Need help upgrading my home Network

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by lympero, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. lympero macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #1
    Hello all,
    My network provider is finally upgrading their network to VDSL (100mbps) so it's time for me to replace my aging netgear dgn2000.

    My setup:
    For Gaming connected with gigabit powerline: 1 Xbox one for Destiny, 1 PS4 (mainly FIFA) and 1 NS (Mario cart).
    For Movies/TV connected with gigabit powerline : 1 Apple TV 4 for Netflix (night) and 1 raspberry pi for kodi, 1 smart tv playing Peppa all day (YouTube).
    For Movies/TV connected with wifi: 1 iPad 2 playing baby tv.
    Wife setup with wifi: 1 MBP for casual browsing and YouTube.
    My remote job setup with wifi: 1 MBP and 1 iPad Pro (video streaming, 3-4 hours per week video meetings plus controlling my Mbp with iPad with parallels access)
    Extra - 1 printer, 1 usb3 hdd and 1 network gigabit hdd connected to modem/router.

    I have done some research and I have limited my choices to :
    1. Apple AirPort Extreme (obvious choice but kinda dated). (239€)
    2. Netgear r7800 (http://www.netgear.co.uk/home/products/networking/wifi-routers/R7800.aspx) with MU-MIMO. (195€)
    3. TP-Link vr2800 (http://uk.tp-link.com/products/details/cat-15_Archer-VR2800.html) which is modem/router. (199€).
    4. Netgear r8000 (http://www.netgear.com/home/products/networking/wifi-routers/R8000.aspx) no MU-MIMO. (185€)

    * Due to my network provider the router is recommended to have Broadcom chip.

    First of all, do I need an expensive router or a cheaper choice like TP-Link c7 would suffice?

    Any help - suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Fabmac macrumors member

    Fabmac

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2017
    #2
    Apple is not updating the airport routers.
    So my express die'd a few month's ago and i got myself a asus AP, and it works with wifi AC even faster,
    and i can get 3 for one Airport Express price.
    Here in europe its around 30 bucks (wifi only no ethernet ports) in the office they got a super router for 300€ and it works in the same way.

    No need to spend a lot of cash on a router or access point this days, just my opinion.
     
  3. kohlson macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #3
    It would be helpful to understand the physical aspects of your location: multiple stories? VDSL point of entry at one end of the house? Is there any acceptable network wiring?

    And, does what you have work now? That is, with current users and workloads, do you get the network delivery you need? One factor at play here may be your willingness to be a technician on this. New offerings, such as mesh, can make setup easy, but cost a little more than traditional solutions.

    For example, I need connectivity across 2 floors and 2 structures, and there is some wiring in place. Time Capsule plus 3 AirPort Express work for me. Very easy to set up, and more than fast enough for what we require at home (both my wife and I work from home, though not exclusively). AirPlay, smart TVs, phones, laptops galore.
     
  4. techwarrior macrumors 6502a

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    Don't forget, the slowest span in any connection path will limit the speeds on your network.

    Streaming media is not all that bandwidth hungry. ATV4 supports 1080p streams and has a 100Mbps NIC because it simply doesn't need 1Gbps to do what it needs to do. Even video conferences will not consume that much bandwidth due to compression. Most video conference solutions are designed so users with slower broadband like DSL can participate with satisfactory results.

    So, the biggest bandwidth use might be file transfers to\from the drives connected to your router. Since nearly every router has USB3 and 1Gbps ethernet, pretty much any router will work with equal results. These drive connections will be the slowest links on your local network. Throughput on either of these will be less than 1Gbps.

    For internet content, your slowest span in the path will be your VDSL connection, so no matter how fast the Wireless or ethernet connection is, the net speed will be no faster than the slowest link in the path (100Mbps).

    So, in the end, focus on a solid performing router. Airport (current gen) is still on par with most routers out there and is easy to setup and use, particularly with Apple products. If cost is a consideration, watch for refurb units on store.apple.com, Apple's refurb products are excellent (about all I buy from them), and come with the same warranty as new.

    The only thing MU-MIMO routers will do is speed up wireless to wireless file transfers on the local network. That would appear to be limited or not a factor in your stated use case. You can easily overspend or over engineer WiFi given the VDSL being the limiting factor for most of your activities.
     
  5. lympero thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #5
    Yeah I think you are right. I'm leaning towards buying something cheaper like r7000 or r6800 (https://www.netgear.com/images/datasheet/networking/wifirouter/R6800.pdf). Both cost around 100€ so half to cost but pretty much equal performance for me.
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    I agree... at this point MU-MIMO in a router is pretty much a waste of money as very few client devices support it. For example, no Apple product currently supports MU-MIMO.
     
  7. lympero thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #7
    This rourer uses mediatek chip (https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Netgear_R6800) and this Broadcom (https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Netgear_R6400_v1).

    The first is newer but many people suggest to stick with a Broadcom router. What do you suggest?

    Forgot that there is another cheap solution, the old r7000 but still relevant (https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Netgear_R7000)
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #8
    I still think the AC1900 class routers today are the best bang for the buck. The R7000 you mentioned is a good choice as is the ASUS RT-AC68U. Both use a Broadcom chipset. I'm partial to the Asus since in the past Asus seems to keep up with firmware updates longer, and it can use the WRT firmware from Merlin.
     
  9. lympero, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017

    lympero thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #9
    I checked the rt-ac68u and its kinda expensive (170€) compared to r7000(100€).

    Last question! My ISP uses voip which means that I'll have to use their modem first and use PPPoe Passthrough (and not bridge mode) in order to connect my router. I read in some threads that with PPPoe passthrough I might lose up to 20mbps from my connection compared to bridge mode where I have virtually no losses. Is that true?
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    I'm sorry, but I have no idea. I'm not familiar with the hardware they are using for that.
     
  11. techwarrior macrumors 6502a

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #11
    So, your SP device is a router (unless you setup PPOE Passthrough)? Why not just use that, and if you need wider WiFi coverage, add an access point, or a router in Access Point mode.
     
  12. lympero thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #12
    Ok let me explain my situation because my network knowledge is limited and probably you can help me :).

    Soon I will have a vdsl connection and my provider will give me a modem/router. The telephony is also handled with this modem/router (VOIP).
    This modem/router has crappy wifi (n) so I want to upgrade to AC with AirPort Extreme for example.

    If I set my ISP modem/router to bridge mode and connect the AirPort Extreme I can't use the VOIP telephony (internet would be fine).

    The solution provided from my ISP is to use the modem/router with PPPoe pass through and connect the AirPort Extreme. However I have read that this solution would give double nat error and also I will have reduced bandwidth etc.

    So I'm asking if pppoe passthrough indeed causes these problems and if there is any solution to use the AirPort Extreme without having any bandwidth loss and also not lose the voip telephony!
     
  13. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #13
    Put the Airport Extreme into bridge mode, connect it to your LAN, and you'll be fine. Essentially, that disables routing, firewalling, and NAT on the AE and let's the ISP device handle it.

    At this point, the AE is nothing more than an AP with some gigabit ports, so you're paying more many than needed for a simple AP.
     
  14. lympero thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #14
    Yeah apparently I don't want to do that that's why I'm trying to find another solution :)
     
  15. techwarrior macrumors 6502a

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #15
    Why not?

    Lets review your requirements. You will want to use the ISP services for internet service and phone service. The latter will require the ISP's modem\router to function as a router. So, at the end of the day, you cannot get around using the ISP's Modem\Rrouter as your main router. But, WiFi on this device is poor, so you would like to upgrade WiFi. The ISP connection speed is 100Mbps.

    WiFi speeds in excess of 100Mbps will do nothing to improve internet connection speeds. The only benefit faster WiFi will yield is faster transfers of files between devices on your local network. You claim to have minimal need for this, so faster WiFi may be more of a novelty in your setup.

    Airport (or any) router's routing function will not be significantly better than the ISP provided router, but will kill the phone service. You cannot have two routers (in router mode), the double NAT effectively creates a loop and clients will have poor to no internet service. Consumer grade routers (Airport included) don't tend to have the capability to work in a complex multi-router configuration the way commercial routers do.

    As an access point (as opposed to router mode), Airport products will give your wired network a wireless bridge for clients to connect to. All wireless routers and access points convert wireless connections to wired connections to access the local and\or ISP network. The fact that you do this from an additional device versus from the ISP router will not deteriorate performance as long as the second device doesn't try to implement firewall\NAT, and DHCP which would conflict with the main router.

    If you can disable wireless on the ISP router, do so if you intend to use an Access Point to provide wireless to clients. This will avoid the two wireless signals interfering with each other. Then, connect the second router via ethernet to the ISP router and put it in bridged mode so that the second router acts merely as an access point and doesn't attempt to implement DHCP, NAT and other routing functions.

    As an access point, Airport products offer every bit of functionality that they do in router mode, but pass on NAT, DHCP and such to the main router. This doesn't deteriorate speed, nor de-activate things like printer or file sharing, airplay, etc.

    In this configuration, the phone and routing will be handled by the ISP router, and the wireless access will be handled by Airport (or whatever access point). As belvdr suggests, Airport Extreme may be overkill as there are likely less costly Access Points that can offer ac connections to clients. But, whatever WiFi device you use will need to be in Access Point\Bridge mode to avoid conflicts with the main ISP router. As much as you don't like this answer, it is your only choice if you want the ISP's phone service to work. And, even if you could jerry rig it to work passing PPOE through to the second router, you would likely find no real benefit in doing so.

    All of the iCloud services can work through any router provided the right firewall ports are opened.
     
  16. jeyf macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    #16
    i usually buy the components separate:
    -cable modem (in pass through mode)
    -firmware fire wall box (pfSense)
    -router (ebay older HP ProCurve)
    -wifi access point (gave up and bought a craigslist Apple AirPort Extreme)

    cable modem:
    double check with your internet provider which modem is listed as "provisioned". For example; comCast just now offers giga bit service but only 1of2 high speed cable modems offered by newEgg.com will work on their system.

    firewall box:
    pfSense is a bit long in the teeth these days and difficult to setup. If you dont need a 2nd hobby. Some peeps run pfSense in a virtual environment with success. PFSense offers thier own hardware but it is expensive. I run it in a quad core fan less micro pc box form Amazon. I think it will run just fine in a dual core pc. Either way i wanted to keep the firmware box fan less and around 10 watts or less. Locate the firmware box centrally in the home network so you can also install the VPN on it.

    router:
    My HP proCurve is a bit older than expected. It meets my home residential requirements, speed, low cost, no fan and low power. Setting up things like a virtual lan might be out of scope for the HP proCurve.

    wifi access point:
    i did a home network update 2 years ago. I bought and returned several high cost residential wifi boxes. My needs are simple any one of them should have worked for me. I came to the conclusion all of the residential wifi boxes are possibly junk. I gave up and settled on the Apple airPort Extreme. Yes its old but it worked as advertised. I bought it very used on craigslist. I plugged it in and in 22 minutes it was up running. 2 years later... still working. I located via hard wire the extreme to the center of the house and it gets at least moderate coverage every where. out side of apple I suggest you buy form a vendor like Amazon that is cool and will work with you to return a product if necessary. Also reserve a block of personal time to immediately check out the new wifi box upon arrival to verify does everything you need.
     

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