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Standard User Biro123
(newbie) Thu 03-Dec-15 00:57:47
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Advice on new hardware


[link to this post]
 
Hi,

I'm looking for some advice/recommendations. I'm with VirginMedia for Broadband and am currently using their 'Superhub' in modem-only mode (as I had constant disconnects with it as a router - both wired+wireless) - and it then plugs into my existing Netgear WNR-2000 router.

Now, I've noticed my wifi performance in general degrading steadily over the years - probably a result of adding more devices. Specifically, we had an extension built on to the house - and wireless connectivity there is very, very poor - I guess its the far side of the house to the router and through an external wall. Anyway, device-wise, we have connected at any one time:
Family desk PC (currently connected via homeplug)
Up to 3 laptops
Up to 3 mobile phones
PlayStation 4
Up to 2 tablet/kindle etc.
Smart Blu-ray player

So. What should I be buying to provide good, reliable(a must - I work from home) connectivity for all these devices through the whole of the house? I was initially wondering if I needed an extra access point or something to extend the range to the extension - but with everything else being sluggish, I'm thinking that old router just can't cope - and perhaps a single new router could solve both problems.

Any ideas?
Standard User longedge
(committed) Thu 03-Dec-15 09:26:48
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: Biro123] [link to this post]
 
Possibly not relevant to you but a problem that one of my family members had recently was with WiFi connectivity over a very short distance. WiFi was perfect upstairs where the modem and router were located but almost none existent 6 feet away in rooms downstairs with just some floor boards in the way (so we thought at first). The house had been extensively refurbished with insulation between floors. The insulating material is sandwiched between two layers of foil to protect it and basically the foil shields downstairs from the WiFi signal.

An ethernet link to a second router running in bridge mode downstairs has resolved all the problems.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Thu 03-Dec-15 09:35:18
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: Biro123] [link to this post]
 
What do you want to spend? And how much work?

Consider running some Cat5e cabling to various points in the house - both floors and terminate it in RJ45 sockets with two runs to each location. Bring them back to a small patch panel and then connect that to a Gigabit switch

Install two or three WAPs in suitable locations - so people are not fighting for the same WiFi bandwidth.

Connect your router to the switch - it carries on working as before, however the load is reduced as it is not having to manage the local switching side as (mainly) only inbound and outbound traffic actually goes through it.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit


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Standard User Biro123
(newbie) Thu 03-Dec-15 10:34:43
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
I'm hoping for as little work as possible - but don't mind spending a couple of hundred quid if it makes a difference. That sounds quite complex, MHC, and I'm not sure I understand it. What is the difference between a switch and a router?

I guess one easier option could involve moving where the fibre-optic comes into the house - the router could be more central, and closer to the extension - so any internal cabling could be done over a shorter distance/less disruption..

I'm wondering if Longedge's point on insulation could be relevant too. I'm not sure what is in the walls. I think the spaces is filled with kind small white 'beads' of some kind. I think there is insulation between floors in the extension - but I think its only the standard fibre-glass-type.
Standard User Michael_Chare
(experienced) Thu 03-Dec-15 10:41:58
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
My Dell laptop came with something called DW WLAN Card Utility. This shows all the local wifi networks, their speed, SSID, channel and strength. It is very useful for optimizing the location and orientation of my wifi router.

I have improved the Wifi in my house by using a second (old) router connected by cable to the first router, set to a different IP address and with DHCP switched off. In theory Home Plugs might have been used for the cable connection, but as I have already installed cat 5 cables, I have not tried these. I try to ensure that every wifi device uses the 'n' standard which has a better speed and range than the earlier versions 'b' and 'g'.

Michael Chare
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 03-Dec-15 11:03:49
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: Biro123] [link to this post]
 
Modern plasterboard often has a foil backing to improve insulation

You ideally don't want to be lengthening the telephone cable and even then no guarantee a central location will work, if there was no walls it might, but each home is unique.

If extra wiring is going to be a pain, then the simplest path is Home Plug devices £45 gets you a pair of Devolo devices so Ethernet cable from existing router into one, and the Wi-Fi plug at the remote location and then just setup the wireless.

Home Plugs are not as reliable as putting in Ethernet wiring, but for most people this is a large step.

A switch is a simple port extender (thing of it like a dumb four way plug adapter), a router actually joins together to very different networks, i.e. they use different IP address ranges, they often have a switch built into them to handle 4 devices on the local network side.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Thu 03-Dec-15 11:13:18
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: Biro123] [link to this post]
 
It is not really that complex or difficult to do - provided you can run cables.

A router combines several functions - management of the network, allocation of IP addresses through the DHCP server, maybe a firewall, access control, wireless access point WAP, traffic switching to and between the various ports and more.

A switch- does exactly what it says, switches traffic between ports. So, if you are sing your PC and want to access data on another drive. The data will go from the remote drive, to the switch and then be sent to your PC and NOT via the router which would happen in your current situation.

So, putting the WAPs and switch separate from the router, reduces the processing load on the router.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User Biro123
(newbie) Thu 03-Dec-15 12:09:10
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
Hm, ok - so if I look at combining some of the advice here, is this feasible..:


Cablemodem --> Existing router --> Switch --> Existing local wired device + homeplug & wifi extender(s)
|

Would wifi devices automatically connect via the extender or router whichever is stronger?
Is the switch still necessary in taking the load off the router or would the Homeplug setup help alleviate that?
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Thu 03-Dec-15 12:20:19
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: Biro123] [link to this post]
 
I would still put a switch in ... you can get an 8-port Gbit consumer grade one for around £15-20.

Yes, it would work. WiFi devices would either connect to their "preferred" access point or the strongest depending on set up.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User Biro123
(newbie) Thu 03-Dec-15 14:17:57
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Re: Advice on new hardware


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
Thanks chaps. I've ordered some Devolo homeplugs for now and will try them first. If it looks like there's still more improvement to be had, I'll pick up a switch too.
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