Home Networking Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Mykald, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Mykald macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    #1
    Background
    I live in an apartment. The apartment complex has an exclusive contract with a 3rd party vendor with AT&T as the internet provider. Each apartment building has a room that has the main router that is inaccessible by the tenants. All I do is plug an ethernet cable into the data line that is in the apartment, and plug other end of cable into my AirPort Extreme. I do a speed test and the results depend on the time of day. In the mornings my WiFi is usually anywhere from 14Mbps to 25Mbps. At night it might be 7Mbps. I have an iPad Pro, iPad 2, 2 iPhones, Apple TV, and my wife’s work phone all connected to our WiFi.

    I went to the AT&T store the other day to upgrade my son’s phone and they let me know that if I get my internet through them that it would be cheaper. I explained the situation at the apartment. They explained that I could do a self install. They simply send me the router and I plug it into my data line, and then cancel my internet through the 3rd party vendor. I asked the possible speed I could get. They replied 6Mbps. Sucks living in a rural town! So I asked the sales person how I was getting the other speeds. They had no idea, but that I could test with the router they send to make sure it isn’t any slower. So I said ok. I haven’t received the router yet.

    Like most people, I assume, I’m trying to figure out the best way for my internet to be set up for optimum speed and reliability. Honestly, the speed is fine for what me and my family do on the internet on our phones and iPad. What I wonder is what’s the best way for my Apple TV to be set up. It has always been used on WiFi, but there are times at night that it is buffering and that is annoying. Not only that, my wife and I want a 4K TV and 4K Apple TV, but I’m not sure our internet speed is fast enough.

    I know that a wired connection is best, or at least that’s what I’ve been reading. So I went and bought Netgear Powerline 1000. I connected everything, but I don’t see hardly any difference from my Apple TV connection to my 5Ghz channel on Aiport Extreme. Could that be because I’ve only plugged into my AirPort Extreme which is simply the WiFi router, and not the main router that I don’t have access to? Or does it even matter? Is the new router AT&T sends that plugs into my data line in apartment and will be the primary router going to make a difference with the use of the Powerline adapters since one will be plugged into primary router?

    Also, considering my situation, what would be some advice you might give on setting up my network in my apartment?
     
  2. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    Your internet line is the limiting factor. The real speeds of Wifi are higher than than what you are getting from the data provider, and that is your bottle neck, not your routers/wireless.

    Until you are able to actual get a faster line, I wouldn't mess around with the setup that you have right now.

    my 2c
     
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #3
    My bet is that AT&T has a business connection to the apartment complex and that is split to the tenants. I would also guess that plugging this new router into the data jack is not going to work, as that connection feeds into management's AT&T connection.
     
  4. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #4
    That's exactly what I thought, but I found out there are people in my apartment complex who are doing the same thing.
     
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    Baltimore, Maryland
    #5
    The speed variation makes complete sense. More users in the evening.
     
  6. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #6
    I figured that was the issue. But is there a way through router settings to help with that?
     
  7. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    #7
    Only if you have control of the main router and if that router is capable of controlling traffic.
     
  8. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #8
    If I have control of the main router what would I need to do? I'm getting internet strictly through AT&T, and not the 3rd party and apartment complex router. I will have the main router that controls my internet.
     
  9. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    #9
    In that case you are getting all that you can get. Your router, if it has such controls, could only limit your devices that are connected.
     
  10. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #10
    Ok. I meant that I will be getting a router that I can control. Right now my internet is through the apartment complex and router is controlled by them.
     
  11. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    #11
    Just having your own connection may clear up your issues.
     
  12. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    Colorado
    #12
    Question for OP:

    If you connect an Ethernet device to the main data line in the apartment, can you connect to the internet, and at what speed? Try a PC or Mac. If yes, the building router is providing DHCP and routing for all of the apartments. If so, then adding a router may be causing issues (for you and others in the building).

    If you can connect to the internet directly connected, then you (and your neighbors) don't need a "router". Multiple routers can create issues with NAT and DHCP and may be slowing everyone down. What you need is either an Ethernet switch, and\or an Access Point. AP Extreme can act as either a "Router" (default), or "Access Point" (Network Mode = Off (Bridged) in AP Utility settings). In Access Point mode, the Extreme will act as an Ethernet switch allowing multiple connections, and will provide a local WiFi hotspot for your devices.

    If you can connect direct to the data port, and speeds are similar to when connected to the Extreme, then your building likely has DSL and can't get faster speeds.

    Oh, and if you can connect to the internet via the data port, you are likely on the same network as all your neighbors, meaning you will see everyone's computers and if permissions aren't set properly, you may be able to access each other's files, photos, music, etc. If this is the case, turn off sharing unless you're very friendly with each other!
     
  13. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #13
    I know that I can connect my laptop directly to the main data line and connect to internet. I will have to check the speed. In the mornings my WiFi is usually anywhere from 14Mbps to 25Mbps. At night it might be 7Mbps.
    I believe that right now my Airport Extreme is bridged.

    The way the person at the AT&T store explained it to me was that my internet through the apartment complex will be cancelled. Then I plug in the router they are sending me into the main data line in the apartment, and then I have my own separate from the apartment complex.

    I would really like my Apple TV to wired, but the main data line is where I can't run an Ethernet directly from Airport Extreme to Apple TV.
     
  14. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #14
    That last scenario is exactly why I would put some sort of hardware firewall in place. I don't trust anyone.

    As long as you're connecting the WAN port to that data jack, you're not impacting anyone else. Additionally, it depends on how the connection is delivered. For example, I can connect my computer to my cable modem, but it still requires a NAT device as I'm only given one IP address. I suspect the same is done with the OP's scenario; I've seen it multiple times.
     
  15. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    Colorado
    #15
    Ok, so that clears up a lot. So with the new AT&T service, you will have a DSL line going direct to your apartment's jack and connect their modem\router to the jack. If you want to use the Airport, it will need to stay in Bridge mode, else just use what AT&T provides.

    As for ATV hardwired, if stringing Ethernet is not feasible, consider powerline adapters which can send the data over the power lines in your apartment. But, in all honesty, not really going to help. WiFi speeds will certainly be faster than the ISP service which you state will be 6Mbps? Keep in mind, the slowest link between you and the big bad world is going to be the limiting factor. So Ethernet or WiFi might give you 100-1000mbps, but the real internet download speed will be 6Mbps (ISP link speed). The only thing faster internal network speeds will help with is transfers\streaming between hosts on your local network (Mac to ATV for example). Video streaming needs very little bandwidth surprisingly, so even at WiFi speeds, you will be fine. Any slowness will come from internet access speeds which will be adequate for SD content, but might lag a bit for HD content.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 11, 2017 ---
    Ya, his follow up suggests his Extreme is in bridge mode, so he is on the same subnet as his neighbors without NAT... not very safe IMHO. The new dedicated service will get him off their network.
     
  16. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #16
    I tested my speed by connecting Ethernet from main data line to 2009 MacBook Pro. I used AT&T speed test site. First test was 20Mbps. The second test was 28.5Mbps. When I tested the line using Speedtest it was 15Mbps.

    I have my ATV connected through powerline adapters. When I test the ATV it was 18-20Mbps using Speedtest App. The speed issue is only bad at night. At night it might be 7Mbps and that is through powerline adapter and if on wifi.

    What do I need to do about being on same subnet as others around me? Does the fact that we are all on same subnet affect the performance?
     
  17. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    #17
    So, the slower night speeds are likely due to more folks using the same small pipeline. If you are getting your own, dedicated internet service, you won't be sharing it. The local network doesn't necessarily slow things, but the simultaneous internet traffic does. Think of networks like an 8 lane highway (all of the network users in the apartments) trying to get off on the one lane exit with a big curve and 15 MPH speed limit and a 4 way stop at the end. When you are the only one on the 8 lane highway trying to use the offramp, not much to slow you down, but when a hundred of you are trying to get off at the same time, a cluster f$#k occurs and everyone queues and crawls through the offramp.

    From what you are describing, the complex internet service is faster than the individual service you are contracting for. But, the one thing you should see is more consistent internet download speeds.

    Keep an eye out for new tech in the coming year, there may be hope for faster (and possibly cheaper) internet service. You may be aware cell carriers are starting to roll out 5G service. Well, they are also looking at Fixed 5G service for home internet access. The benefit is 1Gbps+ full duplex speeds, no wires, and less equipment for the carrier to install, so cheaper and accessible to more folks (think rural folks with few choices today, but decent cell service). You simply put up an antenna to connect to the cell network, run it into a modem and router, and off to the races you go. I know Charter is testing this in a few markets right now, others likely to follow quickly. I am sure ATT, Verizon, T-Mo\Sprint are considering adding this service as well, so bundled with your cell service. It may take up to 2 years to see this become reality, but they view this as a great way to reach remote locations with faster service, urban areas already have fibre and other fast choices so breaking into those markets will be more challenging. For once, us outliers might get the break first!
     
  18. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #18
    If the OP is rural enough he may have the same issue. We have a remote DSLAM that has a very slow link to the originating DSLAM. It shows the same issue as above. I can’t wait to hear the results.
     
  19. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #19
    Makes sense. I’m curious to see, when I get the router AT&T is sending, the difference in speed and consistency. The people at the store don’t think I will see much difference in speed, but I’m not holding my breath. My wife and I want a 4K TV but not sure about getting one since don’t seem to have the speed to stream 4K.

    Any advice on setting up the new router when I get it? I’ve been reading smallnetbuilder.com. They suggest a modem connect to router, router connect to switch, connect access point to switch. All I will have is the router they send me, AirPort Extreme, and Powerline adapters.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 12, 2017 ---
    I’m suppose to have the router on the 17th. I will keep you posted.
     
  20. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    Colorado
    #20
    So, 4K streaming may be a challenge. Bandwidth requirements for Netflix "Super HD" is something to the tune of 6-12Mbps, and "Ultra HD" around 15Mbps. Standard content is in the range of 2-3Mbps. But for TV signals coming from Cable or Satellite, no issues with 4K as that won't go through your ISP connection.

    As for routers, if they are providing a combo modem\router, you may not need (or want) to use the AP Extreme. Two routers create a mess!

    The basics are the carrier signal (assuming DSL in your case) has to be converted to a data signal using a modem. DSL modems accomplish this, many have a router and WiFi built in as well. Combo modem\routers can be used as is, or some can be turned into a modem with routing and WiFi disabled. In the former case, no other routers are needed, adding one will likely cause intermittent, or persistent outages. If the Combo also has WiFi on it, simplest solution is to pack up the Extreme and sell it on eBay.

    If you really want to use the WiFi on the Extreme, it will need to be setup in Bridge Mode, so it won't be a router, but merely an access point\bridge. To do this, go to Network tab on AP Utility, set the Router mode to Off (Bridge Mode) and plug the WAN port of the Extreme to a LAN port on the router. If you put a switch between the router and Extreme, that works too, but not necessary if the Modem\Router has enough LAN ports. In this case, you may get better results if you turn off WiFi on the ATT Modem\Router so as to not conflict with the Airport WiFi (but keep routing enabled).

    As for powerline connections, they may not really help. While Ethernet, even Powerline Ethernet, is often faster or more reliable than WiFi, WiFi should be plenty fast for streaming internet content provided the ISP link is fast enough. As the above streaming bandwidth figures suggest, even older 802.11g (54Mbps) is more than enough for 4K streaming, but the internet connection speed has to be enough to handle the load. If you determine the need to use Powerline, connect one end to a LAN port on either the Extreme, or the router, or the switch, the other end to the remote device.
     
  21. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #21
    Thank you. If the new router and service really is only 5-6Mbps then not sure I need to change service since through the complex I have faster than that. So, with what I have now what are your suggestions? I figure I'm SOL for faster speeds at night. I appreciate the advice and info.
     
  22. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    Jul 30, 2009
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    Colorado
    #22
    If you stay with the existing (building) service, not much can be done to improve things. The pipe is small enough that when everyone uses it, things slow down. The reality is, the slowest link between you and the internet is the fastest service you can get, in your case the local network (Ethernet, Powerline, WiFi) is far better than the internet connection speed which means it is out of your control.

    The only hope would be if the building folks worked with AT&T to try to get better class of service. Or, if there is a cable company in the area, get internet service from them. Unfortunately, this of us in rural areas have limited options. So you might talk to the landlord to see if they are interested in finding a better solution.

    Again, the coming year or two might offer some new options, so keep an eye open for developments in your area. Until then, SOL is probably the best you can do.
     
  23. Mykald, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #23
    I received my Router/Gateway in today. Service doesn't begin till tomorrow. it is a Pace 5031NV. This router is IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz, 2x2 MIMO802.11n) wireless access point. backwards compatible with IEEE 802.11b/g


    Airport Extreme is
    • IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
    • Simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz

    What kind of difference is switching to AT&T router going to make?
     
  24. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #24
    With 6Mb service, you're likely not to notice any difference in using the AT&T router, unless you do frequent transfers between local machines.
     
  25. Mykald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2010
    #25
    I’ve read some articles about setting up home network. Most mention using the gateway that AT&T sends me simply as a router, and using the AE as an access point. Is there a benefit to this setup or not really?
     

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