Having trouble with WiFi signals? Not tech savvy? I found a solution, for me anyway

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by amb3cog, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. amb3cog

    amb3cog AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    146
    So I had my old router/modem combo that barely got to my audio/video room. I tried an extender. It made it just bearable. Then the combo unit crapped out. So in a pinch I just went to Cox, and rented one, until I could do some research. It's the new "Panoramic" WiFi. In a word. It "SUCKS". In a few words. Big donkey balls! Worst thing ever!

    So Cyber Monday hits, and I still haven't done my research. I went to Slickdeals.net to see what was out there. Figure whatever I buy. I can send it back if I don't like it. I find deal on a cable modem (haven't hooked it up yet), and a mesh type thing called the AmpliFi system by Ubiquiti. It's just the regular one, not one of the two upper models. And it works great.

    I live in a nice 2400 sq ft condo that I could never afford. Thanks to my wonderful family, just on a temporary basis. It's an amazing abode to say the least. But. It's one floor, and the cable comes in at one corner, and my room is at the opposite corner with walls, and a chimney in between. So tough on the WiFi to say the least.

    I hooked up this unit, and the two extender things that came with it just to the old unit (using it as the modem), until I feel like dealing with Cox to connect the new modem. And I'm seriously impressed with this unit to say the least! This thing is amazing.

    Not just in its performance but in it's ease of use. For the first time ever I have respectable speeds, and a great connection. And seriously. You could have a trained monkey hook this thing up. The instructions were so simple I was worried. But nope. I'm very tech savvy, and I didn't use any of my skills at all! The app does it all for you. I just plugged it in, after downloading the app, and it worked. It even asked me if I wanted to update the firmware, and then did it for me on all 3 pieces of this thing with one press of a button.

    It's an awesome setup, and this company is known to be great. So I'm not worried about it if I have any issues. I don't usually go around trying to sell other people's stuff, but to be quite honest I'm pretty blown away at this setup. And I very glad I didn't pay more for the HD, or LR versions as this is plenty good enough. Although if you have a huge homestead that may be different for you.

    Just wanted to let you guys know, because I'm so thankful for all the advice I've gotten from here for audio. I hope someone else gives this a try, and tells me their experience, because I want to see what others think. I'm impressed, but I'm not super up to date like I used to be. So maybe this isn't that great. I don't know. I just know I'm finally happy, and expect even better speeds when I get the modem going also.

    Thanks all
    Andy B.
     
  2. amb3cog

    amb3cog AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    146
    https://www.amplifi.com

    Here's a link BTW. This system is not perfect, but a heck of a lot better then what I had before.
     
  3. bigx5murf

    bigx5murf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    826
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I've found poor wifi performance is usually due to over crowded 2.4ghz bands. There are only 11, and if all your neighbors have a 2.4ghz network setup, your wifi performance will suck. The best way to get around that is to get a router capable of 5ghz band, but then your devices need to be able to use 5ghz bands as well. Use a smartphone app "wifi analyzer", and see which bands your neighbors are using, then setup your network to use bands that aren't being used. This was how I got the wifi performing at wife's salon, there are over 50 networks competing there being a busy commercial area.
     
  4. amb3cog

    amb3cog AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    146
    Thanks man. I've done that actually, and even though I don't have many close neighbors. I still have that issue too. I hooked this up, and am getting better results with the 5ghz. This is no doubt due to the issue you bring up. In theory I should get better signal with the 2.4 GHz, but it's about the same, or worse.

    My real issue is distance, and walls. But I'm fine with this new setup. So I'm quite happy now.

    Thanks for the help.

    Andy B.
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,270
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    I heard my name, so I responded. :D

    I have a bit of a situation here at home. I have been buying cheap used Linksys routers, using them as WAPs in a couple of places in the house (primarily, the rooms we use the most), and using them also as switches. Only, I had the radio in the router in the listening/family room crap out on me a month or so ago. I like that I can load DD-WRT on these and get complete control over every router function; I even run an SPI firewall on the main router in the basement. But now with one nearly dead router (which works only as a switch since it died), and all of us depending on one WAP, I'm finally getting ready to upgrade all of the network equipment here with Ubiquiti. Likely an EdgeRouter POE as the main router, and I have been considering one of their Unifi Access Point Pro WAPs to get a good strong signal throughout the house. Any of their Unifi WAPs will beat the consumer products out there.

    Looking around in various places over the past year or so, Ubiquiti's products seem to be a lot better rated than other popular products out there, and the price isn't that much higher. So I'm interested to see how well that AmpliFi works. I still want a fully configurable main router (something only available in professional models), but if I can get good, clean WiFi to different parts of the house easily, and it's secure, I may look into it.

    I saw a similar product from another vendor, but I'd never heard of them, and their mesh system costs way, way more than one of those Unifi WAPs I mentioned above.
     
  6. amb3cog

    amb3cog AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    146
    Well I'm no expert, even though I actually went to school for networking. I think you have to actually graduate to declare that.

    Anyway. Okay the deal is, from my experience this week, none of these work perfectly. I still haven't hooked up my new cable router, but will do so by Monday probably. That may help.

    But there's always a lag no matter what. You hit the button on whatever, and your device has to deal with the access point/extender thingy, and then that has to talk with your router, then that talks to the cable modem, then that talks to the server. All this takes time. And anytime your adding another wrinkle. You're adding time.

    So yes it gets fast download speeds, and is great for streaming movies. But surfing the net there's a delay. It's very small, but I notice it. However if you can't get one robust router to do it. There's no other choice, and among those choices you're left with. This is a very good one. What you're talking about is even better.

    But be well aware that what you're talking about isn't simple like this. If you're a geek like me. You'll figure it out easy enough. But if you're a total novice. I would got something like what I got. Heck I bought it partially for that reason myself. And the savings too, because I had someone going halves with me, and didn't want to give them sticker shock. They don't even understand how this works. So trying to explain why it's worth more isn't easy, and I'm cheap anyway so....

    But it works fine. Now maybe if you have a huge house, or a lot of people using it at the same time. But remember. No matter how fast your download speeds are. There's still that initial lag. And whatever you buy. Make sure it's seamless. In other words it all uses the same password, and stuff. And jumps easily between devices without leaving you on the last one still when you should be on the one in the part of the house your in now. But it won't let go of your device, and switch it over. That's really annoying to say the least.

    So it's great watching movies, but another issue might be gaming. I don't due that. If you have a kid that does. It may be an issue. Pretty damn frustrating not being able to compete with people, because of your equipment. But maybe Jr. could use a little humility. LOL

    I can't decide if I should send it back, and try a more robust router, or not. I know that routers aren't good at extending the signal themselves no matter how fancy the antennas look. But I've had a router here that just barely got the job done for movies, but was much better for surfing. Which is what I mostly due. So I'm sure a nice fancy one would probably be good for me. I've got 30 days to decide though from when I got it. So we'll see. It does give me great coverage so far.

    On the other hand. I ran into a guy on Facebook that was raving about the system your talking about. I don't know his uses though. I just know that the way all of these work is imperfect by design. You're adding a link in the chain. And no matter how fast it is. It's going to add delay. There's no getting around. It might be so small you don't really notice it, but I'll notice it myself. And you may too.

    You get used to it basically. But there are those times it becomes frustrating. So it's a very tough call. Basically whatever you buy. Make sure there's a return policy, and make sure you have the skills, time, and patience to try it all out.

    I do also know that the pro gear your talking about is known for lasting longer though too. And that's important. But it's more work, and if you're the only geek. No one else can work it. With my system at least if there's a problem. It's pretty easy to fix. And the setup is so easy. You could just do a reset at any time, and start fresh. Without spending a couple, or three hours.

    Just like audio. It's a tough call, and there's no silver bullet. Buy, try, repeat basically. Because even though 20 people say it's perfect for them. It's not necessarily perfect for your situation.

    I know I probably contradicted myself, and talked in circles. But that's, unfortunately, the nature of these things. And hopefully you're skillful enough to read between the lines. I don't have a lot of time. But like I said. By Monday I'll have it working properly. Assuming everything goes correctly of course. That life thing has a way of changing my plans quite often.

    And I'm not sure if there's anything I can do to test it out for you that would help your decision. But I'm willing to try something for you, if it's not too convoluted, to get some idea of the performance of it.

    So if there some tests you know of, or some benchmark type thing you'd like to know about in a real world situation like mine. I'll be willing to help. If just can't take too long (over an hour?) to try. I'm very busy. I like that stuff though. So I'm game.

    And please whatever you buy. Tell us your experience. I for one would love to know how you make out, and how whatever gear you buy works in a RLS like yours.

    Good luck
    Andy B.
     
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  7. amb3cog

    amb3cog AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    I should add that the ease of use. The well thought out app, and product design (the extenders are connected via a magnet. So if you bump them with your knee or whatever they just pop off, instead of breaking). And the performance. All lead me to believe this company has it's shite together for real. It's easily the most professionally designed unit of this type I've owned. But also has a nice modern design that should work in most situations. And they even gave you control over all the lights. Oh, and it has a touch screen on the front too. I mean they really thought of everything. It's pretty damn impressive. For what it is. Unfortunately what it is. Is a compromise. If it were my house. I'd be running wires. Then again having two routers in the same house has its own set of challenges. Here we go again..... LOL

    Good luck man. :)
     
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  8. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

    Messages:
    39,402
    Location:
    LoTL
    I connected two routers with a hard line/Cat5, then set up the primary router as the DHCP server and set up wireless so they both are same SSID, security, password, etc. One in the basement, one on the 2nd floor. The whole house is well-covered for WiFi.

    But, I understand that's a little more techy and invasive than plugging in an extender.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    That particular brand has knowns holes in the their routers, so if there is any BIOS updates, do them.
     
  10. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,270
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    I have set up networks since 1989 (back then, a 10 base 2 network) and have also taken the courses for the more recent stuff, so luckily it is not my first ride on the networking roller coaster. ;) I agree that the mesh systems are likely good for novices. Yet I think what holds me back is that I can't get my hands on anything. With DD-WRT on my Linksys routers, I can (to varying degrees) get in and adjust, tweak, whatever, so I can make things secure. With two being used only as switches/WAPs, I can skip a lot of the configuration on those, and need to configure the wireless only. The main router carries all of the traffic, so it has the iptables firewall, DHCP, etc. all running properly. (I did have to overclock it though.)

    None of these mesh systems, for example, could use a trick I currently have in place on my main router--I have it set to intercept all DNS requests and route them all to my chosen DNS provider. That way, if a computer or device is compromised where malware tries to change the DNS address, the router can still intercept the port used for DNS requests and send them on their way.

    And can mesh wireless even set up a basic iptables firewall implementation? We'll never know, since it's hidden behind flashy smartphone interfaces. That just points out a sad disconnect in technology today--folks like us who know about this networking hardware, and the general masses who only want to take something out of a box, plug it in and have it work with one or two button presses or taps on a touchscreen, blindly trusting whatever marketing lingo lured them to the product. I can't blindly trust the hardware, and I'm sure you can't either. So that's why it is great to read of your first-hand experience with the product.

    This is a little off topic, but I wanted to get a cheap outdoor wireless IP camera. Nearly had one picked out, until I read reviews and Q&A, saying that the camera worked only through an external site; in other words, there was no way (other than a dicey workaround) I could use it on Synology Surveillance Station, or even on my little smartphone app. Then, what happens if their service has an outage, or shutters completely? I found another camera for a few dollars more that does what I need, quick and dirty, so I'm good for now. That's part of the "hands off" disconnect I mention above.

    So yep, I'm perfectly good with hopping into the EdgeRouter with a command line and setting things up. I don't need that router just yet, but I will start with the access point and work from there.

    That is similar to how I've set things up. My secondary routers are pretty much bypassed. The way most routers work, you can plug the incoming Ethernet into one of the ports, and the other three will then operate the router as a switch. That way there is 1) zero router configuration needed and 2) the network address remains the same. (Or in other words, I don't have two or more subnets in the house, the main router handles all DHCP, and I also don't have to mess around in DD-WRT trying all the various settings to change the WAN port into another LAN port and have it work properly. I do lose one port by doing this, but it's rare I need more than three Ethernet connections in a room).

    Wireless is the same also--I have the same SSID set up on all of them, and handoff is mostly seamless. There are a couple of devices though, like my Epson printer/scanner, that insist on attaching to the MAC addresss of the individual WAPs, so it's always guesswork for me to pick the closer WAP to attach to. (I have the memory of a squirrel lately. :D )

    Until I do get the Ubiquiti WAP, I am using my desktop computer's wireless temporarily as a WAP.
     

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