Wi-Fi Signal Strength Question

I go through periods where my Tablo works well most of the time (rarely buffers or drops) but sometimes like the last few weeks, my Roku will suddenly lose the Tablo altogether or I will experience a lot of buffering on playback. Recording doesn’t seem to be be the issue, just during playback. I can watch the same recording on one day and the next day not. My understanding is that the problem is my wi-fi and the communication between the Roku and Tablo.

My router is too far away (2nd floor, back of the house) to the antenna/TV/Tablo (3rd floor front of the house) to hard wire. The wi-fi is around -68 dBM close to the TV. My house is a semi-attached and my neighbour has a number of repeaters and uses channel 1 and 11, both of which are stronger near the tablo/roku than my signal. There are a number of other networks close by in the -70-80 dBM range so it’s quite crowded and the 5G band is too far way. I have switched channels a number of times with mixed results.

Question … would investing in a stronger router or a repeater or a mesh network help? I’m not sure just having a strong signal will help if there is interference on the same channels.

If you have not already done so install one of the wireless analyzer apps to your phone it will show you what all is in use. You might be able to find a channel you can use. If your neighbor is on the same channel and their signal is strong enough then you share the bandwidth. And with 2.4Ghz channel 11 is actually channels 9-13.

If it is as congested as you describe wired may be the way to go. Have you looked at powerline ethernet? Assuming you do not want to run cat5 cables.

Thank you for taking the time to respond and the suggestions. Unfortunately, I’m a long time Tablo user and tried all of these. I’ve switched around a number of channels, “auto”, 1, 6 and 11 and they all act up at times. However switching channels can improve things temporarily, but it’s a pain to be watching a suspenseful show, have the Tablo drop, get up, bring up the router app, change the channel on the router, reconnect and I usually have to reboot the Tablo to get it back. Sort of spoils the mood. I also tried the powerline adapters and couldn’t maintain a connection. They would usually last 1/2 an hr. at most and then drop. My house is ~ 100 years old and I’m not sure when the wiring was redone.

My actual question was would a new router or extender improve things. I’m thinking a stronger signal would be better but if the problem is congestion I’m not sure. I was hoping someone who understands networking better than I would be able to advise. I’m afraid a new router or mesh system could be like having a fast car with excellent mileage on a congested highway … “all computers wait at the same speed” that kind of thing. I had also read that replacing the routers antenna with a a directional antenna could help. But again, I’m not sure.

Thanks again.

A mesh wireless setup might get 5GHz closer to the Roku. Which would be better than 2.4Ghz. But it could also just add to the crowding, its hard to say. If its as crowded as you say a stronger 2.4Ghz radio wont help much.

You change a channel, your neighbor says oh crap streaming went to crap so they change the channel. etc etc…

Maybe talk to your closest neighbors and see if you can agree on a channel setup so all can share.

Just tossing in my two cents worth. Not a Tablo example, but I had a printer connected wirelessly to my router, the printer and the router were only about two or three feet apart. Because of fluctuating interference the printer would drop every few days, sometimes staying connected for a few weeks before dropping… I finally resorted to hard wiring the printer - no problems after that.

Lots of things block wireless. like roving bags of meat, (people). So get your wireless as high as possible above head height.

I dropped a Cat5, RG6QS, and a phone line from the attic into each room years ago to avoid all of this.