Question Deciding between upgrading to a Mesh Network or upgrade the router itself or use a wifi extender

Jun 19, 2019
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I'm currently living in an apartment and my wifi router is located around 10-15 meters away from my office room. My apartment is shaped more like a very thin rectangle and the router is located at one end and my office on the other end. Unfortunately my complex does not allow for rerouting the ethernet cable so the router location can only be at that end.

I'm considering upgrading to a better router or mesh wifi but i'm not sure if it's overkill or not. Are wifi extenders actually good enough?

I mainly will be working with software based engineer tasks and some online gaming. Looking for very low latency with strong reliable signal.
Budget: Preferably somewhere around $100 but can go up to $200 if needed
 
A WiFi Extender and WiFi Mesh are essentially the same thing. Mesh is just easier to setup and gives you no fuss about all devices having the same SSID. So, no having to switch to the best signal manually.

Personally, I'd use a Powerline Ethernet adapter. That way you don't get all the performance degradation from a signal being repeated. Get a kit with a Wireless Access Point. TP-Link makes a good one. Although they call it an extender it is actually an Access Point. Be sure to give it the same SSID, Network Key and Encryption type as the main router. So, your devices will connect to the strongest signal as they would with mesh. It's a bit more complex to setup than mesh but generally performs better. Pay careful attention to encryption type. One device on WPA 2 and another on automatic WPA + WPA 2 will lead to connection woes. There's no need for legacy WPA. It is broken and any device made in the last ten to fifteen years should work on WPA 2.

 
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Jun 19, 2019
4
0
10
0
A WiFi Extender and WiFi Mesh are essentially the same thing. Mesh is just easier to setup and gives you no fuss about all devices having the same SSID. So, no having to switch to the best signal manually.

Personally, I'd use a Powerline Ethernet adapter. That way you don't get all the performance degradation from a signal being repeated. Get a kit with a Wireless Access Point. TP-Link makes a good one. Although they call it an extender it is actually an Access Point. Be sure to give it the same SSID, Network Key and Encryption type as the main router. So, your devices will connect to the strongest signal as they would with mesh. It's a bit more complex to setup than mesh but generally performs better. Pay careful attention to encryption type. One device on WPA 2 and another on automatic WPA + WPA 2 will lead to connection woes. There's no need for legacy WPA. It is broken and any device made in the last ten to fifteen years should work on WPA 2.

Looks amazing! I'm currently browsing through possible options. will the Tp-link AV1000 be sufficient or upgrading to the AV1300 is actually worth the price increase?
 

digitalgriffin

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If you can, just get the powerline ethernet adapters. Again, with apartments, WIFI is so congested, use a wired connection if possible. Something like this -- https://www.amazon.com/AV2000-Powerline-Pass-Thru-Gigabit-PLA5456BBKIT/dp/B01MTNKNPZ/
A powerline ethernet adapter is a valid option. But with mine I never achieved over 80mbps in a large house. On the same circuit of an apartment, you might have better luck.

That said, there is the option of running 5GHz channel in the "Forbidden zones" These are 5GHz frequencies that are sometimes assigned to private communications or radar. But you can use them if they aren't being used by these services. That way the number of AP nodes using that is essentially zero.

What you should do is get Wifi Analyzer by VREM software on Google Play. It will show you how many routers/access points are on each channel. You want to look for channels that have <= 2 active routers if possible. Take a screep cap and show us.

Now walk to the corner furthest away from the router. Use the signal strength meter to show us your Wifi signal strength. Take a screen cap. This will tell us if it's a signal strength issue or a congestion issue.

2.4GHz channels broadcast a longer distance. 5GHz channels are inherently faster, but degrade faster with distance. Given you are in a small apartment, 5GHz might work better for you. Also fewer people are on 5GHz channels, so that would be one place to look for improvement. A 3x3 or 4x4 will also improve your speed if you have multiple wifi devices running at same time. (ie Roku, and Computer Wifi)
 
Looks amazing! I'm currently browsing through possible options. will the Tp-link AV1000 be sufficient or upgrading to the AV1300 is actually worth the price increase?
The AV1300 has significant technological improvements in it's Powerline communications (2x2 mimo). This allows the Powerline adapters to communicate at much greater range and better overcome interference in the powerlines.

You can also look for the AV1200. Which is the previous model with the same tech. Watch out for similar looking kits without WiFi.

By the way you can add more of these units and mix in Ethernet only models quite easily. The WiFi models also have an Ethernet port if you want to hardwire something as well. You can also connect switches for multiple network ports.

If you add more later. Stick with this series. If you mix in the non mimo models. I believe they will all switch to non mimo.
 

digitalgriffin

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Jan 29, 2008
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The AV1300 has significant technological improvements in it's Powerline communications (2x2 mimo). This allows the Powerline adapters to communicate at much greater range and better overcome interference in the powerlines.

You can also look for the AV1200. Which is the previous model with the same tech. Watch out for similar looking kits without WiFi.

By the way you can add more of these units and mix in Ethernet only models quite easily. The WiFi models also have an Ethernet port if you want to hardwire something as well. You can also connect switches for multiple network ports.

If you add more later. Stick with this series. If you mix in the non mimo models. I believe they will all switch to non mimo.
If you are referring to WiFI MIMO, it is SLOWER on 2x2, worthless on 3x3. And with 4x4 there is some mild improvement. My netgear 1200 uses the Arlo chipset (Qualcomm) and it is just horrid with speed. It is compliant with the home networking standard. (AV2 MIMO) Again, I never got above 80mpbs. In fact just about ALL review sites that show max througput measure it with the plugs in the same room on the same circuit. Even then your max throughput is nowhere what is claimed. Just look at PC Mag's reviews. Even in their videos they say, "You'll achieve no where near this in everyday use."

I use mine to carry my network to the basement where my wife video conferences.
 
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If you are referring to WiFI MIMO, it is SLOWER on 2x2, worthless on 3x3. And with 4x4 there is some mild improvement. My netgear 1200 uses the Arlo chipset (Qualcomm) and it is just horrid with speed. It is compliant with the home networking standard. (AV2 MIMO) Again, I never got above 80mpbs. In fact just about ALL review sites that show max througput measure it with the plugs in the same room on the same circuit. Even then your max throughput is nowhere what is claimed. Just look at PC Mag's reviews. Even in their videos they say, "You'll achieve no where near this in everyday use."

I use mine to carry my network to the basement where my wife video conferences.
No, I'm referring to the Powerline adapters. They use a 2x2 MIMO connection to communicate with each other over home powerlines. It's made a huge difference in the speed and reliability of these devices. I set them up frequently for homeowners. I can establish powerline networks over far greater distances than I could in the past. They suffer less speed degradation over distance and are more robust against noisy lines. They even do well jumping between phases on the powerlines (US problem because of our split-phase power).

On systems with the old 500mbps adapters. They'd frequently only communicate with eachother at 1 to 30 mbps. Starting with the AV1200 using 2x2 MIMO. I'll often see 400 to 800 mbps when replacing the old non MIMO units. That's why I won't recommend the AV1000 as I see no mention of MIMO.

As long as you only use their MIMO capable powerline adapters. They should work together with MIMO. Just make sure you do not put them on a surge protector. They also won't work right on ancient two wire electrical wiring. They need a proper line-neutral and line-ground. Used since the 50's or 60's.
 

digitalgriffin

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Jan 29, 2008
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No, I'm referring to the Powerline adapters. They use a 2x2 MIMO connection to communicate with each other over home powerlines. It's made a huge difference in the speed and reliability of these devices. I set them up frequently for homeowners. I can establish powerline networks over far greater distances than I could in the past. They suffer less speed degradation over distance and are more robust against noisy lines. They even do well jumping between phases on the powerlines (US problem because of our split-phase power).

On systems with the old 500mbps adapters. They'd frequently only communicate with eachother at 1 to 30 mbps. Starting with the AV1200 using 2x2 MIMO. I'll often see 400 to 800 mbps when replacing the old non MIMO units. That's why I won't recommend the AV1000 as I see no mention of MIMO.

As long as you only use their MIMO capable powerline adapters. They should work together with MIMO. Just make sure you do not put them on a surge protector. They also won't work right on ancient two wire electrical wiring. They need a proper line-neutral and line-ground. Used since the 50's or 60's.
I have mimo 2 in the netgear pl1200. I still dont get over 80mbps. Sometimes higher if i have more devices using it at the same time. But not much. New house with copper wiring too.
 
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