1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice

Welcome To SNBForums

SNBForums is a community for anyone who wants to learn about or discuss the latest in wireless routers, network storage and the ins and outs of building and maintaining a small network.

If you'd like to post a question, simply register and have at it!

While you're at it, please check out SmallNetBuilder for product reviews and our famous Router Charts, Ranker and plenty more!

Advice for 1Gbs/40Mbs Comcast

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by BigDCA, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    My wife and I are both working from home now with the Coronavirus fun. Also, we've got 5 kids at home due to the same issue doing school work and Netflix/Hulu/Disney+/Amazon Prime streaming. My wife is a nursing instructor and is now having to create videos and upload them to YouTube. We quickly discovered that our Comcast 300/11 service wasn't going to cut it given all this, though it was mostly the upload speed that was killing her performance. I went ahead and upgraded to Comcast's 1Gb/40Mb service, but we're really topping out at around 300 Mb down and even less for some wired and wireless devices. All of the devices can hit the upload speed. I've seen some issues with the router where the web GUI is unreachable and needs a reboot, in addition to some other performance issues, so I think it is time to replace it.

    I'm running an Asus 68U with the Asus firmware that is up to the most recent version as my main router. Here's my overall setup:
    • Comcast XFi Gateway in bridge mode. Also does VoIP for a house phone.
      • Asus 68U - Handling DHCP and 2.4/5 WiFi for one part of the ~2400 sqft house. Located upstairs in the the master closet (stick/drywall construction) on one side of the house.
        • Disney Circle handling nanny duties for the kids' devices
        • MyQ Garage Door Opener (directly connected)
        • Ubiquiti UniFi 16 Port 150W Switch w/PoE handling switching and PoE (4 Ubiquiti G3 cameras and the AC Pro AP)
          • Ubiquiti AC Pro handling 2.4/5 Wifi duty for the other side of the house.
          • Wired connections to several TV's/Apple TV's/Desktop computer/Laptop/Ubiquiti NVR/Xbox. Some of these connection points have some Netgear 5 port 1 Gb switches.
        • (Future) Directional AP to fully cover the backyard. Pre-wired, but not needed yet.
    At any given time, there are typically 40+ devices connected including things like 8 Amazon Alexa's, multiple smart switches/light bulbs, a Ring doorbell, 6 smart phones, Rachio Sprinkler Controller, AT&T Microcell Device, 2 tablet devices, 1 desktop computer, 3 laptops, 2 Apple TV's, 4 PoE Cameras and an accompanying NVR for them, etc. There might be more, but obviously it's a busy network and I may be pushing the 68U past its limits or it is starting to show its age.

    We have good 2.4 and 5 ghz coverage in the house. Longer term I'm interested in something that will allow the wireless clients to move seamlessly between the main router, AP and the future backyard AP, but that is lower priority for now.

    Will the Netgear R7800 be able to handle the above load? If I've read the R7800's performance table correctly with a 1 Gb internet pipe, my bottleneck is now my WiFi and not to expect more than 500 Mb on average on those devices connected wirelessly. Am I wrong on this?

    TL;DR requirements:
    • Handle 1 Gb/40Mb Internet service
    • Handle 40+ devices regularly on the system
    • Provide similar or better WiFi coverage compared to the Asus 68U
    • Provide maximum WiFi throughput possible, knowing that there is a wide variety of devices connecting
    Nice to have:
    • Wireless client roaming (not sure what the correct technical term is for this) between router and AP's
    Please let me know if additional information is needed.
     
  2. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    12,608
    I would suggest to take the main router out of the closet and put it centrally in the home instead. Retire/sell the AP.

    A single RT-AC86U will handle everything much more effortlessly than what you're running right now with that change.

    An RT-AX88U will give you much better throughput, range, and headroom for your many devices.

    Both of the suggested options above will allow you to extend your backyard coverage with the existing RT-AC68U via AiMesh (wired or wirelessly, as necessary). Not to mention seamless scripting support via amtm and RMerlin firmware 384.15_0 or later. :)

    The R7800 was a great router that 'tested' impressively a few years back. I think it has been surpassed. ;)
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  3. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Thanks for responding. Due to the layout of the house and the wiring, moving the router isn't an option, so I'll have to stick with the current layout and work out the equipment. I did notice that the R7800's review is a bit old. Are new reviews not being posted? Right now it shows up as the top pick for the AC router ranker, which is why I mentioned it. Given that I can't' move the router and will need the AP, does that change your recommendation?
     
  4. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    12,608
    The router doesn't need to be in the exact center. The best long term bet is to fix the layout of the network as much as possible. Hardware on its own can't help a less than optimal setup. ;)

    My recommendations don't change in any event. Asus running RMerlin firmware unless you want to jump to commercial offerings. I will persist and suggest once again you move the router out of the closet though. :)

    With a minimum of two Ethernet cable runs needed (and optimally, 10 runs) to the optimal router location in the home, this would be a large and beneficial upgrade to the home's networking performance.

    Moving seamlessly between multiple AP's isn't a thing for consumer-level equipment, depending on how you define seamless. And even commercial equipment can only do so much too as the client is mostly in control of where they connect to too.

    No new reviews are expected from Tim.

    https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/other/other-news/33218-a-new-door-opens

    Hang on, there will be others around to give their advice too. Hope I helped a little. :)
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  5. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Just so I understand, you're thinking that having the AP in the mix is somehow affecting my download speeds? While I don't doubt that is possible, I actually tested while directly connected to the 68U via a Cat5E cable and in the very early morning when there was little network traffic and found the speed was significantly lower (100 Mb or so) than when directly connected to the Xfi gateway. As I mentioned in my original post, I'm seeing other issues that lead me to believe that the 68U may be failing.

    For the positioning, the optimal location would actually be within 5 feet or so of the current location, so it's actually pretty centrally located. While the 68U does provide good coverage by itself, we have a part of the house the juts out and the wireless dips just a bit there. It's still very usable, but I wanted full coverage for the Ring doorbell, which is located on this outcropping.

    For the roaming, I was thinking that if I possibly went with more Ubiquiti equipment and their cloud key option, I could get the roaming figured out. I thought that was supposed to handle the roaming, but maybe I misunderstood.
     
    L&LD likes this.
  6. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    12,608
    For clarification, the AP isn't affecting the download speeds (at least it shouldn't, ideally). It is affecting the seamless roaming that is desired. ;)

    Playing with the positioning 'within 5 feet' is worth doing. Many improvements can be had with just inches and WiFi. :)

    If you're seeing 100Mbps difference between the gateway and the RT-AC68U while wired, I would suggest a full reset to factory defaults on that RT-AC68U. Not only will this confirm that the hardware is at issue here, but it may also be enough of a jump in performance that you do not need to do any changes right now. ;)

    If you want to do this troubleshooting step before ordering new equipment, here is a recent post with more details on how to do so. Remember, you just need to do this while testing. If the tests provide a measurable improvement, then perhaps consider to permanently implement the changes suggested. :)

    https://www.snbforums.com/threads/ax88-packet-loss.62891/#post-563326
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  7. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Messages:
    1,480
    If the budget and knowledge allows, dump the consumer products altogether and go full UniFi system with multiple APs.
     
    BigDCA and Trip like this.
  8. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    I would be interested in going full Ubiquiti as I had already planned on the backyard AP being in the lineup (I have another thread on this). I could let the Xfi gateway handle DHCP and replace the 68U with another Ubiquiti AP. As far as knowledge, I am not on par with the forum experts here, I'm sure. I am willing to learn and am technical by profession, though it is mostly on the software side.
     
  9. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,450
    For LAN and WLAN, especially since you've already got a UniFi switch, per @Val D. 's suggestion, I'd eighty-six the consumer gear and go all-in on UniFi, arguably the single easiest product to give an average Joe a pro-ish level local network.

    For the WAN side of things, again, I'd lose the 68U and do a USG or USG-PRO-4 if you want a UniFi-controllable gateway (the UniFi Dream Machine / UDM Pro are not production ready yet and have all kinds of bugs, despite the fact that many give glowing remarks...). Both USG's will run Smart Queue on that 40Mb upload, while you can leave download off. Alternatively, you could run an EdgeRouter 4, or if you prefer another gateway/firewall solution altogether, like pfSense, etc., run that or whatever *nix distro on some cheap x86 hardware (used Dell/HP/Lenovo SFF box + multi-NIC card, Qotom/Protectli appliance, etc.).

    The above approach will give you a rock-solid network of discrete components that, as I like to say, will run more like an appliance and less like a toy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
    BigDCA likes this.
  10. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Messages:
    1,480
    UniFi is user-friendly enough and setup videos how to get the system up and running are available. Once you have the basics setup, then you can focus on details and go one step at a time to achieve what you need. UniFi works best with multiple closer to each other access points. Don't expect it to be like a single consumer router with signal visible to clients from one side of the property to the other. UniFi idea is like blanket coverage with clients roaming between the access points. It is more expensive than consumer products, but once set properly it works much better. Multiple WiFi radios serving multiple clients offer higher throughput, as expected.
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  11. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    @Val D. & @Trip - I'd like to explore this path. What Ubiquiti AP would be a good swap for the 68U? AC-Pro? Also, it looks like the USG doesn't include the cloud key functionality? So, I'd need to get a new AP and the cloud key. Gateway could come later and I just let the Xfi device handle it for now. As far as the cloud key, is the Gen 2 device worth it? It looks like I could possibly replace my NVR with it, which is interesting.
     
  12. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Messages:
    1,480
    You already have an AC PRO, don't you? How it compares to RT-AC68U in your environment? In my experience, UniFi APs work best in open spaces or when the coverage of multiple APs overlap. The new HD ones are better, but very expensive. 2 x AC PRO may do a better job than one HD, for example.
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  13. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,450
    If you have a lopsided gathering of your client population towards one particular area of the house, a NanoHD or FlexHD placed there may be a better fit, as AC Wave 2 will do a bit better job of handling airtime fairness, presuming at least a handful of your clients are themselves AC Wave 2 capable. Otherwise, a second AC-Pro would probably suffice.

    Regarding delegating gateway duties to the ISP device, absolutely fair enough. Just make sure to keep wifi completely disabled on it, so as to not pollute your own airspace.

    Regarding the UniFi controller, you could run it for free on an always-on PC you already own, or for cheap on a Rapsberry Pi, but I'm more of a fan of the pre-built, ready-to-go, supported hardware, and for that, yes, you specifically want the Gen2 CloudKey, as the gen1 models had issues -- I know this first-hand from colleagues who install UniFi for a living, and they swore off the gen1 CK's long ago.
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  14. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    They seem to be similar, but the current one is ceiling mounted down in the family room. The 68U is up in my master closet on a shelf. My non-scientific guess is that they are pretty similar. I'd probably need to do an RF survey to know better.
     
  15. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    I think the WiFi client population is likely pretty distributed, depending on the time of day. If AC Wave 2 is newer than a couple of years, we probably don't have many device capable of that. Probably a couple of laptops and some iPhones.

    I prefer the out-of-the-box as well. Gen2 CloudKey it is!
     
  16. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Last week I did do a factory reset, but didn't see any change in performance.
     
  17. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Besides the form factor, what are the differences between the Nano and Flex devices? I looked on Ubiquiti's site and they seem to have similar technical capabilities.
     
  18. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    12,608
    After doing the reset, did you use the same settings as before? Did you restore a saved backup config file?
     
    BigDCA likes this.
  19. BigDCA

    BigDCA Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    I just used the factory default settings for my test.
     
    L&LD likes this.
  20. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,668
    Location:
    texas
    I think you will be happier using UniFi over consumer gear for all the reasons stated above. You can have higher densities for more WiFi devices using separate APs and more of them. You should inherit roaming by using all UniFi wireless.

    I setup 3 Cisco wireless APs for my daughter's house using their AT&T router modem. I was going to buy a router and replace the AT&T router but it worked well and I never did. So you could use your ISP's router modem with a UniFi wireless network. The ISP keeps the latest firmware on their router modem. This is providing you can turn off WiFi on the router/modem.

    So the question is can you turn off the ASUS wireless? Is it still supported firmware? Make sure you have the latest. It may be a time to switch over to a UniFi router more family friendly. Using an UniFi router you will be able to add guest networks and IoT networks and things the ASUS does not support. This is more advanced networking but doable.
     
    BigDCA likes this.