Question Looking for advice on improving home network - looking at mesh.

dolokhov

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May 20, 2012
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Hello, I'm looking to improve my home network now that I am working from home.

Questions
  • Would investment in a mesh system be a good idea?
  • Should I try using my existing equipment for this?
  • Which mesh system seems like a good fit?
  • Is my ISP provided router the problem?
I've looked at mesh systems, but even the Tom's buying guide left me unsure of what I need.

Not important to me:
  • Voice control
  • Large array of functionality
  • Incredible performance - stability to work and stream are enough.
Here is an image of my house, with signal strengths. It's a split level, and the modem is in the living room. I used the lower end of each signal strength. I don't have exact measurement but the house is quite small (semi detatched).


ISP: Cogeco (Canada)
Plan: UltraFibre 360 (mbps) Fibre

Modem/Router: Hitron CODA 4589
Other hardware on hand (not being used): TP-Link AC1750 Archer 7 router, AC1750 Range Extender

Devices:
  • Work laptop (connects via VPN, uses SAP and heavy usage of network storage, Skype and Team calls)
    • Skype calls often drop in any room but the living room and VPN will disconnect.
  • 2 iPhone 11s
  • 2 personal laptops (off hours)
  • Chromecast (basement)
  • PS4 (basement)
I would like to be able to use the office room, but the connection is dodgy and drops too often, which I believe is due to the bad signal strength, which varies between -55dbm and -80dbm.

Additionally, we have poor buffering times and cannot use the PS4 online in basement likely also due to signal strength.
 

dolokhov

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Since you hzve a basement, would you consider installing ethernet cabling?
It would be a considerable project considering the nature of the house (split level) which means the modem is not directly above or below the other section of the house.

I thought about doing it anyway but we are likely moving in 8 months or less to a new place, so I'd rather make do for now.
 
Side note: just found my modem on this list. Something about the Puma chipset.

Not sure if this effects the decision I should make.
That is mostly old information. Intel patched the puma chipset years ago and it would be rare to find a modem that the ISP has not put the patch on.

What intel did was fix the actual problem that was affecting end users. There are still tools that run very very specific patterns of data that show the problem. Not sure why they jump up and down about that. No actual data has the pattern they are testing with so it seems more some propaganda campaign against intel. You have people that have some random problem, you have users that run some tool that show a big bad red indicator on their modem and they automatically assume it MUST be the cause of their issues.

Nobody has found a actual game that is still affected by this old puma bug.
 

dolokhov

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That is mostly old information. Intel patched the puma chipset years ago and it would be rare to find a modem that the ISP has not put the patch on.

What intel did was fix the actual problem that was affecting end users. There are still tools that run very very specific patterns of data that show the problem. Not sure why they jump up and down about that. No actual data has the pattern they are testing with so it seems more some propaganda campaign against intel. You have people that have some random problem, you have users that run some tool that show a big bad red indicator on their modem and they automatically assume it MUST be the cause of their issues.

Nobody has found a actual game that is still affected by this old puma bug.
Thanks for clearing that up. I had read that it caused drops, which is what I was experiencing, but in reality I think my drops were caused by using devices in areas with signal strength -70dbm or worse.
 

USAFRet

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It would be a considerable project considering the nature of the house (split level) which means the modem is not directly above or below the other section of the house.

I thought about doing it anyway but we are likely moving in 8 months or less to a new place, so I'd rather make do for now.
Moving in 8 months?
I'd be running Cat5e along baseboards, and be done with it.

Cheap, faster than any AP or "mesh".
 

dolokhov

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Moving in 8 months?
I'd be running Cat5e along baseboards, and be done with it.

Cheap, faster than any AP or "mesh".
That will be tricky and I am worried about hiding it in some places if we end up doing a showing in the future.

Maybe I will look into this, I have a 50ft cable already laying around.

Any tips on securing it inconsipicously without leaving damage? I've seen staplers or little clips with a small nail, but I'd like something less messy to remove if I need to.
 

dolokhov

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Another option, is to use existing coax infrastructure and MoCA adapters to allow you to add WIFI signal in a second (or third) location.
I've actually never seen this before, I thought there was only the Powerline options. Very interesting. Is it actually reliable and quick, or does it suffer from the same issues as Powerline?
 

kanewolf

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I've actually never seen this before, I thought there was only the Powerline options. Very interesting. Is it actually reliable and quick, or does it suffer from the same issues as Powerline?
Just like powerline, it is subject to the quality of the cabling in your home. If you have cheap coax and too many splitters or old splitters it may not work.
 

USAFRet

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I've actually never seen this before, I thought there was only the Powerline options. Very interesting. Is it actually reliable and quick, or does it suffer from the same issues as Powerline?
I have 100/100 service from FiOS, and use a MOCA device to feed upstairs.
Indistinguishable from being connected directly to the router.
 

gggplaya

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Does the living room have an attic space? How does it share the wall with the office? Does the attic above the living room, meet with the attic of the office? You might be able to just use a long drill bit and punch right through.

In my parent's how, the attic spaces had a small roughly 24x24" hole where the attic spaces met. I was able to easily pass ethernet from their living room to the upstairs bedroom using this. This allowed me to run another access point with the same speeds as the living room.
 

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