Extenders vs mesh routers

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by bs0604, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. bs0604 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    #1
    I have read that using an extender to allow my computer at one end of the house to communicate with my router at the other end will decrease my internet speed. (I think I read where it decreases it by 50%). In using a mesh system, like Google wifi, is the speed also decreased?
     
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #2
    For the most part, any device that is intermediate (sitting between two devices using WiFi) will create some types of delay. However, there are differences as to not only how long the delay is, and if there is significant slow down but that other factors would need to be considered including how many devices are on WiFi and which 802.11 WiFi is being use and at what bandwidth. However the rule you heard is a good rule of thumb. 50 percent "less" is pretty much the average.

    If you are looking for some answers, I would suggest you check out smallnetbuilder site. I also suggest you check out Netgear's latest offering "Orbi." People lump it in with mesh offerings but it really isn't. It is a more logical approach to simple traffic of signals to increase total area coverage in a non-business environment (though it can work in one). Think of it as devices talk to the Orbi and that Orbi talks to the central Orbi on a fast dedicated WiFi signal.
     
  3. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    Mesh vendors claim that they use a dedicated backbone radio for connections between Access Points and thus don't share the bandwidth with connected clients. Not sure how true that is...

    Best bet is to connect a second access point via Ethernet to the router. If you cannot string Cat5e\6 cable to the remote location, Ethernet over Power might help. I use TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Adapter TL-PA8010P Kit to extend my Ethernet to a remote AP and seem to have pretty decent performance. This adapter claims 1.2Mbps over power, but I think distance and circuits might impact speed. Speed tests when connected to the remote AP are identical to when connected directly to the router. Since my www connection is 50-60Mbps cable service, I am getting 50-60Mbps from anywhere in the home.
     
  4. jhsonderb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    #4
    The ORBI has been stated to be a Spoke and Hub router. Recently purchased I am very happy with improved WiFi in my 60 year old house with plaster with embedded aluminum mesh walls. Old router was Apple Extreme with Apple Extreme and Express ethernet connections. I think that is called a "roaming" network as opposed to an "extended (via wifi) topology. I had drop outs in various areas of my house. The ORBI router with one satellite access point has significantly improved the wifi throughout my house. (I am not affiliated in any way to Netgear).
     
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #5
    Well as I said (Orbi), its a competitor of "mesh." It is a simple method that is effective. I am glad you shared your experience and more so, that it met your needs. If you are willing, please keep us informed of any issues or good things that you discover using your Orbi.
     
  6. Klaatu63 macrumors regular

    Klaatu63

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    Nov 3, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #6
    --- Post Merged, Jan 16, 2017 ---
    My experience mirrors yours. I have a large home, 2900 sq ft and I have two Airport Extremes extended with a pair of TP-Link TL-PA4010KIT powerline adaptors. Comast delivers 86 Mbps measured at the first Extreme. The extended Extreme measures 40 Mbps. More than adequate for my needs. But more importantly I have never in a years time had to reset, reboot, the service has been flawless.
     
  7. xraydoc, Jan 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017

    xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #7
    I'm giving up on my Google wifi mesh system.

    As I've posted before, I have a long rectangular house build in the mid-1950's. That means lots of cinderblock and plaster walls. It's a wifi nightmare.

    I had been using two AirPort Extreme AC routers on the same SSID (and password) but never managed to get good coverage across the house. Something would always drop out -- either a far-away NetCam or someone's laptop would keep flipping across the two bases and end up stalling. It was very frustrating.

    So in an attempt to improve signal strength, I decided to try the Google wifi multipack. I was hoping the mesh network, bouncing from one end of the house to the other, would cover all the corners and help things out. Trouble was, no matter where I positioned the devices, I couldn't get a strong enough signal to the farthest base to produce good throughput. My 75Mbit/75Mbit FIOS which would actually register as 80+Mbit/sec over wifi near the first base station would sometimes go as low as 20Mbit at the far end. Not sure what the local LAN speeds were at that point, but couldn't have been good. And with my server/NAS at one end and my laptop at the other, this was making for some very slow transfers. And for the first time this weekend, I was unable to maintain Netflix streaming on one TV if someone was streaming something else on another.

    So, since I'm unable to get Ethernet (easily) from one end to the other, I invested in two coaxial MoCA to Ethernet adapters (Actiontec) and put all the coaxial cable already in the house to good use. Though I had to spend some time strategically hiding the MoCA boxes so they weren't out in the open (wife's request), I'm getting excellent speeds over the coax (around 300Mbit/sec) and it effectively gives me Ethernet in two additional rooms.

    Armed with two new household Ethernet ports in strategic places, I put back up my two Apple AirPort Extreme AC boxes and purchased one more AirPort Extreme AC router with help of a few Best Buy rewards bucks. The main FIOS router serves up IP addresses via DHCP and the three AirPorts are acting as wireless bridges in bridge mode (not as wifi extenders).

    I'm now back in business with 300Mbit LAN networking from one end of the house to the other, strong wifi everywhere and -- so far -- nothing dropping out or stalling. And even my iPhone is able to saturate my 75/75Mbit FIOS internet service over wifi.

    Not the cheapest setup by far, but after over two years in this house, the wifi network as never been running better.
     
  8. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #8
    As you found out, radio systems behave dramatically different based on their environment. Even day-to-day operations can be impacted.
     
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    Yep - I recall one very odd case where we ended up running cable through an air duct. It was temporary but certainly solved the problem of certain types of walls and plumbing.
     
  10. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #10
    Stay far away "mesh" router systems if you want fast speed! The best consumer system is the Netgear Orbi since this system communicates to each other via a dedicate frequency than the AC it blasts out.

    Mesh systems are different because they use a mesh system that uses the same frequency that it's broadcasting to the users so it slows down the wireless to communicate with each other!
     
  11. trippstadt macrumors newbie

    trippstadt

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    Mar 11, 2016
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    Merrica
    #11
    This is very contrary to my personal experience with mesh systems. I've installed 5 of them, and every one resulted in a home or facility that was completely covered by reliable wifi access with speeds sufficient to support any activity normally performed in those places. First of all, mesh nodes contain MULTIPLE radios allowing for simultaneous and/or near simultaneous transition of packets receiving/sending coupled with optimum use of both (or in some cases, all three) broadcast frequencies. Couple this with now proven algorithms for automated system, data, and traffic management, and you get a system which is far superior, in most cases, than using extenders. I have not seen a properly installed mesh system whose capabilities are appropriate for the overall facility that didn't fully succeed in meeting its coverage or speed requirements. That doesn't mean to imply such things don't happen, but warning people to, as a matter of course, avoid mesh systems altogether because they can't provide "fast speed" is, IMHO, just not great advice. Nobody I know who owns a mesh system would agree with that advice. I hope this doesn't come across as anything other than respectful, but I wouldn't want people avoiding mesh systems because of wrong advice.
     
  12. ImBuz macrumors regular

    ImBuz

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    Oct 23, 2014
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Love my Google wifi mesh---works a treat
     
  13. HDFan macrumors 6502

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #13
    What kind of speeds are you talking about? Sufficient for Blu-Ray streaming (~40 Mbps), 4K?
     
  14. trippstadt macrumors newbie

    trippstadt

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    Mar 11, 2016
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    Merrica
    #14
    Absolutely! I placed 5 Google WiFi nodes throughout a huge (6000 sq ft) house WITH a good 1/2 acre pool & picnic area outside, and the very worst speed I measured at the edge of their property was 48, with most of the interior operating at 80 or above. Another nice thing is that the mesh will automatically switch to 5G when it’s available and clean, so I was able to get their 4K TV in an area where it was over 100.
     
  15. mdbradigan macrumors member

    mdbradigan

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    Oct 28, 2014
    Location:
    Nashville, TN area
    #15
    FWIW - I have a ~ 2,000 sq ft house with router upstairs, office downstairs. Had two different extenders, and wasn't overly happy with either of them. Switched to a Linksys Mesh system and LOVE it. Is radically faster, and goes down far far less.
     
  16. HDFan macrumors 6502

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #16
    Again, how fast? Radically faster could mean going from 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps ....
     
  17. trippstadt macrumors newbie

    trippstadt

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    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    Merrica
    #17
    I can’t answer for the gentleman above, but I gave you actual measured speeds in my previous post.
     

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