Self Organizing Network
MDFiOS
Enthusiast - Level 3

I just enabled the SON option and now the only wireless network(s) I see is one that was formerly listed as my 2.4 network and my guest network. I no longer is networks listed as 2.4 or 5. How do I know if I'm actually connecting to the faster 5 ghz network?

Do I just "trust" I'm connecting to the fastest one?

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Edg1
Community Leader
Community Leader

Yes the SON can be trusted. You will have to download a wifi analyzer tool. Download WIFIman from Ubiquiti Networks. When on WiFi list click on your Network. Look at wifi speed and if it says 866 mbps you are on 5GHz. If it says 144 you are on 2.4GHz.

Now the whole point of SON is to connect you to the better signal so if you are too far from router it will switch you to 2.4 GHz. 

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28 Replies
LawrenceC
Moderator Emeritus

As this thread is now over two years old, it will be locked in order to keep discussions current. If you have the same or a similar question/issue we invite you to start a new thread on the topic.

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Doug581
Newbie

I experimented quite a bit with the SON both on and off.  Bottom line:  with SON on, the desktop which is the most distant from my router wants to connect (presumably because it's the stronger signal) only to the 2.4 signal at roughly 30 to 60 mbps.  However, with SON off and 5G manually selected (showing 2 bars out of 3), it consistently get 150-300 mbps. So I have turned SON off.  

The only disadvantage of relying on my manual choice is that occasionally, the computer (on its own) switches from the 5G to the 2.4 signal.  I'm no expert, but assume that is because the 5G signal just dropped off the map for a moment, since the router is so distant.  So, each morning, I re-connect the desktop to the 5G signal.  

Thoughts?

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Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

I get 400Mbps+ on G1100's 5GHz 802.11ac without SON.

Anyway, to avoid having to manually switch between wireless networks, forget the 2.4GHz network on your computer. So the computer has to connect to the 5GHz because it is the only one with known Pre-shared key.

bendo
Newbie

Didn't work well at all for me.

Any client on the wireless was limited to slightly less than 100mbits after enabling SON (and resetting the client, etc.).  Once I turned it off and explicitly connected the clients to the -5G version, I got 400mbits on speedtest (I have 1GB FIOS service).  Wired machines typically get about 800mbits.

Dave B.

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Javalin
Newbie

The more I read about this, the less confident I am in that I wont have problems. The way that Verizon is, I'll activate it, it'll screw up my entire home wifi setup and I will waste endless hours trying to get in touch with customer service and the endless back and forth in trying to resolve the issue.

I'm going to stick with whatever settings my wifi came with and leave it at that. 

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REM12
Newbie

Ditto!!!

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Javalin
Newbie

On MY FIOS app on my smartphone. Instructions say to go to INTERNET then SELF-ORGANIZED NETWORK.

I cant find either. There is absolutely no link on MY FIOS app which states INTERNET

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robthx1
Newbie

theoretically a good sounding idea but I would avoid if most devices eventually end up on 2.4 instead of 5 .

i don't use it and my network is parse out as I want it by me.

verizons biggest problem is their quantum router is terrible with signal strength; specifically 5g band.

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The-Bud1
Newbie

When i first got my initial fios service with the quantum gateway router (the vertical slim black router),  about 5 years ago, the initial install by the technician had both networks using the same SSID name.   This must have been the first version of SON.  Supposedly my devices (my mobile phones) were supposed to switch between the 2 bands seemlessly.  It seemed to work at first, but after a while I often I found that once a device moved off of the 5 ghz to the 2.4 network, it would NOT move back to 5 when the device moved to the same room with the router - just feet away from it.  However, you were unaware of this, unless you logged into the router and looked at what network your device was on.  But at least my devices were connected.     

Then sometime shortly later, a verizon firmware update was pushed, and problems started happening.   Often a cell phone got stuck and could not connect to either network. The router said it was on one of the networks, but the phone could not connect to either.   And... when your phone cant connect to wi-fi, it then connects to the cell network for data... and when you dont have and unlimited cell plan (but only 6gb/month), the next thing you know, you get the "you've used 90% of your data plan" message.  Only a reboot of the router would reset this, so the phone could get back on one of the wifi networks. 

The solution that I was told, was to use 2 different wifi networks, which is what I did.

Ever since then I've been much happier running with 2 distinct network SSID's (plus a guest wifi network), and my connections are more stable.   I still dont have unlimited data, but when I'm running low, now I know it's cause the kids are using the data outside of the house; and not the failure of their phones to connect to wifi in my house.

Thus, I will NOT be enabling this for sure, and hope that the next time Verizon (or I) reboot the router, that SON=YES is not going to be the new default !

Another gripe with this update is that about 6 months ago, a update got pushed out that disabled the option to use MAC filtering.   I found this out becuase I was going to look at enabling it.   I read that  a new firmware "coming out soon" would restore that function.  Now I see the Mac filtering is gone for good, and instead replaced with something else that you control via the MyFios app.   

I'm about ready to dump both FIOS as well as Verizon cell service.   Took away my "Free HBO for LIFE" promo that I got at FIOS signup.   My internet plan was 50mb with a recent "good customer" upgrade to 100mb for free.  But if I want to go from my 100mb to 200mb it's a crazy additional $65 per month.   Or if I want to go from my 100 mb to 75 mb (yes a downgrade), it's an additional $45 per month.  Pricing makes no sense.  Any change to my tv plan will reduce channels & increase price.    But alas, my woes unrelated to SON.

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CarlAylman
Newbie

My iPad would not connect to the SON network at all, no problem with two iPhones.  My iPad always functioned best on 5G before.  I turned off SON and my iPad functions again.

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jlg21
Enthusiast - Level 3

Can someone please explain how SON works?  Does the router have a trick to make connected devices choose the better frequency?  Is there some universal protocol by which all connectable devices know how to ask the router which frequency they should choose?  It's strange no one is asking this question.  It's obvious that for radio communication to occur, both sides must agree on what frequencies they will use.  When I bring a new device into a SON Wi-Fi coverage area, give it an SSID of indeterminate frequency and a password, what happens?

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jlg21
Enthusiast - Level 3

Surely someone knows how SON works.  Please take the time to answer the questions I posted on 12/29/20.  

I've combed the Internet without finding anything on how SON works on a wi-fi access point.  All I know is that SON is an adaptation to wi-fi from LTE cell standards.  In the cell context, SON requires that connecting devices be SON-ready.  The connecting device has to understand how to shake hands with the SON bases station.  So I still don't know how the g3100 handles connecting devices in the wi-fi world.

What I know is that with SON enabled on my G3100, a new PC from Lenovo got many times better throughput compared to older devices like my iPhone 6 or my Surface Pro 6 on a small number of tests with all else being equal.   The difference was unmistakable.  The new Lenovo got 150 to 300 Mbs throughput.  The older devices got 20 to 70 Mbs.

Then I disabled SON and ran the same small number of tests with the older devices connected to the G3100's 5g access point.  Their throughput improved dramatically up to close to the throughput of the new Lenovo PC.  The older devices got only a little slower throughput than the new Lenovo.  In other words, their throughput improved several times over.  I attribute the remaining  small differences to the differences in the network interface connections.

The above is what I know.  What follows is pure speculation since I cannot find any documentation or explanation for how SON works.  It's possible that the new Lenovo wi-fi network interface controller includes the necessary intelligence to shake hands with the G3100 SON.  And the G3100 refuses to handout IP addresses over 5g to older devices like iPhone and Surface that don't have that intelligence no matter how strong their signals might be.

That speculation is probably wrong, as I said.  If it were right, the smart thing to do would be to disable SON until all the devices you own where throughput matters are new enough to shake hands with SON on the G3100.

It's a little infuriating that Verizon doesn't document this.  The silly G3100 manual just says SON is a great thing that does good stuff.  Also Verizon doesn't have easy access to tech support people who understand basic network communication.  I talked to four people in "priority support."  Only one understood what a private subnet was and what Windows Remote Desktop was.   I talked to the four on four different calls.  I don't know if it's true, but I was told there's no hierarchy by which less knowledgeable tech support people can get help from more knowledgeable colleagues.  I did find a couple of senior people in the "repair" department who had excellent understanding of network communication (much better than my amateur knowledge).

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Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

Ok. Looks like you really want to, I guess, going into the weeds.

Self-Organizing Network (SON) is a broad term. In Verizon router's context, it is analogous to band steering.

Turning on SON at the router will cause the router to change 5GHz band's SSID and PSK to the same as 2.4GHz band. The router still broadcasts 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Single-band (2.4GHz) client devices wouldn't be affected too much by the SON because they can only connect to the 2.4GHz band.

Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) client devices are the main subjects of SON.

Since 2.4GHz band has better penetration and further range, the signal strength is typically stronger than 5GHz. Dual-band devices like a stronger signal, so it resides on 2.4GHz band.

G1100/G3100 router listens to 802.11 probes on both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands. When the router sees the same MAC address probing both bands, the router determines that the client associated with the MAC address is a dual-band client.

G1100/G3100 will now try to entice the client to join the 5GHz band by deliberately waning down 2.4GHz connection quality (longer probe response time to even blocking the MAC address). If the client device is not smart enough to be "insinuated" by G1100/G3100 to join the 5GHz band, its connection quality will deteriorate, resulting in slower speeds. 

Other features, such as 802.11k and 802.11r for access point steering, are heavily client-dependent. The client needs to be capable of determining which access point to use, if more than one are broadcasting the same SSID.

If you have more questions, I am happy to help.

jlg21
Enthusiast - Level 3

Thanks, Cang-Household. 

Sorry I can only give you one Kudo.  I'd give you 10 if the web set allowed it.  That's ingenious the way SON controls ignorant devices.  It had not occurred to me till I read your explanation.  I get it now.  So thanks.

I'm still not clear about one thing:  The methods SON uses to "entice" a dual-band device are brutal enough that I don't see how a device could resist.  But two of the three devices where I care about throughput don't seem to respond to the enticement. 

They are an iPhone 6 and a Surface Pro 6.  Ironically, the one device that gets great Wi-Fi throughput is my brand new Lenovo M90n desktop, which in day-to-day operation when I'm not running tests would be connected to the G3100 by wired Ethernet.

In other words, from what I'm seeing, SON is pushing the two devices a care about away from 5G and onto 2.4G.  Is that a fluke?  Should I try more experiments?  As I said earlier, I only did a couple of experiments because the difference was so profound. 

Or is it because the iPhone and Surface are running on battery and seeing a strong signal from the G3100 tone down their signal strengths?  If so, can I tell SON to relax is signal strength standards? 

Or am I doing these experiments wrong?  I ran Google speed tests with all three devices the same two meters from the G3100.

I'd like to use SON if I can.  It's a clever system that would save a lot of time manually switching back and forth among access points,.... if I can get it to work.

By the way, your SON tutorial was simple enough that anyone should be able to understand, or at least to understand enough to manage a home LAN.  Congratulations for not delving into off-putting jargon.  The only reason I can think of that people higher on this thread didn't ask for a serious explanation is that they assumed it would be indecipherable. 

--Jay

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Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

The ultimate decision to choose which band to use resides with the client device. They can refuse to take the router's suggestion.

The exact mechanism of band steering and AP steering is quite proprietary among manufacturers. Without seeing the source code (which is copyrighted and is considered intellectual property), I can't tell you the exact mechanism.

jlg21
Enthusiast - Level 3

Hi, Cang_Household. 

I think it would help other members of this forum if you posted your clear and concise explanation of how SON works as a separate thread with an explicit title like "How Self-Organizing-Networks work." 

More details would also be helpful.  Like what measurements does SON consider in deciding to entice devices to one band. 

As valuable as your explanation was, it didn't explain why I saw devices connecting to 2.4 G in a G3100 SON environment under circumstances where I verified that the device would have gotten faster service on 5G by a factor of more than two.

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Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

@jlg2 wrote:

 it didn't explain why I saw devices connecting to 2.4 G in a G3100 SON environment under circumstances where I verified that the device would have gotten faster service on 5G


The downside of SON is the arbitrary mechanism for determining which band is better. Some devices may just refuse to take the advice of G3100 and stuck on 2.4Ghz because it is a stronger signal. Different brands also have different mechanisms of band steering. This is hard to summarize.

For posting another thread, I need to think how could I achieve it. The thread can be locked and pinned to the top, but that's not desirable because there are already lots of threads at the top. I need to think another way.

TinaRock
Enthusiast - Level 2

Wow. So Verizon rolls out this upgrade to the SON and then everybody has problems trying to implement it. Sounds half-baked to me.

I got the Verizon email and it says go to the Verizon app and then click on Internet. Everytime I go to the included link I get a different result.

I expected something from Verizon to have been tested thoroughly and all the bugs worked out before they rolled it out to regular users. This is ridiculous.

lasagna
Community Leader
Community Leader

Perhaps you don't understand how SON works.   This is a common capability present in most routers nowadays and is commonly called "bandwidth steering".  Basically, it means configuring both your 2.4ghz and 5ghz networks to use the same SSID and then using intelligence inside the router to help wireless clients choose the frequency which results in a better signal (and hopefully performance).

This is where the catch occurs ... it usually works well in reasonable small areas where the clients are not moving around.   

5ghz networks can very quickly degrade in terms of performance and are more easily affected by things like walls and floors.   This could mean that you get connected to a 5ghz network with a strong signal that ends up performing worse than a 2.4ghz network (or the opposite).

So, it's a bit of a gambit in terms of whether SON will work better for your specific network conditions or not.  Turning it off lets you choose between 5ghz and 2.4ghz provided you use different SSID's -- which allows you to determine which is actually giving you the best performance.   Turning it on tries to do that work for you and if you find it works out best most of the time, then it's a good thing for your situation -- but if not, then you're better staying without it.

Side note -- if gets even more interesting and confusing if you have multiple access points doing bandwidth steering across the same SSID's.  You can find that you have great performance in one room, walk out of the room with the device (where it might attach to a different access point), and then return to the first room and find your performannce is terrible.   All because you shifted between bands in the process. 

ASDVNOQRIN
Newbie

@lasagna wrote:

......

This is where the catch occurs ... it usually works well in reasonable small areas where the clients are not moving around.   

Are you flipping kidding me????  The point is to help connectivity WHEN they move around!!!!!

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