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USB 3.0 and WiFi problems

Unfortunately USB 3.0 and Wireless in the 2.4 GHz and even Bluetooth are interfering in the same frequency spectrum, which often causes problems. See PC Mag Article about USB3.0 and 2.4 GHz wireless issues.

The problems caused by these interferences do not affect the drive activity, but can seriously impact your 2.4 WiFi, if there is an USB3.0 storage device attached to your OpenWrt wifi device:

  • 2.4 WiFi clients may be unable to connect to your 2.4 GHz WiFi radio
  • Already connected 2.4 WiFi clients experience connection timeouts or seriously stalling or interrupted data transfers

These problems will most likely also appear, while the drive is idle.

Workarounds may vary for your situation, you may try:

  • Use 5 GHz WiFi for your WiFi client devices, as this problem only affects 2.4 WiFi.
  • Use an USB2.0 drive casing instead of a USB3.0, as USB2.0 does not interfere in the 2.4 GHz spectrum or disable the USB3 driver to force fallback to USB2.0. Many current OpenWrt devices aren't even noticably faster on USB3.0 data transfers compared to 2.0.
  • If your USB3.0 storage device is an external USB3 harddrive drive, you could try a different casing that hopefully has better shielding.
  • You could try a different USB3.0 cable, it could be that the vendor-provided cable included with your USB3.0 device might have bad shielding. But unfortunately several USB casing vendors use cables with proprietary USB connectors on the drive side that aren't easy to get in a better shielded variant on the market.
  • You could try to reposition your USB3.0 storage device further away from your OpenWrt WiFi device.
  • You could try a custom improvised shielding for your USB3.0 storage device or the USB3.0 cable, if you are technically gifted.
  • It could even be that the power cable or a network cable connected to your OpenWrt WiFi device has bad shielding.
  • You could try, if using a different and fixed channel for your 2.4 GHz radio slightly improves the issue: try channels 1, 6 and 11 and try WiFi channel width 20 (if you were using 40 before).
docs/guide-user/network/wifi/usb3.0-wifi-issues.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/01 16:43 by stokito