We’d been having weird, intermittent WiFi problems in the house for months and I kinda stumbled on the solution over the weekend. Basically, the various devices on WiFi in the house were struggling to connect to the network, particularly our smart phones. While the home network could be seen, it wouldn’t connect automatically as set and manual connections just failed with the error “Connection Authentication Error”. It was annoying not least because my MiFi router is located in the attic for best house coverage and I had to keep climbing up there to restart it in the hope of it sorting itself out. I also had a booster in the attic to help spread the signal to the furthest reaches of the house so I was sure the MiFi unit itself or this booster were at fault and was ready to replace them until I realised that multiple devices where having the same error, including my wife’s brand new phone and in various different rooms all over the house.
So what else could it be? Something I read online started me wondering if there was a limit to the number of devices you can normally have connected to a typical broadband router and because the MiFi router wasn’t a typical one, maybe it had an extra low limit or something? I wondered if the limit could be raised so I logged into my MiFi control panel and seen a screen that showed the max number of connected clients allowed, which was 5 so I tried changing it to 10 and saving but it returned an error stating that 5 was the max! So the standard MiFi router that 3 Ireland use is the Huawei E5220 seen below and it’s only capable of handling a max of 5 connected devices at once! Not much use with a laptop, 3/4 smart phones, a Sky box, a Chromecast, a Nest Thermostat, WiFi light bulb and regular visitors with smart phones! Basically all our devices were vying for a coveted spot on the network and sometimes one got it over another etc which explained the intermittent part of it all perfectly.
So what’s the solution?
I googled around looking for a way of raising the limit but it seems you have to mess around with the devices firmware etc. Not into that! I also thought about reverting to my old 3G Broadband UMR router but couldn’t find my old 3 dongle. Then I realised that just like your phone account/contract, your mobile broadband account is also upgradable, ie – you can qualify for an upgrade to a new device after your contract runs out. So I went on the 3 site and logged in than hit the “Am I eligible for an upgrade” link and I was luckily. Also, 3 currently have a couple of new devices that have a connection limit of 10 devices, double the MiFi’s so I went for the smaller one which was completely covered by the upgrade for free. It’s the NetGear AC762S seen below. It’s also 4G which is handy if that ever comes to Leitrim but I’m not holding my breath. 10 devices should sort us out for a little while longer at least!