Optimizing Wireless/Wired Network in Two Storey Home

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by kanewtz, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. kanewtz, Nov 18, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014

    kanewtz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #1
    Hi All,

    I'm sure this has been discussed numerous times, but I have a quite a few things to discuss and would like to know my best options.

    Background
    I live in a two storey home (fairly new - built in 2007). Basement unfinished.
    I have service through Eastlink (Canadian Cable Provider) and have their Maestro service (everything connected via internet). Their router/modem is built into the Media Gateway (PVR) that connects to the tv receivers via MOCA.
    I have disabled the wireless in their Media Gateway and using a Linksys E3000. I am not worried about wireless signal in the basement as it is unfinished and completely open.

    Connected Devices
    1. HP Win 7 Laptop - Main Floor (wireless)
    2. AppleTV - Main Floor (wireless)
    3. 2 iPhone 5 (all over - wireless)
    4. 2 iPads (all over - wireless)
    5. Win 7 Desktop - Basement - ethernet)
    6. Late 2013 rMBP (all over - wireless)
    7. PS3 - Main Floor (wireless)
    8. HP Wireless Printer (basement - ethernet)
    9. Chromecast - 2nd Floor - master bedroom (wireless)

    Current Set-up
    The "Media Gateway" is in the basement and I have an Ethernet cable coming out of it into a powerline adapter going to my main floor.
    Here I am connected into the Linksys E3000 that is broadcasting dual-band. I have done no tweaking with it, just a simple set-up.
    I am finding it difficult to get decent wireless coverage in all areas of my house. Sometimes it fluctuates. I have 20 down, 4 up service. I have attempted to resolve this by moving the E3000 to different locations and it still is like that. I tried using a dLink DIR-505 to "repeat" the wireless upstairs, but still is crappy.

    My Idea on a Solution - Looking for Feedback
    - Media Gateway to stay in the basement with the wireless turned off.
    - Powerline adapter from Media Gateway into an Airport Time Capsule on the main floor - living room (this is an open concept area where the kitchen/living room/dining room are all one room). This will feed ethernet to the HP Printer and a future (soon I hope) MacMini. It will be the main wireless Access Point.
    - Powerline adapter out from the Airport TC into an Airport Express on the 2nd storey (I have four bedrooms up there, two on either side with a middle hallway). Where is the best location to put the Airport Express? I have a "spare bedroom" on the 2nd floor (was an office before - might still like for it to be)...I am thinking this is the place to put the Airport Express and have the desktop downstairs placed here.

    Does this new set-up seem logical? Would it work?

    Is there something I should do differently? Is there too many powerline adapters going on? I was thinking of just getting one more powerline adapter and using the main one coming off my Media Gateway in the basement to feed both the Time Capsule and Express? Would that work or do they need to actually be "connected" to each other?

    Thanks for reading!

    TLDR;
    Want to use Time Capsule and Express to expand wireless network in a two storey house using powerline adapters.
     
  2. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #2
    Anybody?

    I bought an Airport Express today (waiting for shipping) but not sure if I should buy the TC (pretty expensive).
     
  3. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #3
    It is best to have the main AP in a central location in the middle of your home on the first floor. If it is possible to hardwire from your ISP equipment to the AirPort rather than using power line that is better. I would use a Time Capsule or Extreme in the middle and Express extending over Ethernet if necessary.
     
  4. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #4
    That's what I was thinking...putting the TC on the main floor in an open area and Powerline Ethernet'ing to the second floor to the Express.

    I guess it doesn't matter where the Express is placed on the second floor, since it will be via Powerline Ethernet.
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #5
    The Time Capsule may actually be powerful enough for your home as it is a head and shoulders improvement over previous models. That being said, AP placement is just as important regardless of how it connects. You need to place the Express where clients won't be gasping for signal while jumping between the Time Capsule and Express.
     
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #6
    Instead of power line adapters try to figure a way to run cat6 cable. I have seen very few houses where it can't be done with a little creativity. I have run cables through closets and into the attic, then down interior walls to get where I wanted.
     
  7. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #7
    This would require me drilling holes through my hardwood floor...not sure if my wife would be on board with that.

    Easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission?
     
  8. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #8
    If put in discreet locations the holes are not a problem. Ever see the brass outlet plates set I to floors with screw on caps why not in use? Look very nice on hardware floors. I used one of them behind my entertainment center to run coax and cat5 to the basement. Saved me from messing with the insulation in the outside wall. If we move things all that's left is a nice brass plate.

    My house has hardwood floors everywhere except bedrooms and I have cat5 going to every device in a fixed location. No cables are visible.
     
  9. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #9
    Can you show me a picture of what you are referring to when talking about brass plate?
     
  10. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #10
    This is similar to what I used: [​IMG]

    Just Google "brass floor outlet" and you will get a bunch of images and references.
     
  11. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #11
    Powerline adapters have a very spotty history. I've used (more accurately, tried to use) several generations with very inconsistent results.

    Supposedly the very newest generation is better, but why trouble yourself with it? You have a new house and running cat6 via wall fish shouldn't be much of a challenge, especially if your basement isn't built out.
     
  12. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #12
    I'm going to attempt to run Cat6 ethernet cable to at least my main floor for now...see how that goes and go from there.

    This simple buying a rMBP has turned into a $5000 project LOL
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #13

    Welcome to the better side of computing.
     
  14. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #14
    Yup I'm there lol
     
  15. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #15
    Latest powerline are solid on connection, but still lack in overall speed. When you're lucky to get 100mb powerline but I can pull (at this instant) 216mb at the furthest reach from my router with one of the tri-band Netgears it makes powerline pretty second tier.

    Such first world problems, amirite?
     
  16. kanewtz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ontario
    #16
    Sadly I loose ~67% of my speed through Powerline.

    Figured, what the hell..going to run Cat6 throughout my house now!
     
  17. arbrx macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    #17
    I have same situation but not an older/well built home. I would attempt using a new Airport Extreme, and possible Express (as a repeater) first before wiring the whole house. That's the setup I use with two NAS drives (Drobo and Synology) and IP cameras - works very well. You may be surprised how effective the signals are on a better quality wireless router (haven't had great signal success with Linksys).
     
  18. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #18
    Powerline networking is really a mixed bag depending on the wiring in your home. Good idea running the Cat6 or Cat5e.
     
  19. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #19
    This doesn't sound bad, as long as you keep an eye out on the power-line interfaces. They can get dodgy, but I've had mostly positive experiences with the DLink AV500 series. Note, though, that a 20/4 Mbps connection actually may be on the high side of what you can realistically achieve using power-line adapters, depending on how the wiring in your house looks.

    What I would do, is to prioritize my connections. The central WiFi access point (the TimeCapsule in your case) should have as fast a connection as possible, of course. You'd have to make sure that the devices that need high-speed, low latency connections are connected either via ethernet cable, or via WiFi to the TimeCapsule.

    If you have a point on the second floor where you get a good signal from your TimeCapsule, consider setting up an AirPort Express in extender mode there. My experience with running multiple power-line adapters in the same electrical system wasn't very great.

    Also, as others have pointed out, be creative when it comes to running cables. A CAT6 cable can be hidden behind the baseboards, for example, as long as you avoid running nails through it or bending it too far out of spec.


    For reference, we're doing some work in our own house right now, and are living in the first floor of my in-laws' house right now. Their house was a network nightmare, with the WiFi base station locked away in their garage, which doubles as an office.
    My changes:
    * I switched their old crappy Linksys router for an AirPort Extreme. That extended the usable range of the wireless signal considerably from the garage.
    * I set up my old AirPort Express in repeater mode in the part of the house closest to the garage, and connected a pair of DLink AV500 power-line adapters I had lying around between the APExpress and the wall socket next to the TV, where I currently have my media/storage/TimeMachine server and my media player, with a switch between them - note that this part of the setup is a nice-to-have feature, not a requirement.

    Even though I'm repeating the wireless signal, I'm maxing out their (effectively) 7/1 Mbps ADSL connection both ways, with insignificant latency introduced by the solution (33 ms to a test server located about 100 miles away from this house).
    My mac claims that it gets about 100 Mbps of throughput speed back to the AirPort Express even in the far side of the house. If I'd set up a second Express on the second floor, the entire house would easily be covered.
     

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