High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

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RooseveltG
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High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by RooseveltG » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:26 am

I live in a condo and currently boost Comcast Modem/Router wireless signal with a range extender. I have read that Mesh networks (Eero, Netgear Orbi and Amplifi HD) may be faster than my current setup.

Which is the better solution for increasing speed? A high end router with a stronger signal or a Mesh network product?

Thanks in advance.

Roosevelt.

b42
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by b42 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:34 am

Some things you may want to check first:

Google some online speed tests to benchmark what your current internet speed is now. If you can, try it from different locations in the condo, and if you have the ability plug an ethernet cable (if possible from the device) directly into the router and check the speed that way.

Normally a range extender allows the wireless single to go father, but at the expense of speed. How big is your condo?

Where is the router located? Does it have antennas? Is the router in a central location in the house or in the basement with a plaster ceiling? Are the antennas pointed correctly towards where the devices will be used?

What wireless standard does the router support (n, ac)? Do you have devices that can take advantage of the newer standards?

Mesh wireless could be considered in its infancy, but I believe both options (normal router or mesh) would most likely work, but with networking there are a ton of factors that could affect speed and there is no guarantee any one change will for certain speed up the connection.

Either way, you don't necessarily need a high-end router. If you want to upgrade, a review site (The Wirecutter) has some excellent recommendations depending on what you are looking for (value, range, etc.), and most are under $100. They even talk for a bit about the Eero:

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-router/

KlangFool
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:47 am

RooseveltG wrote:I live in a condo and currently boost Comcast Modem/Router wireless signal with a range extender. I have read that Mesh networks (Eero, Netgear Orbi and Amplifi HD) may be faster than my current setup.

Which is the better solution for increasing speed? A high end router with a stronger signal or a Mesh network product?

Thanks in advance.

Roosevelt.
RooseveltG,

https://www.xirrus.com/free-tools/

None of the above. Change your Wifi channel / frequency. Use the tool above to find an open channel and configure your WiFi router to use that.

KlangFool

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telemark
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by telemark » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:20 am

It depends. If your condo is an apartment surrounded by other people with their own wifi networks, then a router with a strong signal, especially one configured for wide-band operation, will probably just run into more interference from other networks. If it's a townhouse or something reasonably isolated then the high end router becomes more attractive.

For best performance run ethernet, cat5e or better, to a wifi access point where it's needed.

DSInvestor
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by DSInvestor » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:42 am

You should run some speed tests over WiFi from several locations in your condo and also when plugged in directly to the router using ethernet. At my old condo, I found that speeds were slow even when plugged in to the router. It turned out that the cable run from downstairs to the outlet was bad (water in the cable) so I moved cable modem and router to another outlet in a bedroom. Much better performance wired and wireless after the move.
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BHUser27
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by BHUser27 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:05 pm

OP -
As others had stated, many factors can impact the "speed' of your wireless access to the internet, and the new mesh products may or may not improve your performance depending on why your current setup is unsatisfactory.

Start by performing the basic tests suggested:
- Use free tool to make sure your wi-fi channels are as free from others as possible
- Check download/upload speeds using a direct wired connection and a wireless connection

Give us some more data:
How many wireless devices total do you have on your home network?
How many access the internet at the same time?
How much physical area are you trying to cover with wireless access?
Is your current wi-fi single-band? dual-band? can you provide a model number for the wi-fi host device?

boglerdude
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by boglerdude » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:37 am

Which routers will automatically switch channels and frequencies if they get congested?

Google's new one claims to https://madeby.google.com/wifi/

noco-hawkeye
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by noco-hawkeye » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:12 am

Many / most all newer routers have the ability to auto select a new channel. This has been a common feature for some time.

If you are using the 2Ghz channels (which would be wifi G and some wifi N setups), then essentially you have 3 channels that will not overlap other channels - 1,6, and 11 (iirc). When you live in a condo, you almost assuredly are going to have 3-4 neighbors with wireless networks that will interfere with you in this spectrum. There is no way around this, unless you can convince your neighbors to cancel their internet service :wink:

If you can setup a wireless network with 2Ghz above, and use it for older devices - then also add a 5Ghz network - this would likely provide the best speed. 5Ghz networks have much more space to avoid overlap with each other, and 5Ghz also has the best speed. The drawbacks to this newer wifi is that a) not all devices support it b) it does not travel through walls / obstructions as well.

If you can get all your wifi devices to run on the 5G network, then just disable the 2G network on your router.

And as mentioned above - where your router is located makes a big difference. Try to place it in a central location and avoid nearby obstructions as much as possible. Basic laws of physics still apply.

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RooseveltG
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by RooseveltG » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:19 am

Thanks for all the replies. I did change the channel and made certain that the extender is extending the 5MHz band and that has helped.

Roosevelt.

Symiakos
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by Symiakos » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:37 am

I too am considering which option is best. I live in a very large loft. I have two WANs setup at either end. I have two Asus AC5300 WiFi Routers connected to Netgear C6300 modems All devices, (NAS's, BluRay, AV Receiver, desktop PCs, VoIP, surveillance cameras etc), are hard wired via CAT7 cables to the routers' LAN ports and experience 350Mbps speeds (tested via Speedtest.net). I don't want to give that up. Smart phones and tablets, thermostats, surveillance cameras in the immediate and neighboring space inside loft experience excellent speeds as well. The ssid's of both routers at each end are identical, both share same passkeys. But in an area at the center of loft, I have a dead zone. My questions are, what options are there available to accommodate this dead zone? I don't want to replace these routers. Is there a way I can have these routers and say the Amplifi HD Density WiFI Mesh Router configured to work together seamlessly? If so, how? What I've noticed about a number of Mesh Routers is the limited ethernet ports available. I'm new to this forum, and so I hope my posting here is where I should have posted. Thank you.
Last edited by Symiakos on Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NYCguy
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by NYCguy » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:09 pm

OP: I just deployed a Ubiquiti UniFi setup with its router, switches and wireless access points. I think you'll find this technology is more stable than the mesh network solutions, which as others have noted is still in its infancy.

You can also get a cloud key dongle which allows you to control and monitor your network remotely on a smart phone, tablet or laptop.
If your out-go is greater than your income, your upkeep will be your DOWNFALL.

Angelus359
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by Angelus359 » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:16 pm

I have a single few year old Asus ac66u in the center of my 1100 square foot condo, and I can get decent 5ghz wifi out to my car in the parking lot

I don't use it as my actual router though, that is reserved for my ubiquity edgerouter x which does not have WiFi.

The SmartQoS on edgerouters is glorious
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michaeljc70
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:35 pm

The mesh routers are great, but expensive.

As others have said, you can try to tune what you have. In a condo building, there is bound to be a lot of interference from other residents.

If you can run a line or have a line (you can do this through phone lines if you don't use them), you can connect two cheap routers. This is what I do. It will be faster than having a wireless extender. It won't switch to the best one automatically if you move around the house a lot like a mesh router will. I have 4 levels to my place and this works for me.

You can buy a decent router on eBay for $20. I use a custom ROM like DD-WRT, Gargoyle, etc. They are more customizable.

Another thing is, no matter what router/provider you use, if the bottleneck is on the other end (Netflix, their web server, etc.) it won't matter.

Symiakos
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by Symiakos » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:31 pm

Thank you for the replies.

lightheir
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Re: High End Routers vs Mesh Network?

Post by lightheir » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:10 pm

Definitely mesh network, unless you already own the high end router.

If you're not getting enough range with your current router, I'd DEFINITELY prefer the mesh router (like Google's). It just works. It costs more, but trust me , if something goes wrong or is suboptimal with the non-mesh router ,you'll spend a LOT more time trying to troubleshoot it as compared to the idiot-proof setup of a 3-pack Google wifi.

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