Question Can I replace the "SuperPods" installed by my ISP ?

Bud-S

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Feb 29, 2020
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Hello,
My ISP (Comporium) just installed a new router and two Plume SuperPods in my house, and it seems to be working well. They are charging a monthly fee for the two pods though, so I'm wondering... can I replace them with something like the Amazon eero to accomplish the same result?

I've never used a mesh setup, so this is all a bit foreign to me. The Plume SuperPods require a paid monthly membership, so I'm thinking that maybe they are doing something above and beyond what the Amazon eero would do. I really have no idea.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

Setup:
Gateway/Router: Adtran SDX 810-RG
Two Plume SuperPods https://www.plume.com/homepass/whats-included
(One of the pods is hardwired to the router, and the other is connected wirelessly)
 

gggplaya

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I personally would not pay a monthly fee for that garbage.

Do they charge you monthly for the Adtran device?

To install your own network devices, we need to know if the Adtran device can be used in Bridged Mode aka modem mode aka passthrough mode. Can you log into the adtran's webui?
 

Bud-S

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Thanks for the reply.
No, there is no fee for the Adtran router, and yes I can log into the webui for it. I looked around in there and under 'Profile' there are 2 options, Fully Routed (NAT) and Bridged IPTV. I'm sorry I'm so ignorant when it comes to networking, but is this the bridged mode you were talking about? It is currently set to Fully Routed (NAT). Also, under 'Network Devices', the first thing listed says LAN-BRIDGE, so maybe that's what you were referring to.

I realized my first post wasn't very clear... my ISP is charging a monthly fee for these Plume pods, but even if I were to go to Plume myself and purchase these pods, there is a mandatory monthly subscription from Plume to use them. I don't quite understand what the subscription does to help the devices operate.

Thanks again
 

gggplaya

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The subscription is most likely for the AI power, which probably comes from a cloud server.

Yes, the bridged IPtv setting might be it as if you buy your own system, we would want to use the NAT in the new system so you’re not double NAT’d.
 

Bud-S

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The subscription is most likely for the AI power, which probably comes from a cloud server.
Oh, that makes sense.

I think the reason the tech guy set up these pods is because the wiring for the internet enters the house in the basement, so that's where it plugs into the Adtran router. He thought the router might not deliver adequate wifi performance from the basement, so he hooked the Pume pods up in the house.

I also have 2 hardwired computers and one hardwired TV in the house, and the 3 ethernet cables are already in place, running to this spot where the router is in the basement. That's why the router needs to be setup down there. He used the wire that I had running to the TV to plug into the first plume pod.

I'm wondering if I could just get a switch to put in the basement? Then the router could be on the first floor, plugged into the switch via the cable that's already in place, currently plugged into the plume pod?
The potential problem would be that the 2 hardwired computers would be plugged into the switch in the basement, and I'm not sure that it can work that way. I'm thinking they must be plugged into the router.

Here's how it is wired now:
router
to
comp 1, comp 2, Plume pod
(plume pod broadcasts wifi)


Is the following setup possible? (or do you have any other suggestions)
switch
to
comp 1, comp 2, router
(router would broadcast wifi)

Here is a link to the data sheet (.pdf) for the Adtran router if it helps:
https://adtran.com/web/fileDownload/doc/34339

Thanks again for your time and guidance
 
Last edited:

gggplaya

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No and Yes.

The NAT of the router needs to be before any computers.

If you used the ADtran device as a router, you could install wifi access points to broadcast wifi.

Do all the LAN cables run into the basement? If you’re fine with the adtran router, I would just buy some access points to add upstairs.

Since you seem tech savvy, I’d probably get Ubiquiti access points, I love mine. You would need the cloudkey or a network server to run the ubiquiti software.

If you wanted to replace the adtran as a router, you can buy a ubiquiti dream machine and some access points. I’d get that over a mesh system.
 

Bud-S

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Yes, all 3 cables run to the basement to where the wiring comes into the house. I'm really trying to avoid having to re-route the cables, so I would prefer to leave the router down there.

Thanks for the recommendation of the Ubiquiti access points. I looked into it and I feel like it may be a bit overkill for my needs, both in terms of price and performance. I have a 2 story 1800 sq. ft. house, so there's not a ton of area to cover. That's why I was considering a mesh type of setup, because it would be less costly (and seemingly less complicated) and I would probably only need 2 devices, basically the same way the 2 Plume devices are working right now.

In your opinion, do you see any reason why a mesh setup (something like the eero) wouldn't work? I'm trying to avoid a situation where I buy something only to find it's incompatible with the router or something.
Do you have any personal recommendations on mesh devices as opposed to access points?

Thanks again.
 

gggplaya

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"Mesh" is totally unnecessary since you have hardwired ethernet running to different parts of your house. You can still use mesh units, but I would set them to use ethernet backhaul instead of wireless backhaul.

I'm not a fan of mesh when used in wireless backhaul mode. The connection works fine for most people with low bandwidth requirements, but bandwidth between nodes is a real problem and if several nodes require a path through a node that's fully saturated from a big download, then all the nodes downstream will also be bottlenecked. With a wired backhaul, going to a central switch, you won't have that issue. In which case it's not really "mesh" topography. They're just access points at that point.

The only ubiquiti equipment I run in my house are the access points which are about $100 each. I have 2 of them that I run with my own home built x86 router. I run the ubiquiti software on a plex server I made from an old computer. My wifi setup is cheap, but works flawlessly for several years now. No outages or problems whatsoever. The Ubiquiti software on my plex server manages the handoff between access points as you roam through the house.

Eero will work, but from what I see, the Wifi 6 unit addon's do not have ethernet ports and probably can't wire backhaul. You would need to buy the 3-router pack which is quite expensive. The 3 pack of the older eero wifi 5 units aren't bad though for $199.
 
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Bud-S

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When you say that you would set them to use ethernet backhaul instead of wireless backhaul, does this mean that you would have them all hard-wired to the router instead of one hard-wired and the other/s working wirelessly? Sorry again for my ignorance. I was thinking a 2-pack for around $120 should do it.

I don't know why I find networking so confusing. I'm pretty savvy, built around a dozen computers in the last 18 years or so, but I always feel over my head with networking and wifi.

Anyway, I have a couple older computers around... what is involved in creating a "plex server"? What operating system would it run on? Would it be setup down by the router, or up in the house?

Thanks again
 
You also have to be careful about too much wifi. There just is not enough radio bandwidth to give all your wifi radio units their own area so you now have them stomping on each other. This is ignoring that you neighbors can have multiple units also stomping on you.

This is where you might have a very strong signal but all these strong signals are causing the quality of the data to go down.

You optimum solution is to reduce the radio power in the remote AP so they have as little overlap with each other as well as the main router. For a lot of home users who are putting in too many wifi units the optimum power levels to avoid overlap are so low they would have been better off using fewer units at higher power. The only real solution is to move far away from neighbors and then you likely could get by with a medium signal level directly from the main router but since it does not get interference it will have very high quality and speed.

You always want to use wire backhaul when you have that option.

With a repeater you have

Router---wifi--repeater--wifi---end device. There are 2 wifi signals that actually interfere with each other and double you chance of getting interference and data re-transmissions from signals outside your house.

With a AP you have

Router---ethernet---repeater/ap---wifi---end device. Here you only have 1 wifi connection so you only have to deal with 1 signal having issues and in theory at least it should be closer.

With mesh you can have

Router---wifi---repeatera----wifi----repeaterb---wifi-- end users This just makes all the issue much worse.


The repeater need to be placed in a area that gets strong signal from the main router but can still deliver signal to the remote room. This placement can be very tricky in a home install because a wall may absorb a lot of signal and neither side is really optimal. With a AP the connection to the router is via ethernet so you can place the AP close to the end device and not worry about the connection to the router. Way too many people go out and buy these systems and just stuff the box in the remote room thinking it is magic forgetting that the device is getting the same crappy signal from the main router as the end device itself gets from the main router.
 
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gggplaya

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When you say that you would set them to use ethernet backhaul instead of wireless backhaul, does this mean that you would have them all hard-wired to the router instead of one hard-wired and the other/s working wirelessly? Sorry again for my ignorance. I was thinking a 2-pack for around $120 should do it.

I don't know why I find networking so confusing. I'm pretty savvy, built around a dozen computers in the last 18 years or so, but I always feel over my head with networking and wifi.

Anyway, I have a couple older computers around... what is involved in creating a "plex server"? What operating system would it run on? Would it be setup down by the router, or up in the house?

Thanks again
Yes, hardwired is the best. Everyone here would always recommend a hardwired backhaul and it's also how commercial installations are done. Since you have the ability to do that, I'd buy units that were capable of hardwire. Some eero units don't have ethernet ports so please make sure they do. Wifi backhaul will generally work, but can sometimes be flaky or have poor bandwidth. Hardwire ensures that each access point has 1 gigabit of potential bandwidth to the main network router.

I use a plex server to host movies and my box series tv shows on my network, as well as host my tv antenna with an HDhomerun tuner. The plex server also allows me to watch my shows when I'm away on business or watch my local football from my smartphone wherever I am. Normally I watch everything on my Roku TV. Since this server runs 24/7, I installed Ubiquiti software on it which manages my access points.

For a plex server hardware, make sure you check out the processor PASSMARK scores of your old cpu's. You'll need a passmark score of 2000 for each 1080p stream. So a passmark score of 8000 can host up to 4 HD streams at a time. Once you've built your computer, install a nice size hard drive on it and load your movies on it. You can run Plex on Linux or Windows, it doesn't really matter. Same for the Ubiquiti Unifi software. Ubiquiti Unifi can also run on a Raspberry PI if you happen to own an extra one. Though, plex will struggle due to the slow processor of a raspberry pi.

If you buy the eero units, I would recommend you keep the Adtran Device as you router. Then set the eero units to just be access points but use ethernet for backhaul.
 
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Bud-S

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I'm learning a lot from you guys, so thanks for that. I definitely want to have 2 hardwired APs, but I also want them to work as one SSID and the end devices will just get the wifi from whichever AP has the strongest signal. I really don't think I want to go the route of a plex server or anything, it seems a bit too much for my needs.

From what I can tell (and I could be totally wrong), it seems like a simple setup of 2 or more APs typically requires each to have its own SSID. (when I say "simple setup", I mean it doesn't require a server or anything)

Am I understanding this correctly, or can 2 APs be hardwired to the gateway and work in tandem to provide wifi under one SSID as if it's a single AP?
 
You can just set the SSID the same. It is a personal preference. You have the choice your end device attempts to pick the best signal but it has the problem of not looking for a better signal before the current signal drops below a certain level. It does this because it has no ability to scan for "better" sources when you are actually using the radio to transfer data. Every time it searches it will cause a small drop so it tends to stay with a signal until it gets unusable. The reason to use different SSID is then you the human can force the device to connect where you know the best signal is also taking into account other users and their actual current usages. Many routers also do the stupid things of setting the 2.4g and 5g to the same SSID. This makes it easier for the stupid/lazy users but the device tends to pick the slower 2.4g because the signal is stronger.

Key here is if you want to use the same SSID you need to adjust the transmit power so there is less overlap. This will help the automated client switch to work better.

Unless you buy extremely expensive commercial systems there really is no way get good roaming and even those systems can have lots of problems. The end client not the network is in full control of the switching. Wifi was never designed as a platform for roaming like a cell phone service is where the tower controls the radio chip in the end device.
 
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Bud-S

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So with all I have learned here, I have decided to go with a single access point. I actually discovered that there's an Adtran SDX810-AP that is specifically designed to work with the SDX810-RG. It can be used wirelessly or hardwired, and together, they will apparently automatically handle roaming handoffs. I'll know how it works once it arrives.

However, I do still have some questions. I thought that I should connect the two using a LAN port on the RG, and the WAN port on the AP. But I have seen posts saying that using the WAN port results in a slower connection, so it's better to go from LAN to LAN. Any thoughts on this?

I have also read that you should disable DHCP and set a static IP, but I couldn't figure out if it meant to do this on the RG or the AP?

I might be getting ahead of myself, and should probably just wait until I hook it up and see how it goes.
As always, thanks again for the help.
 

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