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Which satellite is my device connected to?

DonAwalt
Community Member

I have the Nest Google Nest Wifi router, and 3 satellites. Is there a way that at any given time I can see which of the 4 devices my iPad, say, is connected to? I suspect the devices are not always so good at switching the iPad to say the router, as I have times when I walk a ways in the house, and even 30 minutes later I pick up my iPad to use and the WiFi is unusable - turn Wifi off, the cell is great - turn the WiFi back on, and it's fine - it's like I have to turn off and on the WiFi to get it working on my iPad.

So how can I tell what device my iPad is connected to?

45 REPLIES 45

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Hello @DonAwalt 

In theory (and it is just in theory – see more below), you can take a look at that device's details, and under the "Info" tab, the name of the access point should be just above the "Point" label. However, there is apparently (still!) a bug in the iOS version of the Google Home app that may result in it showing a generic name for the access point there instead of the name you've given each one. That makes it harder to tell which access point it's actually connected to at the moment.

All of that said, WiFi clients decide when to switch between access points. Google/Nest WiFi does provide some "extra" information that can help devices make better decisions (specifically, 802.11k and 802.11v messages). But, this only helps devices that support those specifications. Apple devices do support those, and in my experience, they do a great job of roaming between access points and bands. It's not cellular, so it may take 30 to 60 seconds to initiate a hand-off, but it should not take 30 minutes. But, if the iPad is asleep during the transition, it's entirely possible it won't roam until it wakes up (and again, that could take a minute or possibly two). Is it possible that's what you're seeing here?

DonAwalt
Community Member

Thanks @MichaelP for the comprehensive answer! That explains part of it, I did find where it has the Nest Wifi Router for the device under Info - in my iPad's case, it just says "Point", and that's not the name of anything - must be a truncation of "Nest WiFi Points" or something.

It's a brand new (5 months or so) iPad Pro 2021. I have the cover open but it's dark while I run on a treadmill. The notifications flicker on, so I can glance and see if anything critical is coming up. So is that considered asleep?

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

The layout on that screen is confusing in my opinion. "Point" is the label. The line of text immediately above that would be the access point name. 

If the iPad screen is on, it's not asleep. If it's off, but wakes up briefly just to show notifications, then it's really sleeping (mostly).

DonAwalt
Community Member

I looked at just about every device in the house listed (20 of them), and every one says "Next WiFi Router". That can't be accurate? Some of these devices are three floors away and can't possibly be connected to the router, which is in the basement. I wish they fixed this...

I'll give it more time and maybe start with a speed test next time to see what it does.

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Yeah that sounds like the known iOS bug. You're not alone in wanting to see that fixed. 

DonAwalt
Community Member

Another thought @MichaelP , looking for suspects....the iPad/iPadOS supports "Private address", which is on by default - used to reduce tracking. Does this present any problems to the Google Nest Wifi network?

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

The private address should be relatively long-lived, and may even be constant for each network. I have it disabled on my Apple products, myself, since I'm not worried about tracking on networks I own and control. But, I don't see any way it could cause a problem like this. You can certainly try disabling it and see if it makes a difference.

DonAwalt
Community Member

OK here is an update from this morning. The steps:

1. After running, I woke up my iPad, which is about 15 feet from the router, but only through a drywall. Single strength is all bars. I open up Safari to look at a web site, it can't load. I try other apps too. I try speed test, it can't find a server to test against.

2. The Wifi in Settings at one point says "No internet connection", and flips to 5G (I have that set to do so, when WiFi is bad).

3. I waited almost a full 5 minutes before I did any of this, which the green on to the Home Page, so it had a chance to switch to the router if it had not.

4. At the same time my iPad was struggling, I have my iPhone 11 right next to it - on the same WiFi, internet is working like a champ.

5. I turned off WiFi, waited about 10 seconds, turned it on, and everything is fine - speediest is getting about 100 Mbps d/l.

Since the iPad is a 2021, is there any chance it is using something newer that other devices are not, that Nest Wifi struggles with?

I just did a Reset to all Network settings - we'll see how that works next time I duplicate this use case.

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Interesting results. It sounds like an issue specific to that iPad. I personally just bought a 2021 iPad mini that drops my 5GHz WiFi connection every 10 to 15 seconds. I pulled debug logs off and can see a very low level error coming from the Broadcomm WiFi chip, so I'm waiting for the packaging to send it back to Apple for a replacement today. But, my mother just visited with a brand new iPad Air that worked fine (and of course all of my other Apple gear of various vintages is working fine as well). So, it's not impossible that it's a feature interaction of some kind (between some new iPad models and Google/Nest WiFi), but it's more likely specific to that device. If there's another 5GHz network you can test it with, that might shed more light on the situation (assuming the network settings reset doesn't improve things).

DonAwalt
Community Member

Ok, after much testing I think I have figured out what's happening in this use case. iPad is on 3rd floor, connected (probably - no way to tell) to the satellite on the third floor. Connection is 5 GHz. I go down to the basement, where it is closest to the router. The router is in what you might consider a large unfinished utility closet - probably about 30 feet x 5 feet. There is only an interior drywall wall between the router in there, and the finished part of the basement, where the iPad is about 8 feet from that wall. When the iPad gets to the basement, no matter how long it sits with the screen on, it stays on 5 GHz and cannot communicate to the internet. When I turn WiFi off and on again, it connects to 2.4GHz, and works fine. From that point on, it will not connect to 5 GHz unless I go into the utility closet next to the router, and then it goes to 5 GHz. If I walk back out into the finished part of the basement though, it will not switch to 2.4GHz, and there is no internet. But once it is on 2.4 GHz, if I go upstairs, it will flip to 5 GHz. I am not sure why the iPad is only on 2.4 GHz, as it is close and only through 1 drywall - and there is no electrical equipment or anything near.  Mesh test shows "great connection" for all satellites.

 

I tried power cycling the router, modem, and iPad. Previously I did Reset Network settings on the iPad. I am not sure who is keeping the connection on a 5 GHz signal that does not work. I also don't know why 5 GHz doesn't work in the first place. So I have two unanswered questions--

1. Why does the iPad not communicate with the internet at 5 GHz when it is so close to the router;

2. Is there a problem switching from 5 GHz to 2.4 GHz everywhere unless WiFi is turned off/on

I think that's everything!

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Hello @DonAwalt 

Sorry for the delay in responding. This is really interesting (and puzzling) behavior. The iPad makes its own decisions about when to switch (as I described in my first response on this thread), but I know Apple products support the 802.11k and 802.11v specifications that Google/Nest WiFi use to help clients make better decisions. My Apple devices take a minute or two to switch when I move, but they definitely switch on their own without being cycled manually. Can I ask if there is any other wireless equipment in the area, especially in the basement? In particular, things like wireless speakers (surround sound systems or just wireless subwoofers), wireless gaming headset transmitters, cordless phone base stations, etc.? Those often use the same upper part of the 5GHz band that Google/Nest WiFi does, but they don't use it in a way that is easy for WiFi to share "nicely". Basically, I'm trying to figure out what is different about your environment, since I know Google/Nest WiFi systems work nicely with iPad and iPhone, etc. elsewhere.

Thanks @MichaelP , let me think about wireless devices. THere's a late model LG TV near there, which communicates wirelessly on the same WiFi network. There are no phones/landlines. We have two Apple Homepods, but both are on the first floor so they are well away. There are no speakers, gaming devices in the house actually. There are late model smart thermostats in the same unfinished closet which might be WiFi, and there is a central monitored alarm system but it communicates on its own cell connection and I don't think uses it unless there is a reason to call home for an alarm. There is one of those same thermostats in my third floor office though, about 8 inches from my laptop, iPad, and iPhone when I am at my desk, and I have never had any trouble there. There is a lot of equipment in that closet - humidifier, dehumidifier, and an air handler - but I don't think any of those are 'smart'.

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

I'm not too concerned about devices that use WiFi – just things that use the same part of the 5GHz band but aren't WiFi. That said, it doesn't sound like you have anything like that, unless the alarm system uses wireless sensors. It is possible the equipment in the utility room are causing issues of some kind, even if they aren't "smart", but I'd be more worries about signal quality degradation due to lots of sheet metal rather than actual interference. If you can make sure the primary is as far away from duct work as possible, that would be a good idea.

DonAwalt
Community Member

Yeah it is as far as I can tell - the heavier stuff is at the other end. There is literally a thin drywall wall between it and the main space, and there is a door on either end so I can see there is nothing else in between. Oh well, I guess it will just be a mystery of sorts...

DonAwalt
Community Member

I did some more testing and got some screen shots, but I can't figure out how to insert images inline! So - I went into the basement area where WiFi is spotty, about 10 feet from router, which is on the other side of  a drywall. I used iAnalyzeWiFi on my Mac to check signal, and on the 5 GHz band it was about 90% in the finished area, 100% by the router. There were no other WiFi networks from neighbors etc. overlapping the signal. On the 2.4GHz band, it was 100% around channel 11, with 2 overlapping networks but they were max 40%. Channel 1 appears to be about 60%, but my neighbor's wifi (we are in row houses) channel 1 is at 55%, overlapping. At times I saw my channel 11 signal strength drop to 70%, with 2 neighbor networks overlapping at around 50%. So 5 GHz is certainly very clear and strong, and there could be some contention on the 2.4 GHz band. But since the iPad and Mac are late model, there should be no issues using 5 GHz.

 

Then I ran speedtest. From the finished area, my Mac got 51.8/10 - this is a gigabit/40MB connection! I went right next to the router, and got around the same! I waited about 5 minutes, no differences. I turned off and on the WiFi on the Mac, and then at the router, it got 380/30 at the router, and right around the same in the finished area where WiFi is no good!

So my conclusions:

1) I have seen issues with both an iPad and Mac, eliminating them as the culprit;

2) 5 GHz signal is excellent, 2.4 GHz seems not as good;

3) Even on 5 GHz, speediest results were bad;

4) It appeared to take a WiFi cycle off/on to get the Mac using the router it was right next to.

So my conclusion, the Mac came to the basement still connected to a satellite from the 2nd or 3rd floor, and even after 5 minutes it did not switch to the very strong-signaled 5 GHz in the basement. It took turning the WiFi off and on, to get it to connect to the router, even when it was right next to it.

It's possible the iPad is hanging on a 2.4 GHz signal from a satellite on another floor (maybe the Mac was too, it never complained of NO internet, its was just slow).

I hope Google can do some work on switching - at least here, I suspect it doesn't switch well unless someone sees another conclusion!

 

DonAwalt
Community Member

@MichaelP I did a little more work. First, I bought brand new RJ45 Cat6/63 cables, 25', so I could run from the cable modem to the relocated Google router now in the finished space. As I sit in a chair there, I am 8 feet from the router - with no obstructions at all.

Second, I happened to have gotten my new iPhone 13! So I tested with both the 2021 iPad, and iPhone - from the third floor, they are on 5 GHz. From the second floor near the satellite, 5 GHz. In the basement, by the router, the connection is horrible - it goes out, it's slow, you name it. It just feels like the devices are connecting to the first floor via 2.4 GHz band, and the router is being completely ignored - even at 2.4GHz being that close the signal would be reliable but slow.

Is there anything I can do to get this router working right, is it busted, is there a safe way to for example reset to factory and re-implement it in the network?

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Hello @DonAwalt 

Sorry for the delay – my day job has been busy. If I understand the changes you've made, and the test results you are getting, it sounds like there's a real problem with 5GHz signal quality in the basement. Moving the router out of that utility room was a good step, but it sounds like it isn't always working well after that move. I can't help continuing to wonder whether there's something causing interference in that part of the house.

If you want to try doing a factory reset, it shouldn't be too hard. You'll need to reset the primary/router and all of the secondary/point units and set it up again. But, you can use the same WiFi network name and password, so all of your existing devices should reconnect without having to be reconfigured themselves. Here's a support document that describes the reset procedure: https://support.google.com/googlenest/answer/6246619?hl=en 

I recommend following the instructions for doing this through the Google Home app rather than using the reset button. Otherwise, you'll be left with a "ghost" system in Google Home that you'll have to reset in order to remove and replace with a new setup.

DonAwalt
Community Member

Thanks for the help @MichaelP , after more testing I think I will do the factory reset route! I’ll post back!

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @MichaelP here is my update! Saturday I factory-reset the entire network - 1 router, 3 Nest satellites. I started just with the router, tested, then added 1 satellite, and so on. It was a good approach, as I slightly tweaked satellite placement for a little better performance in parts of the house. What was also interesting though, is with a WiFi network of just the router, and my iPad 8' away, the iPad connected at 2.4 GHz - even though most other places in the house, the iPad connects at 5 GHz. Also, I used a different 'puck' as router - to eliminate a hardware problem with a single puck.

So, 2 days later, the network is running well and performing well. Yet, the iPad only connects in the basement at 2.4GHz. Here are all the things I tried with no luck getting 5 GHz in the basement near the router:

- turned off all the lights and HVAC; no TVs on; no landlines or any other electronics in the house

- Reset network settings on the iPad

- turned off private IP;

- forgot the network and rejoined;

-hard reset of iPad;

- moved the router to the finished area of the basement (and there is nothing close to it that could interfere)

I still don't know how to drop a picture into this site, but here is a link to my Dropbox picture of where I sit with my iPad, an you can see the table with the  router - 8 feet away, nothing around it. I get 2.4 GHz, and this next link shows a photo:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xycvkrfrd42jtly/IMG_5856.jpeg?dl=0 

Google Home says, "Weak Connection", how could that be? Here is that message:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/o3hwexid29goav1/IMG_5855.jpeg?dl=0

Yet this same iPad connects at 5 GHz everywhere else. IMHO there is some sort of bug here, 2 routers have shown the same problem, and somehow the router can't let the iPad connect at 5GHz (and doesn't even see a good connection which may be why it's at 2.4 GHz).

I have also tested with an LG TV/Apple TV across the room in the basement, an iPhone 13 Pro Max, and a MacBook Pro in the basement - all connect at 5GHz down there.

I guess I'll just have to live with the Nest WiFi having this problem around the router...any ideas? Do you know anyone on the "inside" of Google who might be interested in this issue?

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Hello @DonAwalt 

Really strange behavior. It almost seems like an issue with that iPad, except it's only a problem in that part of the house. I've never seen anything quite like this, and I can't think of anything else to look at (ok, I can – but, I'm sorry, I really can't walk you through pulling low-level logs off of your iPad and searching for potentially-relevant error messages; that is something Apple may be able to do, though). If you haven't gotten in touch with Google support, it might be worth doing that. But, you'll need to be patient. Every company's support team is going to run you through their usual script, and that's going to include some finger pointing. If the root cause here is actually that iPad, you'll have to work with Apple support, too (and suffer through their script and finger pointing, too).

DonAwalt
Community Member

HI @MichaelP , yeah I was afraid of that. I may just do something simpler first like do a full reset and restore of the iPad - or even restore to factory, and then try it before I restore the backup. That wouldn't be too hard and I might learn something! Stranger things have happened...stay tuned!

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @MichaelP , I did the test - factory reset the iPad, and went down to the basement to test - 2.4 GHz. I restored, tested again a day later so things could "settle" - 2.4GHz as well. Interestingly, when I tested the factory reset version, I had my new iPhone 13 Pro, and it was 2.4 GHz too! Actually there is more to the story - today I took my iPad down, and checked it after being down there 10 minutes - it as 2.4 GHz. I restarted the network, turned WiFi off and on, on the iPad, and it was 5 GHz! I left the iPad awake, using it some, for an hour - checked it - 2.4GHz! I was 8 feet from the router with line of sight/no obstructions. What's odd is the Google Home app reports that the iPad has a "Great connection". 

So I guess I am ready to give up - I don't see anything that could interfere. Maybe a firmware update will help tif one comes along. 

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey, DonAwalt.

Sorry for the issues you've been having. I can see that you and @MichaelP have gone through a good bit of troubleshooting here. I wanted to see if anything has changed in your situation and if you were able to sort anything out. If not, let me know and we can look deeper into things here.

Thanks.

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @Jeff , no not really - it seems to help to restart the network, but who wants to go through that. I had trouble this afternoon, and I happened to notice in doing a mesh test, two of the points showed "Weak Connection" - which was unusual. I restarted the network, and they showed "Great connection". SO it just seems to be unreliable for some reason.

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey, DonAwalt.

Since you have gone through a pretty exhaustive set of troubleshooting by yourself and with @MichaelP here and we're still unable to get things working reliably, I'm going to go ahead and refer you to one of our internal teams. They will contact you using the email address that you used to sign up for the forum. Keep an eye out for that and if anything changes with your situation in the meantime, just let me know. Thanks for hanging in there and being patient with us.

 

DonAwalt
Community Member

Thanks will do!

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey, DonAwalt.

It's been a couple of days, so I thought I would check in to see if you were able to connect with our internal support team here. If not, let me know and I can follow up on that.

Thanks.

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @Jeff , have not heard anything yet from the internal support team. As a follow up, about 4 days ago I slightly moved the point on the first floor, a little away from the center of the house to one side in another room. I thought there might be a conflict on signals, as it was right near the stairs coming down from the upper floors to the basement. The mesh test is still fine (router and 2 points are 'great', 1 other point is 'good'), but same issue. For the last couple of days, I have found what works is - I go to the basement with my iPad (I assume this will be the same with my iPhone, both being later models that even handle WiFi 6 so I wondered if that is complicating things). It sits while I run on the treadmill for 45-60 minutes. I open it up, and find it has been getting notifications and emails - whether by WiFi or cell (it will flip over if need be), I do not know. But very quickly nothing internet wise works on WiFi - today it even flipped over to 5G - so I go in Control center, and turn off the wifi for that router - wait about 20 seconds, and then turn it on - and it's fine from then on. So even though the router is probably 8-10 feet from my iPad, my opinion is that it's stuck on some other point's wifi signs with a minimal signal. As an aside, it's always connecting 2.4 GHZ in the basement, even being that close, which makes no sense - it easily connects to 5 GHz on upper floors. But to me, if it connected reliably at 2.4, that would be fast enough - but it does not.  I'll wait to hear from somebody and help if I can.

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey, DonAwalt.

Sorry for the late reply here. Thanks for trying a few more troubleshooting steps. I'll follow up with support to see what's going on and why you haven't been contacted as of yet. Sorry for the frustration this has been causing. I'm hoping we can find a solution soon.

Thanks.

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @Jeff , any word from Support? It's been another 2 weeks. Since then I have also taken a WiFi signal analyzer that runs on my Mac and checked 2 .4GHz and 5 GHz signal strengths throughout the house. The access points and routers cover everything very well, and in the basement near the router signal strength is over 90% - so there is no evidence of any signal disturbance or disruption.

I am convinced this is a software/firmware bug, to be able to sit 5-6 feet with line of sight from router, and have the iPad or iPhone (both more modern devices you may notice), is there for an hour, and have a very poor speed from the Internet even though both report max signal strength!

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey, DonAwalt.

I don't have word on a fix yet, but I do know that internal teams are working on this still. I saw some discussion going on yesterday and I'm hoping it's an indication that we're narrowing in on a fix. I know the process has been long, but I'll definitely update with any news of a fix.

Thanks.

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @Jeff, that's good news if they are indeed working on it! I'll remain hopeful for now. Thanks for the update.

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Thanks for letting me know, DonAwalt. I'm happy to hear things are working well for now.

I'll leave this open for another day or so to ensure things are still good. If you need any help on this in the meantime, just let me know.

Thanks!

DonAwalt
Community Member

Hi @Jeff, not sure where you got "Things are still good", I just said I was hopeful for a solution. It still works terribly, and most times when 8' from the router I just turn off WiFi and use cellular on my iPad and iPhone. I am waiting to hear something that this is fixed, an update is coming, evidence of progress, etc.! Not sure how they can be fixing this with the minimal information they must have about my particular situation, but it was in that context I said that I was hopeful that something positive would come out of this. It's really not practical, I am seriously thinking about going back to Orbi, which I had before and worked well, if nothing comes of this, I went to Google because my daughter had good luck with it and it was so simple to set up. But I can't stay with it working like this forever.

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey, DonAwalt.

My apologies! I was reading too quickly and I thought you had said that they were "indeed working." Sorry about that. Definitely not time to close this one out. Sorry again about the confusion there. 

DonAwalt
Community Member

@Jeff No worries! Let's get this improved for everybody!

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Thanks for being patient and staying candid, DonAwalt! I appreciate the kindness. This one is really frustrating to figure out, and I'm sure you're most frustrated of all!

DonAwalt
Community Member

@Jeff it will be great if it starts working as it should.

Jeff
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi, DonAwalt.

It's been a while since the last check in, and I'm sorry to say that I still don't have any additional info for you. I just wanted to check and see if anything has progressed on your end at all. If not, I'll keep this going and hope that we can see a solution roll out soon.

Thanks.