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Is it time for a mesh system?

Discussion in 'ASUS AC Routers & Adapters' started by Plef5204, Sep 13, 2017 at 10:13 PM.

  1. Plef5204

    Plef5204 Occasional Visitor

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    I moved to a new home two summers back, and it's significantly bigger than my last residence. I have been trying to get WiFi to work well in the new place, but I'm finding difficulty trying to have it be reliable.

    The house is two floors, about 2500 square feet, plus a finished basement. My modem comes in on the main floor, at one end of the house. I connect it to an ASUS Black Knight router AC68u.

    My office is in the basement at the polar opposite end of the house from where the AC68u is. Our home theatre is in the basement directly beneath where the AC68u is situated, so I have a Netgear wireless AC dual band bridge in the home theatre....probably about 8 feet below the AC68u, through the floor.

    I have significant problems getting a signal to be strong enough from the AC68u to the office. So last year I added an Amped Wireless Titan EX7000 repeater, which is on the main floor directly above the office.

    That seemed to work for about a year. However, increasingly, I'm finding my devices searching when I move around the house, randomly disconnecting......or they show that they are connected but not receiving Internet.

    To try and fix the situation, I've taken the EX7000 and moved it to the middle of the main floor. Unfortunately, that's the kitchen. So the router is sitting on the island in the middle of our kitchen. My wife does not like me since I did this, so I need another solution.

    I've been looking at devices like the Orbi and the Velop, with both reviewed well on this site....but reading the forums, I've seen people comment about the firmware for the Orbi being "a hot mess" and to avoid it right now. That seems to directly contradict what the reviews indicate.

    Could something like Velop or Orbi conceivably help me solve this problem?
     
  2. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Our reviews do not assess long term reliability.

    Orbi works great for many users, myself included. Others have experienced problems with connection reliability.

    The question is why your extender worked for a year and now doesn't. Have new neighboring networks appeared? Has anything else changed, new devices perhaps?

    Did moving the EX7000 help? If it did, why not try another location, more central, but not in an obtrusive area.

    Mesh systems need mesh points properly placed. You would want the Orbi satellite to be located someplace central also for best resutls.
     
  3. Plef5204

    Plef5204 Occasional Visitor

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    Hmmmm.....

    So, from the beginning, the solution worked for some things, and not others. For web browsing, or streaming video, for instance, computers connected to the router, the extender, or the bridge, could all work effectively.

    However, in my office, I have a Windows 10 machine with Steam. In the home theatre, I have an nVidia Shield. If I tried to stream games from my PC to my TV screen via the nVidia shield, it would have to go from the PC to the EX7000, then to the bridge (which the shield is connected to via Cat5). I would frequently get stuttering and buffering.

    The main router has my NAS plugged into it. I run Plex on the NAS. Inside my network, it would work fine. I'd have a lot of problems any time I tried to stream from my NAS back through the router, over the Internet, to my mobile device.

    For most scenarios, the solution didn't seem to work.

    If I think about what has changed, I can only bring a few things to mind:

    1-my modem failed and was replaced by my Internet provider. When the new modem was set up, I don't think they disabled the WiFi network it creates. On the old one, I had disabled it, so that it doesn't interfere with my AC68u. They didn't give me the password for the replacement unit, so I can't get into it to shut off that WiFi network it's created.....so it's basically broadcasting, but nothing is connecting to it.

    2-Samsung issued a firmware update for my phone. The phone is definitely one of the devices having trouble connecting to the EX7000. I can't recall if the problems started before or after that. However.......I'm also having the same trouble with other devices, so I don't think it's only the Samsung firmware.

    3-My office PC uses a wireless NIC......an ASUS dual band one that has wires that go to a stand with three antennae on it. That was working until the start of the summer, then started having disconnection problems with the EX7000 as well. I monkeyed around for awhile, and couldn't get it to work, until I finally replaced the ASUS firmware with the OEM Broadcom firmware for the chipset used on the NIC. That got it working for awhile. But it's back to having problems. It disconnects *continuously*. I'll be in the middle of working, and then "boom", the computer is no longer connected to the Internet and if I search for the network, it can't even *find* the channel. I either have to wait and keep refreshing, or reboot, at which point it'll appear again.
     
  4. Plef5204

    Plef5204 Occasional Visitor

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    I recognize that the middle of the house, unsurrounded by stuff is the best place to put a router. Unfortunately, this house was built in the mid 2000's, and wasn't designed in a way that makes it easy. The whole middle of the house is either the kitchen and our island, or the hallway to the bathroom and laundry room, or the hallway to the dining room. If I go a bit more out from centrally positioning it, I could put it on the floor in the dining room....but there's no power outlet, so I'd be left draping a power cord across the floor. Or sitting the router on the stairs to the second floor...which is obviously both unsafe, and there's no power outlet.

    That's kind of the problem. With the router sitting on the island, there's actually a power outlet, but my wife continually complains about it being ugly, and then puts stuff around it to hide it.....which I'm sure then interferes with the signal. I can't fault her. It does look ugly sitting in the middle of the kitchen.

    The only other thing I can think of that has changed with the EX7000 is that we have had several big thunderstorms, power outages, and surges etc. over the past summer.......and the EX7000 had about the *only* unprotected power outlet in the house. I'd been testing the position when I first bought it, and "short term testing" turned into "it's working, I"ll get a surge suppressor when I go to the store"....which turned into "forgetting to pick up surge suppressor".

    I wonder if one of the many power outages or surges this summer resulted in damage to that unit that has maybe not completely wrecked it, but has resulted in the performance becoming unreliable?
     
  5. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Thanks for fessing up about the thunderstorms. There is a good chance the EX7000 or maybe just its power wart has been damaged. Until you replace it, it's always going to be suspect.

    When you do replace it, put it on a UPS, not just a surge strip. Most aren't worth crap for protecting electronic gear.

    The new modem/router with WiFi could be causing devices to want to roam to it, if it is presenting a significantly stronger signal than your real network. Maybe call your ISP and have them walk you through shutting off Wi-Fi. It can't be that unique a request.
     
  6. Plef5204

    Plef5204 Occasional Visitor

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    There's no problem regarding fessing up. I'm just trying to think of every factor that might be contributing to the problem.

    Are the wall warts individually replaceable?
     
  7. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Yes. Just search on Amazon or wherever for an adapter with the same output voltage and amperage rating (or higher). Plug can always be cut off the old adapter and spliced onto the new one.
     
  8. Plef5204

    Plef5204 Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks for this.

    Now, if I may ask, my understanding for years has been that extenders and/or repeaters are limited because they automatically cut your speed in half, because they can't be both sending and receiving at the same time.

    My understanding of mesh systems is that they have an extra antenna, which means they can send and receive at the same time....thus meaning that they don't have their speed cut in half.

    I *thought* that this meant that a mesh system was a no brainer upgrade over a network built of routers and extenders.

    Your assistance in this thread has focused on fixing the problem with the extenders I'm already using, rather than replacing them. May I ask why?
     
  9. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    I always prefer to understand someone's current situation before suggesting a solution. You said your previous solution had worked in your original post, so I wanted to understand what changed.

    Extender throughput reduction comes from a single radio receiving, then retransmitting each packet.

    Some of the current breed of simultaneous dual-band extenders can receive on one band and retransmit on the other, avoiding the retransmission penalty. Some are said to be intelligent enough to do this on a packet by packet basis for multiple clients. At some point, however, in busy WLANS, the ability to ping-pong transmissions is no longer an advantage due to traffic load on the router and extender.

    Many mesh systems have only two radios, one 2.4 and one 5 GHz. So they have the same challenges as two-radio extenders. Other extenders--NETGEAR Orbi, Linksys Velop, ASUS Lyra, eero gen2 has a second 5 GHz radio. Some dedicate it to backhaul. Others just use it as another backhaul option.
     

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