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Wifi extender/repeater/powerline/mesh extender help please

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Old 11 November 2018, 08:53 AM
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Dingdongler
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Default Wifi extender/repeater/powerline/mesh extender help please

Hi

At present I have Virgin BB with one of their latest routers. I have distributed cat 5e cable to many rooms and therefore have wired ethernet in those rooms. Wifi has always been an issue towards the rear third of the house as the router is at the front of the house and I have thick solid walls.

I has 'solved' this problem many years ago by using a second Netgear high end router plugged into a wired ethernet connection towards the rear of the house. I've always been pretty crap with computers and so didn't manage to set the second router up as an access point, instead it appears as a whole new network with separate SSID. It's not been a problem as it's become second nature in our house to connect to one of the two networks depending on where you are in the house.

The upside has been very fast wifi speeds no matter where you are in the house as long as you are connected to the correct network. The measured speeds vary between 170 MBPS and 500 MBPS.

However I now want to install some 'smart' products in the house including heating controls and Alexa etc. This will require one network in the whole house to work; I'm confused what the best way forward is.

1) Should I use the second router I have and try and get it to work as an access point?

2) Should I purchase something like this?

https://www.netgear.com/home/product...rs/EX7700.aspx

Would this allow me to have one network with just the press of a button rather than faffing about with my second router?

3) Or do I use something like this?

https://www.netgear.com/home/product...rs/EX7500.aspx

This would be easiest to place ie I could plug it slap bang in the middle of the house ie somewhere where I don't have wired ethernet connection, in the lobby etc. However this is an 'extender', so would my bandwidth drop? I've read somewhere that extenders half the bandwidth.

I'm looking for the best results as we are now used to very good wifi speeds but also ease of set up as I'm not great with computers/networking.

Sorry for the long post, any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 12 November 2018, 10:43 AM
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I'm changing soon from my Apple set up, Google offer similar functionality https://store.google.com/product/google_wifi_learn
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Old 12 November 2018, 01:08 PM
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I'd be keen to find a good solution, as it sounds like MESH is the way to go.

I've battled with extenders for quite some time, mostly since I switched to SKY Q, I find the WIFI strength/range to be terrible from the previous sky router I had.
I had two BT extenders, one toward the back of the house for my Ring floodlight camera, and one in the hall for my ring doorbell, but have served their purpose, until one day the camera refused to connect to the extender(for reasons no one could establish).
I contacted Ring and they sent me a chime pro for free, which the camera happily connected to and has just worked ever since, but the doorbell does need the extender in the hall.

Having said all that, I work from home a lot now, and my office is the spare bedroom.
Wifi performance isn't great some days, so I could do with a better solution, but there are so many to choose from, and they're a substantial amount of money, so would be costly to get it wrong.

Google wifi seems doesn't seem to get the best of reviews

Last edited by urban; 12 November 2018 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 12 November 2018, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by urban View Post
I'd be keen to find a good solution, as it sounds like MESH is the way to go.

I've battled with extenders for quite some time, mostly since I switched to SKY Q, I find the WIFI strength/range to be terrible from the previous sky router I had.
I had two BT extenders, one toward the back of the house for my Ring floodlight camera, and one in the hall for my ring doorbell, but have served their purpose, until one day the camera refused to connect to the extender(for reasons no one could establish).
I contacted Ring and they sent me a chime pro for free, which the camera happily connected to and has just worked ever since, but the doorbell does need the extender in the hall.

Having said all that, I work from home a lot now, and my office is the spare bedroom.
Wifi performance isn't great some days, so I could do with a better solution, but there are so many to choose from, and they're a substantial amount of money, so would be costly to get it wrong.

Google wifi seems doesn't seem to get the best of reviews

Thanks. Having now read about about Mesh devices it does seem they are the way forward. Do they have to communicate wirelessly?

i have wired ethernet in many rooms so could I plug an ethernet cable into a Mesh extender? Is there any advantage to this?
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Old 23 November 2018, 06:21 PM
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I have purchased a Netgear Orbi RBK50 from Amazon on black Friday - half price at 199
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Old 03 December 2018, 06:13 PM
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I bought a reasonably high-end Draytek AC wifi router and it's performance is far better than what I had previously. Good thing about Draytek is that you can get compatible wifi APs that you can manage from the router. Not the cheapest though.

With regards to smart devices, they quite often work on different wavebands - z-wave, zigbee etc and it's just the control unit that connects to wifi/network. For instance Hive works this way and as long as the control unit and Alexa are both on same network (ie able to communicate across the wifi/LAN), then you can have all your devices spread out and they should mesh together. Same for z-wave and in the case of this, if you find a flaky signal at some far end of the house, you can pop an extender or another device closer and it will fill the space. So the bottom line is that you can keep your existing setup and just add the control units and the smart devices will connect to them.

You will also find that although z-wave/zigbee etc are lower powered, their frequency range is better at travelling through walls and so on than wifi.

PS - the bandwidth you are referring to is the device to device speed of 2 devices within the LAN and unless you have Gigabit to the outside world, you will only ever get the max throughput of the broadband available to you - if you have a 30mbs broadband connection, then that is the internet speed you will get, irrespective of whether your device - wifi router speed is 500mbs. Unless you routinely pass large files around your LAN you are unlikely to notice the difference.
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Old 06 December 2018, 02:19 PM
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WIFI extenders slow you down though.
I have the orbi router and satellite all setup now.
So far so good, haven't experienced any issues thus far.
I have two ring devices, floodlight cam and a video doorbell2. Both required extenders, but as of recent time, the floodlight cam would drop out randomly, as the chime pro was having signal issues.
As of now the floodlight cam is connected to the orbi network, and not a bit of bother so far.
The doorbell is still connected to the extender, but thats just down to pure laziness on my part.
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Old 06 December 2018, 05:32 PM
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Utilise the CAT5 wiring you have installed already to install a couple of real wireless access points if possible, much better than a WiFi router. TP Link do some nice, cheap, easy to manage ones. Better still though are the Ubiquiti APs, good kit at a good price.

PS smart home stuff doesn't care what WiFi SSID they connect to, they work over the IP subnet they're connected to. This assumes that you haven't got each router currently dishing out it's own DHCP IP addresses, and they share the same network address range...
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