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Time for a new router

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by Alex Tzonkov, Jan 17, 2018.

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  1. Alex Tzonkov

    Alex Tzonkov New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    I currently have a Netgear WNDR3800 and it has been a solid performer for many years. I recently decided to cut the cord (cable/phone) and went with the Roku Streaming Stick+ for streaming purposes. My router is downstairs in the office and the TV is upstairs diagonally about 30 feet and a few walls away. The streaming quality is quite poor with lots of buffering and pixelated video. The Roku network quality shows as poor. I have tried both my 2.4G and 5G SSIDs with the same effect. I am thinking that since the Rokus now support 802.11AC upgrading my router to an AC router is my ticket to success. Also to control the Roku I use a Harmony Hub which only supports 2.4G so the 2.4 range is an important factor.

    I have been reading a ton of the reviews and rankings, charts, etc. and I think I have narrowed it down to three options:
    • NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Gaming Router (R7800)
    • ASUS Dual Band AC2900 Wireless Router (RT-AC86U)
    • Synology AC2600 Router (RT2600ac)
    My questions:
    1. Would getting a new router really help solve the streaming problem?
    2. Out of the 3 routers which one would be best for my situation and why?
    3. I don't see the Synology on the Version 10 rankings, does that mean it is too old, or just has not been tested yet?
    Some more random thoughts to help answer question #2:
    • I have roughly 40+ wired + wireless devices on my network (2xThermostats, Ring, 3xIP Cameras, 2xHarmony hubs, 2xRokus,2x Smart TVs, 3xiPhones, 3xiPads, 3xRPi3, 3x Echos, xbox, wii, chromebook, NUC, Printer, Fingbox, and some wifi switches, etc., etc.) Does this impact my decission on which router to buy?
    • Any solution I choose needs to pass the Wife acceptance test, my wife works from Home and uses the internet connection, so it must be solid (hence I have her wired directly into a gigabit port).
    • I am pretty tech savvy and humble :) In all seriousness I am a computer engineer and don't shy away from technological challenges one bit. With that in mind I have always toyed with the idea of custom router firmware, just never could allocate time to do it on my WNDR3800. I looked at ASUSWRT MErlin and it looks really cool, but I am not sure I will be able to give it the time it needs and also see previous point.
    Thanks for reading this long winded post and for any thoughts, advice, etc.
     
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  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    13,343
    Streaming sticks are not the best streaming devices because they can end up in back of flatscreens and their small size usually limits Wi-Fi performance. So switching to one of the larger Roku's can help improve Wi-Fi performance.

    That said, moving up to any of the routers on your list is likely to improve streaming performance significantly. An AC router can improve performance for even non AC devices and four-stream routers help even single or dual-stream devices.

    Regarding all the devices you have, the key factor is how many are simultaneously active and how much bandwidth they use when they are. Four Rokus streaming 4K Netflix will require around 50 Mbps. Even a two-stream 11ac connection can provide around 500 Mbps of bandwidth with all devices connecting at the maximum link rate (which requires the strongest signal).

    But park one of those Rokus far enough away and its link rate will drop, causing it to eat up more air time and drop total available bandwidth significantly. Still, the margin between 50 and 500 Mbps is big enough and everyone should be happy.

    If you end up needing more bandwidth, the answer is to add more radios and spread them physically around. This can be done by adding a Wi-Fi extender, adding access points (preferably Ethernet connected) or going to a Wi-Fi mesh system.

    Try the four stream router first, make sure you can return it and see how it goes.
     
  4. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Yes! Sure wish you worked for our local ISP. Anytime I call with a problem they ask how many devices and tell me to buy more bandwidth. Even when I'm the only one there and nothing else is running <lol>
    Damn you're good! Just as an FYI one can contact Roku and they'll ship a little HDMI extender for free. In my case it gave my Roku "visibility".
     
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