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MrBillieBob

Need Wifi Advice

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Posted · Original PosterOP

With everyone working from home we've been having some issues with our internet dropping out. There are four people with work setups along with several TVs going for most of the day; our smart home setup is also rather extensive. Currently we have a Netgear R9000 with a mesh extender (400mb/s connection) but it's 3 or 4 years old at this point. Could that be the problem area? If so what would you recommend to upgrade to? In one of the recent WAN shows Linus mentioned he has a commercial networking solution, is that an option I should look into?

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I'm a UniFi stan, but it's the Ubiquiti UniFi setup Linus is referring to, and it's rad. I set it up in my home because we've got 50+ devices now including in our yard so being modular and adding APs where I need them makes the coverage crazy good, and the stability is awesome. 

 

It is more work to set up and has a lot more configurability that can be a bit overwhelming, but I'd recommend it to anyone who's a bit tech savvy. I did a writeup on my build-out here

 

Today, I'd recommend someone start out with a UniFi Dream Machine, and potentially one or two APs to extend coverage where you need it, and running ethernet to devices where you want maximum stability, like work machines or media centres.

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Welcome!

So getting a new (better) router won't help if you just have too many devices in your area trying to talk.

One other thing is how does the extender do it's back haul communication? Is it on Ethernet? Another WiFi Channel? Is it 2GHz or 5GHz?

If you get wifi analyzer for your phone or tablet (there are some in the windows store to.), are there a lot of other routers trying to talk? Are they overlapping? I'm a UniFi guy my self like @seanondemand so I to have something of a skewed view of wifi, since I just have an AP on Ethernet where ever I need one.

2020-04-08 13_52_18-WiFi Analyzer.png

2020-04-08 13_53_44-WiFi Analyzer.png

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Thanks for the replies!

 

Seanondemand - Ubiquity does look like it'd be a great solution, we have a larger back yard and an RV in the driveway that currently have spotty coverage so a modular system would be very helpful. I'm not very experienced with networking but am fluent in google-fu. I do have one more question regarding it. Just to make sure I'm not missing anything on the product description; the Dream Machine does not work as a modem, correct? If not, I still use Comcasts modem, would there be any real benefit from getting a 3rd party modem?

 

Brian Blankenship - I have about 4 channels all to myself with only 3 signals showing (our wifi, our guest wifi, and a printer). The extender works on a back channel, 2ghz I believe. That kinda leads to a separate issue which is that our house was pre-fab, all of our walls are pretty much solid throughout making 5ghz next to useless unless you're in the same room. I guess the more I talk about it the more having wire access points where needed seems to make more sense.

 

I'm thinking, the Dream Machine with 2 of the Pro AP's. Do you guys think that would cover approximately 3400sq/ft with backyard and RV in front?

 

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2 hours ago, MrBillieBob said:

Thanks for the replies!

 

Seanondemand - Ubiquity does look like it'd be a great solution, we have a larger back yard and an RV in the driveway that currently have spotty coverage so a modular system would be very helpful. I'm not very experienced with networking but am fluent in google-fu. I do have one more question regarding it. Just to make sure I'm not missing anything on the product description; the Dream Machine does not work as a modem, correct? If not, I still use Comcasts modem, would there be any real benefit from getting a 3rd party modem?

 

Brian Blankenship - I have about 4 channels all to myself with only 3 signals showing (our wifi, our guest wifi, and a printer). The extender works on a back channel, 2ghz I believe. That kinda leads to a separate issue which is that our house was pre-fab, all of our walls are pretty much solid throughout making 5ghz next to useless unless you're in the same room. I guess the more I talk about it the more having wire access points where needed seems to make more sense.

 

I'm thinking, the Dream Machine with 2 of the Pro AP's. Do you guys think that would cover approximately 3400sq/ft with backyard and RV in front?

 

That's correct - you'll have Comcast's modem put in bridge mode and the Dream Machine will handle the rest. 

 

I think that setup should give pretty solid coverage through your whole space (considering the DM acts as an AP as well).

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I dont want to hijack this thread but I have been struggling with my home network for a bit and now with all this working from home its become apparent i need to upgrade.

 

I'm prepared to drop some $$ to get my network finally working. I'm really liking the looks of the UniFi Dream Machine and thinking of getting one plus maybe a couple of access points probably the UniFi AC LR since the lite is out of stock as well. One problem i have found is on the Ubiquti store (canada) they seem to be out of the USW flex mini switch and looks like they are hard to find these days. Can i just use any old switch or am i going to have problems? 

 

Edit: i'm assuming i need a PoE switch though right?

also running a Hitron CODA 4582 from East link should i just try an AP first?

 

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The DM has 4 PoE ethernet ports that can drive your APs, otherwise you can use any switch with PoE injectors, or a PoE switch that supports the passive PoE spec, which does require configuration at the switch level. If you go for the Lite or the Pro APs, they're 802.11af and are pretty plug-and-play.

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On 4/8/2020 at 3:47 PM, MrBillieBob said:

Brian Blankenship - I have about 4 channels all to myself with only 3 signals showing (our wifi, our guest wifi, and a printer). The extender works on a back channel, 2ghz I believe. That kinda leads to a separate issue which is that our house was pre-fab, all of our walls are pretty much solid throughout making 5ghz next to useless unless you're in the same room. I guess the more I talk about it the more having wire access points where needed seems to make more sense.

It sounds like you have a pretty clear area radio noise wise, that does help some what. What I've done is I have an AP in the living room, the office and in a spare bedroom. Our walls are VERY thiccc with a almost 1 inch layer of something like concrete on the wall board (both sides so 2 of those) and our 5G with the AC Lites is great. I cut some holes for low voltage boxes when we moved in and still have one of the cut outs. I'm attaching it for an idea of what my 5G has to penetrate to get to our kitchen. (coke bottle cap for scale).

 

If you have access to an attic and the house is all one level, I'd run an Ethernet line (or 2) to each person's room. have the AP in one corner (like over the desk) and have the second Ethernet line come down the wall right in the corner. You could even get some cable track to conceal it if they/you want. now they have their very own dedicated AP and an Ethernet line for the low latency stuff like online gaming if your at all into that kind of thing.

 

You don't need to go big or go home with these. The major advantages of the larger models is traffic capacity. You aren't a stadium hosting WiFi for hundreds or thousands of devices. The Lite will be more than enough, especially if you have one in each bedroom. :)

 

The AP I'm using https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-access-points/products/unifi-ac-lite $89 USD.

 

Now for your out door needs.

I have these for my backyard and getting network to my garage out there: https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-access-points/products/unifi-ac-mesh-ap $99 USD.

All they need is power and they can mesh together. The antennas use standard SMA connectors so you could get some big honk'n antennas if you needed to (or just want to). Put one on each building that needs network and you are golden.

 

I would put up one AP on the far side of the house, and then start going away from it, see how well the signal is from where in the house, you MIGHT be able to get away with just a couple APs even on 5G.

IMG_20200409_172322.jpg

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