Help improve the wifi in my house

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SWD, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. SWD macrumors member

    May 3, 2011

    I recently had a couple rooms in my house wired to CAT6, to improve video streaming. But this caused the Netgear AC router to need to be put in the basement. However, I'm not thrilled with how my wifi devices are performing. We've got a 2015 13" rMBP and 2 iPhone 6's, that I thought wouldn't be that affected by moving the AC router downstairs. When devices went from g to n, I felt it. Not so much under ac, though maybe performance would be worse if it were on n. I just can't tell if ac is really doing its job.

    Here's our current setup:

    2100 sq foot home, basement + 2 stories, colonial

    Netgear cable modem and AC router in basement

    6 wired connections to 2 rooms on the 1st floor (achieved with a 4 port switch)

    iMac on 2nd floor is wired through power line networking to router

    I'm thinking I can put a several generations old Airport Extreme-n router downstairs to handle all the wired connections, and hook the Netgear-ac router on the 1st floor via a CAT6 wall jack.

    Would I need to run the Netgear as a wifi extender? Or can I turn off the wireless radios on the AE, and run all wireless signals/networks through the Netgear?

    What type of network is better for my advanced devices, 2.4ghz or 5?

    We're not on a great connection. Time Warner Cable, 16MB down, 1MB up. But there's only 2 of us using devices at the moment, and for the most part it's ok.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
  2. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    There's a lot to explain here. For example, wi-fi signals are blocked completely by metal (vents/heaters/refrigerators), and somewhat by wood, and somewhat by windows (some have metal coatings on inside). For the same power, higher frequencies don't travel as far as lower frequencies. That said, I have a Time Capsule, which replaced a Netgear MIMO something or other. This is extended by 2 airport expresses and 1 D-Link. One of the expresses is needed because it routes itunes to amplifier/speaker wires in the basement. The other two devices "fill in" where needed. You can try moving the Netgear to another location and see if that makes things better. Or try an extender of some sort. Note that it's possible that wi-fi AP's too close to each other can make things worse, not better. And, only 1 router (NAT capabilities) per network. So you can keep both radios on - run the Netgear as an extender. As to what frequency -- try and see.
  3. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    Also, routers work better high to low, rather than low to high, which you have by having it in the basement.
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    As above you need to move your router up. If it were me I would have the main router on the ground floor and a repeater on the top most floor for even coverage. Is it difficult to pop a network cable through the ground floor to the basement to tie the router into your switch.
  5. SWD thread starter macrumors member

    May 3, 2011
    All the wired connections are going to the basement, meaning I do have an open wire from basement to ground floor.

    What I wanted to be sure would work was to put my Airport Extreme-n in basement to handle wired connections. Not even create a wireless network from that router, just pass the wired Internet upstairs to the Netgear-ac and let the more advanced router handle all the wireless work. I wanted to be sure I'm using the full potential of the ac router, if setting it as an extender or repeater would limit it.
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I think wither the AE or the Netgear can handle the wired routing capabilities. If the AE is in the basement, it shouldn't have a problem with handling any of the wired connections or routing from there. If the Netgear is connected by wire to this, you should be able to take full advantage of its wireless capabilities. (This would not be true if you were bridging it wirelessly.) Then, you need to asses if the wireless coverage (reach and strength) from this is meeting your needs. If not, and you need to "fill" in the basement, you could turn on the AE's radio and see if that helps (it may not, due to interference with the Netgear. Radio waves can cancel each other out if they are near each other). Finally, at some point your AE may be a limiting factor to your WAN/cable connection. If it's an older AE with 100MB ports, effective throughput on this is probably 20-30 mbps.
  7. SWD thread starter macrumors member

    May 3, 2011
    The AR is 4th gen, so it has 3 gigabit ports. I ended up losing 1 wired port in the process, but I wasn't using it anyways.

    While i had the netgear high up in the basement, it was right by the I-beam. Passing signal through 2 routers didn't cause any issues or conflicts, or require any special setup. I didn't think so, but wasn't sure.

    I also only put the 3 AC devices on the 5G network, and everything else on the 2.4, which seems to be working out well too.

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6 July 10, 2015