We have a flat with very thick walls – giving us problems with wireless connections. We have a mesh network (TP-Link Deco P7’s) with Powerline backhaul. The theory was that when wireless signals could not go through the walls we would fall back to running the network over the mains cables between mesh access points.

The real challenge comes from the difficulty in finding intermittent problems on the network, and the series lack of any decent admin functions on the P7’s.

The mash network has 6 nodes, where the first one is connected to main router with a Ethernet cable. The rest of the mesh is using Powerline or the wireless network between them dynamically. Unfortunately there is no real way to know how each node is communicating with the other nodes.

I’ve tried most things I could think of and feel we are in a good place with the connectivity at the moment, with the exception of my wife’s studio. And kit in the room occasionally has problems.

In the end I installed one of the oldest and first monitoring systems I ever used – Smokeping. And it’s still one of the few latency and network error measurement and login tools I can find. But it’s a very difficult install under OsX – even though I had done it before. So this time I went modern, and downloaded a pre-made setup in a Docker container – and started configuring the monitoring tools.

It now looks like this

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And look at the packet loss line – 10% packet loss on average. And it was even worse for the printer :

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Average packet loss of 93% – its a wonder it ever works! But both these devices are connected to the same Access point – the Printer using a Ethernet cable – and the AppleTV using wireless.

So now I have a starting point – the cable between the access point and the printer is now the next thing to be inspected – but that’s for another day.

So SmokePing works very well for this type of investigation.

Btw. Here is the page for all access points :

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