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jrm27

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 3, 2008
549
15
Hi all,

I've got two airport extremes running the wifi network in my house. They've been reliable, but I think it's time to change. I'm working with all kinds of adapters trying to feed better wifi to parts of the house (powerline adapters, etc...), but now that our network needs are changing, I think it might be time to readdress the entire situation..

Currently, we're using an older Arris Surfboard router to feed one Apple Airport Extreme for the bulk of our wifi needs. Then I'm running a powerline adapter to feed a second Airport Extreme at the orther end of the house to try and bring a modicum of wifi to the other areas. We're in an older house with no ethernet and thick walls... so moving signals throughout the house can be unreliable at best. I do need to update my powerline adapters, but maybe there's a better solution overall.

Now that we're doing remote learning, we have a little education "bubble" and more devices are connecting and streaming across our bandwidth. So, it seems like its time to address this. I'm thinking Wifi6 might be a more stable solution for multiple streaming devices at once, and I'm wondering if it'd be better to try and set up some kind of mesh network rather than cobble together old routers, adapters, and wifi pieces... Any advice to a serious networking noob?
 

barbu

macrumors 65816
Jul 8, 2013
1,247
1,028
wpg.mb.ca
For a noob, any off the shelf consumer mesh network will work for you (not sure about wifi6, specifically. Linksys, eero etc. Advanced users should look at Ubiquiti. All will be much better than airport.
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,250
496
Colorado
WiFi 6 is still kinda new, not many devices support it. And, last I checked, still a little pricey.

I switched to Synology RT2600AC with an RT2200AC second unit. They claim it is mesh, it covers my home really well, about 2000 SQFT with 2000 SQFT basement. Even reaches the garage and back patio. The RT2200 can connect wirelessly, or wired, I have used both and both methods exceed my ISP service speeds. My Airport (TC + Extreme, + Express) didn't cover the space as well, but speeds were fine.

There are some good power line adapters these days, TPLink AV2000 claims better than 1Gbps, and they seem to live up to the promise.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,912
3,636
I would buy a mesh system but not bother forking out for wifi 6 right now.

Do you have coax cable jacks around the house?
 

acorntoy

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,909
2,076
For a noob, any off the shelf consumer mesh network will work for you (not sure about wifi6, specifically. Linksys, eero etc. Advanced users should look at Ubiquiti. All will be much better than airport.
I would buy a mesh system but not bother forking out for wifi 6 right now.

Do you have coax cable jacks around the house?


Went from Airport extremes to Orbi. Amazing speeds. Third satellite (one that powers my room) disconnects from the hub at least once if not more a month. Pain in the butt to get it to reconnect, sometimes takes a minute sometimes takes 30.

The speeds and range are amazing but Orbi fails with the "set it and leave it" I -never- had to fuss with the Airport and I miss that.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,912
3,636
Went from Airport extremes to Orbi. Amazing speeds. Third satellite (one that powers my room) disconnects from the hub at least once if not more a month. Pain in the butt to get it to reconnect, sometimes takes a minute sometimes takes 30.

The speeds and range are amazing but Orbi fails with the "set it and leave it" I -never- had to fuss with the Airport and I miss that.

I went from a router running open source Tomato firmware which always had an uptime concurrent with the last time the house lost power - often well over a year. I have the Nest mesh system which was requiring some weekly reboots at times to maintain speeds, however that has gone away with recent firmware updates.

More importantly, I've gone from 10-20Mb in many areas of the house to 300-500Mb over every square foot of living space, indoors and out. It took some time to get the placement of each device tuned perfectly, but worth the effort!
 

jrm27

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 3, 2008
549
15
This is all really really helpful! Thank you!

Godo to know that wifi6 may not be ready for primetime purchase since it's such a new technology. the main thing I was worried about was the stability of the network and speeds with multiple individuals streaming over the network at the same time. It seems like I was reading that this is one of the benefits of the wifi 6 network technology, even if the devices connecting aren't specifically wifi 6 devices. Perhaps I am misunderstanding.

(I do have coax... or at least the previous owner scattered the house with it... but I've found plenty that aren't connected, or have been cut now that I've been looking closer.)
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,250
496
Colorado
This is all really really helpful! Thank you!

Godo to know that wifi6 may not be ready for primetime purchase since it's such a new technology. the main thing I was worried about was the stability of the network and speeds with multiple individuals streaming over the network at the same time. It seems like I was reading that this is one of the benefits of the wifi 6 network technology, even if the devices connecting aren't specifically wifi 6 devices. Perhaps I am misunderstanding.

(I do have coax... or at least the previous owner scattered the house with it... but I've found plenty that aren't connected, or have been cut now that I've been looking closer.)

No matter how fast your local network is, your ISP link may be limiting speeds.

WiFi 6 will primarily help when there are a lot of devices on the network, and when there are multiple networks in range. But, most of the benefit may be for devices that support it.

Test your speeds connected to Ethernet ports on the router and compare to speeds on wireless with the same device. That will tell if your internet service is the bottleneck or if it is WiFi. Then test in every location in the home to find dead spots.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,912
3,636
This is all really really helpful! Thank you!

Godo to know that wifi6 may not be ready for primetime purchase since it's such a new technology. the main thing I was worried about was the stability of the network and speeds with multiple individuals streaming over the network at the same time. It seems like I was reading that this is one of the benefits of the wifi 6 network technology, even if the devices connecting aren't specifically wifi 6 devices. Perhaps I am misunderstanding.

(I do have coax... or at least the previous owner scattered the house with it... but I've found plenty that aren't connected, or have been cut now that I've been looking closer.)

With coax you have the option, if wireless mesh does not prove entirely satisfactory, of adding a MOCA adapter at a coax jack which you then hang a mesh point with Ethernet backhaul which greatly improves performance. Try full wireless first, but look for a system that offers wired backhaul as an option.
 

glenthompson

macrumors demi-god
Apr 27, 2011
2,924
795
Virginia
Used an Eero in a 2 story L shaped house. Worked very well to get signal everywhere. Used switches on the Eeros to provide hardwired connections when needed.
 

acorntoy

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,909
2,076
Orbi satellite just failed again. Will probably wake people up trying to fix this hell. Would recommend any other mesh network but this. Thank humans for lte.
 

jrm27

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 3, 2008
549
15
Yeah, there seems to be a pretty common complaint around the orbi not being that reliable. At this point, I'm thinking the Google Nest might be a strong option for me. I need a strong reliable connection for 5 people to be able to stream remote meetings. Nest may not be the fastest, but it seems quite stable, user friendly, and effective. I don't have any use for the smart speaker/voice assistant aspect of it, but that's a nice touch too I guess. That synology solution looks quite nice as well.

But, if I can scrape the budget together, it seems like two google nest routers (one connected directly to the router, and the second connected through a moca adapter), would give me a very strong wifi mesh that covers my home, while also providing strong/fast wifi in the back office... luckily, with a smaller home, it's probably 35 feet max from the router at its furthest point. I just need to be able to be on video calls a good portion of the day in my office, while there are four other individuals accessing their streaming distance learning classes at the same time.
 
Last edited:

Juicy Box

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
6,468
7,456
I have used been using Apple AirPort for almost 20 years, and have enjoyed them for the most part.

Sometimes last year, I started to have some Wifi issues on the 2.4GHz band, and figured that my aging 6th Gen AirPort Extreme (lastest gen) might be due for a replacement.

Normally I would troubleshoot, but in this case, I figured my AirPort was about to go, maybe I would try a Mesh Wifi system that I kept reading about, and maybe it was time to move on from Apple's legacy network equipment.

There was one thing in particular that I was looking forward to with the mesh wifi, that was the seamless band switching and seamless roaming feature, as I would put a node near where I park my car enabling me to have good signal when sitting in my car getting ready for my morning commute. With the AirPort, I would have signal, but it wasn't good where was car was at.

I bought the expensive Linksys Velop Tri-band 3-node system:

At first, I was mildly impressed with it, but then I started having a few issues, mainly with periodic slowdown. The seamless band switching didn't seem to work either. As it would sometimes switch my stationary laptop from the faster 5GHz band to the slower 2.4GHz band, even though I was only a few feet from the parent node.

Another thing that was a disappointment was the seamless roaming, as it wasn't seamless. I would sit in my car and the internet didn't work, even though I was just about 20 feet from a node. I found out that my iPhone was still connected to my bedroom node, which was on the other side of the house.

I looked up solutions for the seamless roaming problem, and the support page said to turn of Wifi on the iPhone and turn it back on. It worked, but it wasn't what I considered "seamless".

As for switching to 2.4GHz band, and the slowdowns, I finally did some troubleshooting, and it turns out that the 2.4GHz band issues on both the AirPort and Linksys was because of over saturation of the band in my area.

I split the bands on the Mesh system, and kept most things on the 5Ghz band, but some of my devices will only connect to the 2.4GHz band.

I tried doing the channel finder, but the connection speed on 2.4GHz was still erratic. I talked to Linksys tech support and the higher tier tech support for many hours, trying things, testing, but in the end, there was not an improvement.

I ended up returning the Mesh system a few days before the return period ended, thinking I would try something else.

I went back to using my AirPort Extreme, but this time put almost everything on the 5GHz band, and I was surprised that the transfer speeds were actually much better on the aging AirPort than the new, updated tech Mesh system.

I then decided to get another AirPort Extreme for a fraction of the price of the Linksys Velop, and hardwire it into the network. I moved it close to my parking spot, and everything has been fine.

The 2.4GHz band still sucks, but the performance was actually better on the AirPort than the new Linksys.

I am unsure of what you will make of my story, but I guess what I am trying to say is that just because it is new, has great reviews, and expensive, doesn't mean it will be as good as your current setup.
 
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pstmac

macrumors newbie
Sep 27, 2020
9
2
Indonesia
I had a similar story with @vertical smile , but I went with Tenda Nova MW6 mesh

I've been using Airport Extreme 5th gen for almost 9 years, and it's near perfect. Tried to add airport express before (wifi bridge to AE) but keep disconnected and pretty slow, so I decided to sell the express and keep the AE alone. My internet connection is 100mpbs (1:1 between UL/DL)

During this pandemic time, yes wifi load is increasing, and need to share my working space with my sons, so I often ended up moving downstairs (farther distance to AE) and keep losing signal during inportant video call. I had a backup internet line downstairs at 20mbps but the performance is pretty bad, only to feed my iptv primarily
So I'm looking for an economical solution to solve my problem (connect to upper connection which is much faster & solve my wifi coverage issue)

then I bought this, thinking that mesh can solve my problem
https://www.tendacn.com/id/product/nova mw6.html

Yes, it's looks promising in the beginning, as the setup is very easy, and all additional nodes has been preconfigured in the factory so I'm up within minutes
(+) now whole home covered by wifi to my primary internet
(+) no more blank spot
(+) price is pretty cheap

but then I started to see some issues in the following days:
(1) I stream my cctv to outside my home for 24x7 (it consume 85-90 mbps constanly using AE), but on Tenda MW6 it went down to around 70mbps only (cannot go higher)
(2) the upstream is not stable, keep dropping from time to time
(3) downstream also facing similar issue, sometimes cannot open certain web pages, but randomly
(4) devices keep disconnecting (need manual reconnection)
(5) 2.4GHz & 5GHz are blended (handled automatically by the app), I don't like this as I live in a very dense population area, a lot of interference, ended up with much lower throughput

after 2-3 days, I decided to move back to AE, and sell my Tenda MW6
Back to AE, all issues #1-5 are gone, life back to normal (but back to my original problem)
Then I found this thread, and I bought a used AE gen 6, and last night my setup was done properly

Result:
(1) solve my coverage problem, and now whole house connected to my primary internet
(2) I spent less in a used AE compared to Tenda MW6 :p
(3) my upstream back to normal too

my discussion/solution is here

well, I will stick to AE as long as it's possible, while looking for a better (and stable too) alternatives
Piece of advise:
(1) separation between 2.4GHz & 5GHz is a must; most area is too crowded with 2.4GHz already
(2) you need a backhaul between mesh nodes (or AE), wired is better
(3) if you go with mesh solution, at least buy the 3-band as 1-band will be used for dedicated backhaul
 

Prorege1

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2020
215
288
Ubiquiti UniFi is excellent, my setup is finished (for now....) and is very stable - it's actually two wifi networks as I also have Google wifi mesh running :)
Skærmbillede 2020-10-05 kl. 13.12.41.png
 

richmlow

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2002
269
114
Hello jrm27,


While I know where you're coming from, with regards to improving your current Wi-fi network, let me mention something obvious....

Upgrading your entire Wi-fi network (during a pandemic), which you are relying on for mission-critical tasks (online classes for 4 individuals, your own office work, etc.), may not be a good idea at this time. What happens if everything unexpectedly goes "south"?! Perhaps, you can wait until Winter Break (when school is not in session) to implement a full-scale overhaul of your network?!

Anyways, just something to consider.

Good luck in your network upgrade.



richmlow



Hi all,

I've got two airport extremes running the wifi network in my house. They've been reliable, but I think it's time to change. I'm working with all kinds of adapters trying to feed better wifi to parts of the house (powerline adapters, etc...), but now that our network needs are changing, I think it might be time to readdress the entire situation..

Currently, we're using an older Arris Surfboard router to feed one Apple Airport Extreme for the bulk of our wifi needs. Then I'm running a powerline adapter to feed a second Airport Extreme at the orther end of the house to try and bring a modicum of wifi to the other areas. We're in an older house with no ethernet and thick walls... so moving signals throughout the house can be unreliable at best. I do need to update my powerline adapters, but maybe there's a better solution overall.

Now that we're doing remote learning, we have a little education "bubble" and more devices are connecting and streaming across our bandwidth. So, it seems like its time to address this. I'm thinking Wifi6 might be a more stable solution for multiple streaming devices at once, and I'm wondering if it'd be better to try and set up some kind of mesh network rather than cobble together old routers, adapters, and wifi pieces... Any advice to a serious networking noob?
 

pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
2,247
1,499
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hello jrm27,


While I know where you're coming from, with regards to improving your current Wi-fi network, let me mention something obvious....

Upgrading your entire Wi-fi network (during a pandemic), which you are relying on for mission-critical tasks (online classes for 4 individuals, your own office work, etc.), may not be a good idea at this time. What happens if everything unexpectedly goes "south"?! Perhaps, you can wait until Winter Break (when school is not in session) to implement a full-scale overhaul of your network?!

Anyways, just something to consider.

Good luck in your network upgrade.



richmlow
Deploying Amplifi is a question of minutes. Nothing can go bad with that.

Unifi needs more preparation, more reading before deployment.
 

VintageMac

macrumors regular
May 19, 2007
110
1
Jumping in here with what I think is a similar situation. Using Airport Time Capsule, which has served me well, but it does not reach the far corner of our house. Now that someone is living in our in-law quarters in that far corner our wifi coverage is not satisfactory. There is an ethernet cable running to that corner. Being non-tech non-savvy, simplicity is key! I am understanding less than half of what is said in the above posts. Suggestions?
 

Euroamerican

macrumors 6502
May 27, 2010
386
250
Boise
@VintageMac

I had a similar situation and used that ethernet cable to go directly to the user's PC in the far room. Wifi on my Airport Extreme, last edition, was just not doing it for her as she had an older non-AC wifi adapter in that laptop.

I'm still soldiering on with my Airport Extremes, since I've acquired a few of the last model off of Ebay within the last 18 months.
 
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