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OS: Ubuntu 16.04.1 (4.4.0-34-generic #53-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jul 27 16:06:39 UTC 2016 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux)

Here's what I'm talking about: https://gfycat.com/UnselfishCloudyChimpanzee

In the clip, I visit two websites (youtube.com and miway.ca) while wavemon runs in the background.

Ethernet:

  *-network               
   description: Ethernet interface
   product: 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection
   vendor: Intel Corporation
   physical id: 19
   bus info: pci@0000:00:19.0
   logical name: enp0s25
   version: 04
   serial: f0:de:f1:bf:03:2c
   capacity: 1Gbit/s
   width: 32 bits
   clock: 33MHz
   capabilities: pm msi bus_master cap_list ethernet physical tp 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd 1000bt-fd autonegotiation
   configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=e1000e driverversion=3.2.6-k firmware=0.13-3 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes port=twisted pair
   resources: irq:36 memory:f2a00000-f2a1ffff memory:f2a2b000-f2a2bfff ioport:6080(size=32)

Wireless:

  *-network
       description: Wireless interface
       product: RTL8188CE 802.11b/g/n WiFi Adapter
       vendor: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:03:00.0
       logical name: wlp3s0
       version: 01
       serial: 60:d8:19:cd:31:ad
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
       configuration: broadcast=yes driver=rtl8192ce driverversion=4.4.0-34-generic firmware=N/A ip=192.168.90.160 latency=0 link=yes multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11bgn
       resources: irq:17 ioport:4000(size=256) memory:f2900000-f2903fff

Why might signal levels to fluctuate so wildly if just visiting 1-2 websites? Is it Ubuntu, or my router?

This never happened with the other router I used to use. I stopped using it just a few days ago. It's an ASUS 2.4GHz-only router. Speeds were stable, if slow, but I was capped at only 11Mbps with it. Wavemon also didn't go crazy with it like it does with my other router (below).

My WiFi itself is fine... for the most part. Sometimes pages can take a while (30 seconds to 1 minute) to load. Videos generally run with no issues, no matter the website. Downloads speeds are okay--usually averaging 1-2Mbps. I live in Canada and have Rogers Cable. According to speedtest.net, my download speeds on this laptop with my current Ubuntu setup average 21MBps down and 9Mbps up. On really, really good days I get 35Mbps down. Ping is 11ms.

The router this computer is connected to is the ASUS RT-AC56U on its default firmware with the latest firmware upgrades, running both 5Ghz and 2.4GHz networks. No other routers are running in my household except for this one. My laptop can only connect to the 2.4GHz network since it's got b/g/n only WiFi (the RTL8188CE, according to Ubuntu, and Thinkpad 11bgn according to Windows).

There are five other 2.4GHz SSIDs in my neighbourhood. Maybe they're causing signal interference? Any thoughts?

  • FYI if you have an Android device, consider using this amazing application: play.google.com/store/apps/… – You'reAGitForNotUsingGit Aug 10 '16 at 0:57
  • Oh yes, I actually do have that app on my tablet. But I still don't know which channel to pick--1, 6, or 11. Maybe 1 since only 2 other routers are on it? – New2Coding Aug 10 '16 at 1:07
  • There is a tab in the application where it gives you a rating in stars for which channel is best for your AP. Make sure to tell it which one is yours at the top. – You'reAGitForNotUsingGit Aug 10 '16 at 1:29
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In order to check if other Wifi routers in your area use the same channel as you, you can run this command in a terminal:

sudo iwlist <adapter_name> scan

  1. You can configure your router to support n exclusively in order to eliminate g connections that are slower.
  2. You can switch the bandwidth setting to 20 MHz so that the router uses one channel only for n connections. One channel supports up to 60 Mbps actual speed which is more than enough for your internet needs. The 40 MHz setting uses two channels and if the area is not very clean, the second channel may disconnect and create speed fluctuations.
| improve this answer | |
  • That command lists 11 other 2.4Ghz router in my area, including my own. Mine is on channel 6, along with 4 other neighbouring routers. Another 4 are on channel 11. 2 are on channel 1. I'll try those suggestions out, thanks. But will this stop the signal level from fluctuating? – New2Coding Aug 10 '16 at 1:04
  • We can't be sure in advance. These are standard steps we usually take to stabilize wifi connections from the router side. They may be enough. – Stormlord Aug 10 '16 at 1:19
  • So I changed the bandwidth to 20Mhz on my router, and made it n-only. But the signal level still fluctuates. I guess the issue is my router. It's pretty crappy. :/ – New2Coding Aug 10 '16 at 23:37

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