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!

Need advice; preparing for Xfinity gigabit internet service

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by Sarkin, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Hey everyone, super excited to find this forum. I have some questions about setting up my home's internet network and not a lot of solid knowledge about the topic, so finding a group of experts here is very fortunate. I apologize if anything I ask here is already covered in a megathread somewhere that I'm not seeing.

    Here's my current network equipment:

    Modem: Zoom Docsis 3.0 5341
    Router: Netgear AC1600 R6250
    Laptop wi-fi card: Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300

    This has all been great. I don't think I've had any connectivity issues over the past four years that I've had them. However, my understanding is that Xfinity gigabit internet requires Docsis 3.1 to achieve optimal speeds, so I'm pretty sure I need to replace my modem with this or this. It seems hard to distinguish them. They have similarly decent user ratings but the former has way more of them, so I guess I'm leaning toward the Netgear modem. If anyone has an opinion on that decision, though, I'd welcome it.

    Here's my current network situation:

    There's an external box on the side of my house where the Comcast cable originates. A cable from that box runs up the side of my house, enters through a little hole in the siding, and goes into the attic. From there, it connects to a cable that runs down to a cable outlet on a freestanding wall on the far side of my living room where the entertainment center sits. So, the modem and router are set up there on the entertainment center.

    However, I also have my work desk in the living room (I work from home and the living room is split up into different parts), and it's on the other side of the room. On this side of the room, there isn't an existing cable outlet, but there's a phone/ethernet outlet. There's nothing obstructing the line-of-sight between the router and the computer on my desk, and they're about 15 feet away from each other. So, I've just been using the Wi-Fi signal and getting 110 Mbps signal out of a promised 150 Mbps from Comcast, so if I can't figure this out, it's not a huge disaster.

    Here're my questions:

    1. I have a Comcast tech coming out on Tuesday. What should I ask the tech to do? Is there any way to make use of that phone/ethernet outlet that's right next to my desk? I know I could ask the tech to put in a new cable outlet near the desk and then move the modem and router there, but my ideal scenario is to have a wired connection for both my entertainment center and my desk without having to run an ethernet cable across the living room. That would be extraordinarily unpopular with my wife.
    2. According to that laptop wi-fi card page, it seems like the max wi-fi speed I can get on my laptop is 450 Mbps. Am I reading that right? Is there anything I can do about that, other than change computers? It's a Thinkpad T530, so I don't think the wi-fi card is easily replaced physically (at least not by me).
    3. Regardless of the above, that doesn't mean anything if I do get a wired connection set up, right? That would just depend on the quality of the ethernet cable itself. I'm not really sure how to distinguish the quality of an ethernet cable, though, so any tips on that would be appreciated.
    4. No matter what, I'll need a router for sending signals to the bedrooms. Is my current router up to snuff for higher speeds? The router's manual talks about "300+1300 Mbps" download speeds, but I have no idea if that's marketing talk or if it really could handle gigabit speed.

    Again, thank you all for any advice you can provide! If there's any important information that I left out, please let me know.
     
  2. Please support SNBForums! Just click on this link before you buy something from Amazon and we'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!
  3. CaptainSTX

    CaptainSTX Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,629
    What is the processor in your laptop? How fast? Also does the laptop have a gigabit Ethernet port?

    Even with the best modem, best WiFi router you will be hard pressed to fully utilize the full speed of your connection on WiFi to a single device. If you don't have a gigabit LAN port on your PC then look at adding a USB/Ethernet adapter to yur must buy equipment list.
     
  4. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    My computer processor is an Intel Core i5-3230M CPU @ 2.60 GHz. I guess it's worth noting that I do plan to get a desktop computer in the next 12-24 months, so if it turns out that my wi-fi card or processor are major speed inhibitors, it wouldn't necessarily be a permanent problem.

    Sorry, I'm not sure how to tell whether my LAN port is a gigabit port. I found this webpage with a picture/description of it for my laptop model, but it doesn't mention anything about being a gigabit port. If it's not, is this an example of what you're talking about? Is there a particular one you'd recommend? It seems like there's a ton of these things and they're all super-cheap.

    Thank you for your help!
     
  5. tannebil

    tannebil Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Messages:
    84
    Your wireless card is going to be the limiting factor as it's only 802.11n. As mentioned, you could use an external USB network adapter or use a wireless bridge that connects to your GB Ethernet port (http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/pd024683).

    You don't mention where the other end of that Ethernet wall jack terminates. You also need to check the cable to make sure it is at least CAT5e (take off the wall plate and check the cable jacket). But unless it terminates near your Comcast box, it's not going to do you any good.

    You do need DOCSIS 3.1 for GB service. If that's what's being installed, the installer will be bringing along a DOCSIS 3.1 router that they will be happy to lease to you. The WiFi in the Comcast XB6 is better (at least on paper) than your current router.

    I switched to the XB6 about 6 months ago and finally completely gave up on it this week. I really wanted it to work so that I could hold Comcast accountable for resolving any problems that came up but I encountered too many problems that 5hey couldn't fix so I've switched to an Arris SB8200 and a Plume SuperPod instead. Too early to say if that's any better.

    You don't mention how your life is going to be better with a GB connnection. You need either a large number of busy devices or be doing lots of large file transfers with fast servers to see much difference between 150MB service and 1GB service. I've got 400MB service and I only see much of a difference compared to when I had 150MB service except perhaps when running large updates.

    GB sounds cool but does it have real value for you? Don't forget that Comcast 1TB cap will be easy to blow with GB service.
     
  6. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    My old Comcast contract ended and I was able to negotiate an upgrade to gigabit internet for the same price as my original contract (because Verizon launched their pseudo-5G in my area, although my specific neighborhood isn't eligible). I think you're right that we won't get a major quality-of-life difference from gigabit internet, but since I work from home, I'm streaming video a lot of days, or playing online games, and I suspect it'll help on the margins.

    Thank you so much for your insight about the wireless card, ethernet port, ethernet wall jack, and router. I think I'm going to stick with my current router and see what the speeds are like initially, and if they're good enough, for the bedroom internet situations, I'll leave that as-is save money.

    With the wireless bridge that connects to my ethernet port, could you link me to an example of what you mean? That's different from this, right?

    EDIT: I talked with my dad, who worked in the cable industry a while ago, and he told me to check the wall jack near by desk because it's probably a phone port, not an ethernet port, and you can actually tell the difference because an ethernet port is larger. So, I did and he's right, it's a phone port. So, what he was saying is that I should ask the Comcast installation tech to fish the wall next to the entertainment center as well as the wall next to my desk to put in an outlet there. If the guy refuses to do that, which I'd understand because it sounds like a huge hassle, maybe I could use a flat black ethernet cord like this to run from one side of the room to another? That's obviously the easiest solution here, but the aesthetics still wouldn't be great.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
  7. CaptainSTX

    CaptainSTX Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,629
    Pull the wall plate off the telephone jack and check if they happened to wire it with Cat5e cable. If they did you can replace the telephone jack with an Ethernet jack.
     
  8. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    I took the wall plate off, but I'm not sure what the cable is. It's not written on like other ethernet cables I've seen, so I'm guessing it's a phone cable. I took a photo, though, in case you can tell:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. CaptainSTX

    CaptainSTX Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,629
    That is telephone wire. It could be reterminated with an Ethernet jack and support a fast Ethernet connection (100 Mbps ). With FastEthernet you only need four conductors. Gigabit connections need eight wires.

    It would be OK for something such as a smart TV which only needs bandwidth of 10 - 20 Mbps. If you have it you can try and utilize it.
     
  10. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Got it, thank you.

    I appreciate everyone's insights here! I think I have enough information now to talk intelligently with the Comcast tech about my options, and I also think I understand my limiting factors on the tech side well enough to accept or change them as needed. Thank you all so much! I'll ask if I have any more questions, but I really appreciate your time and insights!
     
  11. tannebil

    tannebil Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Messages:
    84
  12. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Got it, thank you. I'll keep it in mind that going this route only makes sense if it's paired with a router upgrade.
     
  13. Easy Limits

    Easy Limits Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    WA, USA
    You may want to upgrade your modem to a 32X4 for gig speed internet service
     
  14. Sarkin

    Sarkin New Around Here

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Hey, I have a follow-up question on this if you have the time. Were you talking about this when you mentioned a USB approach? When you refer to my laptop configuration, do you just mean having another piece of equipment like that attached to it, or would I need to change some internal settings in order for that thing to function?

    Also, I am planning to upgrade my router, as well. I've been looking at the TP-Link AC2300 Archer C2300 and the Netgear (R7000P-100NAS) Nighthawk AC2300; would both of those work here? My new modem is the Motorola Docsis 3.1, and the Comcast tech tested that and it was giving off about 800-900 Mbps speeds, so I think I'm good in terms of the wiring and modem.

    BTW, I'm planning to buy these using the link at the bottom of this site in order to get SNB a commission, since the members here have been so helpful! Thank you!
     
  15. Easy Limits

    Easy Limits Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    WA, USA
    The R7000 is a perennial favorite and a solid performer. Can't go wrong with that device.
     
  16. tannebil

    tannebil Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Messages:
    84
    I don't have any experience with or an opinion about those routers. I used the T-Mobile version on the ASUS-TM1900 for a few years (it was fine) followed by a couple of Xfinity offerings (the latest being an XB6 which was definitely not fine), and now I'm using a Plume SuperPod with a Surfboard SB8200 (too soon to tell),
     
Please support SNBForums! Just click on this link before you buy something from Amazon and we'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!