12-29-2020 10:58 AM - edited 12-29-2020 11:00 AM
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?
12-30-2020 09:48 AM - edited 12-30-2020 09:49 AM
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
09-01-2022 12:41 PM - edited 09-01-2022 12:44 PM
Just one little inconvenient factoid you are overlooking. SON gladly switches you to 2.4 when you move away from the router but as you move closer it keeps you on 2.4. Been arguing with Verizon for months about this sham. They say it is not designed to switch back and forth and that it performs other functions. I don't buy it. My devices are ALL on 2.4 all the time. Only way to get 5g is sit next to the router and turn Wi-Fi off, then on for my phone. Then I get 5g. Until I walk 20 feet away and back to 2.4 she goes, every time. Big diff between 1.1 Gbps and 144 Mbps. I am about to receive my third router (for different reasons) but the previous two behaved the same way with SON activated. The only real solution is turn off SON permanently (through their app or your browser admin) and create two networks (2.4 and 5). Then you can just switch to 5g when you are relatively near your router.
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.