Question Help with my home wi-fi setup


Apr 27, 2018

I am looking for some advice on my home network setup. Myself and my wife are working from home now, and she has been having some issues with the strength of the wireless on our top floor. Our house is skinny but 4 floors tall including the basement. I also just changeed our internet from DSL to Cable this week (waiting for installation on the cable) and I am looking for advice on what I can change to optimize my setup and blanket the house with a solid wifi connection. I am also not sure if my powerline setup is a no no.

Current Setup
Floor 0 - Basement
  • Modem from ISP - Smart/RG SR505n
  • I have the ISP wifi router on and I connect to that network in the basement when the other signal is low.
  • There is a PC in the basement that has a hardwired connection.
Floor 1 - Main Floor
  • No hardware
  • I mostly work on this floor during the day on a MacBook Pro.
Floor 2 - 2nd Floor
- Airport Extreme (2009 Model). The router is set to bridge mode. I have it connected to the modem via a powerline adapter going from the basement to the 2nd floor.

Floor 3 - 3rd Floor
- No hardware. There is an office on this floor that my wife works at usually. She works on a MacBook Air, and a Chromebook (recent).

I have a few question:

  1. Should I be upgrading the router because it is so old?
  2. Is using a powerline adapter the way I am using it okay to do?
  3. Would a mesh system be optimal for me? (can you suggest an option)
I really appreciate anyone looking at this and taking the time to answer. I am struggling to find solid, reliable answers to my questions and I thought here might be a good place.
Mesh is mostly marketing hype. It is just a slightly better wifi repeater system...and only a small number have dedicated backhaul radios. It still extremely dependent on being able to place the unit in a location that it gets good signal but can still send it to the last location. For many people this location does not exist because a wall or floor absorb so much signal. It should be your last choice when you have considered everything else.

Your router is only 802.11n but you are using DSL so a different router may not be better. The signal goes the same distance the difference is how much data they attempt to pack into the signal. Hard to say if a newer router will be faster, it depends on if your current router can get you ISP bandwidth you pay for. The other issue replacing the router is it has a VDSL modem in it. If you are actually using VDSL your ISP may limit which routers you can buy.

If you have tv coax you can use the newer moca units and get gigabit speed. The ones form gocoax have a total bandwidth of 2.5g so you and use more than 2 units and they all split the 2.5g.

You can also do the same with your powerline units. You can add more units to your network and they all appear as a single network. Powerline is "suppose" to be compatible because it is based on standards but I would buy identical units to the ones you currently have just to be safe. Powerline is much slower than moca but I suspect it is still more than your DSL connection as long as you don't have those really old 200 powerline units.