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Occasional Contributor Luke_usa
Occasional Contributor

Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

I currently have optus cable and use wifi, Vodaphone and Telstra mobile call and data plans, and frequently all devices and services drop out at the same time.

Clearly it is not an issue with any device, or carrier, so must be a result of interference or a signal jammer.

I am looking for advice on how to find the source, and how to report it if it is malicious activity. Without going into detail I am sure it is the latter but happy to get to the bottom of it and resolve the interruptions.

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14 Replies
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Hi Luke_USA,


Not sure about how to find the source but information on how to report it can be found here. Perhaps contacting ACMA will help. 

Good luck, let us know how you go.


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Occasional Contributor Luke_usa
Occasional Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Hi Ray

I reported it to ACMA and get a response that while they are responsible for policing this issue it would need to be reported to them via an ISP/Phone provider. They also stated it was unlikely external interference - which boggles the mind given the drop outs affect 3 different service providers, and 5 different devices at the same time.

So, I reported it to optus - who informed me that it was my microwave which is pure lunacy.

The standard hot potatoe fob off so no one actually ever has to do anything.

I will update when I hear back from other providers.

If anyone else has any suggestions - please let me know.

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Crowd Champion SillyGogo
Crowd Champion

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

@Luke_usa I would suggest to document at each drop out to look for a pattern, eg particular time of the day, event, etc. Does it happens at other locations? Very rare that so many devices and different carriers.

 

When you say everything, is that including fixed wired devices from your NBN? 


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Occasional Contributor Luke_usa
Occasional Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Thanks for the replies -

I havent had an ethernet connection when the wifi/cell signals drop out - my assumption has been that the wired connection remains stable. Its usually a matter of twiddling your thumbs for 10 minutes and then you see all the signals come back online.

Given it effects wifi and mobile service at the same time I havent gone further than the assumption it is interference / jammer.

I would just be happy to get some guidance from ACMA on how to capture required evidence for them to persue further instead of getting the run around.

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Why would it not be San issue with the device or carrier?

First test is to have something plugged in via a wired connection. If that also stops working with the other stuff then it's not a signal jammer. 

Second test is of a restart of the modem fixes the issue (temporarily) of that does then it's not a signal jammer.

Peter Gillespie

 

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Regular Contributor
Regular Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Sorry for the list of questions for further background.

May I ask what is the brand and model number of the router connected to your Optus HFC service? Do you live near an airport or military base? Does your electricity meter have a remote access Smart Reading function? Does Wi-Fi only cease to work or does the router do an auto restart? 

When you say you get simultaneous drop out from Wi-Fi devices and Mobiles, are the mobiles connected to your home router via Wi-Fi or are they on 3G/4G when they get kicked off line? It could also be one of your neighbours experimenting with their Wi-Fi settings by unknowingly choosing the same channels that are in operation in your Wi-Fi network. Are you surrounded by many Wi-Fi networks? I think there is a means of seeing what channels surrounding Wi-Fi networks are using, but I am not aware if this a standard Windows/Apple feature or if you need an App for that. 

Out of left field, if your router is a modern 802.11ac compatible unit, have a look at the 5Ghz radio channel arrangement. Channel groups 36-48, 52-64 and 149-161 may be allocated by the router for general use. If any entry shows within the 100-144 group, this is the DFS Channel group which can be optionally used on sophisticated routers - it has to constantly check if any radar is being used, if it picks up radar signals, the router has to stop and change over to another group that is either currently in use, e.g. dropping available bandwidth from 40Mhz to 20 MHz on the bonded channels being used, or grabbing an unused spare group. Maybe this function is causing havoc or disconnections when no spare channels are available. Not likely to appear on the majority of entry level or basic function legacy carrier routers.

I am inclined to think it may be one of your neighbours units causing the interference.  Having said that, I hope you don't live on a remote property on acreage as my theory would then be cactus!

Occasional Contributor Luke_usa
Occasional Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Hi Peter

Why? Because it is EXTREMELY unlikely, if not impossible, that multiple devices and carriers would have an identical issue at the same time.

The simplest explanation is signal interference. And given the ease at which these illegal jammers can be obtained it is also the logical one.

Trying to point to a single device or carrier doesnt explain the issue ocurring on the others at the same time - signal interference is the only plausible explanation.

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Occasional Contributor Luke_usa
Occasional Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Hi Mkrtich

Without going into details - harassment of this nature is not a new thing so leaves very little doubt as to the cause, but to answer some of your questions

Yes my phones are connected to the wifi. When they drop out (at the same time as my laptop, PC, iPad) they are unable to connect to the mobile phone carrier. for calls or for data. All devices are useless for about 10 minutes or more and then all connect without issue.

While I appreciate some of the suggestions they simply do not account for all devices being unable to connect to any signal.

The only logical explanation is signal interference that impacts wifi and celular services. From what I understand that is not possible from a misbehaving router.

But is most certainly is possible and likely (given the ease at which these devices can be bought) someone with malicious/mischievious intent.

Which is EXACTLY what ACMA are meant to investigate.

The issue is getting a service provider to report it, given they are so keen to blame microwave ovens rather than admit how easily services can be disrupted. Its seen as a non issue - but I guarentee if your service dropped out constantly, you would want the issue investigated and resolved.

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Wifi / Mobile services - simultaneous drop outs. Interference / jammer?

Hi Luke,

You seem to be asking questions so you can tell people why they are wrong? 

No one here knows what your usage is or how your technology is set up etc. 

You've alluded to some knowledge of a 'hacker' but at this stage posters are trying to narrow down the issue.

Significantly you've assumed your wired connections are all ok but haven't tested them. 

Also the suggestion to document the timing of the drop outs is also a good one. 

Also is the issue localised to your home? Have you talked to neighbours to see if they have problems? (Finding a pattern in the dropouts might help here)

Peter Gillespie

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