Question Ideas to provide better network coverage in townhouse

ember1205

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One of the adjoining units has somewhat recently gottena new, much more powerful WiFi router, and it's stepping all over the WiFi signal in our unit. I've tuned and tinkered and made things quite a bit better than it was, but it is still lacking in a couple of key areas. I tried adding powerline adapters to inter-connect a couple of WiFi routers (one acting as a hotspot only) and the performance is meh sometimes.

I have devices in the basement (a server) on the main floor (TV and mobile devices), and upstairs (a small server, TV's, and my HD HomeRun tuners that I stream and record from). I need any one floor's devices to be able to communicate cleanly with any other floor's devices but the Powerline adapters aren't cutting it.

I'm looking for some general ideas or tips on how to set this stuff up so that I can get more reliable performance overall. I'm somewhat limited in where I can place devices like WiFi hotspots, routers, and range extenders (of which I currently own none). Anyone have some suggestions of things to try other than orienting antennas, moving routers or hotspots, or similar?
 
First thing to try is change the channel you are on.
If your neighbor is on channel 1 use channel 6 or above.
If your neighbor is on 6 use 1 or 11. Try to stay 5 channels difference than your neighbor.
This will cut down on or stop the interference.
Never used power line adapters, so I can't help there.
Most supplied modem routers are fair at best. So I have always used my own routers.
 
I had problems like this after our apartment complex filled up. There were 100 SSIDs screaming so loud that our own 2.4ghz inside our unit was completely useless. :(

Manually changing channels is usually useless in this situation since everyone else is constantly hopping around on automatic. If you don't do the same, your channel will get overrun, and then get clear at some point, and then get overrun again. Better to keep hopping and searching automatically.

If you've got coaxial cable jacks, moca can be much faster and reliable than powerline. Also, if you don't have the latest and greatest powerline units, I would get those as the performance improves a lot with each new generation.
 
The only solution it to buy all your neighbors houses and kick them all out. :)

There likely is no long term solution to this problem. The newer equipment uses more and more bandwidth. The new wifi6 routers are using 160mhz of bandwidth on the 5g band and there is only 180mhz in most countries total. The 2.4g band has uses 40mhz channels for a long time and there is only 60mhz. So it it pretty much impossible to get none overlapping channels. That is with only 1 unit now people are putting in repeater and mesh units. Was much easier to share when everyone was only using 1 20mhz channel

I really don't think you can ever fix when you have your router on one side of the common wall and your neighbor put his router on the other side of the common wall.

As mentioned quality poweline or moca are likely you best next steps. Make sure everything that has any possibility to run on ethernet does to reduce the amount of wifi that can be interfered with.
 
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ember1205

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Thanks for all of the thoughts... In no particular order:

- I have tried adjusting channels and such, but that's a HUGE waste of time because I myself have two WiFi devices. So, even if I can get away from the channels that the neighbors are using, I still have to manage the overlap of my own gear.

- I have as much stuff cabled as I can.

- My power line adapters are reasonably new and work "ok". I can get 100Mb+ between any two of the three devices at any given time (which is plenty to stream just about anything). But, since all three are set up in a sort of "mesh", it seems that my issue is more latency-related than bandwidth if data is being transmitted between points A and B at the same time as data being transmitted between B and C. The way that the devices handle the packet forwarding is apparently not optimized for this sort of use case.

- I haven't looked into MoCA, but I suppose I should. If I go that route, though, I suspect I'll have to relocate the modem and router into the basement so that I can use "what's left" of the coax in the walls for the networking piece. If I move the modem and router, though, I might end up being better off by connecting the antenna into the wiring and running that signaling down to the basement so that the network tuners are right next to the server that holds the DVR software. I'll have to evaluate what sort of change that would represent on my home network for data access in general...
 
Good to hear you've done as much as you can so far.

Moca can run with existing cable signals so you can use the same wiring for both things, but you may need to use a diplexer with the hd homerun units. Moca 2.5 units may not need a diplexer. But moca would be well, well worth it. Once the wiring is right, the setup is as quick as powerline (plug it in and use it in 5 minutes), and you get the full (real) gigabit speeds. I love moca compared to powerline. It would seriously be worth considering.
 

ember1205

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Do you rent or own? If you own, it's time to open the walls.

-Wolf sends
Own, but not long-term (not even mid-term at this point). Not opening up the walls because of the level of effort involved versus the value that will be received. But, I totally understand the perspective and agree that it would be the way to go "normally".
 

ember1205

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Good to hear you've done as much as you can so far.

Moca can run with existing cable signals so you can use the same wiring for both things, but you may need to use a diplexer with the hd homerun units. Moca 2.5 units may not need a diplexer. But moca would be well, well worth it. Once the wiring is right, the setup is as quick as powerline (plug it in and use it in 5 minutes), and you get the full (real) gigabit speeds. I love moca compared to powerline. It would seriously be worth considering.
I'll have to take a look at the Moca stuff and see what the cost of it is. As mentioned above, ownership isn't for the long haul and I likely won't have to use it in the next location.
 

ember1205

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Ok... Can someone give me an executive briefing on MoCA?

Cable signal enters on the ground level. I have a server in the "laundry" room. There is currently a router on the main floor (one floor up) that's serving as a WiFi Hot Spot. The second floor is where the cable modem and "main" router are.

I am using Powerline adapters on all three floors to create communications among all devices. Devices in the laundry room require hard-wire only. The main and second floors require both hard-wire and WiFi.

The second floor is where the OTA antenna is located and where the HDHomeRun tuners are as well.

The HDHR tuners could potentially be relocated as could the cable modem and primary router device (it could all go to the laundry room). Or, if the network performance between the HDHR tuners and the server in the laundry room were significantly improved, everything could simply stay where it is, too.

If the internet traverses the coax and enters in the laundry room, is there any issue with leaving everything exactly where it is and attaching the MoCA devices in the same locations where I currently have the Powerline adapters, or will there be issues with communications of either Internet-over-cable or network-over-cable?
 
Moca is designed to coexist with normal cable tv and OTA signals. There are some things like directtv that will not function on the same cable. Some DVR systems that cable companies use interfere....then again some of those are actually moca boxes and you can just plug computers into them.

For most people it just works. Some times it has issues with splitters but you seldom see the older ones that can't past the frequencies needed.
 

ember1205

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Moca is designed to coexist with normal cable tv and OTA signals. There are some things like directtv that will not function on the same cable. Some DVR systems that cable companies use interfere....then again some of those are actually moca boxes and you can just plug computers into them.

For most people it just works. Some times it has issues with splitters but you seldom see the older ones that can't past the frequencies needed.
Thanks.

Could I be feeding the Internet signaling across the wire (coming in downstairs) -AND- the OTA signal from upstairs to downstairs? My thought is that will be problematic and could potentially cause issues with my OTA reception because there is still cable signaling on the wire (although it isn't terribly valuable with no boxes or cable co DVR's in the house).

My presumption to this point has been that the most effective method of running OTA over the wire from 2nd floor to basement would require disconnecting the cable feed from the street. That would require moving the cable modem and internet router (separate devices, I own both) to the basement and then leveraging the MoCA connection to feed the LAN connectivity to the remainder of the house.
 
You should be able to connect it all together. Maybe a filter at the entrance to your house so you don't feed stuff like the OTA back out. As long as you do not have docsis 3.1 there is no overlap in any of the frequencies. I would try it and see
 

ember1205

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Can I have three nodes like I do with the Powerline adapters? Or do they have to be set up in pairs? Does MoCA support encryption of content so that unauthorized devices can't join and traffic can't be "snooped" from outside?
 
I think moca is limited to 16 devices maybe it is 8 I forget. Moca has some form of encryption but I was told that some brands do not use it. I guess this is read the doc on the units you want to use. There is a device they call a PoE filter to block moca from going outside the house. It looks like a simple coax coupler. Kinda bugs because I think of PoE as power over ethernet not point of entry.
 

ember1205

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Thanks. I agree with bad terminology and acronyms leading to confusion on things...

I'm trying to figure out whether the filter can be installed between the cable modem and the street. If it can't, then I'm back to having to move the modem and router to the basement. Not the end of the world...

So, I could use three MoCA devices in a "mesh" sort of configuration? And they will all communicate with each other appropriately depending on which endpoints are talking to which endpoints? How well does the packet forwarding work in this setup? The Powerline adapters I have work this way, and one of the issues I encounter is increased latency (and not just by a little) when devices behind adapters A and B are communicating at the same time as devices behind B and C (or other similar situation). Since the packets could technically follow multiple paths between any two endpoints, it's unclear what path they actually follow and this also seems to be influenced by which adapter is considered the Master at any given time.
 

ember1205

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Ok... Did a bit more digging and found two things...

1) The filter can be installed between the cable modem and the street - it won't impact the internet signal in any way.

2) OTA signaling, MoCA signaling, and Internet service signaling can not all coexist on the same wire. Specifically, the OTA and Internet signaling can not coexist. That means that I can not move the HDHR boxes to the basement unless I also move the cable modem and router there since I'll have to either disconnect the cable feed from the rest of the house where it enters or install a filter to 'trap' that signal from transmitting through the rest of the house. So, I have to either keep the HDHR boxes upstairs or move everything downstairs. And, honestly, moving everything has a level of attractiveness because it means that I could ALSO bring the OTA signal to the main TV for direct viewing instead of having to tune channels through the HDHR app or Plex Live TV (terrible lip sync issues with those apps).
 

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