[SOLVED] Wifi Coverage after switching from Xfinity gateaway

Oct 11, 2020
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Since switching from the Xfinity provided gateway to my own modem and router setup I am having difficulty with the range of my network. I purchased an extender but it didn't solve my issue.

My house is approximately 1,500 sq ft. It is a cape style house with the router on the second floor near one side of the house. I know the router placement could be better but the old setup seemed to work fine.

The problem is that there are areas of the house that now have slow or no coverage. We do have increased traffic with remote learning etc. but I think the problem is the range of the router. The extender has helped a little but I don't know if replacing the router is the best option or if I should add additional extenders. Or maybe just purchase the same gateway I had before.

Is there any additional information I can provide to help diagnose my issue?

Thanks,
Matt

Hardware setup

Previous gateway
ARRIS TG1682G (Not positive but this looks like the gateway I used before)

Current Modem
ARRIS SURFboard (16x4) DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem, approved for Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity & more (SB6183 Black)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ITIXYR0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Current Router
TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A7)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079JD7F7G/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Extender
TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender (RE220)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N1WW638/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Internet Plan (Xfinity)
Up to 200 Mbps download

Speedtest (speedtest.net)
Hardwired desktop
Download 229 Mbps

Phone via wifi approximately 6 ft from Router
Download 114 Mbps
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
That's a cheap router. With better routers, you do get better tranceiver and amplifier circuitry to help clean up the signal and noise. But the transmission power is limited by the FCC.

I've never had problems with range, and when doing my own home, my families and friends. I've never seen a drop in wifi range when replacing their xfinity equipment(to get away from rental fees, I think $13/mo now). But I don't buy cheap routers either. For most of my friends, I was able to buy the Tmobile Cell spot which is a rebranded Asus AC68u for $50, before they locked down the bootloader. This was a cheap way to get a high end router.

You can see reviews on smallnetbuilder for charts on range on routers: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/router/view

As you can see, that tplink router you purchased is not very good. At about 27db of signal, it starts to fall flat on it's face and performance is terrible: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32196-tp-link-archer-c7-ac1750-wireless-dual-band-gigabit-router-reviewed?showall=&start=3
 
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punkncat

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Ambassador
Lol, I am glad I wasn't the only one.

No matter what equipment through three routers as well as extenders, that I attempted to use with my "stock" Xfinity would not give proper wireless internet access. I could see the wireless, I would connect to it but most of the time would not work properly to give good and reliable internet. Switching back to the stock modem/router and it works great.
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
That's a cheap router. With better routers, you do get better tranceiver and amplifier circuitry to help clean up the signal and noise. But the transmission power is limited by the FCC.

I've never had problems with range, and when doing my own home, my families and friends. I've never seen a drop in wifi range when replacing their xfinity equipment(to get away from rental fees, I think $13/mo now). But I don't buy cheap routers either. For most of my friends, I was able to buy the Tmobile Cell spot which is a rebranded Asus AC68u for $50, before they locked down the bootloader. This was a cheap way to get a high end router.

You can see reviews on smallnetbuilder for charts on range on routers: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/router/view

As you can see, that tplink router you purchased is not very good. At about 27db of signal, it starts to fall flat on it's face and performance is terrible: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32196-tp-link-archer-c7-ac1750-wireless-dual-band-gigabit-router-reviewed?showall=&start=3
 
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Oct 11, 2020
4
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10
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That's a cheap router. With better routers, you do get better tranceiver and amplifier circuitry to help clean up the signal and noise. But the transmission power is limited by the FCC.

I've never had problems with range, and when doing my own home, my families and friends. I've never seen a drop in wifi range when replacing their xfinity equipment(to get away from rental fees, I think $13/mo now). But I don't buy cheap routers either. For most of my friends, I was able to buy the Tmobile Cell spot which is a rebranded Asus AC68u for $50, before they locked down the bootloader. This was a cheap way to get a high end router.

You can see reviews on smallnetbuilder for charts on range on routers: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/router/view

As you can see, that tplink router you purchased is not very good. At about 27db of signal, it starts to fall flat on it's face and performance is terrible: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32196-tp-link-archer-c7-ac1750-wireless-dual-band-gigabit-router-reviewed?showall=&start=3
Thank you for all the information So would you recommend replacing the router with the Netgear nighthawk AC1750? I am a t-mobile customer but had trouble finding the router you referenced on their site. Plus it sounds like you had to make some modifications to the cell spot.

Do you think the Netgear AC1750 would solve my issues?

NETGEAR - AC1750 $130

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/netgear-ac1750-dual-band-wi-fi-5-router-black/9054017.p?skuId=9054017&ref=212&loc=1&ref=212&loc=DWA&ds_rl=1260402&gclid=CjwKCAjw_Y_8BRBiEiwA5MCBJjI9AqPyW7pOJLFAfbjSHGQ9wspPvyw0sHzSaOxUXcpC9meCQ8TCLhoC_fsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Tmobile cell spot $78
https://www.amazon.com/T-Mobile-Wireless-AC1900-Dual-Band-AiProtection-Complete/dp/B01MYTAURW/ref=asc_df_B01MYTAURW/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309821163350&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18219843460876867505&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9002023&hvtargid=pla-584904089883&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=57207177050&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=309821163350&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18219843460876867505&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9002023&hvtargid=pla-584904089883
 
Oct 11, 2020
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The 3rd router in the list from smallnetbuilder is currently $30 at Amazon Phicomm AC 1900 MU-MIMO Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (K3C)

Is that a good choice? I don't mind spending money for something that will work but that router was rated higher than others that cost significantly more
 

gggplaya

Distinguished

What's your max speed on your internet plan? Some of these routers won't be able to do gigabit speeds. But for sure 300-400mbps plans, they all should be capable.

The netgear AC1750 you listed is expensive. I wouldn't get that.

The Tmobile Cell spot is hit or miss. I heard they locked down the bootloader so you can't flash it with normal Asus factory software. Instead you have to use the Tmobile software, which doesn't get updated enough and doesn't have the full feature set. When I had my friends buy them, I would take the time to flash them to Asus software and those routers are all still working exceptionally well in their homes, and my parents house. But that was back when the bootloader was open and easy to flash.

The other Phicomm router may have good radio performance, but I doubt the software is any good. They probably don't patch security flaws often, and I'm not sure how stable the software will be. Normally in life, I do consider cheaper brands for things, but for routers I want good software. Large name brand routers will have great software because they have large R&D teams and they tend to use the same software throughout their product lineup. They just cut out features as you move down the product stack, but the base software is the same.
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
Also consider that Wifi 6 is emerging this year. Laptops are an easy upgrade by replacing the PCIe mini card. Smartphones nearly all come with it this year and WIFI 6 adds new technologies to make your throughput quality much better, which ultimately means better perceived "range" at the same signal strength. Mu-MIMO and OFDMA.

Asus IMO makes the best consumer routers for radio performance and software, but they are pricey. The cheapest wifi 6 router they have is the RT-AX56u.
 
Oct 11, 2020
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My internet plan says up to 200mbps but I get a little more than that on a hardwired desktop

Amazon has this one for $126
D-Link WiFi Router, AC2600 MU-MIMO Dual Band Gigabit 4K Streaming and Gaming with USB Ports, 4x4 Wireless Internet for Home (DIR-882-US)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0711TPTZL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Internet Plan (Xfinity)
Up to 200 Mbps download

Speedtest (speedtest.net)
Hardwired desktop
Download 229 Mbps
 
You can never really predict how well stuff works in any particular house. it is also greatly affected by your end devices.

Do not get conned by the big numbers. If your pc/phone does not have similar functions the router will just run as though it was a model with smaller numbers. For example the asus you lists is 4x4 it is very rare for any device to have 4 antenna most have only 2. Next to get the speed on the 2.4g they are using a non standard data encoding not supported by many end devices. So you will not get 200x4. For most common devices you get 150x2. Of course in reality you only get a tiny fraction of those speeds.

The numbers on the wifi units do not change the actual coverage. The signal range is actually a function of radio power which is limited by the government. It gets very messy if you try to combine concepts of I get xxx speed rating at yyy distance. Get too messy because there is no way to say measure how much interference you are getting at different distances.

You should avoid using repeaters unless there is no other option. They greatly degrade the signals. In addition you sometime have issues interoperating between brands. This has mostly been fixed the feature called WDS they use to accomplish this is not actually part of the official wifi specifications. It is also considered a security risk some some device have it disabled by default.

Likely you best option to increase coverage is to buy powerline units and then plug one of your range extenders or routers in as a AP in the remote room. look for AV2 based models. You can also use MoCa devices if you have tv coax in both rooms.
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
You can never really predict how well stuff works in any particular house. it is also greatly affected by your end devices.

Do not get conned by the big numbers. If your pc/phone does not have similar functions the router will just run as though it was a model with smaller numbers. For example the asus you lists is 4x4 it is very rare for any device to have 4 antenna most have only 2. Next to get the speed on the 2.4g they are using a non standard data encoding not supported by many end devices. So you will not get 200x4. For most common devices you get 150x2. Of course in reality you only get a tiny fraction of those speeds.

The numbers on the wifi units do not change the actual coverage. The signal range is actually a function of radio power which is limited by the government. It gets very messy if you try to combine concepts of I get xxx speed rating at yyy distance. Get too messy because there is no way to say measure how much interference you are getting at different distances.

You should avoid using repeaters unless there is no other option. They greatly degrade the signals. In addition you sometime have issues interoperating between brands. This has mostly been fixed the feature called WDS they use to accomplish this is not actually part of the official wifi specifications. It is also considered a security risk some some device have it disabled by default.

Likely you best option to increase coverage is to buy powerline units and then plug one of your range extenders or routers in as a AP in the remote room. look for AV2 based models. You can also use MoCa devices if you have tv coax in both rooms.
Yes, precisely. That's why I like SmallNetBuilder.com's method for reviewing routers. He puts everything in a room and simply lowers signal power to see what the routers throughput is at any given signal strength. The transmit power is limited by the FCC, but the receive circuitry (noise cleanup and gain amplifiers) is dependent on the router design. Generally speaking, more expensive routers can buy better or more chips/capacitors/inductors etc.... for their circuitry. That logic gets fuzzy because you'll need to buy that stuff the more antenna's the router has.

My internet plan says up to 200mbps but I get a little more than that on a hardwired desktop

Amazon has this one for $126
D-Link WiFi Router, AC2600 MU-MIMO Dual Band Gigabit 4K Streaming and Gaming with USB Ports, 4x4 Wireless Internet for Home (DIR-882-US)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0711TPTZL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Internet Plan (Xfinity)
Up to 200 Mbps download

Speedtest (speedtest.net)
Hardwired desktop
Download 229 Mbps
That's not a wifi 6 router, personally I'd spend the extra $20 for the wifi 6 router. You don't get OFDMA with that router and most new smartphones, tablets and computers will have wifi 6. You can also upgrade old computers to wifi 6 cheaply and easily.
 

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