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Thread: New Wireless Router

  1. #1
    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    New Wireless Router

    I just got NetGears R7000 AC1900 router. Looking for tips to best configure it. It has a feature to combine both bands into one, but it seems to make traffic slower. Any suggestions?
    "There was like a softness to it, a glow to it. I felt... I felt warm."

    -- Joseph Daniel Votto 7/10/2017

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  3. #2
    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    You never got an answer, at least not yet, but for anyone that looked I have a question about routers. I have a wireless router that I'm guessing is about 10 years old, perhaps a shade less. Anyhoo, recently I've had to start unplugging it, and plugging it back in to get it to "reset" itself so that it will work. Up a few weeks ago, I've used my route primarily for wifi access for an ipad and cell phones, and occasionally my wife's work computer when she has it at home. I also have a TV that is hard wired, though I'm not sure if that connection starts at the router, or if it comes directly out of the timewarner/spectrum box. Anyhoo, its easy access to unplug, then I can immediately plug it back in and it "works" again. Not a huge pain, but something I knew I was going to have to replace sometime relatively soon.

    In the meantime, however, circumstances have changed. We had an older TV down the basement that is never turned on. It used to be our primary TV until I upgraded that a few years ago, then I moved it down to the basement and occasionally the kids would watch a DVD on it, it wasn't even hooked up to the cable/internet. A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to mount it up in our bedroom where we didn't have a TV, get a Roku player and an antenna so that we could occasionally watch movies in the bedroom and have the news on in the morning. I doubt we'll watch a ton up there, but enough that I want the wifi connection to work well. When I first setup the Roku, it gave me a message that the signal was "weak" and suggested a range extender for our router. I haven't bought on, as of yet as it seemed to work fine with amazon prime for the most part. I really haven't tested it out much beyond that on the wifi. Anyways, last night, for the first time, the wifi connection on that TV was really slow, picture was less than ideal in some parts, and it paused several times.

    So, would a new router fix the range? On my phone if i sit in my bed I'm often at 2 out of 3 "bars" or whatever you call it on my signal strength. Move to my kids bedroom nextdoor and its a full 3 out 3. Is there a router recommendation? I'm certainly not the most technically inclined, so something that I could "plug in" and it would work would be ideal. I know on this router, initially I think I had to set it up thru my wife's work computer, but could be confusing that with something else. Ideally I'd like to be able to watch the spectrum TV app (that was kind of splotchy when I tried to use it to watch the Olympics prior to getting the antenna set up), amazon, HBO go and likely netflix at some point as well as other streaming services. The TV in question is a low end Sceptre brand that someone gave me. The picture is good enough, don't know if that plays a role at all, TV is probably 8 years old or so.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Posting in the clutch since twenty ought two.

  4. #3
    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    You never got an answer, at least not yet, but for anyone that looked I have a question about routers. I have a wireless router that I'm guessing is about 10 years old, perhaps a shade less. Anyhoo, recently I've had to start unplugging it, and plugging it back in to get it to "reset" itself so that it will work. Up a few weeks ago, I've used my route primarily for wifi access for an ipad and cell phones, and occasionally my wife's work computer when she has it at home. I also have a TV that is hard wired, though I'm not sure if that connection starts at the router, or if it comes directly out of the timewarner/spectrum box. Anyhoo, its easy access to unplug, then I can immediately plug it back in and it "works" again. Not a huge pain, but something I knew I was going to have to replace sometime relatively soon.

    In the meantime, however, circumstances have changed. We had an older TV down the basement that is never turned on. It used to be our primary TV until I upgraded that a few years ago, then I moved it down to the basement and occasionally the kids would watch a DVD on it, it wasn't even hooked up to the cable/internet. A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to mount it up in our bedroom where we didn't have a TV, get a Roku player and an antenna so that we could occasionally watch movies in the bedroom and have the news on in the morning. I doubt we'll watch a ton up there, but enough that I want the wifi connection to work well. When I first setup the Roku, it gave me a message that the signal was "weak" and suggested a range extender for our router. I haven't bought on, as of yet as it seemed to work fine with amazon prime for the most part. I really haven't tested it out much beyond that on the wifi. Anyways, last night, for the first time, the wifi connection on that TV was really slow, picture was less than ideal in some parts, and it paused several times.

    So, would a new router fix the range? On my phone if i sit in my bed I'm often at 2 out of 3 "bars" or whatever you call it on my signal strength. Move to my kids bedroom nextdoor and its a full 3 out 3. Is there a router recommendation? I'm certainly not the most technically inclined, so something that I could "plug in" and it would work would be ideal. I know on this router, initially I think I had to set it up thru my wife's work computer, but could be confusing that with something else. Ideally I'd like to be able to watch the spectrum TV app (that was kind of splotchy when I tried to use it to watch the Olympics prior to getting the antenna set up), amazon, HBO go and likely netflix at some point as well as other streaming services. The TV in question is a low end Sceptre brand that someone gave me. The picture is good enough, don't know if that plays a role at all, TV is probably 8 years old or so.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Getting a new router wouldn't be the worst idea - especially if you have true high speed internet. But getting a new one may not increase range. Where your router is at can be a big factor. I work from home, so the router sits on my desk - I need the fastest possible speeds. My desktop computer is plugged in via ethernet, but this close it wouldn't make a difference in the speeds (I've actually tested this). But the devices upstairs is where things get interesting. When I first set up my desk in the basement, I had the router on the right side of my desk so it wouldn't be as visible when you first walked in. We had problems getting a strong signal in one room upstairs. I moved the router five feet to the other side of my desk so it's not as hidden behind this wall, and now that room gets wifi that's plenty strong enough. So, it's possible that moving your router to a more central position in the home could help.

    With that said - if you have to unplug and plug it back in to keep it working.... and you aren't flat broke - go spend $60-100 and get you a new one. It may be possible that your ISP could provide you one for free - depends on who you have/where you live, but you may want to check with them about it before going out and dropping the money.

  5. #4
    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    thanks Doug. I knew I was going to have to get a new one sooner, rather than later, just not sure how much of a difference one router vs another makes. The one that TRF listed above is roughly $135 on amazon (I have done no price comparison anywhere, so it may be available for much less elsewhere) I own a tri-level; for those that have never been in one, its basically half ranch, half two story. My router sits by the main TV in the living room, which is at the portion of the house where the ranch meets the two story, so the master bedroom and TV really isn't all that far away as the crow would fly. I have it sitting on the ground, perhaps putting it up higher would help, may be some interference from the surrounding objects. I'm pretty sure spectrum will "give you one" however you have to pay the monthly rental fee on it (a handful of bucks) so I'm thinking I'd rather just purchase a new one on my own figuring I'll have it for at least 3 years, if not double that and easily come out ahead price wise.
    Posting in the clutch since twenty ought two.

  6. #5
    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    The router itself can make a difference, and I honestly can't say that I know enough about them in terms of which ones "broadcast" the signal further/better. But, I do know that where you can see differences is in the speed at which they can broadcast. For example, the one you have right now is so old that it's possible it's only capable of broadcasting 100 Mbps. But you may be getting more than that from your ISP (I get about 250 Mbps through Spectrum where I live - as an example). I think that generally speaking, any new one you get should be able to broadcast out the higher speeds. I just did a quick check on Best Buy's website and found a $45 route that is capable of 600 Mbps, so you should be pretty good even with the cheaper ones in terms of this specific aspect.

    What you may want to look into given your home layout is getting a wifi extender. Those run anywhere from $20-100 depending on exactly what you want. Getting one of those to put between your router and your tough to reach spots for $25 could be rather helpful. Just some food for thought.

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    Re: New Wireless Router

    I am not sure what your level of expertise is or how much effort you are looking to put in but I will throw in my 2 cents. Off the shelf wireless routers have 2 issues. One is they are not so much routers, as they are a mash up of a router, a switch and a wireless access point. None of the components are normally of any decent quality if they were stand alone devices and the only value comes from that fact they are all slapped together in one box. In fact in most boxes there is one, sometimes 2 processors shared by all the components rather than each component having there own. The other problem is when they were designed years ago I am not sure they every envisioned dozens of devices all over the house all going back to a single location.

    My solution was to split the components up. There are a lot or ways you can do it but I used components from a company called Ubiquity Networks. An Edgemax router, a couple of access points and a switch. My wireless coverage is strong everywhere in the house and anything hardwired in my house is getting full wire speed gig connectivity (Backing computers up to network storage for example). I had a decent Linksys router and my "gig" ports were backing things up at around 250mb.

    If your main concern is coverage and signal strength and you don't want to break up the components, you could look into one of the "mesh" systems that everyone is rolling out. The mesh systems have a main hub similar to your current router where you can plug stuff in but you put satellites in the rooms where your coverage is weaker and it amplifies the signal across all the devices. The downside is they are generally pretty expensive $300+. I heard good things about the Netgear Nighthawk mesh but it is really expensive. The Ubiquiti Amplifi system looks really cool but the performance is not great.

    If you did not want to do either of those and just wanted to stick to off the shelf stuff make sure you get one that has MU-MIMO technology which essentially give each device its own link (as opposed to sharing the link among multiple devices) and beam or signal forming which channels the radio signals toward devices instead of randomly spread across the house. My experience has been ASUS routers have been very good.

    The last thing I would suggest is if you know how to go in your router take low performance stuff like thermostats and appliances and stick it on the 2.4Ghz band so you use the 5Ghz band for the stuff that needs it.

  8. #7
    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Thanks for all the info. Much appreciated.
    Posting in the clutch since twenty ought two.

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    Re: New Wireless Router

    I've been looking at the mesh systems because I have a weird tri level house also, and the router is downstairs, but the reviews are weird.

    Google's system isn't the highest reviewed at places like the Wirecutter but then if you actually go to Amazon and read user reviews people seem the happiest with it.

    The Wirecutter has become less useful to me on tech items, because they seem to consistently rate based on extraneous features I don't really need.

    I wonder a lot about planned obsolescence with routers because it seems like performance degrades steadily over time.

    I have a Linksys AC5400 Tri Band and it's a good router, but I would like to try the mesh systems - a few hundred bucks is just steep for something I am not sure will really improve the situation.
    “When I use a word,” Trumpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Trumpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    I've been looking at the mesh systems because I have a weird tri level house also, and the router is downstairs, but the reviews are weird.

    Google's system isn't the highest reviewed at places like the Wirecutter but then if you actually go to Amazon and read user reviews people seem the happiest with it.

    The Wirecutter has become less useful to me on tech items, because they seem to consistently rate based on extraneous features I don't really need.

    I wonder a lot about planned obsolescence with routers because it seems like performance degrades steadily over time.

    I have a Linksys AC5400 Tri Band and it's a good router, but I would like to try the mesh systems - a few hundred bucks is just steep for something I am not sure will really improve the situation.
    I installed the google mesh system a couple of weeks ago and have not been disappointed. We can now go anywhere in the house and have consistent, fast service. Best Buy had the 3 device system on sale for around $250 when I bought it.
    Prior to installing the mesh system it was nearly impossible for my “downstairs” Smart TV to access the WiFi from the “upstairs” router.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by 1009 2012 View Post
    I installed the google mesh system a couple of weeks ago and have not been disappointed. We can now go anywhere in the house and have consistent, fast service. Best Buy had the 3 device system on sale for around $250 when I bought it.
    Prior to installing the mesh system it was nearly impossible for my “downstairs” Smart TV to access the WiFi from the “upstairs” router.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Same experience here. Google wifi has been solid so far. Super easy to use and setup and now internet speeds throughout the house are consistent.

  12. #11
    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    So, I've added Netgear's Nighthawk Mesh X4S Wall-Plug Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender. I'm now getting an excellent signal on the 5G band in the areas of the house where it would not reach. But the DL speed is only around 25MB per second. It is all one network name, but I need to do some configuring either to the router or the extender. The router's speed test has me at 218 MB down, but wirelessly I am getting about 125, and wired is oddly slower at 92MB.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd take some tips.
    "There was like a softness to it, a glow to it. I felt... I felt warm."

    -- Joseph Daniel Votto 7/10/2017

  13. #12
    Overton Window Breaker WrongVerb's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    So, I've added Netgear's Nighthawk Mesh X4S Wall-Plug Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender. I'm now getting an excellent signal on the 5G band in the areas of the house where it would not reach. But the DL speed is only around 25MB per second. It is all one network name, but I need to do some configuring either to the router or the extender. The router's speed test has me at 218 MB down, but wirelessly I am getting about 125, and wired is oddly slower at 92MB.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd take some tips.
    Could it be your ISP is slow?
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  14. #13
    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by WrongVerb View Post
    Could it be your ISP is slow?
    I think it's the wiring in the house. It used to be wired for Dish Network with splitters to different rooms, now it is Suddenlink Cable. I was getting the full 200 down at my old house. Suddenlink generally speaking has very fast internet speeds. I could live with 92 down wired. but the fact that I am getting 125 wirelessly tells me I have some thick walls with a ton of interference. I plan to purchase 3 more Mesh extenders over the next year, but the price has to come down. The tech is improving at a rate that my router will be obsolete by the time i have my house covered properly.
    "There was like a softness to it, a glow to it. I felt... I felt warm."

    -- Joseph Daniel Votto 7/10/2017

  15. #14
    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by 1009 2012 View Post
    I installed the google mesh system a couple of weeks ago and have not been disappointed. We can now go anywhere in the house and have consistent, fast service. Best Buy had the 3 device system on sale for around $250 when I bought it.
    Prior to installing the mesh system it was nearly impossible for my “downstairs” Smart TV to access the WiFi from the “upstairs” router.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

    1. What is your connection speed?
    2. What are you getting wirelessly from the main router?
    3. What are you getting when you know you are connected to one of the access points?


    I'm trying to determine how much slower my extended mesh network access point should be, if at all.
    "There was like a softness to it, a glow to it. I felt... I felt warm."

    -- Joseph Daniel Votto 7/10/2017

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    Re: New Wireless Router

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    So, I've added Netgear's Nighthawk Mesh X4S Wall-Plug Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender. I'm now getting an excellent signal on the 5G band in the areas of the house where it would not reach. But the DL speed is only around 25MB per second. It is all one network name, but I need to do some configuring either to the router or the extender. The router's speed test has me at 218 MB down, but wirelessly I am getting about 125, and wired is oddly slower at 92MB.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd take some tips.
    My suggestion for step 1 is disconnect your router and connect a computer via Cat6, directly to the modem and do a speedtest. This should be your baseline speed from your ISP. If you are getting numbers far off what you are supposed to get, check the Co-ax cable and connections to your modem. (Based on you 218 from the router I am guessing you are ok here)

    I will say up front I am not a fan of what I will term "residential" mesh systems. In a normal home environment your device connects to a gateway router and the wireless signal has to pass through walls and ceilings and stuff to connect and the signal degrades. On a mesh system your device connects to a remote mesh radio and you get a great signal - to that radio - but how does that mesh device radio connect back to the gateway? - Wirelessly, through walls and ceilings and stuff where it degrades. The radios in the mesh systems are a little stronger than what is on your device but not enough in my opinion to justify the cost.

    Wireless speeds issues are kind of tough to pin down. 5Ghz radios will give you much better throughput than the 2.4Ghz, but they also degrade quicker when passing through walls, floors, furniture so if there are a lot stuff between your device and the router that may be part of the problem. I would also recommend getting a WiFi Channel scanning program like NetSpot for example, that does a review of what WiFi networks are running in your area to see if you are running on "clean" channel (if you are in a normal size neighborhood you will be amazed how many WiFi radios are running). For example you might be on channel 161 and find there are 5 other radios in your neighborhood that are also on 161. Move to the one that is not populated and you will not get as much interference.

    On the Ethernet ports on your router its just garbage engineering. Either the chipset on your device is not good enough to pull full wire speed, or more likely, the firmware on your router is what is limiting throughput. If you have the skills to do it or slept at a Holiday Inn express last night take a look here https://dd-wrt.com/. Its an community of developers that creates open source firmware for off the shelf routers. I solved some problems I had on a router a few year back and full disclosure I "bricked" another one because I did not read that the firmware was a beta version

    If speeds and reliability are critical though I would look into getting more enterprise level gear. Most of the stuff you get off the shelf, even the super expensive "serious gamer" routers, are not all that great.

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    TRF (09-20-2018)


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