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Streetwise
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The community aspect of our hobby involves using technology to connect with each other and share.

As a professional network and information technology guy, I would be happy to help anyone with advice and troubleshooting. I bet there are a lot of IT aquarium hobbyists here.

I will start with one tip that really resonated with me from an enterprise WiFi seminar I attended: Use separate network names (SSIDs) for your 2.4 and 5GHz bands. 2.4 will often appear louder and get chosen first, even when a quieter 5GHz connection will provide much more bandwidth, especially for video. If you can sort your networks in order of preference on your devices, pick 5GHz first, with 2.4 as a fallback.

Cheers,

Jason

2.4 vs 5GHz on an old home AP. Upload would be much better on newer units like I run at work.

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7 hours ago, Streetwise said:

2.4 will often appear louder and get chosen first, even when a quieter 5GHz connection will provide much more bandwidth, especially for video. If you can sort your networks in order of preference on your devices, pick 5GHz first, with 2.4 as a fallback.


To expand on the Quieter and Louder

Setting up an automotive manufacturing factory, we encountered an issue where the android based inventory tracking scanners were set to 5ghz by default with 2.4 as the fall back.

With the metal storage racks, the 5GHz was not loud enough to over come the interference and the scanners would constantly get connection issues. unfortunately, even though the connection wasn't stable it was still enough of a connection that the scanners would not switch to 2.4.

We set the scanners to the louder 2.4 GHz connection and it overcame the interference.

depending on how far you are from your router and how surrounded you are by boxes of water and metal racks (interference), you might need the louder 2.4.

Edited by MattyIce
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I live in a rural area and we have struggled to have any internet service. Up until recently with Verizon as my ISP my internet speed averaged around 56k. You read that right 56k. How does one live with only 56k?

Fortunately one of the Founders of RedHat lives in the vicinity and he paid AT&T to bring fiber to his home. As much as I wanted internet, I just couldn't bring myself to incur a monthly cost greater than a car payment.

But eventually my resolve eroded. It is not as much as my mortgage payment, but it is more than a car payment and now I get 50 Mbps up and down (it is symmetrical). Plus a 24 month contract. At least I get access to this Forum.

I had HughesNet for a while but the speed was terrible and monthly bills would run in the $600 - $800 range.

So @Streetwise if the download on a 2.4 GHz is greater than 50 Mbps, it would appear that there would not be any benefit to a 5 GHz connection as my speed was maxed out at 2.4 GHz (unless it was a local file transfer), right?

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You would still benefit from the more modern technology of the 5Ghz bands for all in-house data, such as sharing photos between devices, or simply using more than one device on your network at the same time. The biggest benefit of 5Gz compared to 2.4 is when you have many APs. With 2.4, you can really only use three of the different channels before you get co-channel interference. Add a fourth AP, and it will overlap with at least one other and you will get competition for airtime. Look at how many more channels are available. This is from my Ruckus controller at work.

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Edited by Streetwise
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Yes, 2.4 will usually provide more range at a lower throughput, and 5GHz has a harder time penetrating walls and floors, like what @MattyIce dealt with. Ideally, you would add a second hardwired AP to provide more coverage in your situation.

There are use cases for both. Another network I helped setup for our sailing club uses 2.4 with a couple of outdoor antennas, and members who live about a mile away on the other side of the bay have tested streaming music over the connection.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been researching a new consumer AP to replace my old Apple Time Capsules. I also recently got a new cable modem for gigabit, and I don't like renting from my ISP.

Here is my recommended cable modem, ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DY16W2Z/

Here is my top choice for a network appliance that also does wireless, the Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine:

https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-UniFi-Dream-Machine-UDM-US/dp/B081QNJFPV/

I will be ordering the Dream Machine soon, but a buddy got one and loves it. I have been following the brand for a while, and we use some of it at the sailing club. I would even consider it for work if we weren't so deep in the Sophos and Ruckus infrastructure.

Cheers

 

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I've used that cable modem before. Worked well for me. As for networking, i'm a google mesh fanboi, it outperformed the $700 asus routers I was using here in the studio.

 

I've got a new challenge. I've got a new site that only has 25/3 internet connection available, so I'm going to attempt bonding 4 of them together, then running through a mesh network so that I can live stream from there.  I've never dealt with bonding internet before, so it's a new thing for me. I'm gonna try a Tp link device to do it instead of speedify app.

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I remember about 10 years ago, the FCC was endorsing the Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) technology.  Basically, it coupled the digital internet data component to all existing power lines.  I believe that technology initiative failed miserably for many reasons, including, general noise, electromagnetic compatibility and interference to other licensed services.  

As an amateur radio operator, I speak with stations world-wide, and the high frequency (HF) radio noise floor is getting higher (noisier) every year.  So many signals pushing their way through everywhere today with all our electronic technologies.  It's a busy little world out there; and by trying to digitize an analog planet is not helping matters, in many ways.

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33 minutes ago, Cory said:

I've got a new challenge. I've got a new site that only has 25/3 internet connection available, so I'm going to attempt bonding 4 of them together, then running through a mesh network so that I can live stream from there.  I've never dealt with bonding internet before, so it's a new thing for me. I'm gonna try a Tp link device to do it instead of speedify app.

I'll look into how TP-Link does that. Will each connection have it's own WAN IP?

We have multiple WAN connections for our Sophos UTM, and they make it easy. I have tested with both links active, but we are currently running a fail-over setup since our fiber connection has much more bandwidth than our cable connection.

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I've got link aggregation for the LAN to various switches until I get a chance to finish the fiber install. We got our VoIP contractor to run extra fiber to every network closet when they put in their switches. This just from the UTM, it looks different in the HP switches we happen to use.

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Edited by Streetwise
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Big fan of the TP-Link powerline adapters. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-AV600-Powerline-WiFi-Extender/dp/B00HSQAIQU

Especially useful if the building is old, has thick walls, or a lot of interference.

If you do not care about the data collection and are willing to spend the money, the google mesh system is fantastic.

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In my multi-WAN setups, with both links active, clients or sessions are round-robin assigned to individual WAN connections, so we can support more simultaneous data, but the pipe for an individual transmission still won’t exceed the largest WAN pipe.

Researching Speedify, it is doing SD-WAN VPN, slicing your data to use all connections, and then recombining it in a data center to go in-and-out to the rest of the internet from a single connection.

To achieve this without paying a subscription, you might need one unit capable of SD-WAN at your new location, with a similar or compatible device at your highest-bandwidth location.

You could probably choose to route all your data that way, or specify YouTube traffic.

Ideally, your ISP should be able to bond this all into one circuit so you just have one WAN, but sometimes you are just forced to improvise.

I’ll look into this more.

Cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...

This week I got two new Ubiquiti Dream Machine units, one to run my home network, and one for my parents.

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The Dream Machine is a nice upgrade from the Apple Time Machine that I was running at each home site before. I upgraded to the newest beta firmware and controller firmware, and I'm working my way thru all the advanced settings. The wireless settings are pretty good, but not as fine-grained as I get with my Ruckus console for multiple work sites. However, it is better than all the consumer or small business gear I have used.

On the network management side, I still prefer the object-oriented structure in my Sophos UTM units at work. The more business-oriented Ubiquiti units might offer more. Again, it has more than enough for any home or small business that mostly relies on cloud services.

I still need to see how it handles DNS, DHCP reservations, and how easy the firewall is to administer. I don't like using local servers much anymore, except for media production.

On another point, I have thought more about the WiFi advice I gave before. I encouraged folks to completely separate 5GHz and 2GHz networks into different SSIDs (wireless network names). This advice is from high density environments, where 480 clients on 5GHz, and 20 on 2GHz, is so much better than 250 on each.

With a home network, you could consider a few strategies. For my folks, I decided to use just one SSID for both bands, but only because I could enable band steering, which pushes clients to 5GHz whenever possible.

At my apartment, I am using two SSIDs, one as above, and another that is 5GHz-only, so that I can keep media machines always on the highest bandwidth.

If you are living in a high-density environment, you should try running WiFi scanner software, and see how congested the 2GHz band can get.

Cheers

Edited by Streetwise
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I spent the weekend running ethernet in the crawlspace to each of my Google Onhub Mesh Routers (wifi backhaul).  Now I get full download speeds wherever I am in the house. The mesh network was a great addition a couple years back but this took it to the next level now that we've got 2 adults working from home and 2 kids doing distance learning.

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Nice on the cable runs. I try to avoid having to do wiring myself. When we got a new VoIP contract, the phone provider wanted their own fiber LAN, so I had them pull an extra on each run, maybe 8-10 network closets!

In my apartment, I finally ran an Ethernet cable upstairs to my new network appliance, and my other high-bandwidth gear. For my folks, I should probably run a cable thru the basement to put another AP on the other side of their house, because of a stone fireplace.

Regarding WiFi 6, I think it will help with higher and higher density environments. It offers more simultaneous radio connections if you pay for the top hardware. WPA3 is a good security improvement. It also promises more per-client bandwidth and lower latency. Any numbers you might see are like the specs of an empty filter.

I think we will see improvements in AP coordination, and device hand-off while roaming. More devices are going wireless, plus every phone, and now watches.

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  • 1 month later...

@Streetwise Whats your thoughts on Amazon eero mesh WI-FI? They are coming out with a eero 6 dual-band mesh w/wifi 6.  I have a Netgear nighthawk R7000 but been having issues with signal. If I lose one bar my speed is dragging. It takes a long time for websites to load. Router has newest firmware updates. I also added a WIFI extender but that even loses signal with the router sometimes. My house is less than 2500 square feet. I would like to get something that will solve my signal and speed issues through the router. I have issues on 2.4ghz and 5ghz both. I am really thing going to a mesh network but not sure if that is the right thing. Read a lot of people like it because they out perform non mesh routers.  Dont want to spend the money on the Ubiquiti as I don't do anything fancy. Just stream videos on t.v. and computer. Standard home stuff and no gaming. Any suggestions would be great. 

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This is the latest from Ars Technica: 

amazon-eero-hero-front-760x380.jpg
ARSTECHNICA.COM

Eero isn't saying anything officially yet—here's what we know so far.

I have not used the Eero stuff, and I am not in Amazon's hardware ecosystem. I would read the comments from the article, and research further. If I were still consulting, I probably would have installed a few by now, and be able to offer more advice.

My research tip would be to start with what you know and do a search for Nighthawk vs Eero. Those searches will usually highlight other comparisons.

You might be able to install third-party firmware on your Nighthawk, like Tomato, DD-WRT, or OpenWRT.

WiFi 6 is coming, but so is WiFi 6E, with more spectrum. 802.11ac Wave 2 is the current fast lane for most clients.

Edited by Streetwise
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  • 4 weeks later...

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