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Wi-Fi System Roundup

Discussion in 'Wireless Article Discussions' started by thiggins, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. steve23094

    steve23094 Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    56
    It's definitely the Powerlines. Because I was getting the same loss via WiFi > Powerline > test server. I had to eliminate WiFi issues by using the adapter.

    It's a bummer because I was wanting to avoid spending the money on an Orbi.
     
  2. Mr.K

    Mr.K New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    I would love to see a retest between Netgear vs Google with Ethernet backhaul.
     
  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    13,897
    Waiting for NETGEAR to release Ethernet backhaul.
     
  4. Internet Man

    Internet Man Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2017
    Messages:
    364
    Small correction to some of the RAM and flash amounts listed...

    eero Gen 2:
    512MB RAM (Nanya NT5CC256M16DP-DI)
    4GB Flash (Kingston EMMC04G-M627)
    These specs are also on the product page: https://eero.com/technology

    TP-Link Deco M5:
    32 MB (GigaDevice GD25Q256CFIG)
     
  5. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Corrected. Thanks for the catch.
     
  6. baobab68

    baobab68 New Around Here

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2017
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    1
    I just wanted to post and say thanks for the review and comparison. I actually own a Deco M5 three-unit system, so I followed all the way through the review thinking how good all the stats looked. :-( I gather that the flaws became evident when you tested from the furthest M5 device in the "chain"?

    I wanted to comment, in case anyone is interested in the M5 system, that the admin of it has been a breeze (the app is great, IMHO) and it's definitely accomplished the two goals I had for it:

    - manage a constantly changing group of people and devices
    - make my personal devices the winner when there's contention for our limited (16Mbps download) ADSL connection

    I considered the Google Wifi, but at the time, it didn't seem to be able to make particular devices high-priority "forever", which is what I wanted (for ME ME ME).

    I do also wonder what will happen to these cloud-based admin systems when the boss company pulls the plug...I'm hopeful it'll just remove the ability to administer it when I'm away from home, and I'll still be able to do admin when I'm at home.

    Will also be interesting to see how the Deco system copes if/when we get the NBN here. Right now I can get the same speeds anywhere on the property but they're not challenging speeds! I plan to increase up to 25Mbps or 50Mbps when we get our HFC connection.
     
  7. DanH

    DanH Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2016
    Messages:
    156
  8. speedlever

    speedlever Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2014
    Messages:
    147
    Because Orbi now supports wired backhaul AND Costco had the RBK53 3 pack on sale for $70 off ($400), I couldn’t pass that up and bought it today to replace my mashup of rt-n66u AP and rt-ac56u router.

    My two downstairs units will be wired and the upstairs unit will have to get by on wireless backhaul. Now to figure out best placement which will be driven more by aesthetics than anything else.

    Edit: 2018.01.09. The Orbi system was rock solid for a good 2 weeks, and then died without warning. I couldn't get onto the web GUI or the debug page. My network was dead.

    I rewired from the modem straight into my PC and quickly got back online again. So it wasn't my ISP. I reconnected the Orbi and repowered it, but no change. Later, as I was nosing around looking for my old network gear so I could get my network back up, I heard my PC chime indicating it received a new message. Sure enough, the Orbi was back online.

    I have the Orbi on a UPS and didn't see any sign of a reboot, power issues, etc. I have no idea what caused it to die like that. So I went ahead and brought up the old network gear again. It works, not as powerfully or as well as the Orbi, but at least it works!

    The Orbi is going back to the store. My new gear should be in tomorrow or so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  9. pdonovan

    pdonovan New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    I also have a 3 unit Deco M5 system and also gave up waiting for the NBN ;-)

    I recently moved from ADSL2 to a 50/10 plan with Uniti Wireless. If I connect from the Uniti ethernet socket to the ethernet on my iMac I get the full 50/10. If I run the speed test in the Deco app I also get about 50/10.

    BUT - if I wire the iMac (or any other device, or even via wifi) via the gateway Deco the best I can get is 35/10 !?!

    Why is throughput via the Deco affected so much? Particularly when the speeds in question are relatively modest in the first place? That doesn't seem to be the case in the review here, or did I miss it?
     
  10. JB20

    JB20 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    First of all thank you for the incredibly clear review and excellent background info. This has been very helpful for a non-Techie like me. I have two questions that I was hoping you can help me with. The first is rather general and the second is more specific.

    1. Is WIFI signal strength (the number of WIFI bars on my client) directly related to speed? In other words, all things being equal, does fewer bars mean slower speed?

    2. First some background information. I have a two story ranch home, with lots of walls, about 1800 sq ft per floor. My internet comes in at my first floor office which is situated in a corner of my home and I run an ethernet from my Comcast cable modem directly to my iMac and a second ethernet from my modem to my Linksys EA8500 router. (For what it's worth, speed tests at the iMac consistently measure 950 MBPS ). I use a MOCA set-up to provide multiple ethernet connections to my media center which is located in my basement (this works really well other than the ethernet speed in the basement is only half of what it is at the modem, I did not expect such speed degradation over the cable but it meets my needs).

    Here is my issue, first, the WIFI in my house is adequate except in the far reaches of my basement and first floor. Second, except within line of site of the router I have almost no 5G signal throughout my house. All of my devices (multiple echoes, rings, nest, Wemo switches, phones, laptops, etc) are basically crowding out my 2.4G band. So I have a dual band router and I am basically only using one of the bands. My goal is to provide WIFI to the far reaches of my home and to provide better 5G coverage.

    So I was thinking of switching to an Orbi mesh system, which is why your article has been so helpful to me. I found the following information on the Netgear website https://kb.netgear.com/000038220/Which-Orbi-WiFi-System-is-best-for-me). In particular, I am having trouble understanding the specifications listed for the RBK52W system which for some reason bundles a RBR50 (AC3000 router) with two RBW30 (AC2200) satellites. The Back Haul speed for this bundle is listed in the Table as 1.7 GBPS. Is it possible for the AC2200 satellites to communicate with the AC3000 router at this speed? I have spent hours trying to speak to an adult at Netgear to no avail. In fact, it is kind of reminiscent of speaking to Comcast support (which may not be fair to Comcast). Since I am non-technical I am trying to figure out why Netgear would bundle AC2200 satellites with an AC3000 router. Perhaps it is because of the marginal coverage increase. Any insight that you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Also, based on the information I provided you with do you feel that a mesh system will help me accomplish my goals (improved high speed coverage throughout my home, even in the far reaches)? To be honest, based on my pre-purchase experience with Netgear I am also concerned how well this company stands behind their products.
     
  11. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    174
    Minor, but I would have the cable modem feed into your router, and only your router, before going into your imac or any other computers. That way it will help protect your computers with a firewall.

    curious, what are your walls made of? My 5ghz signal can make it through a few pieces of drywall pretty well, but dies when it hits an add-on to our house which is stucco and metal lath.

    I haven't used the systems myself, but it seems more useful to describe the orbi stations by their backhaul and their fronthaul. and it does seem a little curious that netgear likes to pair up a 4x4 backhaul router with a 2x2 backhaul satellite The two cases where you may benefit from the 4x4 router are:
    * you may have multiple satellites communicating with the router at the same time.
    * the 4 streams will help out range and speed slightly, even with a 2x2 satellite.

    A bigger problem might be the lack of 5ghz signal in your house. If the orbis can't get a ghz connection, then it won't work wirelessly. you can get a wifi analyzer app on your phone to scout for signal. Your EA8500 is a 4 stream router so it should be a good proxy for an RBR50. you can get an idea of where you could possibly place some satellites. But if your walls are made out of faraday cages, then it might be unworkable.

    What are your wiring possibilities? Can ethernet be readily wired around the house? What about your MoCa set up, are there other coaxial ports wired around the house? You could use that as a backhaul. Sure MocA is only giving you ~500mbps, but that's more than you'll likely get from any wireless solution in a real house.
     
  12. JB20

    JB20 New Around Here

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    May 11, 2018
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    Thank you for getting back to me with your detailed response. I have some follow-up questions if I may (by the way some areas of my house, which were added onto over the years, have cinderblock walls, which is causing some of my signal issues).

    1. Was your "Minor" response addressing my question 1 (about a relationship between signal strength and speed). If so, does this suggest that it could be possible to have a fast connection even if the wifi signal is low?

    2. I like your idea about a wifi analyzer. Would this provide more qualitative information than simply setting my phone to the 5G band and looking at the number or wifi bars or running a speed test at various points in my home?

    3. For an ethernet back haul, do the router and satellite have to be connected directly via their LAN/WAN ports? I am trying to picture how this would work. The MOCA system is not connected directly to the router, but the router is connected directly to the cable modem via ethernet; does this ethernet connection actually connect the router to the ethernet ports on the MOCA?


    Thank you for the suggestion of connecting my iMac to the router via ethernet rather than directly to the cable modem.
     
  13. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    174
    1) the "minor" idea was just to get your imac behind the firewall.

    2) Yeah, just walk around with the wifi analyzer and a speedtest app. When the speedtest hits your "minimum acceptable speed", look at the signal strength in the wifi analyzer app. Now you know the signal strength you need and can cruise around the house looking to see if there are useful install points.

    3) What devices are plugged into your MoCa setup right now?

    the routers and satellites all have ethernet ports, so you'll ultimate need to get an ethernet connection.

    My expection is the MoCa chain would be like this:

    Router -> Short Ethernet cable -> MoCa adapter -> coax in your house -> MoCa adapter -> short ethernet cable -> Satellite

    So ethernet is more elegant because it takes the adapters out of the equation.

    My house is fairly "long and skinny" so eventually I bit the bullet, studied a lot of youtube, and ran a single ethernet cable the length of my crawlspace to the far side that was giving me problems. Not as robust as a full networking setup with a wiring closet, but it works for my minimal purposes.
     
  14. JB20

    JB20 New Around Here

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    May 11, 2018
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    Thank you again
     
  15. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    13,897
    Generally, you need a strong signal to get higher throughput. But other factors are in play including active device mix, and activity in neighboring networks.
     
  16. JB20

    JB20 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    I have two more questions regarding Orbi mesh networks:

    1. Let's say I have an AC3000 satellite and an AC3000 router. At a given distance from the router, will the satellite be able to receive a stronger signal than a client w0uld receive (without the satellite) the same location. In other words does the antenna/radio of the satellite allow it to receive stronger signal than a client such as an iPhone?

    2. Let's say I have an Orbi AC3000 router coupled with an AC3000 satellite and an AC2200 satellite. Will the AC3000 satellite be able to communicate with the router at the ideal back haul speed of 1.7G or does the presence of the AC2200 satellite in the system limit the back haul speed between the AC3000 satellite and AC3000 router to and ideal throughput of 867Mbps?
     
  17. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
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    13,897
    1. The four stream radio will have a higher signal level due to more streams and better antenna design.

    2. Multiple satellites share bandwidth but will support thier own max link rates, if signal levels are high enough.
     
  18. JB20

    JB20 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Two more Orbi Questions:

    1. My understanding is that there system has one SSID and it determines which band a client will connect to (assuming the client is able to receive at both 2.4G and 5G). If the client supports 5G will the Orbi always connect it to 5G assuming that there is an adequate signal? What criteria does the Orbi used to determine which band it will connect the client to and are the criteria configurable?

    2. If I give the Orbi the same SSID and PW as the current 2.4G band on my router will all of my clients think that the Orbi is the same as my current Linksys router or will I have to re-enter the PW on all of my clients.

    Thanks is advance for your answers.
     
  19. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    174
    1) My anecdotal experience (not orbi but other "smart connect") is that the client device is mostly in charge of which channel it joints, and sometimes they'll be dumb and join the 2.4ghz channel when they shouldn't. Tim's more recent roaming mysteries articles seem to back this up.

    I don't think orbi, or anyone, let's you configure the minute details of band steering. It's usually an on/off switch.

    2) Yep, if you keep the SSID the same all your devices will think you've never changed networks. Which is great.
     
  20. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    2,815
    Location:
    texas
    I have been wrestling with the bandsteering idea. So are you using it with 1 AP or multiples? How are you adjusting your radios? Do you setup the wireless for 2.4GHz with 5GHz as an added bonus or do you adjust the wireless network for 5GHz and turn down the 2.4GHz radios?