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DQOTD: Use two routers or just fastest router?
Old 08-25-2019, 06:24 PM   #1
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DQOTD: Use two routers or just fastest router?

Did a search and didn’t find an answer.

We finally figured out our “free” AT&T gateway modem-router (Arris BGW210-700) is marginal at best, so I also plugged in my own router, which is noticeably faster loading webpages. We only have one internet connection. It’s not unusual in our house to have 2-4 devices on WiFi at a given moment. So are we better off performance wise using:
  • both routers to split the “traffic,” e.g. streaming TV on AT&T router and iPads on our faster router, or
  • just switch all devices to the faster router and use the AT&T router as a doorstop?
Sad we have to pay for a router that’s far inferior to the one I already had.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:04 PM   #2
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First, buy a modem and stop paying the lease. Not sure what "free" and "pay for" is doing in this, unless you are just saying the cost is bundled in? Mostly, I have seen a separate monthly charge for the modem/router.

Second, there could be many variables, I think you'd need to test it.

And what do you mean by 'marginal'? Is the slow page loading due to weak signal? Is the signal strength better on your router, or the same, but a throughput difference?

What speeds/pings do you see on each?

Are they both using the same DNS?

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Old 08-25-2019, 07:32 PM   #3
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There’s no lease, all the hardware is bundled in, that’s why I put free in quotes. You get and pay for their crummy modem-router whether you want it or not, no discount if you use your own hardware.

Basic speed test and latency always look good, that’s not the issue. Neither is signal strength, it’s full on. FWIW I can stand next to the router and it makes no difference at all. It’s painfully slow loading webpages, I had an earlier thread on that. I’d never seen it before, you’d probably have to see it, most people at AT&T don’t understand it but others in my neighborhood have the same issue. When they finally sent out a tech, he agreed performance was awful. He gave us a new router, but that didn’t help.

In changed DNS to Google and OpenDNS and it didn’t seem to make any difference.

Not sure what variables you’re talking about. I’m asking if all else is equal which is faster...
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:37 PM   #4
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If you only have one Internet connection, then from that point upstream it's all the same size pipe with the same traffic and the same capacity, so I don't see the point of two routers.(*)

Personally I'd plug in the faster router and use the other one as a doorstop.

Also, the difference between the performance of the best DNS servers is miniscule IME. Either use Google or whatever your ISP recommends.

(*) Unless you were using WiFi on both and had a big house and wanted one at each end for signal strength. But you said this wasn't the case.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:35 AM   #5
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Am just assuming you have fiber. We don't have that in our area. the most that's available on AT&T here, is a max of 20 MBPS. Would you share your download speed?. Apparently that is variable in the different AT&T plans from 5 to 1000 MBPS.

Do you have other internet options? We're nailed down to Xfinity.. no other choices except for AT&T. I'm not even sure that the original phone wiring still exists here... no one I know uses AT&T.

Aside and kind of funny... my kids in Ohio, have three different fiber sources, and get 500MBPS for $50/mo. We pay$$85, for 70 MBPS (includes modem rental of $10.)
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:40 AM   #6
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I have AT&T uverse internet and also have a free modem/router from them. Couple of months ago, my internet would suddenly become very slow or even go down. I called them to have a service. They came out and climbed up a pole outside my backyard. The technician told me that they normally have 2 internet wires into the house; one functions as the backup. One of them into my house was bad so he replaced it. After that, all is good.

So, I would give AT&T a call and request a service visit to your house. It does not cost anything. They can even replace your router for free if it is bad.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:48 AM   #7
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As long as you know the faster router is set up securely and doesn't have any compatibility issues, I'd go with the faster router.

Newest doesn't always mean latest and greatest.

Not a router, but I bought a new watch recently. The watchband that came with didn't fit and looked kind of ugly. First thing I did was buy a new watchband that works better. Yes, an extra cost, but I'm Happy with the decision.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Did a search and didnít find an answer.

We finally figured out our ďfreeĒ AT&T gateway modem-router (Arris BGW210-700) is marginal at best, so I also plugged in my own router, which is noticeably faster loading webpages. We only have one internet connection. Itís not unusual in our house to have 2-4 devices on WiFi at a given moment. So are we better off performance wise using:
  • both routers to split the ďtraffic,Ē e.g. streaming TV on AT&T router and iPads on our faster router, or
  • just switch all devices to the faster router and use the AT&T router as a doorstop?
Sad we have to pay for a router thatís far inferior to the one I already had.
I would get the Arris BGW210-700 manual, and thumb through it. It makes sense to turn off the routing function, and use your own router.

Sounds like you're using wireless, in that case the radio channels Arris BGW210-700 selects are not working as expected. Maybe competing with wireless on the other router.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
If you only have one Internet connection, then from that point upstream it's all the same size pipe with the same traffic and the same capacity, so I don't see the point of two routers.(*)

Personally I'd plug in the faster router and use the other one as a doorstop.

Also, the difference between the performance of the best DNS servers is miniscule IME. Either use Google or whatever your ISP recommends.

(*) Unless you were using WiFi on both and had a big house and wanted one at each end for signal strength. But you said this wasn't the case.
I agree. If the routers use the same frequency they may also interfere with each other.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:59 AM   #10
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Is this DSL. I been told that dsl is not that fast. You may have extended DSL. I been told it just gets worse the farther you are from the switch. Not sure where you live but wireless is getting real popular around here. Don't buy satellite whatever you do.

Do you mind sharing what your speed up and down were

https://www.speedtest.net
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:21 AM   #11
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I have AT&T Uverse FIBER, with the same modem/gateway. No problems at all.

I am wondering if DSL or some other copper last loop is in play with Midpack's setup. Someone else mentioned a "second, backup line." That may be "pair bonding," which is very trouble prone.

The other theory about wireless interference is good too. Just run one router in that case. (I run two, no problems, with one router on the other side of the house connected by CAT5.)

You can log into the router using the admin password found on the bottom plate (not the wireless PW). There are settings you can fiddle with to turn off wireless or even create a pinhole through the firewall for the other router.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:29 AM   #12
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I appreciate all the comments & suggestions, some replies to the above:
  • We have fiber at 300 Mbps up & down. I’ve run several different speed tests, and all but one came back at almost 400 up and down, decent latency too. I know it’s hard for others to believe (I didn’t at first) but speed test doesn’t show this issue. Our previous Comcast 25 Mbps service loaded webpages much faster than the new AT&T 300 Mbps service. We were getting “lost connection” about a half dozen times/day, that almost never happened with our old slow Comcast connection up north.
  • My only high speed options here are AT&T or Spectrum. The consensus of my neighbors was “they both suck, AT&T sucks less.”
  • I thought it might be our old iPads that were contributing to poor performance - until I took my iPad to Starbucks and got MUCH better performance on their 40 Mbps WiFi vs my home 300 Mbps WiFi!
  • Again, I did get a tech to come out, after I wasted my time with AT&T online chat and phone support more than a half dozen times. WADR all of the chat & phone reps are reading from a script with rote answers, they had no idea what the problem was, asked me to try the same things over and over. The tech replaced the router, it didn’t help.
  • Again, I don’t think signal strength or interference have anything do do with it. Phone support told me I needed a $50 range extender, that they were detecting interference (from India) - pure BS IMO. But we have full bars on WiFi signal and I can stand next to their AT&T router and it doesn’t help at all.
  • I just plugged in my router a few days ago, after 6 weeks of frustration with the AT&T modem-router. Night and day difference on our iPads and laptop.
  • Right or wrong we’re using the AT&T router for streaming TV (seems OK) and my demonstrably faster router for iPads/iPhones - I thought maybe I’d have better performance splitting routers? Seems OK and it’s not as easy to judge performance on TV.
I can easily just use my modem for everything, just wondered if splitting would provide better performance with several devices on simultaneously.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:47 AM   #13
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When I had ATT DSL, connection would drop all the time. Switching to Comcast (I know, not the favorite in the eyes of some either) was the best move I ever made. Just saying.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:09 AM   #14
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If you're happy with the performance of your current setup, then you can leave it as is. It's not hurting anything, and it only costs a few cents per month to run the extra router. It sounds like the benefit is well worth that small cost.

I don't believe you're gaining anything from splitting the WiFi traffic though. It's not possible that you have enough devices in your home to overload a router, so unless your neighbor is piggybacking on your network to host his torrent server, this has something to do with the AT&T router. I bet if you removed it and used only the faster router, you would still see good performance on all your devices.

I wonder if the AT&T router has some QoS configuration setting that prioritizes the TV stream over everything else, and maybe you have an "always on" TV device such as a TiVo or other DVR, so that TV stream is always hogging the full bandwidth the router provides. If you can get into the Admin settings on that router it might be interesting to look and see how it's configured. It might also be interesting to do a factory reset to get rid of any AT&T customization and see if that improves the performance. (Well, that would be interesting to me. You might be tired of tinkering with it and just want to enjoy the good performance you're getting now.)
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:12 AM   #15
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I wonder if the AT&T router has some QoS configuration setting that prioritizes the TV stream over everything else, and maybe you have an "always on" TV device such as a TiVo or other DVR, so that TV stream is always hogging the full bandwidth the router provides. If you can get into the Admin settings on that router it might be interesting to look and see how it's configured. It might also be interesting to do a factory reset to get rid of any AT&T customization and see if that improves the performance. (Well, that would be interesting to me. You might be tired of tinkering with it and just want to enjoy the good performance you're getting now.)
Good thought, that might be part of it. The AT&T router is auto dual channel, and I noticed that it’s chosen 2.4 GHz for TV and 5.0 GHz for other devices. Although my (dual channel) router is much faster, I have to choose which channel I want, it doesn’t choose automatically like the AT&T router.

We stream using Rokus, I don’t know if they’re considered “always on.” But we use more bandwidth streaming than other devices.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:31 AM   #16
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Every set up and location is different, but I can tell you that even if a device is 'in range' of your WiFi router the speed, latency and reliability drop off a cliff pretty quick even just "one room over".
I had huge reliability problems until I switched to a Tri-Band mesh wifi system (for me Linksys Velop. Netgear Orbi is also highly rated). Installing this changed my WiFi experience dramatically for the better and I had a newish high quality router prior.

If you do give this a try, make sure you get a Try-Band system as that is what makes part of the difference. Ignore how many of the units they tell you to buy based on sf, and put them in so that you have a great signal everywhere you use it.

Its very easy to set up and if you want to experiment buy a 2-3 node system from someplace where it is returnable and see if it makes a difference. I installed one for a friend and they were like "wow" when they saw the difference. This isn't cheap, and may cost you 300-500 depending on how many nodes and brand.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:36 AM   #17
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I have a century link modem/router that was buffering in the back bedroom. The house is only 1500 SF so not big. Bought 2 Google wifi to put on top of (in line) from the CL modem/router. All fine now. Plus i like the Google app to control everything

*what Beach or City said
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:34 AM   #18
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Every set up and location is different, but I can tell you that even if a device is 'in range' of your WiFi router the speed, latency and reliability drop off a cliff pretty quick even just "one room over".
I had huge reliability problems until I switched to a Tri-Band mesh wifi system (for me Linksys Velop. Netgear Orbi is also highly rated). Installing this changed my WiFi experience dramatically for the better and I had a newish high quality router prior.

If you do give this a try, make sure you get a Try-Band system as that is what makes part of the difference. Ignore how many of the units they tell you to buy based on sf, and put them in so that you have a great signal everywhere you use it.

Its very easy to set up and if you want to experiment buy a 2-3 node system from someplace where it is returnable and see if it makes a difference. I installed one for a friend and they were like "wow" when they saw the difference. This isn't cheap, and may cost you 300-500 depending on how many nodes and brand.
I have a good signal based on the WiFi icon (all bars). And again, if I stand right on top of my AT&T router with my iPad, it does NOT improve performance at all. I get noticeably better performance using my own router from 3 rooms away than standing on top of the AT&T router. So I assume a mesh system won’t help my situation, though I’m sure it’s very useful in some situations.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:49 AM   #19
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I have a good signal based on the WiFi icon (all bars). And again, if I stand right on top of my AT&T router with my iPad, it does NOT improve performance at all. I get noticeably better performance using my own router from 3 rooms away than standing on top of the AT&T router. So I assume a mesh system wonít help my situation, though Iím sure itís very useful in some situations.


Plug a laptop directly into your modem via eithernet Test. Then plug it Ethernet into your router. Test again and compare. Then test laptop via WiFi. Test third time. All in same room. Only number 3 should be slower and if router is decent not much slower.

Then try other rooms via WiFi with different devices. Consider using netspot app for this mapping in other rooms.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:30 AM   #20
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...[*]We have fiber at 300 Mbps up & down. I’ve run several different speed tests, and all but one came back at almost 400 up and down, decent latency too. I know it’s hard for others to believe (I didn’t at first) but speed test doesn’t show this issue. Our previous Comcast 25 Mbps service loaded webpages much faster than the new AT&T 300 Mbps service. We were getting “lost connection” about a half dozen times/day, that almost never happened with our old slow Comcast connection up north. ...
What is 'decent'? Can you run a basic ping command from a console/terminal? That will give you raw numbers, rather than something that might be "translated" as good/fair/poor or something. And ping your DNS (and make sure you know what DNS is being used by each router).

This might be it: Your old router might be set to use a different DNS than the AT&T supplied one, and it might not be easy to verify the AT&T DNS?

I'm not sure I follow - are the 'lost connections' on your current set-up? With either router? This went away? Or an older set up? Or are you on AT&T 300 now, and were on Comcast 25 at this current location? The "comcast" and "up north" makes me unsure of all this. You had comcast at both places, but only drops now in the 'south'? But web pages loaded OK?



Quote:
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...[*]I thought it might be our old iPads that were contributing to poor performance - until I took my iPad to Starbucks and got MUCH better performance on their 40 Mbps WiFi vs my home 300 Mbps WiFi! ....
This is irrelevant and distracting you from the problem - and the sooner you get this thinking out of your head, the better you will be at troubleshooting these sorts of issues.

A "bigger number" is not always better. Most web pages will download plenty fast on a far slower connection. You really only need the higher rates for some streaming, and even at that, multiple streams (or DL large files). So 40 Mbps versus 300 Mbps will mean nothing to a typical page load time.

This is like putting 180 mph rated tires on a stock Model T, and being surprised that it didn't affect the top speed. It's not the weak link, look elsewhere!


Quote:
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...[*]Again, I don’t think signal strength or interference have anything do do with it. Phone support told me I needed a $50 range extender, that they were detecting interference (from India) - pure BS IMO. But we have full bars on WiFi signal and I can stand next to their AT&T router and it doesn’t help at all.

I can easily just use my modem for everything, just wondered if splitting would provide better performance with several devices on simultaneously.
Might not be BS at all. Interference can show up as 'retries', and that *might* be detectable remotely. I'm pretty sure that if some data gets dropped or an error is detected, the router just requests for that data to be re-sent. So this can really slow down response, but everything is happening at a high speed. Maybe someone closer to network protocols can confirm/deny that.

If everything is working well with the two routers, why not just leave it? I might want to shut down their router if it isn't working well, as it might interfere with your router, or at least keep them on different bands?

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