Wifi is weak and unreliable. Want to step up to WiFi 6e

RickyTick

Occasional Visitor
Hello all.

Moved into a older house about a year ago. My ISP provided me with an Arris DG3450A gateway device and from there I have 3 pods (Plumes) that plug into wall outlets and that creates my mesh network. The signals are not stong and we struggle with wifi in most areas of the house.
General info:
House built in 1987. 4200 sqauare feet on 3 levels.
Fiber is not yet available in my neighborhood. Maybe someday, who knows. Currently have the fastest plan my ISP provides 1Gbps x 35Mbps
6 people all have multiple wireless devices.
Ring home sescurity system. 3 doorbells, 6 outside cameras, many window/door contacts, and 2 motion sensors.
9 TV's that all stream Direct Stream Now, Netflix, Prime, etc.
Needless to say, we are very demanding on our internet system.

The current system is only Wifi 5 and I would like to upgrade to Wifi 6E. I'm interested in the Asus ET8 (2 Pak).

Do I need to replace the Arris device as well? Any recommendations?
Any overall thoughts are very much appreciated.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Do I need to replace the Arris device as well?

You need to replace most of your clients with Wi-Fi 6E compatible ones. Otherwise you will see no advantages whatsoever. Wi-Fi 6E will have shorter range and worse wall penetration compared to your current Wi-Fi 5 equipment. In my opinion, early adoption of Wi-Fi 6E products is a waste of money.
 

RickyTick

Occasional Visitor
You need to replace most of your clients with Wi-Fi 6E compatible ones. Otherwise you will see no advantages whatsoever. Wi-Fi 6E will have shorter range and worse wall penetration compared to your current Wi-Fi 5 equipment. In my opinion, early adoption of Wi-Fi 6E products is a waste of money.
Thanks for that. I read that WiFi 7 is already in the works and should be available in 2024. It's hard to keep up.
Is there anything I can do to improve my signal to the many devices on my network? That Asus ET8 system is over $500 and is hard to swallow.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What do you need is better Wi-Fi coverage, not more advanced Wi-Fi tech. Better Wi-Fi coverage means more AP's in right places, preferably wired. I know nothing about your Wi-Fi environment and any equipment recommendation will be just guessing. All IoT devices are low traffic, your 9x TV's don't stream all in the same time, your mobile devices don't need Gigabit speeds. You have to set realistic goals first. Information about building materials used, position of ISP equipment, possibility of wires, etc. may eventually help us to help you make the right decision. Asus ET8 is perhaps not the right equipment.
 

RickyTick

Occasional Visitor
I understand what you're saying. I think my main issue is that everyone keeps complaining about Netflix, Prime, etc buffering and sometimes dropping signal.
The house is 3 levels with the top level being 1000 sq ft and the other 2 at about 1500 sq ft each (approximately). Drywall walls and ceilings with standard studs and floor joists.
Correct that all TVs don't stream at the same time, but 2-3 may be streaming while 1-2 PC's might be online gaming all at the same time. My PC is the only one hard wired to the router. I work from home and occasionally game online.
Currently all the APs are on the middle (main) level. One AP should cover the upstairs and one covers the downstairs. They are somewhat close to being within line of sight of each other, but since they plug into a wall outlet, there's not way to move them around to get perfect line of sight. They look like a nite-lite plugged into the outlet, just a little bigger.
I could try to draw a picture if that helps.
Thanks for helping out.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Most folks around will recommend 2x identical omnidirectional consumer Asus routers placed near the ends of the house on the middle level, in AiMesh configuration, preferably with wired backhaul. This is the economical solution, but not good enough for me. I would find ways to wire the house first and install 3-4 directional small business central managed AP's - two wall mounted on the middle level close to outside walls and facing inwards, one ceiling mounted in the middle of the top level facing down and perhaps one ceiling mounted in the middle of the lower level also facing down. I would use a separate router/firewall and a separate switch with PoE to power the AP's. It will be more expensive and harder to do, but you do it once and you know you have Wi-Fi. All your described usage fits under 200Mbps traffic, so I would perhaps go with good Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 AP's to lower the total cost. They will provide up to 500Mbps to common 2-stream wireless clients and the total throughput will be high. No more weak Wi-Fi complaints and buffering. Gaming computers must be wired for lower latency.
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
if you have coax from cable tv, you can use that with MOCA modems as your backhaul. i have a similar sized two story with that using only 5GHz band over 4 APs that gives full coverage and at least 100 Mb/s to any user over wireless. Up to 500Mb/s for any wired user. MOCA does introduce a small amount of latency per modem pair, but my gaming son, hardwired or wireless, never complained about it when his several friends were over gaming.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
@RickyTick As others have pointed out, moving to 6 GHz will not solve your problem.

I'm curious about the Plumes. Did the ISP provide them or did you buy them separately? Why are they all located on the same floor?

Is there any pattern to the complaints? Is it from users on other floors?

What are your TVs using for streaming? Built in? Roku? Firestick, etc?
 

RickyTick

Occasional Visitor
@RickyTick As others have pointed out, moving to 6 GHz will not solve your problem.

I'm curious about the Plumes. Did the ISP provide them or did you buy them separately? Why are they all located on the same floor?

Is there any pattern to the complaints? Is it from users on other floors?

What are your TVs using for streaming? Built in? Roku? Firestick, etc?

Yes, my ISP provided them and they charge me an amount per device per month. ISP is Comporium and my only option in South Carolina.
I forgot that I also have a Plume on the lower level directly below one that is on the middle level. I'd say they about 10 feet apart through the floor.
There is one Plume that is ethernet wired directly from the Arris Gateway. The other 3 are strategically arranged in the house as close as I can get them to "line of sight".
TV's are all either a Roku TV or have a Roku streaming stick.
No real pattern to the complaints. I just seem to get all the wife and teenager complaints that "our internet sucks". Since my PC is ethernet connected, my PC runs great. :)
 

Dark910

Occasional Visitor
I feel like 3 plumes should cover that area fine. Sounds like poor placement more than anything. But depending on if you're using old plumes without backhaul, your speeds will likely suffer if you don't plan it out very well.

Ideally, the main plume should be placed on the center floor if not already. I don't usually like the idea of power outlet mounted access points and extenders, because that already puts it at a bit of an disadvantage, since they're so low and must pass through a bunch of objects like tables, chairs, etc. that a normal device would likely be able to have an easier time beaming the signal around.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Thanks for the additional info.

So 4 Plumes, three on the same floor as the router and 1 on the floor below.

You likely have too many Plumes, or at least too many in too small a space. Since the Arris is not a tri-radio router, and I suspect the Plumes are also only dual-band, backhaul among all the Plumes is probably killing you.

Are you sure that the biggest complaints aren't coming from people farthest from the Arris?

Since one Plume is connected via Ethernet to the router, I suspect it's the mesh root node and the other plumes are connecting to it.
If so, try shutting off the Arris radios, place the root Plume close to the Arris if it isn't already. Then put one Plume on the top floor and leave the other in the basement. Unplug the others to start.

After the Plumes are up and stable, let things sit for a bit to see how they sort out their connections. It could help to power off as many devices as you can, then bring them back up one by one.

Plume makes a big deal about how smart their mesh management is. It's supposed to learn and adapt. But I don't know if every ISP gets the secret sauce or if it's pay-to-play and some ISPs opt out.

As @Dark910 pointed out, wall-plugged dual-band mesh nodes don't have the greatest range or provide the highest bandwidth capacity. So this experiment may not work.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
The other 3 are strategically arranged in the house as close as I can get them to "line of sight".

They don't need to be placed in "line of sight". They need to be about 60-65dBm apart.
 

RickyTick

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for the additional info.

So 4 Plumes, three on the same floor as the router and 1 on the floor below.

You likely have too many Plumes, or at least too many in too small a space. Since the Arris is not a tri-radio router, and I suspect the Plumes are also only dual-band, backhaul among all the Plumes is probably killing you.

Are you sure that the biggest complaints aren't coming from people farthest from the Arris?
Not sure. One TV is on the screened-in porch outside and seems to struggle with wifi signal
Since one Plume is connected via Ethernet to the router, I suspect it's the mesh root node and the other plumes are connecting to it.
Correct
If so, try shutting off the Arris radios, place the root Plume close to the Arris if it isn't already.
It's literally 1 foot away
Then put one Plume on the top floor and leave the other in the basement. Unplug the others to start.
Will give it a try
After the Plumes are up and stable, let things sit for a bit to see how they sort out their connections. It could help to power off as many devices as you can, then bring them back up one by one.

Plume makes a big deal about how smart their mesh management is. It's supposed to learn and adapt. But I don't know if every ISP gets the secret sauce or if it's pay-to-play and some ISPs opt out.

As @Dark910 pointed out, wall-plugged dual-band mesh nodes don't have the greatest range or provide the highest bandwidth capacity. So this experiment may not work.

I'd love to make like a 1 minute video and put it on YouTube for you to see how it's set up. Is that allowed here and would you watch it if I did it?
Thanks!!
 

RickyTick

Occasional Visitor
I feel like 3 plumes should cover that area fine. Sounds like poor placement more than anything. But depending on if you're using old plumes without backhaul, your speeds will likely suffer if you don't plan it out very well.

Ideally, the main plume should be placed on the center floor if not already. I don't usually like the idea of power outlet mounted access points and extenders, because that already puts it at a bit of an disadvantage, since they're so low and must pass through a bunch of objects like tables, chairs, etc. that a normal device would likely be able to have an easier time beaming the signal around.

The fact that they plug into a wall outlet kinda sucks. I could attach them to an extension cord and move them higher but you can imagine how stupid that would look in the house.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Ok sorry, but I don't know what that means.
I wouldn't expect you to. The answer may be technically correct, but impractical to implement for most people.

@Tech9 Are you stating path loss or received signal level. If received signal level, which band?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
It's not surprising you're having trouble with the porch TV. Getting a 5 GHz signal through an outside wall requires a strong signal.

If that's an important spot, try placing a Plume mid-way between the porch and the root node.

You are welcome to post a link to a YouTube video.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Are you stating path loss or received signal level.

Signal level 5GHz, general recommendation for better roaming. Bell Canada is sending the same kits to their customers. I've played with two and it's really hard to make them work well. The problem is non-optimal location and low position to the ground where the power plugs are. You basically need one pod per room, they are weak. I don't know how Plume got so much business with ISP's. The pods look cheap as well.
 

SYNACK

New Around Here
You have a lot of devices that has congested traffic. Upgrade to a router that can stretch your signal not necessarily speed. Read the coverage area on print if buying. To get good performance you need to start dividing the network traffic (IoT, cameras, Media, personal device) and set priorities on traffic. I recommend to connect all of your devices on 2.4ghz Wi-Fi SSID except your personal devices that can use both 2.4 & 5. This should be your base setup and expand. If wireless is still bad get power over Ethernet adapter and plug to a device where they struggle.
 

SYNACK

New Around Here
You only need speed when you are downloading huge files and rest of the time your total speed never reach more than 25mb/s. You are really wasting money if you think you will use all that speed. Add chromecast or appletv sometimes tv Wi-Fi is not that good. Good luck!
 
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