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Wireless router & extender for big house

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by Dragonzay, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. Dragonzay

    Dragonzay New Around Here

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    Hey guys, I need suggestions. I tried to read reviews and stuff and it doesn't really help me at all but giving me confusion.

    So my current setup is 3 stories building and asus ac87u on the 3rd floor. I tested it with my phone and what I found is... On the 2nd floor, the signal is not bad around the stairs but getting weaker if I moved away from the stairs especially the 5g. On the 1st floor everything is meh. There's a power socket near the stairs so I'm thinking about using an extender there. I want a strong extender to make sure it can reach the 1st floor, or I can use another extender there? Oh and I can't move my router to 2nd floor so yeah

    My plan was ac87u on 3rd floor, ex7000 or ex8000 on 2nd floor (but I don't know which one I should get, which one can cover the area more and stuff). And maybe another extender on 1st floor. I also open for replacing my ac87u, was looking for ac5300
     
  2. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I'm going to take your word that you can't relocate your router to the 2nd floor : -(

    That also suggests you can't use a (wired) wireless access point. But, someone, (rightfully so) might suggest an access point via a power-line device?

    (You talked about signal levels but you didn't talk about data rates. Back when I only had a 7 mbps Internet service, well, my bad signal levels didn't really hurt so I didn't care much. It wasn't until I upgraded to 100 mbps that I started caring.)

    I use the Netgear 6150 (I liked the compact form factor) range extender with reasonable luck so I assume the 7 or 8000 would be a decent step up. If you can try using the "fast lane" config option it comes with. That's where you dedicate one radio to talking with your router and the other radio for clients only. It will greatly improve your data speeds.

    Hopefully the 5 GHz signal to where you want to plug in your range extender is good. If so then use it to backhaul to the router. Then there's a better chance of the 2.4GHz radio reaching your 1st floor clients.

    If not then flip it and use the 2.4 for the back-haul to the router. If 5GHz doesn't reach enough 1st floor clients then you'll have to augment coverage with 2.4; connectivity outweighs performance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  3. Dragonzay

    Dragonzay New Around Here

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    Yeah I can't move my router sadly and yes wired won't be much easier because thick walls everywhere. I'm not sure which one I should get. Will the ex7000 perform better because external antennas ?

    Oh and I found this in some review
    "On the downside, the antennas can be neither aimed at the target area nor replaced with higher performance ones. Happily, the X6S can pass its signal on to another X6S extender in a mesh-like arrangement for larger homes."

    What is mesh like arrangement ? And can I connect an extender to another extender wirelessly?
     
  4. degrub

    degrub Very Senior Member

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    if you have coax in the house, take a look at moca (1.1 with RG-59 and 2.0 with RG-6 coax).
    It can get complicated if an cable co. is providing service, but there are plenty of threads to read in the moca forum section.
     
  5. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Wired Access Points are much preferred over extenders. Powerline and moca devices can also be better alternatives to extenders (in that they provide a "wire" for your access point).

    You caught me totally by surprise with the X6S routers and extenders. What they've done here is add a third radio (a 2nd 5 GHz radio in this case). The third radio allows the routers and extenders to talk to each other without negatively impacting client traffic.

    A mesh is like a router/extender combo on steroids. A mesh often includes multiple "extenders", a 3rd radio for the backhaul communications, intelligent configuration, best path movement of data, star and daisy chain topologies, etc.

    One might well argue that your large house is an excellent condidate for mesh. Weak spot? Just add another mesh node. Cost? Well, if you can afford a large house you can afford mesh : -)

    Or you might be able to afford to make mistake or two as well. Buy a cheap 6150 and simply plug it into that wall socket by the 2nd floor stairwell. Configure "fast lane" to use a 5 gHz backhaul. If it works you've learned something. If it doesn't then consider this, if mesh nodes use 5 GHz for communications where would you locate your mesh node(s)?

    (Refresher course; roughly speaking, 2.4GHz goes further and 5GHz goes faster.)

    You could then use your 6150 to figure out if there is someplace else to locate a mesh node. If there isn't then you might not be a candidate for mesh. (If there isn't you can set your 6150 to backhaul over the 2.4 band and see where that takes you.)

    If it turns out you are a candidate for mesh there are plenty of options to choose from. (Even so while some report great success others are less than pleased.) Or, you might find just adding another extender will meet your needs.

    BTW, you haven't mentioned your Internet speeds are or what speeds you're seeing on the 3rd, 2nd or 1st floors.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  6. Dragonzay

    Dragonzay New Around Here

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    On 3rd floor, I get around 70mbps (normal speed). I have a tp link re450 extender and did some testing with it. I plugged the re450 on first floor and only the 2.4 led turned on. So I guess it connected to my router using 2.4 and the speed on 1st floor was around 50mbps. On 2nd floor ? No improvement at all.

    I just read about mesh. Can I mix it with any router or I can only use the mesh kit? I want to use Asus router, is AiMesh worth the price? Is it even performing well?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  7. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Location:
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    So your best case wireless speed on the 3rd floor (where your router is located) is 70 mbps. What Internet speeds are you paying for?

    So you already have a "play" device! Quite frankly 50 out of 70 over a range extender sounds fabulous. What speeds are you seeing on the 2nd floor?

    What happens when you plug the range extender into that 2nd floor stairwell outlet? Good speeds on the 2nd floor? Does it reach the 1st floor? What speeds?

    Asus is trying to compete with the mesh market by including mesh software with some of their routers. The jury is still out as to how well this all works.

    At least some mesh systems are all or nothing kits so caveat emptor. Others appear to be looking at Asus's "open approach".
     
  8. Dragonzay

    Dragonzay New Around Here

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    True that, the speed isn't that bad. That little extender can't reach other floor though. So if I plugged it on 2nd floor, it won't reach the 1st floor and the other way around.

    I haven't test about the latency. And latency is one of my concern in case people on 1st & 2nd floor want to play game. Will they get any hickup or not.

    I'm wondering why, if I connected to my router directly using 2.4ghz, it will be like this.
    [​IMG]
    And this is with 5ghz for comparison
    [​IMG]
    I have no idea what cause it but that's why I would prefer using 5ghz on every floor for playing games but sadly the range is quite short. I'm not an expert in this networking world so I might be wrong lol
     
  9. degrub

    degrub Very Senior Member

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    don't forget that wireless is a two way street. It depends on both device's strengths and weaknesses for tx and rx.

    That could be interference from your neighbors, reflections in the house (too high tx power), traffic variation through the network, etc.

    wired backhaul will be more reliable than wireless however you can accomplish it - ethernet, powerline, moca.
    If you have to use wireless only to reach, unless you have direct line of sight, you will likely have to find channels on 2.4Ghz band that have low interference from neighbors. Then use floor specific 5Ghz channels only.
    Any wireless repeating is more likely to have larger latency than wired.
     
  10. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Location:
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    I agree with Mr. Degrub (although your snapshot / observation could be merely coincidental).
    • Someone else might have been using the network while you were pinging.
    • Someone might have been microwaving popcorn : -)
    • The baby monitor was on?
    • You have an old 2.4 cordless phone?
    • Your neighbor is using the same 2.4 channel as you?
    • Your range extender is using the same 2.4 channel as your router?
    Oh you had to be a gamer <lol>

    Well play a little. Go to the 3rd floor, plug directly into the router (Ethernet) and play something. Then connect at 5GHz and play, then 2.4GHz and play. Any observable differences?

    If gaming over Ethernet and/or 5 GHz on the 3rd floor is a little sucky take a look at QoS on your router. If they're great but 2.4 GHz on the 3rd floor is a little sucky then reread degrub and/or see list above.

    Sounds like you've a working range extender so if/when 2.4 is working well on the 3rd floor go to the first floor and connect to the range extender @ 5GHz. How's that game running now?

    As you play you'll start developing some ideas. Maybe a couple of extenders will be enough? Maybe you really do want a mesh system (again you'll want to think about where you can pick up a decent 5 GHz signal to relay down to the first floor)? Or, maybe, just because you can't run a wire from the 3rd to 2nd floor you might be able to run a wire from the 2nd to first?

    BTW; what is your subscribed service speed?
     
  11. Dragonzay

    Dragonzay New Around Here

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    I see, so probably just common interference then :)

    My subscription service speed is up to 100mbps .At night I can reach that speed but at peak hour it will mostly dip down to 70. So yeah 70 is pretty normal

    No difference between wired and wireless but a little latency. So everything on 3rd floor is normal

    I see now that using normal extender is bad because the speed penalty. Connecting an extender to another is even worse (glad I haven't bought anything).

    I think I would go with mesh for full performance

    Correct me if I'm wrong but do I get it right ?

    3rd floor AC5300
    2.4 - TV
    5 - PC
    5 - backbone AiMesh

    2nd floor AC86U
    2.4 - everything else
    5 - backbone AiMesh

    Or

    3rd floor AC5300
    2.4 - TV
    5 - PC
    5 - backbone

    2nd floor EX8000
    2.4 - TV
    5 - PC
    5 - backbone fast lane

    1st floor EX7500
    2.4 - TV
    5 - PC
    5 - backbone fast lane will connect to 2nd floor
     
  12. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Location:
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    I think both layouts seem theoretically correct. Couple comments.
    • If I remember correctly there are two 5300s, one is getting good feedback and the other isn't.
    • Some like aimesh, others say it isn't ready for primetime.
    • You haven't shared with us anything that says 5GHz works from the 2nd to 3rd floor. (Whether it's a pc or temporarily moving your existing range extender to test with.) It'd be a real bummer to engineer to a 5GHz backbone only to find it's not there. It "should" work for one floor hop but your OP implied otherwise.
    That is certainly true of those old single radio extenders. The two band extenders have some chops if engineered correctly (e.g., fast lane, cross connect). I wasn't even aware of three-band extenders until you mentioned it.

    I'm still a fan of playing around with your existing range extender, e.g., moving it to the 2nd floor, see if it then connects to the router at 5GHz, see how well it does at feeding your clients on 2nd and even 1st floor. Play with it, see if you can mimic a fast lane config, call the vendor if need be. The idea is if a client connects to the extender at 2.4 then the extender should connect to the router at 5. I like the predictability of Netgear with fast lane but others (like linksys with cross connect) do it automatically. The client connects on whatever then they automatically use the other radio to connect to the router.

    Sure, three radios do sound ideal but for some of us (cheap old men) dual band and decent engineering will do the job.

    Using an old single band range extender as an example; client sends to a range extender. Client goes to send second packet but can't because the range extender is busy using the radio to send first packet to the router. Thus the data speed hit.

    With two and three band extenders here is the potential; client sends to the range extender, then a 2nd and 3rd packet. It can because the range extender is using a different radio to send to the router while the client is still transmitting.

    Hey, you're fun. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!

    BTW; you're likely going to be a daisy chain topology. Many to most extenders and mesh systems should allow daisy chains (relays).

    PS; and that got me to looking at your two ideas again. Your mesh stops on floor 2. If you're thinking that will work then you could try eliminating the range extender on floor 1 (and add it later if need be). Again, test it out with your existing range extender?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  13. Dragonzay

    Dragonzay New Around Here

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    Oh yeah there's Asus GT-AC5300 and asus AC5300. Most review said they are... Good ? But maybe someone here tested them further and found something that I don't know

    Sweet, so if I want to have 5ghz on every floor I should go with Netgear layout then ?

    I'm not sure if RE450 have any fast lane or cross connect? But on the page it says

    High Speed Mode

    High Speed mode maximizes overall performance by combining the bandwidth of both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz channels to create a lightning-fast connection with one band sending data and the other receiving it.

    I plugged the RE450 onto the power socket near the stairs and also getting around 50ish. Both 2.4 and 5 lights are turned on. I'm not sure if the speed dropped because it's the extender behavior or because bad signal I haven't check further. But the result is similar with my 1st floor test where the extender only get 2.4ghz signal from my router
     
  14. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Location:
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    Do you think your ISP is oversubscribed or is it because the rest of the family is on?
    I'm not sure if this means they went above and beyond of if they missed the point?
    Or another mesh node on the 1st floor?
    @degrub said something earlier; performance is a function of a decent router and a decent client. So take a decent client (probably a laptop with AC), locate it near that 2nd floor stairwell outlet, connect it to the 3rd floor router at 5 GHz and run your speed test.
    • If the laptop also gets only 50 I'm going to guess that location is getting a sub-optimal signal at 5GHz. Consider another location or try moving the 3rd floor router closer to the stairwell?
    • If the laptop gets the "full" 70 mbps then I'd guess that the range extender is adding some overhead which, quite frankly, at those low speeds, I don't think it should be if configured "properly" (like we've talked about).
    (And, BTW, for speed testing your Internet speed is a "pinch point". When we had 15 mbps at work 5 GHz topped out at 15. When we upgraded to 100 5 GHz topped out at 100 but when we upgraded to 400 the 5GHz topped out at 150. It wasn't until then that I really knew what my 5 GHz was capable of.)

    That begins to explain why I'm concerned that you're only getting 50 @ 5 GHz. (You could Ethernet a PC into your router, connect a [email protected] 5GHz and run speed tests between the two of them for a better picture.)

    Now I'm going to tell you up front I'm an idiot and I would not do anything on my say so.
    • That said I would play (relocate, reconfigure, etc.) with my existing extender a little more to learn more about what I'm really trying to solve/fix.
    • Then I might buy one of those extenders you're talking about and connect it to the existing router. Hopefully by then you've found the secret to making 5 GHz work on the 2nd floor. If not then you might have to "flip it" and use 2.4 as the backbone to the router (and 5 to feed as many 2nd floor clients as you can).
    • Then try using your existing range extender for your 1st floor clients?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018