Reduced reception on my Surf OTG from 2012


#1

I am happily using my Surf OTG which I installed early 2012 on my boat. Since that time I have been in more than 10 countries and never had a problem either connecting to Marina (WiFi) LAN’s or with 3G networks in those countries where I stayed for a longer period.
That stopped a few months before the end of the season 2015. I suddenly had a problem connecting my laptop and phones via WiFi to the Surf OTG. Also I had major problems connecting to external WiFi. I avoided the problem by mainly using the 3G connection and using my laptop via the RJ45 connector and spending quite some money on roaming with my phone.
Back home I tried to connect the Surf OTG to my home router (Netgear Nighthawk R7000) and could not get a connection. I installed the latest firmware version (1.0.26) and did a factory settings reset. After reboot it took about 10 minutes when it finally connected wireless to the home router.
The remarkable thing is that on my phone and laptop, I can see 10 SSID’s in the neighbourhood. In the settings tab from my OTG I can only see 2 and both are from my Netgear only 5 meters away.
The inSSIDer app on my phone registers an avg strength of 49 dbm right next to the Surf OTG that reports a signal strength of 87 dbm on the dashboard screen.
There is clearly something wrong with my reception!! I checked the antenna but nothing to be seen.

Does this sounds familiar? Any suggestions??

Thanks in advance
Water-man


#2

Hello,

Appreciate if you could open a support ticket with us for our team to take a closer look, thank you.

https://contact.peplink.com/secure/create-support-ticket.html


#3

Hi Jarid,
Thanks for the quick reaction. The support ticket is there!


#4

Somebody still working on my ticket???

Peplink forwarded my ticket to the store I bought the Surf OTG from.
With them I had a couple of contacts, upgraded my firmware (1.0.27) again, switched on the remote support, forwarded Diagnostic reports but it has been silent for almost a week now.
Also no reply on my mail for info to the store.
Can somebody tell me where we stand??


#5

water-man, what is your ticket number for reference?


#6

Hi Water-man, after rereading your OP I can say with a high degree of certainty that your device is defective and would need to be replaced. The only other possible thing I can think of is that the antenna itself is bad, but I really doubt it.


#7

Hi Tim,
[Ticket #760001] Reduced reception on my Surf OTG


#8

That is bad news Tim, I guess I was hoping for a miracle.
Has this anything to do with my usage (24/7 for 6 months per year??).
When replacing: is the SOHO a better choice that the SURF in terms of reliability??
Thanks for your advice


#9

There is one last thing to try if you don’t have another antenna to test with. You mentioned that the inSSIDer app registered a signal strength of 49dBm right next to the SOTG. Go ahead and remove the antenna on the SOTG and see what the reading is then.


#10

OK, here is the data for the SSID NETGEAR20 (WAN signal for the SURF):
WITH antenna: Surf reports signal of -87dbm, InSSIDer reports -47 (I moved the Surf since the first report)
WITHOUT antenna: Surf reports signal of -89dbm, InSSIDer reports -48

When I’m looking at the SSID PEPWAVE_7205 (LAN signal for the SURF) the readings are:
with antenna: InSSIDer reports -35 dbm
WITHOUT antenna: InSSIDer reports -66 dbm

To me it looks like there is nothing wrong with the antenna AND the LAN radio.
So when the antenna is ok, there must be a problem with the WAN radio (but I’ m just the user…)
Makes sense?

Btw: I send a mail to support with some screenshots


#11

The Wi-Fi WAN and Wi-Fi Lan share the exact same radio, there is only one Wi-Fi chipset and we make it work for both the WAN & LAN simultaneously via software magic.

It almost looks like the output power of the SSID NETGEAR20 is low. What does inSSIDer show for a reading when you directly connect your phone to this SSID? (Bypassing the SOTG)


#12

My netgear router maintains 3 SSID. 2 on 2.5 Ghz and 1 on 5GHz.
From the place I work I measure -55 dbm for all 3 of them. From the spot where the SURF is I measure -45dbm for all 3. The Surf can connect to all 3 SSID( when I change the settings) but will always show a signal strength of around -90 dbm.
But even when it connects the throughput is absurdly low but mostly I get nothing at all from the WAN. (I’am on fibre with a 60Mbit/sec contract). Communication with the SURF website (via wifi or cable) is no problem.

In total there are 4 computers, 2 phones, 1 tablet, 1 printer and 1 PABX connected to the Netgear. All working flawlessly so my Netgear is not the problem.
The SURF only shows these 3 SSID (because it is just a view meters away from the AP). It does not see the other 6 AP’s from my neighbors which do show on my phone and laptop.


#13

To elaborate a bit more on the previous entry:
Instead of focusing on the signal strengths, I started looking at the actual data transfer from the internet to my laptop and vice versa.
As said before, I have a 60Mb/sec contract on glasfiber.
Tests are done using http://www.speedtest.net/
TEST 1: laptop hardwired to Netgear router (SURF OTG bypassed), this is to check the actual speed of my connection, avg of 2 tests)
Ping: 6 ms, download 57,92 Mb/sec, upload 58,3 Mb/s which is almost 100% of my contractual speed
TEST 2: laptop via WiFi to Netgear router using 5Ghz AP, (SURF OTG bypassed), this is to check local WiFi throughput, avg of 2 tests)
Ping: 8 ms, download 34,5 Mb/s, upload 19,8 Mb/s (the WiFi is a bit disappointing)
TEST 3: SURF OTG hardwired to Netgear router, laptop connected to SURF via WiFi (5,18 GHz) This is to test local LAN WiFi of SURF OTG
Ping: 9 ms, download 47,92 Mb/s, upload 15,13 Mb/s I was pleasantly surprised with the download results!
TEST 4: SURF OTG via WiFi to Netgear router using 5GHz AP, laptop connected to SURF via WiFi (5,18 GHz). This is to test WAN WiFi of SURF OTG
Ping: NO TEST RESULTS. The SURF reports it is connected (the router confirms) but there is absolutely no traffic going out or coming in. Even the Ping test doesn’t work.
I had to move the SURF pretty close to the router to make it connect.

When there is only 1 radio, how can the LAN work and the WAN be deaf (or dead?)


#14

Hi,

WIFI radio include Rx & Tx signal handling. The reported issue may related to the Rx signal for the SOTG and as requested in the support ticket we may need you to swap over the WIFI Antenna to isolate the Antenna issue. If after swapping the WIFI Antenna the problem still persists then we can conclude this may related to the SOTG hardware issue.

Thank You


#15

Swapping the antenna implies having a spare to swap.
The only other antenna’s I have are the one’s on my Netgear router (3x). Can I safely experiment with these??
Thanks


#16

Hi,

Can you please contact Peplink local partner for the assistant to get the spare Antenna for the testing ?

Thank You


#17

The Netgear router should be using the exact same type of antenna connectors.


#18

The EU distributor is located in The Netherlands, but as far as I know they do not deal with end-users.
I’ll follow Tim’ s answer and experiment with the Netgear antenna’ s. I’ll let you know.


#19

I finally managed to contact the Peplink distributor (Oceansat) in the Netherlands. They send me a replacement antenna (free of charge!) but unfortunately we had to come to the conclusion that it was not the antenna.
The final verdict had to be: broken hardware in the Surf OTG.
Despite this (too) early dead of my Surf OTG, I have been so satisfied with the device in the last 3 years that I have ordered new hardware. This time from the local distributor.

Thanks for the support!!


#20

Today I received my new hardware. Connected it and I’m glad to report that all is well again. The new hardware starts up quickly, shows a lot more SSID’s than my laptop or smart phone and also the signal strength is in line with the measurements done with inSSIDer. Hopefully, this device supports me longer than the previous one.

Thanks for the support!