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improving wifi in my home office

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Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
18,150
5,932
behind you, don't wait up.
My router and hub are downstairs, my office is upstairs. my connectivity is at times noticeably slower in the office vs the living room.
What's the best way to improve performance in the office? I have a cable jack in the room, if that matters.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
11,455
3,524
AK
I figure if work wanted me to have better internet, they would pay for it.
 

Fool

Turbo Monkey
Sep 10, 2001
1,648
226
Brooklyn
I figure if work wanted me to have better internet, they would pay for it.
In our 'town hall' last week, that question came up and our charismatic leader said they were not going to give a stipend because of all the money we were saving by not commuting.

Also, I second the eero. Stupid easy to set up and works bigly. Only con, owned by amazon.
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
12,120
8,574
Canaderp
You might not notice, but a mesh network will actually reduce the available throughput, depending on the amount of hops the network traffic needs to make.

Are you connecting via 2.4 or 5ghz?

Is the router one floor below where you notice it is slow? Directly below? Normally that amount of distance isn't a problem, unless you have a concrete floor of a bunch of metal between yourself and the router.

You could look at the antenna orientation on your router, if it has external ones. Depending on the type, there could be a dead spot (reason why I ask if you're directly above the router).

Simple fix, if you have an available network line running from downstairs to upstairs, is to connect the existing router to that line. Then setup a second router on the second floor. Turn off DHCP and the other mumbojumbo and plug it into the network line. Give the SSID broadcast name something different than the one downstairs - just connect to this one if you have speed problems.
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
18,150
5,932
behind you, don't wait up.
You might not notice, but a mesh network will actually reduce the available throughput, depending on the amount of hops the network traffic needs to make.
not sure what this means ^^^

Are you connecting via 2.4 or 5ghz?
5ghz

Is the router one floor below where you notice it is slow? Directly below? Normally that amount of distance isn't a problem, unless you have a concrete floor of a bunch of metal between yourself and the router.
1 floor directly below, no steel/concrete just wood and carpeting

You could look at the antenna orientation on your router, if it has external ones. Depending on the type, there could be a dead spot (reason why I ask if you're directly above the router).
router has no antenna to tweak

Simple fix, if you have an available network line running from downstairs to upstairs, is to connect the existing router to that line. Then setup a second router on the second floor. Turn off DHCP and the other mumbojumbo and plug it into the network line. Give the SSID broadcast name something different than the one downstairs - just connect to this one if you have speed problems.
so hard wire a second router upstairs to the original downstairs? That's possible if I can easily chase the existing coax through the walls.
comments in red. thanks @canadmos !
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
12,120
8,574
Canaderp
This is a good read - https://iqua.ece.toronto.edu/papers/zli-tvt.pdf

If there aren't a lot of other wireless networks nearby, I would first try switching to 2.4ghz. It will be "slower" than 5ghz, but will penetrate the floor much better.

I'd also try moving the wireless router a few feet. Some antennas broadcast in a bagel like shape, meaning there is a dead spot directly under and over it.

Yeah, if you can run a network line up to the other floor and connect a second cheap wireless router, that's usually the simplest and cheapest way to do it. Its a bit of a hack and not seamless, but it works - the only catch is that you'll probably have to manually switch between the two wireless names.

@SkaredShtles it would depend how your mesh is setup. If you have wireless nodes connecting to other wireless nodes, which connect to another layer of wireless nodes and then to the wire - you'll reduce your throughput. For home use with 2-3 nodes it probably doesn't matter. I worked at a factory a few years ago that setup a mesh network to save money - but they had like 4-6 wireless hops from the furthest side to the wired node. They could never figure out why the wireless connections were unreliable and ended up just replacing it all.

A wifi extender, from my interpretation, is basically a dumb single node mesh.

Unless all the nodes are wired to your network, you'll reduce the available throughput.
 

SkaredShtles

I love NEWCASTLE and will ONLY drink NEWCASTLE!!!!
Sep 21, 2003
52,567
5,089
In a van.... down by the river
This is a good read - https://iqua.ece.toronto.edu/papers/zli-tvt.pdf

If there aren't a lot of other wireless networks nearby, I would first try switching to 2.4ghz. It will be "slower" than 5ghz, but will penetrate the floor much better.

I'd also try moving the wireless router a few feet. Some antennas broadcast in a bagel like shape, meaning there is a dead spot directly under and over it.

Yeah, if you can run a network line up to the other floor and connect a second cheap wireless router, that's usually the simplest and cheapest way to do it. Its a bit of a hack and not seamless, but it works - the only catch is that you'll probably have to manually switch between the two wireless names.

@SkaredShtles it would depend how your mesh is setup. If you have wireless nodes connecting to other wireless nodes, which connect to another layer of wireless nodes and then to the wire - you'll reduce your throughput. For home use with 2-3 nodes it probably doesn't matter.
Gotcha. Yeah - I was thinking the normal "home" mesh systems always tout no throughput loss. But that's due to the fact that there are like 3 "extension" nodes communicating with the base unit?
 

mykel

Turbo Monkey
Apr 19, 2013
2,699
1,279
sw ontario canada
Regarding meshed router networks.

You say you have a cable outlet? If that is coax, then you could use MoCA* adapters to use the coax cable as an ethernet extension. Just plug in and go. This also opens up the ability to use the cable as a dedicated backhaul** in a two router mesh.

If you can not do a dedicated wired backhaul connection between the routers then you need to make sure that what you choose uses a dedicated wifi backhaul otherwise the performance of the nodes suffers greatly as mentioned.

*MoCA - Multimedia over Coax. Adapter to allow you to convert between ethernet and coax cable. Data rates upto about 2.5Gbps available.

**Backhaul is basically the wifi name for a dedicated high-speed backbone connection between two network devices. If this is dedicated either by wire or wifi, it takes the load off of the "client" side wifi. If it does not have the ability to run either a wired or dedicated wifi backhaul then the "client" wifi does both the client connections and the connection between routers. Bit more to it than that, but you get the idea.

HTH
 

englertracing

you owe me a sandwich
Mar 5, 2012
683
349
La Verne
quit being a wuss and buy a box of cat 5, a bag of ends and a crimper run that shit in the wall and put another wireless router in your office.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,773
659
NC
RE: mesh, the available throughput depends on how the mesh network constructs its backhaul connections.

Some mesh networks multi-plex the existing wireless channels, some will use one frequency as a backhaul and another as a broadcast, and some use a dedicated frequency for backhaul only.

Multiplexing the existing wireless channels (i.e. using the same frequency to receive data from a device and transmit it to another access point) significantly reduces actual throughput, because wireless is a shared medium and only one thing can be broadcasting at a time. This is why wifi extenders are slower than good mesh networks.

Using a standard frequency as a backhaul decreases theoretical throughput but may not matter in practice (if you're not saturating your network, it's fine to just talk on 5 GHz and backhaul on 2.4). Dedicated frequency backhauls (a special frequency not used by devices, and only used by the APs to talk to each other) cause almost no degradation in throughput.

All of these increase latency to some extent because it takes longer to receive and re-transmit signals.

Running an ethernet cable is definitely the fastest solution, but good mesh networks are 80% as good for 10% of the work.

 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
31,940
6,766
Riding the baggage carousel.
Bumping for thread relevance;

It's become apparent that the women folk are going to be home schooling for the near foreseeable future. One learning, one teaching. This means the # of devices is straining our router to the max. On top of all the usual assortment of our typical household computers/gaming devices/smart speaker domestic surveillance devices/chromecast/smartphones/etc, etc. the girls are now tacking on at least another 4 devices. Multilevel, but not huge home (1420sf). Currently on Centurylink DSL with their modem/router. And no, I will not switch to comcast because fuck those assholes dry and sideways. I recognize DSL is the probably the biggest bottleneck in this chain, but it's kind of irrelevant given that the system currently doesn't even seem to support all the devices we already have.

Thoughts/comments?
 

SkaredShtles

I love NEWCASTLE and will ONLY drink NEWCASTLE!!!!
Sep 21, 2003
52,567
5,089
In a van.... down by the river
Bumping for thread relevance;

It's become apparent that the women folk are going to be home schooling for the near foreseeable future. One learning, one teaching. This means the # of devices is straining our router to the max. On top of all the usual assortment of our typical household computers/gaming devices/smart speaker domestic surveillance devices/chromecast/smartphones/etc, etc. the girls are now tacking on at least another 4 devices. Multilevel, but not huge home (1420sf). Currently on Centurylink DSL with their modem/router. And no, I will not switch to comcast because fuck those assholes dry and sideways. I recognize DSL is the probably the biggest bottleneck in this chain, but it's kind of irrelevant given that the system currently doesn't even seem to support all the devices we already have.

Thoughts/comments?
No thoughts other than you're going to have to go with Comcast.

I do appreciate your sentiment, however.

Take solace in the fact that Comcast has some of the worst CS on the planet, but it's *still* better than CenturyLink.

:D
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
31,940
6,766
Riding the baggage carousel.
Take solace in the fact that Comcast has some of the worst CS on the planet, but it's *still* better than CenturyLink.
CS wise, my centurylink experience has far exceeded my comcast experience. Not that that's a high bar or that I'd recommend either, given a third option.

Help me Elon Musk, Starlink is my only hope.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,981
3,232
1) Nick, what's the cable drop in your office? RJ-45/Ethernet? Where's the other end? I'd go with @englertracing 's suggestion and drop in another access point there, a commercial wireless router (I have a bunch of ASUS RT-AC68U units) set up in access point mode/not as a router.

2) 'Squeeb, what's your DSL rated at in Mbps? Because even a poor performing 2.4 GHz network will push more than it, likely...
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
18,150
5,932
behind you, don't wait up.
1) Nick, what's the cable drop in your office? RJ-45/Ethernet? Where's the other end? I'd go with @englertracing 's suggestion and drop in another access point there, a commercial wireless router (I have a bunch of ASUS RT-AC68U units) set up in access point mode/not as a router.
No, the wall coax in here is part of the house's cable setup. My router is downstairs in the living room. I have no objection to running a new line or whatever, I honestly just don't know what to do.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,981
3,232
No, the wall coax in here is part of the house's cable setup. My router is downstairs in the living room. I have no objection to running a new line or whatever, I honestly just don't know what to do.
Ah. Since there's no ready made drop I'd honestly try one of these newfangled mesh setups first, and only resort to fishing cables if that setup's performance still proves insufficient.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,773
659
NC
Bumping for thread relevance;

It's become apparent that the women folk are going to be home schooling for the near foreseeable future. One learning, one teaching. This means the # of devices is straining our router to the max. On top of all the usual assortment of our typical household computers/gaming devices/smart speaker domestic surveillance devices/chromecast/smartphones/etc, etc. the girls are now tacking on at least another 4 devices. Multilevel, but not huge home (1420sf). Currently on Centurylink DSL with their modem/router. And no, I will not switch to comcast because fuck those assholes dry and sideways. I recognize DSL is the probably the biggest bottleneck in this chain, but it's kind of irrelevant given that the system currently doesn't even seem to support all the devices we already have.

Thoughts/comments?
Hard to tell without specifics. Why do you think your system doesn't support your existing devices/is straining your router? It's definitely possible, just hard to know what you mean by that.

If your wireless is being provided by your ISP's router, it's very likely that it just sucks. Are you paying a rental fee for it?

Without a bunch of testing, and assuming you're using your ISP's wireless device, my first recommendation would be to buy a good quality, mesh-compatible router, but without any other mesh points (e.g. an Eero Pro), and hook it up in place of the ISP device. There's little downside to that (except that it costs money), since you're going to end up with a better quality router that you could use even if you switched ISPs.

Then, if you aren't seeing the coverage you want, you could add satellite mesh points later.

If you do that, once you buy your new router, you'll need to:
- Disable the wireless on your existing router
- (highly recommended) Put your existing router into some kind of "pass-through" mode if it offers one, which should disable all the router services and make the thing just a modem.

edit: but to be clear, if your internet connection is slow, there's only so much you can do.
 
Hard to tell without specifics. Why do you think your system doesn't support your existing devices/is straining your router? It's definitely possible, just hard to know what you mean by that.

If your wireless is being provided by your ISP's router, it's very likely that it just sucks. Are you paying a rental fee for it?

Without a bunch of testing, and assuming you're using your ISP's wireless device, my first recommendation would be to buy a good quality, mesh-compatible router, but without any other mesh points (e.g. an Eero Pro), and hook it up in place of the ISP device. There's little downside to that (except that it costs money), since you're going to end up with a better quality router that you could use even if you switched ISPs.

Then, if you aren't seeing the coverage you want, you could add satellite mesh points later.

If you do that, once you buy your new router, you'll need to:
- Disable the wireless on your existing router
- (highly recommended) Put your existing router into some kind of "pass-through" mode if it offers one, which should disable all the router services and make the thing just a modem.

edit: but to be clear, if your internet connection is slow, there's only so much you can do.
Can the Eero Pro 6 be configured to provide DHCP service? I poked at the web some; I find it a little unsettling that they use a phone application for management...
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,773
659
NC
Can the Eero Pro 6 be configured to provide DHCP service? I poked at the web some; I find it a little unsettling that they use a phone application for management...
Yes. Any wireless router can be configured to provide DHCP. Usually the question is whether it's called a router or an access point (access points sometimes can't provide network services like DHCP).

Whether that's concerning or a feature depends on your perspective, I suppose. It's a feature when my father-in-law's router breaks and he has to set up a new one from scratch, since the app is a way friendlier way to do that than a web interface :monkey:

The downside is I believe it requires your phone and your router to both have an internet connection. I'm not sure how it all works if your phone's only internet connection is your wireless router, and your router is dead (i.e. installing it in an area with no cell service).
 
Yes. Any wireless router can be configured to provide DHCP. Usually the question is whether it's called a router or an access point (access points sometimes can't provide network services like DHCP).

Whether that's concerning or a feature depends on your perspective, I suppose. It's a feature when my father-in-law's router breaks and he has to set up a new one from scratch, since the app is a way friendlier way to do that than a web interface :monkey:

The downside is I believe it requires your phone and your router to both have an internet connection. I'm not sure how it all works if your phone's only internet connection is your wireless router, and your router is dead (i.e. installing it in an area with no cell service).
Thanks. I currently use a COMTREND AR-5319 ADSL modem/router/WAP from my telco provider. At some point, I'd like to bust up my home network into one segment for IOT (M-G set, Powerwalls, their controller, and an insecure WAP that they installed), and computers, switches, printer, and whatnot. If I did that, which is a reach for my networking skill set, I'd probably wish to restrict the AR-5319 to strictly modem functionality.
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
31,940
6,766
Riding the baggage carousel.
I will not switch to comcast because fuck those assholes dry and sideways.
To reiterate: https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/23/21591420/comcast-cap-data-1-2tb-home-users-internet-xfinity

'Squeeb, what's your DSL rated at in Mbps?
I don't recall off hand. Ill have to look when I get home.

If your wireless is being provided by your ISP's router, it's very likely that it just sucks. Are you paying a rental fee for it?
Yes, and no, I don't think we are paying for it. IIRC there was some kind of "deal" when we signed up. In the past I've always just paid for my own modem/router because even though I do it rather poorly most days, I do know how to basic math.

I just assume this is my bottle neck given that the modem/router is 1. probably at least 5 years old at this point, and 2. Performance seems to decrease with every new gadget that joins the network. I have no hard numbers to prove this, however.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,773
659
NC
Thanks. I currently use a COMTREND AR-5319 ADSL modem/router/WAP from my telco provider. At some point, I'd like to bust up my home network into one segment for IOT (M-G set, Powerwalls, their controller, and an insecure WAP that they installed), and computers, switches, printer, and whatnot. If I did that, which is a reach for my networking skill set, I'd probably wish to restrict the AR-5319 to strictly modem functionality.
If all of your devices are wireless (which it doesn't sound like), you could use basically any AP that offers a "guest" network function. The Google Wi-Fi I have at home does this, and the guest network is isolated except for specific devices that you allow to talk across networks.

If you need a wired network, too, you're going to need to deploy VLANs, which is a whole other bucket of functionality that most consumer routers aren't equipped to deal with. You will probably have to scout some of the small business routers. I'm pretty sure the Ubiquiti equipment all supports VLANs.
 
If all of your devices are wireless (which it doesn't sound like), you could use basically any AP that offers a "guest" network function. The Google Wi-Fi I have at home does this, and the guest network is isolated except for specific devices that you allow to talk across networks.

If you need a wired network, too, you're going to need to deploy VLANs, which is a whole other bucket of functionality that most consumer routers aren't equipped to deal with. You will probably have to scout some of the small business routers. I'm pretty sure the Ubiquiti equipment all supports VLANs.
Yeah, my network's mixed ethernet and WiFi. I have one Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-PRO-US Unifi which provides wireless access to the R-Pod, and Tesla installed an airMAX NanoStation M2, configured in an insecure fashion, to talk to their equipment across the road. The three WAPs are tied together via ethernet. I guess I have to read up on VLANs.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,773
659
NC
Yes, and no, I don't think we are paying for it. IIRC there was some kind of "deal" when we signed up. In the past I've always just paid for my own modem/router because even though I do it rather poorly most days, I do know how to basic math.

I just assume this is my bottle neck given that the modem/router is 1. probably at least 5 years old at this point, and 2. Performance seems to decrease with every new gadget that joins the network. I have no hard numbers to prove this, however.
It's certainly possible. If you have two laptops that can talk directly to each other, you could do some performance testing (either specific testing using something like iperf or general testing like, "copy a file that's 2gb and time how long it takes"). Ideally you do one of these tests after you shut down as many devices as you can, then another when the network is normal in the middle of the day. That would eliminate the internet as the question mark.

It's been a long time since I've seen what a truly terrible consumer wireless router does to a network, but this AirBnb we're staying at has that problem. Some rental wireless router from the ISP, and it's awful - it definitely impacts the internet, even though in theory the wireless network is far faster than the internet connection.

Depending on your neighbor situation, it's also possible that you're getting interference if you only have a 2.4 GHz network.
 

SkaredShtles

I love NEWCASTLE and will ONLY drink NEWCASTLE!!!!
Sep 21, 2003
52,567
5,089
In a van.... down by the river
To reiterate: https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/23/21591420/comcast-cap-data-1-2tb-home-users-internet-xfinity


I don't recall off hand. Ill have to look when I get home.


Yes, and no, I don't think we are paying for it. IIRC there was some kind of "deal" when we signed up. In the past I've always just paid for my own modem/router because even though I do it rather poorly most days, I do know how to basic math.

I just assume this is my bottle neck given that the modem/router is 1. probably at least 5 years old at this point, and 2. Performance seems to decrease with every new gadget that joins the network. I have no hard numbers to prove this, however.
Probably your only hope at this point is that CenturyLink brings fibre to your house... or that Musk thing. :D
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,773
659
NC
There is a 2.4GHz and 5GHz band on the modem/router we currently have. I've assigned the two bands depending on the device "needs", so they should be being used appropriately, I think.
Fair enough. The 2.4 GHz band may be next-to-useless if you have a large amount of wireless saturation in your area.

Anyway, best thing you can do is some testing; power off all the devices you can easily get to, test some laptop-to-laptop and internet speeds. Then perform the same tests (both of them) in the middle of the day with everything online.

Or you can just buy a new router and see if your problem goes away. That's a totally reasonable choice as long as you're aware that this could simply be an ISP speed bottleneck and you won't have fixed it.