Trying to use Netgear C7000 as Access Point - but having issues

GotNoRice

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I was given a Netgear C7000, which is a combo CableModem + Router + WiFi unit. I already have a separate CableModem and router, so my intention is to use it as an 802.11ac access point and retire one of my older 802.11n access points.

It does not have an option to disable the router and/or cablemodem, but instead, I simply disabled the DHCP server and set a manual IP that is within my subnet (but outside of my DHCP range). That should have done the trick. The cablemodem and router should not harm anything by sitting there idle.

The issue I'm having is that connections to the access point seem to time out. When I first connect to the WiFi, it works great, but after a while communication is disrupted (even though it will still show as connected to the WiFi network). The only "fix" is to reconnect to the WiFi after which it works normally again, for a while at least...

Any ideas why WiFi connections seem to time out like that? The only lead I've got so far might be related to the onboard clock. There is no way to manually set the date/time. It's meant to get the date/time info from the Cable ISP since it has a built-in cablemodem. Using it in ghetto-AP mode means that it thinks it's January 1st 1970. I don't see how that would prevent it from working as an AP, but maybe it's causing some kind of authentication issue?
 
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Cmustang87

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Are you having the disconnect issue with all clients? Is this a single AP for the whole home? How large residence?
 

SamirD

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Wow, pretty wild that the cable modem or routing can't be disabled since combo units usually have some sort of capability.

So it's in cases like this that firmware updates can fix problems. I'd try changing the firmware, downgrading if need be. It's probably a bug left by an update somewhere along the way.
 

GotNoRice

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Are you having the disconnect issue with all clients?

Yes. Although it seems to be more prominent with Android devices, that might simply be because I have a lot of Android devices on WiFi.

Is this a single AP for the whole home? How large residence?
Does this mean you have multiple APs running in the residence?

I use 3 access points in the home, connected via ethernet, spread as far apart in the house as possible, each using the same SSIDs, but set to non-overlapping 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz channels. The home is about 3000 square feet. The reason for running 3 APs is more so that we get good coverage outdoors on each side of the house, as we are on a huge lot and have a very large yard. We also have APs in the barn and well-house, also connected via Ethernet, but they are far enough from the home that the wireless signals don't really interfere.

For testing purposes, I disabled all access points except the C7000 and verified that the problem still occurred. Then I re-enabled the other two, and disabled the wireless radios on the C7000, and verified that the problem went away. Whatever is causing the problem, the C7000 is the key.

Wow, pretty wild that the cable modem or routing can't be disabled since combo units usually have some sort of capability.

I agree, it's annoying. But with DHCP disabled on the C7000 and a manual IP set, nothing should be trying to use the C7000 as a gateway. The router and modem should just be idle and irrelevant. The key word being "should"...

So it's in cases like this that firmware updates can fix problems. I'd try changing the firmware, downgrading if need be. It's probably a bug left by an update somewhere along the way.

Yeah, I wish I could change the firmware on the C7000. I can't update the firmware manually, as it simply has no option to do so. Because it's a modem+router combo unit, it relies on the ISP to "push" new firmware to it, even for the router and WiFi sections apparently. It was being used as a Cablemodem on Comcast as recently as two weeks ago, so assuming Comcast pushed new firmware to it while it was on their network, it should at least be current. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know. All of my access points run DD-WRT, except the C7000.
 
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GotNoRice

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There are some advanced WiFi options. I'm really not sure if any of these settings might have any impact on the problem:

*Radios are disabled in this screenshot due to the problem, obviously I would re-enable the radios before I used it again

c7000AW.png
 

Cmustang87

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Have thought about using APs with a central controller? Managing multiple isolated APs with no central controller is a frustrating experience. If all APs are blasting full power radios, the wireless clients, especially phones, often don't have enough transmit strenght to get back to the AP. This can cause sticky client and problems you're experiencing.
 

GotNoRice

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Have thought about using APs with a central controller? Managing multiple isolated APs with no central controller is a frustrating experience. If all APs are blasting full power radios, the wireless clients, especially phones, often don't have enough transmit strenght to get back to the AP. This can cause sticky client and problems you're experiencing.

I tried it with the C7000 as the only active AP and it didn't fix the problem.

It's not a big deal to log into each AP as it's something I usually only have to do once a year or less - usually only when something stops working or an occasional DD-WRT update. I try to keep this low cost by re-using older equipment as much as possible.
 
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