using 2 channels below and 2 channels above your “center channel” (a.k.a. the channel you select to use). This is directly applicable to your setup, but is a good visual representation of what I’m talking about.
NVIDIA_Share_2024-01-29 01-30-10 QOFuc0yucR

In this example, the red box indicates center channel of 153 (red box) and a center channel of 161 (green box) when broadcasting 80MHz wide channels. Yes, the green box is only covering 4 channels, and that’s ok, it does still extend beyond 165. The regulatory stuff mostly cares about the center channel. The key here is to note that the boxes overlap and when that happens, you have interference.

I suspect the reason you’ll see a decline in upload and not download is because download is coming from the AP which can consume more power and has a higher antenna gain than your cell phone which would be uploading data to the AP. So it’s like your AP is using a bullhorn and your cell phone is talking in a normal voice; and you’re in a bit of a crowded room so the cell phone won’t be heard as clearly. I hope that makes sense.

It looks like channels 60-128 should be clear. They’re DFS channels so not ideal, but they’ll work. Also, some of the interference really looks like it’s coming from inside the home. If you could track that down and eliminate it, that would help substantially.

@Fonz what results do you see hard-wired?

Thank you for the previous post with the screenshot… I noticed that you posted something similar in another post and it took me a while to understand but with the screenshot it made it a lot easier. I do believe it’s something in the house but can’t seem to figure it out. I just thought that it might be my Sonos equipment because when one is hardwired I believe it broadcasts it’s own wifi for the other speakers but that didn’t seem to make an impact when I put it back on WiFi.

To answer your question about hardwired speeds. I do get 800+ download speeds and close to 40mbps upload speeds hardwired.

One thing I noticed is that on my phone it’s showing that both 2GHz/5GHz are set to Auto and 20MHz in the App. But when I looking at it on manage.alta it shows 2GHz is at 20MHz and 5GHz is at 80MHz. Now I’m really not sure what settings the AP is using.

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The AP dictates the channel and channel width. The only role the client plays in that is if the channel width is not supported, in which case, the SSID won’t show up. This is a pretty rare exception though as the newer standards (newer being the last 15+ years’ worth) are pretty good about being backwards compatible.

With your scan results, I would try channels 108 and 128. Knowing what we know about channel widths, your center channel of 108 will span from 100-116 and your center channel of 128 will span from 120-136.

As you can see, 2.4GHz channels are 1-11
But 5GHz channels are in increments of 4
In both cases, a “channel” represents 5GHz of spectrum. So every 5GHz channel is a non-overlapping channel in the context of 20MHz channel widths.

For 5GHz only:
20MHz channel = 1 block, just the center
40MHz channel = 2 blocks, center +/- 1 block
80MHz channel = 4 blocks, center +/- 2 blocks on either side
160MHz channel = 8 blocks, center +/- 4 blocks on either side

Now if you analyze the 2.4GHz spectrum, you’ll note we’re not so lucky. The only non-overlapping channels in the 2.4GHz spectrum are 1, 6, and 11 again in the context of 20MHz wide channels. This is why 2.4GHz is so saturated almost everywhere, there’s simply not enough spectrum to play with.

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