Question Help Needed - advice on best Wireless router to buy

Dec 11, 2020
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Hi gang! I'm new here as I was looking for some help and advice from you clever lot! :)

I'm in a relatively small home (3 bedrooms on 2 floors, very old TITANIUM red brick) so very hard to penetrate wirelessly. It's terraced so it really isnt a big home at all. We're on Virginmedia 100mbs, Hub 3.0. Works fine in all honesty, no big issues with buffering (maybe only on the odd occasion when all of our devices are trying to stream stuff). We have 3 people, several consoles, laptops, smart phones, 1 smart TV, android boxes etc. etc. and from 100mbs (router in the middle of the property), I tend to get around 40-60mbs in my office upstairs on a good day. On a bad day it goes down to around 15-20mbs which is still manageable. I'd like to achieve better streaming via remote play (PS5 via Windows 10 and Xbox one via Windows 10) with as little lag as possible as well as videos not buffering . When its wired its seamless - but as you can imagine its a pain to have wires everywhere. There are some dead zones such as the garden i'd like to improve but my office is only 5 meteres away from the main router which is down stairs but the signal drops to half if not worse due to the old brick walls here. I'd like to get the wireless sigal to as close to the wired speed as possible to reduce having wires throughout the house.

I have a few questions if someone can shed some light on them please? Appreciate any help anyone can give:-


1. I've been looking at the ASUS Zen Wifi AC3000 2 pack (1 placed by the modem and 1 in my office upstairs). If I still have a 100mbs - will this hardware be overkill for what I need? or would it still get the same interferance as the current ISP router? I dont want to spend £270 on a beast of a router only to find it has the same lag as the old one, despite it being Mesh and still getting 15-20mbs on bad days. I'm tempted by this as I can connect my devices in my office via ethernet to the node thus reducing the wireless traffic in this room and extending the signal to the garden.

2. If I opted to just increase my speed to 200mbs - would that double the speed for the wireless (meaning i'd get 30-80 mbs on a bad day upstairs) or would that bottleneck remain the same, regardless of the wired speed?

3. Is there a better option for my needs than Mesh + nodes? Would another router with strong wireless and better penetration of old red brick walls be cheaper and more effective? our home really isnt a 3 story mansion so I dont know if it would be too much to go for the ASUS Zen AC3000 or if that would be a good purchase to give us a really solid wireless connection to stream remote play @ 1080p without the need for wires.

Many thanks guy :)
 
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You have to be careful to not fall for marketing hype.

The only true way to fix your problem is for a wire to go through the wall.....well I suppose you could cut big holes so wifi could pass :)

All kinds of boxes that are being sold as fashion accessories for your house should be a scary thing. Mesh is all marketing hype. They are just slightly improved wifi repeaters. The do not magically make the signal be able to pass through brick walls better. They suffer from many of the problem normal repeaters do. They should always be your very last option.

You also have to be careful about the "bigger is better" number scam. It is easy for routers to say support 4 x4 mimo but putting 4 antenna on a end device is much harder and very rare. Many routers also use data encoding methods most end devices do not support. So they will drop back to lower encoding rates supported by the end devices. Pretty much buying a router with a number bigger than than your end device is a waste of money.

Best case for you would be to be able to run a ethernet cable to the remote room and put a router in running as a AP. If ethernet is not a option ( I would try very hard or use ethernet) you can consider Moca if you have tv coax cables. Otherwise you look at powerline units that use the electrical wires. The Moca can get gigabit speeds, the top end powerline units can get close to 300mbps in many houses.

You need nothing fancy for the AP router. Again you have to watch the "number" . Something that is say 1200-1750 matches most end devices so fairly inexpensive devices will work.

For outdoor coverage I would palace a AP outside. Ubiquiti make many outdoor rated AP. These you really need ethernet cable but since you have to get power to any unit it is easier to just run a ethernet that supports PoE.
 
Dec 11, 2020
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Thanks buddy :) It's what I worreid about tbh and its hard to find honest reviews of them in not so perfect conditions such as normal homes with less than 1gbs speeds!

Sadly i'm worried a powerline wont work as the house is as old as WW2 and the wiring isnt any newer but worth a go for the price of them I suppose!

Thanks for your help bud.
 

gggplaya

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Thanks buddy :) It's what I worreid about tbh and its hard to find honest reviews of them in not so perfect conditions such as normal homes with less than 1gbs speeds!

Sadly i'm worried a powerline wont work as the house is as old as WW2 and the wiring isnt any newer but worth a go for the price of them I suppose!

Thanks for your help bud.
I find that hard to believe, are you sure the electrical was never updated at a later date. At that age, you would still have Knob and Tube wiring as well as screw in fuses and when you bought your home I'm sure you would have had it inspected and the inspector would have pointed that out?

If you have a modern breaker panel, you probably have modern wiring.

Did your house at any point have COAX tv installed in the upstairs rooms? If so, you might be able to use MOCA which is a much faster alternative to powerline.
 
Dec 11, 2020
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I was being over zealous withthe WW2 bit but it is old and its a council rented property so no say in wiring or simialr so no inspector i'm afraid. Plus i've moved into my gf's property and shes been there for years and after redecorating and changing sockets, lighting etc. once this year I did see it had scew in fuses with a fairly (and I use that term loosley!) modern fuse box but it's definately not modern by normal terms! No COAX TV installed either sadly :-(

I'll try the powerline as its a cheaper trial and error process to atleast eliminate that factor as i'm assuming at present given what i've seen of the household electrics.

So do Mesh networks still suffer the same interferance normal wifi routers do? Obviously I dont expect any Wireless signal to be as fast as ethernet but even if it gives me a steady boost to something like a solid 60-75mbs from a 100mbs line (as opposed to between 15-60mbs) I would be happy with that tbh! I know the number of devices in the household is an issue aswell hence my temptation to splurge on a decent router for all our benefits (i'm on the stock Virginmedia Hub 3.0 at present).
 
Mesh is even worse than just a single router when it comes to interference. It has 1 signal between the router and the mesh/repeater and a second signal between the repeater and the end user. So you now have 2 signals that can be interfered with. And this assumes you buy the really fancy units that use a dedicated radio to talk to the router. The cheap units actually interfere with themselves because when they transmit the repeated signal it is actually sent back to the router so it can interfere with other traffic going between the router and other devices. Now if you do really stupid stuff and make it run more than 1 extra hop each of those hops is another wifi signal that can be damaged.

It is not magic it takes very careful placement for any mesh/repeater to work. it needs to be placed where it can get good signal from the router and still deliever a strong signal to the end devices. Many times there is no good location because one side of the wall has signal and the other does not.
 
Dec 12, 2020
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Obviously a wired network is going to be fast and interference-free but a wireless network can often achieve the same results.

I'm running a long range (40m) mesh network between buildings in a dense area of 2.4 networks at mid-50’s dBm and > 400 mbps using a couple of inexpensive ASUS routers (AC68U) and Alfa dual band directional antennas ($12 ea.).

So take the wireless bashing comments of the poster above with a grain of salt. 2.4 ghz has better penetration amd range, 5 ghz is faster. Dual band uses both. Hi gain and directional antennas can make a huge difference. Also common sense like central placement and avoiding obstacles.

Powerline adapters are likely not to work in an old house and are prone to interference from other electrical devices.

If you go WiFi make sure the router has replaceable antennas.
 
Obviously a wired network is going to be fast and interference-free but a wireless network can often achieve the same results.

I'm running a long range (40m) mesh network between buildings in a dense area of 2.4 networks at mid-50’s dBm and > 400 mbps using a couple of inexpensive ASUS routers (AC68U) and Alfa dual band directional antennas ($12 ea.).

So take the wireless bashing comments of the poster above with a grain of salt. 2.4 ghz has better penetration amd range, 5 ghz is faster. Dual band uses both. Hi gain and directional antennas can make a huge difference. Also common sense like central placement and avoiding obstacles.

Powerline adapters are likely not to work in an old house and are prone to interference from other electrical devices.

If you go WiFi make sure the router has replaceable antennas.
But you are not actually running mesh. You are using a point to point wireless system with directional antenna. That is a tried and true solution for longer distances. Of course that does not apply when you have wall in between. In many cases even directional antenna can not blast the signal though cement walls.

The problem is mesh is a marketing word to get people all excited that they are buying some magic box that will solve all their problem without them knowing anything technical. People call any wireless solution "mesh" which makes it even more confusing.

The problem with mesh is it is a wifi repeater. It has at least 1 radio signal from the router to the repeater and a second radio signal form the repeater to the end device. The newer mesh units go router---repeater---repeater----repeater----end device. In this case you would have 4 radio hops that can get stomped on.
 
Dec 11, 2020
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Thanks for your input guys (I even had to say IIIIIINPUT LIKE JOHNNY 5 then ha!)

This is why it's difficult to find a solid answer as peoples homes are so differently built, circumstances and needs are different, the unclear limitations on new tech not being marketed as clearly as the advantages being foggy, etc. etc.

I'll try the powerline first as its inexpensive to try and I can always get a refund to try the nexty idea. I'm really tempted to try the Asus Zen just to see if it does its job in this cooky house and atleast then I would have a definitive answer on if a wireless signal is the way to go for me.

Thanks again chaps! Hope you're all safe and well :)
 
Dec 12, 2020
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But you are not actually running mesh. You are using a point to point wireless system with directional antenna. That is a tried and true solution for longer distances. Of course that does not apply when you have wall in between. In many cases even directional antenna can not blast the signal though cement walls.

The problem is mesh is a marketing word to get people all excited that they are buying some magic box that will solve all their problem without them knowing anything technical. People call any wireless solution "mesh" which makes it even more confusing.

The problem with mesh is it is a wifi repeater. It has at least 1 radio signal from the router to the repeater and a second radio signal form the repeater to the end device. The newer mesh units go router---repeater---repeater----repeater----end device. In this case you would have 4 radio hops that can get stomped on.
But you are not actually running mesh. You are using a point to point wireless system with directional antenna. That is a tried and true solution for longer distances. Of course that does not apply when you have wall in between. In many cases even directional antenna can not blast the signal though cement walls.

The problem is mesh is a marketing word to get people all excited that they are buying some magic box that will solve all their problem without them knowing anything technical. People call any wireless solution "mesh" which makes it even more confusing.

The problem with mesh is it is a wifi repeater. It has at least 1 radio signal from the router to the repeater and a second radio signal form the repeater to the end device. The newer mesh units go router---repeater---repeater----repeater----end device. In this case you would have 4 radio hops that can get stomped on.
... conviently ignoring the more than doubling of performance the mesh setup gives over a repeater due to dual channel connection.

Despite your bashing, a properly configured mesh network provides high performance. My mesh setup is more than double the speed of the same equipment in a repeater configuration. It is also the only 5ghz network in a crowded area, eliminating channel interference.

According to the OP's original post the problem is signal variablity (15-60 mbps), not connection. This could be due to a number of factors from LAN to channel congestion. So improving the quality of his WiFi system would likely improve the quality of his service.
 
... conviently ignoring the more than doubling of performance the mesh setup gives over a repeater due to dual channel connection.

Despite your bashing, a properly configured mesh network provides high performance. My mesh setup is more than double the speed of the same equipment in a repeater configuration. It is also the only 5ghz network in a crowded area, eliminating channel interference.

According to the OP's original post the problem is signal variablity (15-60 mbps), not connection. This could be due to a number of factors from LAN to channel congestion. So improving the quality of his WiFi system would likely improve the quality of his service.
You are not running mesh unless you call every wifi network with multiple radio mesh. I guess that is the whole problem with using a stupid word like mesh. Many of the system being sold do not have extra radios and do not function only on the 5g band. A huge number are just stupid repeaters with a different name on the box.
If it make you feel better about yourself to say you have a "mesh" system go for it.
 

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