Let's play a game: after endless frustration and experimenting with options over months, I finally solved the bad-WiFi-in-one-side-of-the-house problem. Each reply with something I tried gets 1 point, the correct solution gets 10 points.

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@sj

* manually switching 2.4G and 5G channels
* WiFi survey of self + neighbors and plotted same over time
* ping, iwconfig, iftop, etc.
* increasing TX/RX power for both APs and clients
* physically moving APs
* messing with other appliances in the house like the microwave
* cantenna
* WiFi repeater
* Internet over electrical lines

@meonkeys
* Tried, didn't really help; the 5G didn't reach far at all and the 2.4G was bad
* There are plenty of neighbor wifis but that didn't really help
* Tried. Ping showed some packet loss; enough to screw with TCP downloads. TCP congestion control is another rant though.
* Didn't try
* Tried, just ended up with different dead spots
* No luck
* Didn't try.
* I did buy a TPLink N300 WiFi extender & plugged it into an outlet mid-house. It connects to your WiFi then hosts its own network ...

@meonkeys but watching streaming video just didn't seem to work well. Maybe because it uses the same channel on both networks; can't both be transmitting at once
* Yes, power over electric lines ended up being most of the solution! I didn't want to need to physically connect to the power line network box so I ended up sticking the aforementioned wi-fi box on the end acting as another access point for the dead zone

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