Wireless router recommendations


#455

In all seriousness, I have lost 2 routers / switches to cats. They are a fucking nuisance and will overheat it till failure.

I have a data point of 2 and I have hung my routers up on my wall so they can not sit on them & problems went away. Take that with what you will. It could be I had bad routers (a $300 peplink balance 1 and a Ubiquiti edge router) but these things were HOT to the touch when I kicked the cats off and after turning off & cooling down, it worked when I turned it back on.

I BLAME MY CATS. You don’t have to blame yours.

(as a sidenote, I found this website that shows the extent of the problem)


#456

Wireless repeaters don’t work for crap. Mesh works.


#457

Cat5 or cat6?


#458

Cat6 generally not needed, unless you want to experiment with 10mbit on some short segments, and then you may want non-rj45 interconnects or fiber anyway in the future. Cat5e is also cheaper, and thinner so easier to manage short patch cables or pull through where you need it.

That said, I am about to buy a 1000’ spool of cat6 for a project where I want to use it for a couple of purposes, so it fills several needs:

  • I am getting STP instead of unshielded, since I need a couple of long 200’+ runs through a noisy old building near lots of other cabling, not protected inside conduit
  • I am getting 23AWG, because I will probably also be using it for some shorter runs to new PoE equipment and I would rather have power on slightly larger wire
  • The bulk cost difference for cat6 stp 23g vs cat5e utp 24g is not substantial
  • For some reason, white is always more expensive, must be higher demand (sadface)

#459

I was making a feline joke at Tman’s expense, actually.


#460

Oh, yeah, sorry. I had to have this cat5e/6 discussion 3 times this week, so I just reflexively regurgitated it again.

Good luck with your feline bun-warmers.


#461

Damnit… amazon acquired eero…


#462

At my wits end. In an apartment where there are thick, concrete walls that kill wifi signals for one room in particular - my home office. The one fiber line coming in to this unit is in the living room, at the other end of the apartment.

One solution that has worked reasonably well, in a prior apartment for years and this one for the past year or so, is a TP Link Powerline system. This worked excellently in my prior apartment, no lag or sacrifice of speed. In my current apartment results are much spottier - while it is great when it works, it seems like there is some threshold of appliances that may be on or off in either room (on the same circuit as the router, or the extender via powerline) which degrades the signal significantly - we’re talking 1990s speeds, and sometimes nothing at all. The problem is very reproducible with turning up appliances (especially a bigger one like treadmill), and then once the excess appliances are turned off the powerline system still is very spotty for quite some time after (often until I manually reset the extender and re-detect it). Must be old / cheap wiring in this building compared to the last one; too bad because everything else is better.

What are my options that are reasonable? The obvious one, which a friend did in a similar unit here, is secure cat5 along the corner of the wall/floor. It’d take about 25-30 meters, or about $40 (?), to get the job done. Speed would presumably be excellent, but would need to put effort into making it look ok and will still have a wifi dead zone, with only my PC connected in that room.

The other is a repeater (mesh?), which I have no idea about. Seems this would be better if it works, since this city has concrete walls in used in nearly all apartments and thus this is often an issue (assuming powerline doesn’t suffice). I suppose cost is higher? My key concern is that due to socket availability I’ll end up with a repeater that is basically on the far end of the living room (same as router), or in the office/study near the hallway, but there will still be a small hallway and corner around a concrete wall in the middle and I wonder if that will leave too much of a gap from either approach to provide satisfactory signal to repeat/pick up and solve the problem.

Thoughts?


#463

Could you not put an access point at the end of the cable?


#464

Amazon has flat Cat5 that is easier to hide.

Another option is that TP Link offers a series of wifi extenders that thewirecutter recommends. The $40 one is dual band AC.


#465

Ah, didn’t realize access point was a thing - will look into that, sounds promising.

My friend used flat cat5 and I will definitely do the same if that is the route I take!


#466

Extenders suck, powerline sucks. Get a mesh router (like Eero) or MOCA.


#467

I would like to second the MOCA network. Greats speeds if you have coax in that room.


#468

I don’t think he wants to spend $200+.

And my 541Mbps down, 438Mbps up, 4ms ping, and 1ms jitter, says you’re wrong too.

Actually that’s internet speed. I haven’t even tried local file transfer, might be faster.

I understand that mesh sounds cool and everyone is going for it. But an extender might be fine, since he is basically trying to extend his wifi coverage into another room.


#469

Definitely trying to avoid something that pricey. Would any “mesh” network device work?

They sell some here (China) from local brands that are about a quarter the price of western brands - about $40 for three extenders. Western brands indeed closer to $200.


#470

Well I was thinking maybe just one extender would be enough in your situation. It needs to be roughly half-way between your router and your dead zone.

Some extenders work in access point mode, off of a Cat 5 cable run to your router. Note that basic models may only support 100Mbps in access point mode.

But if you have multiple dead spots or a larger area, then a mesh solution might actually be better. I’m not sure about local brands though. What speed are you targeting? 50Mbps is pretty doable these days, 500 is likely going to cost more.


#471

Mesh will always work better, in every scenario, because extenders are garbage.


#472

More money tends to buy more performance… not sure I agree about “garbage” though. Also not sure about a $40 three point mesh kit.


#473

Some of the chinese hardware is very high quality at low prices, like Xiaomi. And some not so much. I’m not familiar with them myself, but I’m sure there are Chinese-language reviews out there.


#474

If the wifi signal isn’t getting through the walls to a single room, then a mesh isn’t going to do much good unless you have units at every doorway and corner with clear line of sight. Which is going to be a lot more expensive than just putting an access point in a wired room. If you’re trying to get access in lots of rooms that don’t have it, then sure, a mesh makes sense.