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Networks WFH WiFi Solution Required

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Arboreal, 16 Jun 2020.

  1. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Following on from these 2 threads (Cookie and Dynamis), I have a similar but different requirement at home.

    We're currently running a basic Virgin Hub 3 which seems to be somewhat variable on Wifi even with the booster running upstairs.

    Most devices are on WiFi, other than the Tivo, booster box on powerline and a powerline to the spare room which connects my 2 main PCs.

    My wife who works for a major financial institution (Building Society), is now WFH and is dependent on the WiFi, which is OK most of the time.

    She's running Win 10 on a laptop and also a second instance of Win 10 on a Hyper V VM, which apparently allows her access to software that her standard build won't allow.

    The problem is that the VM cannot connect to her work VPN like the standard build. It seems to be a Virgin / Win 10 problem, as her colleagues on Win 7 VMs are fine, but at least 2 on Win 10 and Virgin are not connecting.

    Tech support have helped her isolate the problem by using her phone as a hotspot, and there both will connect.

    At the moment, we are not sure about the ethernet connection (via USB C hub), and will be testing it on my powerline today, as it didn't seem to like a hub port.

    The thought is to do the same as her line manager and a load of other people, and switch the hum to modem mode and buy a wireless router.

    I see what to do in principle and how to avoid some basic pitfalls, but am not sure what to buy.

    @Fingers66 has listed a couple of good options in his post on Cookie's thread, others have suggested the Microtik hAP ac, and the work colleague has suggested this Asus on Amazon, which he is using.

    That's stage 1, stage 2 is then deciding how to extend WFH networking for SWMBO to the forthcoming garden office, as she has been told to expect to WFH for at least a year.
    The kitchen table is proving a poor solution in the medium term, and we have no easily convertible space in the house for a private office.

    If she needs WiFi out there, what do I need to add? The current signal peters out about 5m away from the location at the bottom of the garden that the office is going to be built on.

    I can see powerline to wireless making sense, but with powerline already in the system, am I going to wreck the bandwidth?

    For security, I'd like to use a directional WiFi connection, rather than flooding half the street with our wireless bubble.

    If the ethernet works (and I'd always prefer it myself...), we could chuck a couple of cat 6 cables in with the electric cable, and that's another solution to have alongside.

    Over to you...
     
  2. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    Is ruuning CAT6 an option in your house? In one flat I ran a few CAT6 cables in the ceiling to connect, amongst other things, the router to a switch in another room, in another flat I ran the VM coax under the floorboards from the front of the house to the modem in the lounge. I've even run CAT6 through a wall, up the outside of the house and back through the wall into a loft - long ladder required.

    This would allow you to place wireless AP's in strategic locations to maximise signal strength and spread, whilst utilising wired backhaul.

    It would also allow running an armoured cable to your new garden office.

    Wireless is good and all that for gadgets but I prefer wired for "real" stuff.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong but can you only use one powerline "connection" per mains ring circuit?
     
    Last edited: 16 Jun 2020
  3. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    First thought I had was why wireless vs wired?
    Unless there's a specific reason surely looking into wired solutions would be better, especially if you use powerline adapters already.
     
  4. sandys

    sandys Multimodder

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    I use powerline out to my garage which is detached from house and ~30m from my router line of sight (no idea how wiring gets there) works well I get about 100Mb connection in garage, actually maybe more because I forget my connection is limited, I don't recall now, perhaps it is even 300Mb from router to NAS in garage, powerline is dependant on wiring though, my office is 3m from router (wireless will not go through the walls :( ) and I get 100Mb performance but upstairs in my daughters room she gets ~500Mb over powerline :oldconfused:

    Later AV2 powerline gear is MIMO so you won't wreck bandwidth if that is what you have unless you are all hammering connection, but that is the same for any network.

    On wireless neither of us can maintain a stable VPN even if you are in same room as wifi router, but through powerline zero drop out. It is a wired connection though to the powerline device which may not be desirable but ours are wifi extenders also which the ipads etc use.

    Strangely VPN works better on the powerline wifi AP than the router (latest Sky thing) wifi but still not as reliable as wire on powerline.
     
    Last edited: 16 Jun 2020
  5. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    MUCH LATER update.

    We took a CAT6 cable down the garden (socketed both ends) and used a WiFi re broadcaster the other end, which works fine.

    Unsurprisingly the Virgin WiFi signal in the house is still all over the place. My daughter is suffering worst and she has a good card in her PC and is closes to the router.

    All the evidence leads me to the fact I'll need to switch to modem mode and add my own decent wireless ac router.

    All I want to do is plug it in and have 4 wired outlets plus decent signal in a 160 sqm footprint 1390s brick built house.

    Would prefer not to go mad financially as it's been an expensive month with car problems
     
  6. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    From personal experience faffing about with routers, I bit the bullet and bought a mesh wifi setup - went with the TPLink Deco M4 from Amazon as it was cheap.

    Best wifi I've had in years, absolutely fantastic bit of kit for the money.

    Edit:

    https://smile.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-...d=1&keywords=tp+link+m4&qid=1612015456&sr=8-3

    They're on offer for a 3x hub setup at the moment too, the same works perfectly in my house roughly the same size :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 30 Jan 2021
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  7. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Good spot thanks @Krikkit, I was looking at £110 sets.

    How about an Asus RT-AC66U_B1?

    Looks like I'd need to get a gigabit switch to use the Deco M4, as I have 3 other things plugged into the Virgin hub
     
  8. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 Modder

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    Before buying new ask in the Marketplace, people might have old spare switches etc :)

    What is the budget you have for a router, switch etc?
     
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  9. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    A fine idea, thank you @deathtaker27!

    I've been looking at the sub £100 mark at the TP Link Deco M4 set of 3 and the Asus RT-AC66U_B1 on Scan. I know there are some good Draytek models, but their spread of models and functions is pretty broad.
     
  10. stephen0205

    stephen0205 Modder

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    i own the m4s, whilst they work great, they suck for other things.

    The firmware is shockingly bad, updates are few and far between, some nodes get stuck on 100 percent cpu usage, you cant split wifi bands on it which is absolutly mad and a few other things. I originally went to go 5ghz only and realised some older applianced didnt support it, so i was going to split it and connect manually as some devices were defaulting to the 2.4hz, but nope, not an option.

    The app is terrible which crashes alot, dosent show all devices either if more than 10 are connected. If you plan on setting them up with the web interface kiss that idea goodbye as you cant, must use the app.

    As i said if you just want reliable wifi through out the house, there decent, but dive into any settings it can be very hit and miss
     
  11. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Thanks for the feedback on the M4s. SWMBO is already not in favour of 3 devices spread round the house taking up space and using power sockets.

    What about the more conventional Asus RT-AC66U_B1 or similar?
     
  12. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Were the 3x M4s £89? I looked again just now and teh bouncy Amazon price now seems to be £115...
     
  13. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    I'm pretty sure they were - the prices on them seem to be up and down like a chip butty at the moment
     
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  14. sandys

    sandys Multimodder

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    Just added new Wireless access points in my house this week, I wanted to try and get a faster internet connection to my office, my house is a bit of a struggle due to solid old walls and wifi doesn't make it very well to the places I need it, thought I would take a punt on a couple of Huawei AX3 Wifi 6 routers, can be configured as routers, linked up or just as dumb APs, whilst I don't get the fantastic rates quoted, I am seeing a nice 500Mb+ from the router with internet to my office now over wifi, yay, seem to be fine on my VPNs as well, in fact I can feel a latency improvement over my Powerline which is surprising as my AV2000s were pretty tidy, though it might just be the case these new routers can handle more clients and we were hitting powerline pretty hard.

    I haven't bettered powerline in the long distance side of course

    Two routers for £100 from Huawei UK, sure there are faster out there but I didn't want to spend too much as Wifi always seems to be a waste of time for me, these haven't completely covered my house in wifi but got the main things the computers we are all working on daily, its early days but I may add another to fix the holes if these prove be reliable, I'll see what next week is like, I hope the Chinese Government don't waste their time spying on me :p :D

    HUAWEI WiFi AX3 (Quad-Core) - HUAWEI UK
     
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  15. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    The thick plottens...
    We rang Virgin yesterday to see what they could do about our WiFi. The automated message system offered us an unsolicited £4 a month off while we were waiting.
    The tech person we were passed to did a line and loopback test and said she'd never seen so many red flags on a diagnostic, so asked us to reboot the SH3 to see if it would clear them and pick up any updates.
    It was better but still lots of red apparently. We have a new hub on the way for me to install, which will be interesting to see if it cures any problems.

    I know their wifi is poor, so I'm hoping for a better connection that I can then start the wifi upgrade on.

    The are not in stock, but they are offering a new cloud based extender which can mesh with one or 2 other units if you need them. These would be £5 a month, but if you're having trouble, you can ask for them at no extra cost. We have to phone back in a week to see what's available.

    In the meantime, I still seem to be getting poor bandwidth even on powerline. The network meter on PUBG shows a worse ping than my buddies, and semi regularly yellow/red packet loss indicators.
    The guys can tell when it's happening as my discord sounds like a robot voice apparently.

    Thanks @sandys for your suggestion. I can't decide if Mr Xi knowing what's going on in our household is any worse than Google/Facebook/Amazon harvesting data...
     
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  16. sandys

    sandys Multimodder

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    Worth a shot for free but if you end up having to pay a sub for it then you are probably better to just buy the latest gear and solve it yourself,

    Sky did similar for me, Skys hub couldn't get wifi around my house, despite minis acting as mesh and installed boosters to feed the minis, this just left me wifi slow patchy wireless, maybe virgins gear will be better quality than Skys.
     
  17. nimbu

    nimbu Modder

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    Slight derail here.

    I bought two ubiquity AC-PRO AP's late 2019 and planned to run them stand alone at the time. When setting up I was prompted to firmware a unit upgrade which I did. Unit was bricked, couldnt even get the TFTP recovery working.... Replacement got from amazon and put back into production.

    Fast forward to last week. I wanted to setup a unify controller to get access to some of the more advanced features. The AP's were not appearing for adoption, so I blindly followed instructions and low and behold AP bricked, so I am again back to one. Put in an RMA ticket to UI this time and its been three days with no response, chat has been useless.

    Not sure what to do. I am just not feeling confident with their products.

    My house is cabled already with AP placements on each floor. I would want to have PoE powered ceiling mount AP's that are managed rather than standalone and the ability to add additional external mounted AP's. Is ubiquity my only real option here? Has anyone used the TP-Link Omada range? Given the experience I have had with Ubiqity so far I am a little loathed to invest more.
     
  18. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Hard reset the UAP's & they should be good, if they're really old firmware you might need to update them using SSH.
    I've got about 400 of those under my control & they're all running fine (well except for 1 but that's because the contractor in the Netherlands didn't termnate the cable correctly before installing an AP 20m in the air)
     
  19. nimbu

    nimbu Modder

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    Small update from me: Amazon are refunding me for the second bricked AP.

    A friend of mine seems to think that the original batch I had might have been bad as both of those AP's bricked on a FW upgrade. He lent me an old Pro he had lying around and I got the controller running and created a network with that to begin with. I then added the replacement I got way back when but from a different batch. Was able to adopt it and it required a firmware update. Firmly clenched I kicked it off and went for a smoke to come back to an adopted PRO and firmware updated!

    So I now need to decide what to buy for the replacement of the one amazon are refunding. I'm thinking a pro still. I have a large number of wifi devices; various smart plugs, ring products and echo's. So my gut is telling me go with the pro.
     
  20. nimbu

    nimbu Modder

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    Oh SAS for what its worth the AP was deader than dead. I couldnt get it into TFT recovery mode same as the previous one. It was drawing power from the PoE switch but nothing powering up.
     

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