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  #21  
Old 02-11-2019, 02:02 PM
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Maphisto's Sidekick Maphisto's Sidekick is offline
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(if this is a thread derailment, let me know and I'll start a new one)

Does anybody have any experience with a mesh wifi network? if so, which brand of routers work better than others?
I have an Orbi system. I got it when gigabit connections became available, and when we dropped satellite TV in favor of going to PS Vue for TV service. I wanted high-performance WiFi throughout the house (not a big house, but one area of use is on the opposite side of the house from where the cable modem / my office is).

I'll start off with the cons first, because they're big: It's expensive, and Netgear has an unfortunate habit of putting bad firmware updates into its auto-update process. If you aren't comfortable tinkering with tech (e.g. to roll back firmware and disable auto-updating), I would NOT recommend it.

The only reason I haven't burned my Orbi units and replaced them with something less frustrating is that the hardware and theory of operation are kick-ass, and probably best (in theory) short of going to a professional-grade Ubiquiti solution.

Advantages of Orbi:
* The satellite units have ethernet ports, making them both bridges and extenders (e.g. consider what happens if a major TV/computer/gadget cluster is located some distance from wherever your cable modem is, and your spouse/landlord won't let you run CAT6 through the house)

* Orbi uses a discrete 5GHz frequency to backhaul data, increasing throughput beyond what's possible with most mesh systems

Those two advantages are the only reason I haven't changed to something like Google WiFi....and I'm not too far away from being pushed into joining the Ubiquiti cult.

Last edited by Maphisto's Sidekick; 02-11-2019 at 02:31 PM..
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  #22  
Old 02-11-2019, 02:56 PM
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I've tried the extender on the main floor. it's marginally better, but still not great.

the next thing I'm going to try is to get the router to the main floor. easier said than done because I need to get the Control4 guys over because the router is hardlined into that system and moving it breaks the Control4 functionality. oh, and then my router will be on the kitchen countertop which isn't ideal.

hopefully that fixes my issues. But if not, breaking the hard link between the Control4 stack and the wifi modem would be a necessary first step to a mesh network anyways, so no wasted efforts.
Additional thoughts:

1. Have you walked through your house with a WiFi scanning app open on your phone, to check your signal levels at various places? You might discover an answer that we can't suggest just from general descriptions.

2. You might consider looking into the technical description of how your extender works. If it works by repeating a signal on the same frequencies...you are cutting your throughput on the repeated signal by at least half. Some extenders "extend" on a different frequency from what the main router is operating on; you won't take the same performance hit.

3. If pulling cable is an option, consider just pulling cable to as close to your second floor as you can get, and putting in an access point there, connecting it back to the router with Cat6 or Cat7 cable. You'll probably end up with two networks this way, but at least you'd have decent performance upstairs.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Maphisto's Sidekick View Post
Additional thoughts:

1. Have you walked through your house with a WiFi scanning app open on your phone, to check your signal levels at various places? You might discover an answer that we can't suggest just from general descriptions. I have used the Ookla SpeedTest app from pretty much every corner of my house. Not sure if that's what you mean, or if it's a different kind of app.

2. You might consider looking into the technical description of how your extender works. If it works by repeating a signal on the same frequencies...you are cutting your throughput on the repeated signal by at least half. Some extenders "extend" on a different frequency from what the main router is operating on; you won't take the same performance hit. Using a TimeCapsule as main router, Airport Express as the extender. I'll try to dig into this frequency thing some time, but I know I only ever see one network.

3. If pulling cable is an option, consider just pulling cable to as close to your second floor as you can get, and putting in an access point there, connecting it back to the router with Cat6 or Cat7 cable. You'll probably end up with two networks this way, but at least you'd have decent performance upstairs.
I used to have multiple networks when I let the ISP come in and solve the problem, but the issue then is that I can't use my phone to control the Control4 system (they have to be on the same network). so multiple networks are a last resort. There are a couple points in the house that are available for a cable pull (thanks to the A/V guys installing conduit in the framing), but none are ideal for a centralized wifi router location. I realize now that this was an oversight when designing the house.
responses in blue. appreciate the insights to think about
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Maphisto's Sidekick View Post

Advantages of Orbi:
* The satellite units have ethernet ports, making them both bridges and extenders (e.g. consider what happens if a major TV/computer/gadget cluster is located some distance from wherever your cable modem is, and your spouse/landlord won't let you run CAT6 through the house)
Don't know about the Google one, but eero also has two ethernet ports on each device.

Another thing to consider if you can't run cable, is to use a powerline adapter to get a wired signal to the other floors, then plug your mesh device into those. Some people complain about powerline, but I've never had an issue with it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:02 PM
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I believe an inherent disadvantage of an extender solution versus a mesh solution is that your device will attempt to hold on to the current connection without realizing there is a better connection nearby. If the budget allows for a mesh, always go mesh.
Agree -- that's the primary reason we went for it as well. Just proposing an alternative if mesh was too expensive.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:39 PM
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responses in blue. appreciate the insights to think about
Netgear has an app call WiFi Analytics that shows you signal strength directly rather than doing a speed test. You can walk through the house and see where signal is good and bad. They suggest using it for determining where to place extenders. I'm sure there are other similar apps.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:02 PM
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sounds neat. I will definitely check that out.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:10 PM
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For those looking at this thread for current recommendations, Costco has the CM1100 on sale for $120+tax.
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  #29  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:42 AM
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I thought this was relevant:

Amazon acquires Eero, maker of mesh Wi-Fi routers
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019...wi-fi-routers/
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  #30  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:23 AM
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Interesting, thanks for posting, panther.
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