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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Home Networking Help

Hey guys,

Just moved into a new house that is quite old and thus my current network equipment isn’t really cutting it. I had a few questions:

1. It seems as though all I can find about WiFi boosters/range extenders/etc. are that they just aren’t worth it. I definitely get that WiFi problems and slow speeds aren’t always the same thing. However, my signal just doesn’t carry to the far corners of the house. I am already planning on running an Ethernet cable through the crawl space to install a port in the office for a direct wired connection, but my family still needs better WiFi coverage for our devices that can’t support a wired connection or that we don’t care enough for it to be worth it to be plugged in (phones, iPads, wife’s computer, etc.). I’d also rather avoid just getting two routers because having two networks in my not giant house just seems silly and annoying for the transition zones. Is this scenario worth going for the booster/extender? Any suggestions? Definitely the cheaper the better as long as quality is maintained, but less than $100 total would be ideal.

2. As I’ve been examining my current networking equipment, I’ve seen a lot of praise for mu-mimo. Im sure it’s not new and I’ve just been totally oblivious, but is this something I should look into for my next upgrade? I honestly can’t say I’ve had a problem using multiple devices at once with any router I’ve had, so I was a bit confused as to the push for advertising it as a feature.

3. I stopped by Best Buy the other day and was staring at some modems when a sales guy came up to me and started telling me I should be going for a 32x8 modem. To make an already overlong post shorter: Worth it to prevent throttling or just a sales pitch?

Thanks in advance!

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Bump.

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Asrock Z170 Pro4
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MSI R9 290 OC
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G. Skill Ripjaws
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EVGA SuperNOVA
Cooling
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Case
Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact ATX
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Monoprice MPLE27QPM 27" 2560 x 1440
Monitor
Samsung Syncmaster 2343 23" 2048 x 1152
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 12:38 PM
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You stated you have range issues. Your choices are:
1. Add another access point
2. Use a range extender
3. Use 2.4GHz instead of 5Ghz


1. This is what I would do. If you can route a CAT6 cable from your existing router to another location in your house, closer to the dead zone, then you can get a cheap router with the 802.11 spec you desire, disable the router function, set the SSID to the same as your other router and manually set the channels to not overlap between the two routers. You can search the interwebs to find out the details. It will appear as one network and the devices will decide which channel to connect to based on signal strength. It's no big deal.

2. I've heard mixed results. Certainly adds a little latency and sometimes the setup is difficult, but maybe not as hard as running that CAT6 cable through your house.

3. The last one will add a little range at the expense of performance.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help, just some clarifying questions

1. So in adding another access point, wireless devices would automatically switch to the router that is giving the best signal, correct? There wouldn't be a delay or period wherein there's a slowdown while it's still trying on the weaker signal when it's right next to the other router? Unfortunately, either the house is arranged such that the current router doesn't cover even half of the house or my current router is just not very good. I'm fearful it may be both, but the fact of the matter is that there doesn't appear to be any wifi signal in the bathroom which is in the center of the house. It seems like just adding another router on the opposite side of the house as the original will still leave a decent chunk uncovered.
This is my current router: https://www.tp-link.com/au/home-netw...er/tl-wr941nd/
Would a new one provide better coverage so this one can just pick up the slack?

2. The range extenders that we're talking about, would this be an example?
https://www.amazon.com/Google-WiFi-s.../dp/B01MAW2294
Or are we talking about something else

3. Kind of an unrelated question, but my current modem is decently old as well: https://www.netgear.com/home/product...ers/CM500.aspx

Should I be upgrading to something with mu-mimo? Something that's 32x8 instead of this 16x4?

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 06:01 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by MR_Plow View Post
Thanks for the help, just some clarifying questions
1. So in adding another access point, wireless devices would automatically switch to the router that is giving the best signal, correct? There wouldn't be a delay or period wherein there's a slowdown while it's still trying on the weaker signal when it's right next to the other router? Unfortunately, either the house is arranged such that the current router doesn't cover even half of the house or my current router is just not very good. I'm fearful it may be both, but the fact of the matter is that there doesn't appear to be any wifi signal in the bathroom which is in the center of the house. It seems like just adding another router on the opposite side of the house as the original will still leave a decent chunk uncovered.
This is my current router: https://www.tp-link.com/au/home-netw...er/tl-wr941nd/
Would a new one provide better coverage so this one can just pick up the slack?
Yes, wireless devices will automatically switch and without much impact to most internet tasks. Most devices don't switch frequently. The don't always go for the stronger signal if the signal of the currently connected AP is still good and close in strength to the alternate AP. As long as you are not gaming while running back and forth across your house, I don't think you'll notice.

As far as range on your current routers, there are some technologies that a newer router might help range, such as beam forming. But they don't help that much. It is far more effective to add additional routers.


Quote: Originally Posted by MR_Plow View Post
2. The range extenders that we're talking about, would this be an example?
https://www.amazon.com/Google-WiFi-s.../dp/B01MAW2294
Or are we talking about something else
That is a complete multi-access point system, of which includes repeaters. Here's an example of a standalone repeater:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HQ883QW..._6JXlDb0MS5KYV
They can be had for <$25USD if you don't have high bandwidth needs.


Quote: Originally Posted by MR_Plow View Post
3. Kind of an unrelated question, but my current modem is decently old as well: https://www.netgear.com/home/product...ers/CM500.aspx
Personally, given what I now know about your situation, start with a more affordable, but name brand, repeater. Put it in the center of your house and see how you like the performance and range. It might be that you are satisfied with that with minimal money and time spent on this problem. If that isn't giving you the range and speed, then start looking at adding another wired access point.

Quote: Originally Posted by MR_Plow View Post
Should I be upgrading to something with mu-mimo? Something that's 32x8 instead of this 16x4?
That's mostly about performance and its a premium feature. Unless you have A LOT of users, I personally don't see the need.

Good luck!

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by MR_Plow View Post
Hey guys,

3. I stopped by Best Buy the other day and was staring at some modems when a sales guy came up to me and started telling me I should be going for a 32x8 modem. To make an already overlong post shorter: Worth it to prevent throttling or just a sales pitch?

Thanks in advance!
It all depends on the speed of your connection. For me, a 32x8 is completely useless since I can't even scratch 100MB down due to wiring.

As far as networking, I rely on my best friend (been running networks professionally for 20 yrs or so now) and he set me up with more of enterprise grade stuff than consumer. Stuff is not cheap, but with what I want to do, gonna be perfect.
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