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WIFI Mesh Networks
Old 11-17-2017, 06:16 AM   #1
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WIFI Mesh Networks

I have a Comcast modem/router with an extender to serve my three story townhouse. The router is in the basement and the extender in the living room. WIFI is OK but I still have a couple of weak spots in far flung corners where I occasionally like to use my phone or tablet. I am waiting for FIOS to arrive so I can ditch Comcast (because of TV problems not Internet). But I worry about whether I could have even more WIFI problems when I make the switch.

Enter Mesh Networks like Eero and Google WIFI. I have read that they are superior to the regular setup with extenders. Have any of you technically inclined members tried one? What results did you get?
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:09 AM   #2
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I have tried Google WiFi, Linksys Velop, and the AmpliFi Router. AmpliFi is the way to go. Easy set-up, good range, no drop-outs.

I could only get two of three nodes on the Velop to run, and it had terrible latency and drop-outs and a laughably bad app.

Google had poor range and I don't like that they collect information on your WiFi activity.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:44 AM   #3
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Thanks 45th. I didn’t find a specs page on the Amplifi in my brief search. Does the base station have an Ethernet port? I keep one box hard wired and would prefer it to be on the same subnet as my wireless devices.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:00 AM   #4
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Yes, it has four. I believe the others only have two, although I think Google has them on every node.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:04 AM   #5
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Eero has had good ratings also. There was a thread talking about them within the last year, so you should be able to find that with a search.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:16 AM   #6
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I've been happy with Google Wifi, and I've found their tech support to be very responsive the couple of times I had some issues. I have a three story house with concrete between each floor, so even with 3 nodes I still don't have complete coverage, but very close. I heard that Google is close to coming out with a V2 version of Google Wifi, but no specifics on what they are changing.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I have a Comcast modem/router with an extender to serve my three story townhouse. The router is in the basement and the extender in the living room. WIFI is OK but I still have a couple of weak spots in far flung corners where I occasionally like to use my phone or tablet. I am waiting for FIOS to arrive so I can ditch Comcast (because of TV problems not Internet). But I worry about whether I could have even more WIFI problems when I make the switch.

Enter Mesh Networks like Eero and Google WIFI. I have read that they are superior to the regular setup with extenders. Have any of you technically inclined members tried one? What results did you get?
I replaced our Comcast modem with Arris one. Works good with my Netgear router which used to be near top of the line. A Netgear n300 extender completes the network.

The Netgear WiFi analytics app for a smartphone works good to quantify the signal level. It will show the signal level in dvm.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:14 AM   #8
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Comcast cable goes into basement, and meets the Surfboard Modem and Netgear router. A CAT5e cable goes from the basement center into the attic, and down into a central bedroom on the 2nd floor, where it meets another wireless router. The CAT5e cable was installed at least 10 years ago, and was one heckuva investment of time and material.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:28 PM   #9
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I installed the Linksys Velona and I am very pleased. I have 21 devices connected to the network including a device streaming over the air television from a n antenna in the attic to Apple TVs attached to each television. Add computers, cell phones, iPads, smart thermostats, and other smart devices. House is 2 stories with basement plus outside screen porches and deck. Cable modem attached to network. After 6 weeks of operation not one glitch plus no dead spots in the house. Speed is great, even when streaming video to 3-4 TVs and computers. I actually like the app. I am very happy I moved to the mesh network.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:42 AM   #10
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Comcast cable goes into basement, and meets the Surfboard Modem and Netgear router. A CAT5e cable goes from the basement center into the attic, and down into a central bedroom on the 2nd floor, where it meets another wireless router. The CAT5e cable was installed at least 10 years ago, and was one heckuva investment of time and material.
When we built our house 17 years ago we had cat 5 (ethernet) cable installed. There's a run from the utility room to every room in the house. No need for mesh in our house. We do use WiFi for all the portable devices, but ethernet is nice for the desktops and TV streaming devices.

Yes, it's been a very good investment. Even with today's excellent wireless technologies, I'd install wired networking in a new house today.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:02 AM   #11
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Have you considered power line ethernet? My neighbor is an electrical engineering professor and uses this to get internet to some rooms in his home vs wi-fi:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/comput...ne-networking/
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:33 AM   #12
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Have you considered power line ethernet? My neighbor is an electrical engineering professor and uses this to get internet to some rooms in his home vs wi-fi:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/comput...ne-networking/
My son has it and it works well for the most part but doesn’t cross over to an add on section of his home wiring. I have a similar situation with an addition to the house. Also, I have Ethernet cable running to my desktop now. What I want to improve is wifi for phones and tablets. I also use it for TVs and that is working fine.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:47 AM   #13
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There are powerline adaptors with wifi. Here's one https://www.netgear.com/home/product...e/PLW1000.aspx

We have a similar issue getting wireless signal everywhere in the house. Nothing has worked well so far, although we haven't tried mesh yet. Extenders / repeaters have been an expensive failure.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:56 AM   #14
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We use two ASUS wifi routers connected by powerline ethernet. One router is configured normally and the other is configured as an access point. One is upstairs on the east end of the house and the other is downstairs on the west end. This has worked well for us.

I have been keeping track of the mesh technology but haven't really come up with a need for it yet.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by NC 57 View Post
I installed the Linksys Velona and I am very pleased. I have 21 devices connected to the network including a device streaming over the air television from a n antenna in the attic to Apple TVs attached to each television. Add computers, cell phones, iPads, smart thermostats, and other smart devices. House is 2 stories with basement plus outside screen porches and deck. Cable modem attached to network. After 6 weeks of operation not one glitch plus no dead spots in the house. Speed is great, even when streaming video to 3-4 TVs and computers. I actually like the app. I am very happy I moved to the mesh network.
What is your streaming device, if you don't mind? I have a Tablo with Roku's at each TV.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:31 PM   #16
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I have been beta testing Eero 2 generation (main + 2 beacons) for awhile.
In general it's not bad. Good coverage, stable signal for complex house configuration. I have 1 Gb fiber and from a beacon Eero I never can get more then 120 mbps , which maybe unimportant to most people. However for a simple house it might be overpriced.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:49 PM   #17
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Just wondering what choice (if any) donheff has made to deal with his NW needs.

The Wirecutter likes the Orbi, followed by Eero. I spent some time on websites or both, and found them to be remarkably unhelpful. Overloaded with marketing material and no straightforward presentation of tech info on the products. Also very fuzzy on how to configure a network. Their "solution tools" are really just configurations for generic models of coverage, not much help for real world needs.

My problem is not distance from router or sq feet, in our house all the walls are stucco and all the windows have metallic shielding. A very inhospitable environment for both cell and wifi. I have ethernet cable to most rooms, but many devices now are wifi only.
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Old 11-27-2017, 02:00 PM   #18
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I haven’t chosen one. I am getting by with an extender now but expect to switch to FIOS when they get here ( promised soon). When I do that I will decide whether I need to get set up a mesh.
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:42 PM   #19
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Your house must be so big!

I have a NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Dual Band WiFi Router (R6700), and F can pick up my wireless network fairly easily from his 1600 sf house which is next door to my 1500 sf house. I can pick up his wireless network too. No need for any extender for us, and neither router is on the near side of the house. Both houses are standard brick 1960's houses on slabs.

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Night...=netgear+r6700

I know nothing about mesh networks, but wonder if you would get better coverage with a different router.
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I haven’t chosen one. I am getting by with an extender now but expect to switch to FIOS when they get here ( promised soon). When I do that I will decide whether I need to get set up a mesh.
If I put one in, which is looking likely, I'll post my thoughts here.

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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Your house must be so big!

I have a NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Dual Band WiFi Router (R6700), and F can pick up my wireless network fairly easily from his 1600 sf house which is next door to my 1500 sf house. I can pick up his wireless network too. No need for any extender for us, and neither router is on the near side of the house. Both houses are standard brick 1960's houses on slabs.

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Night...=netgear+r6700

I know nothing about mesh networks, but wonder if you would get better coverage with a different router.
It's probably building materials, not size / distance. In donheff's case it's a townhouse, so the signal needs to go through floors, which often have materials that block the signal. In my case the inside walls are stucco, which have a wire mesh that impede the signal, and the outside is cement block with stucco, which lets very little signal through. It also has metallic film on the windows, which block most wireless and cell signals. I've been through multiple iterations of powerline and wi-fi extenders, but nothing has worked so far. I'm thinking now that a combination of powerline adaptors AV2 in the attic and some mesh units around the house may work. That, and lots of ethernet cable that's already in place. I need more robust wi-fi at home because our indoor cell strength is very poor and cell over wifi is a real must.
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