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[SOLVED] Layman setting up a home network. Please help

Aug 31, 2019
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Thank you in advance for your responses, and I apologize if this is redundant.

I am trying to increases the area of my home wireless network. I lose signal when I am outside by the pool and in the front porch/yard. I initially had 1 router in the center of my home on the main floor. I have added a second router (set us as AP per setup wizard) upstairs beside a back window. They are connected by an Ethernet cable.

First router Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 R8500
Second router Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 R8000
I have high speed fiber from my phone company

Internet access is great with the second router through my wired connections.

Using my phone wireless bars as an indicator, the wireless signal seems strong all the way across the back yard.

I now have 6 wifi bands in my home. I had read somewhere (couple years back)before that I could rename the channels to match the first router with the same password and they would be like 1 large network. I have scoured the internet and found nothing like that information in the last 2 days. I have found several blogs that state using 2 routers is a bad idea. I am really confused about what to do because most of the information I am getting seems to more about product promotion than objective results. I just bought the second router, so I could return it if I need to.

What is the best option going forward? Have I gone completely down the wrong path, or do I just need to finish tweaking my network to make it as efficient as possible?

On a much scarier note, I found some information from 2017 about my first router having a security flaw. I have found no announcement that it has been fixed. Is it a reasonably safe router? I have been pretty good about firmware updates over the last 3 years.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Security requires a few things. Strong unique password for admin login. Strong unique password for each wireless network. Use WPA2 encryption. Disable WPS everywhere. I also recommend disabling UPNP on your network hardware. That way no ports are opened without you explicitly opening them.
Performance is optimized by using channels 1, 6, 11 on 2.4Ghz with 20Mhz bandwidth. You want each of your WIFI sources to be on a different channel. and I recommend explicitly assigning channels rather than using "auto". For 5Ghz start with 40Mhz bandwidth.
When you have multiple WIFI sources, you want to turn DOWN the power on each so that they don't overlap too much. Minimizing the overlap gives you the best chance to have devices switch between WIFI sources.
The same SSID on 2.4 and 5Ghz can be beneficial. It can let devices automatically switch between bands. Some devices don't do that well. So having a unique SSID for each band allows YOU to select which you want the device connected to.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
The best thing for home networking is always using ethernet cable. Paying someone to professionally install ethernet cabling is a worthwhile investment. Having multiple WIFI sources (and as you say "6 WIFI bands" ) isn't a bad thing. But it is a difficult to manage thing. I have switched my home network to the UniFI products from Ubiquiti. Ubiquiti uses dedicated WIFI access points with wired infrastructure. They have indoor, outdoor, and in-wall access points. They can do a mesh infrastructure with other UniFI devices. I don't recommend mesh because it decreases available WIFI bandwidth.
 
I have found several blogs that state using 2 routers is a bad idea.
The difference between me reading that info and you is that I know what applies to my situation, and what doesn't. :D

2 routers brings more complication but u cannot say is generally a bad idea. Either you have a sole centrally located router and signal augmented with a beefy antenna, but most people just deploy multiple WIFI stations. With 2 run-of-the-mill home routers, you want to use different SSID and both can overlap a little, take some trial&error. Mostly u do not need to worry about channels, they auto-configure by themselves. First router closest to the modem "generally" get the job to be the NAT/DHCP box, and second router father away should be configured as a simply Access Point. There is a STICKY on top for this.
 
Last edited:
Aug 31, 2019
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Thank you both for the responses. Do you have any recommendations for further reading so that I can begin to learn proper ways for optimizing and securing my network? Hiring a home network specialist is kind of out of the question at this point because I have already ran the cable that I need. I feel pretty confident that I have done a lot of this properly now. I just need to tweak
 

Remeca

Upstanding
Aug 30, 2019
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Don't use the same ssids on the same frequency. If you have dual band routers, use both bands. 5ghz is faster, but 2.4 has better range. Make sure any networks using the same frequency are set to different channels, as far apart as you van make them, to minimize any interference. Securing is quite simple, just use the same WPA2 password on all networks.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Security requires a few things. Strong unique password for admin login. Strong unique password for each wireless network. Use WPA2 encryption. Disable WPS everywhere. I also recommend disabling UPNP on your network hardware. That way no ports are opened without you explicitly opening them.
Performance is optimized by using channels 1, 6, 11 on 2.4Ghz with 20Mhz bandwidth. You want each of your WIFI sources to be on a different channel. and I recommend explicitly assigning channels rather than using "auto". For 5Ghz start with 40Mhz bandwidth.
When you have multiple WIFI sources, you want to turn DOWN the power on each so that they don't overlap too much. Minimizing the overlap gives you the best chance to have devices switch between WIFI sources.
The same SSID on 2.4 and 5Ghz can be beneficial. It can let devices automatically switch between bands. Some devices don't do that well. So having a unique SSID for each band allows YOU to select which you want the device connected to.
 

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