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Catfisch Cinema Home Wifi Upgrade (3 Viewers)

DaveF

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I believe the speed cap you are referring to is on the 2.4Ghz band. The 5Ghz band is capable of theoretical speeds up to 3.5 Ghz. Of course real world speeds will be much less dependent on any number of factors.

This may help
It’s those sorts of websites plus reviews that indicate wifi 5 in practice is limited to <400 Mbps. it’s theoretically capable of 867 Mbps for AC1200 type hardware, like I’m looking at. But will likely perform 2x or 3x slower. While WiFi 6 (802.11ax) can support faster theoretical, allowing for >500 Mbps wifi in practice.

But finding actual data is … hard. :)
 

DaveF

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For the sake of science :) I’m thinking of wasting money and buying the router, POE switch, and a TP-Link EAP610.
 

DaveF

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Next step: Buy a 10/100/1000 POE injector. My EAP235 is limited by the 10/100 POE switch I had. For $20, I can easily connect it full speed and see what happens. I think this will be a real test of its performance and tell me if I should invest in WiFi5 hardware or change directions.
Amazon product
 

DaveF

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Since adding the AP, my iPhone and iPad drop off wifi randomly for minutes. I often had to manually select my wifi network to get the iPad back online.

It seems like roaming between my router and AP is not working right. Not like it used to when everything was Apple hardware.
 

DaveF

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Got the gigabit POE power adapter. Suddenly everything makes sense.

I was previously getting 25 to 125 Mbps with a 10/100 capable extender.

With a 10/100/1000 capable extender, my test jumps to 300 - 500 Mbps. Not in the test below, in the living room, connected to the main router (which is below the floor) the speed goes from ~50 to ~150 Mbps. Suggesting the router was ultimately limited by the extender.

It’s also faster in the bedroom, which is 20-30 feet away and one or more walls in the way. But those results are really swingy, confirming I want an extender here.

This is good news. I can upgrade my wifi and get real improvements.

But it also indicates I either need to go to WiFi 6 or I should go cheap WiFi 5. Going expensive and complex WiFi 5 to get 400 Mbps is looking less good to me. Not if I can get that with cheap and simple WiFi 5.
 

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DaveF

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TL;DR
Complex, ugly Access Point system that gives WiFi 5 performance for WiFi 6 prices doesn't make sense. I'm content buying budget WiFi 5 integrated solution with decent aesthetics and easy-peasy setup that performs as well as the prosumer AP's costing twice as much.

I bought into the TP-Link Deco system and spent today taking out my old wifi and setting up the new kit.

I bought the three pack and the two pack for $250 total.
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Amazon product
 
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DaveF

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Experimenting with the TP-Link EAP 235 connected as a wired access point extending my gigabit Apple AEBS, I found:
  • Within 6 feet of both Apple AEBS and TP-Link EAP I got not faster than about 450 Mbps
    • I should be able to hit closer to 800 Mbps on my iPhone in a near-perfect case with WiFi 5 hardware, but I never saw that happen
  • In the Master Bedroom and Theater, which have multiple walls between the closest WiFi source, I got ~100 Mbps best case
  • A new AP kit would cost $500 to put four AP's in the living room, theater, bonus room, and master bedroom
    • I could have dropped the cost to about $300 by keeping my Apple AEBS as the system router

A new WiFi 6 kit would cost $250 to $600 to get where I wanted with at least 3 beacons near optimal coverage for minimal hardware (office near living room, master bedroom, and theater).

It doesn't make sense to spend WiFi 6 money ($500) on a WiFi 5 system that maxes out at 400 Mbps. Moreso given the poor aesthetics of the access points. A WiFi 6 system built around access points would be $600+, and that's more than I want to spend right now.

Don't take my choice as recommendation for your choice. :) My house is Townhome shaped, narrow and long with the main router location, where internet comes into the home, in the very front basement. Deploying three routers still leaves me with mediocre wifi in at least one room I really care about. So, I want four to five beacons. If you have a more centralized layout in a two-level home, a two beacon WiFi 6 kit for $400 could be amazing.

Or, I can buy a WiFi 5 system that gets 400 Mbps everywhere in my house for $250, half the price of the AP-based solution. So I did that. The new TP-Link is setup. The TP-Link access point and POE injector are being returned.
 
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DaveF

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I think I see a path for more efficient layout in my home, that could make WiFi 6 more practical. But I'm exhausted and out of time to spend thinking about home WiFI. :) I've got a solid upgrade for a good price and deployment was easy. I can leave this be for a year, let WiFi6 mature and come down in price, and upgrade again in 2023 or 2024.

Here's before and after. I could get 300 Mbps. But I also got a lot of 20 to 50 Mbps. Now, I can get 100 to 400 Mbps much more consistently it seems.

IMG_2074.jpeg IMG_2075.jpeg
 

Josh Steinberg

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I am completely confused on what you did but if it’s giving you the desired results, congratulations! :)
 

DaveF

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I am completely confused on what you did but if it’s giving you the desired results, congratulations! :)
Buying WiFi 6 system to get 1000 Mbps wifi was going to cost $400 to $800.
Buying fancy prosumer WiFi 5 system to get 400 Mbps was going to cost $500.
Buying consumer WiFi 5 system to get 400 Mbps is $250.

If I buy a typical 2- or 3-beacon system, I will get poor wifi in at least one room, maybe more. Just how my house is wired and layed out. So I bought a 5-beacon system. I put one in the basement router location and one in the living room, master bedroom, theater, and bonus room (for guest bedrooms). Now I can get 300+ Mbps wifi in all rooms I really care about. Coverage is now, at initial testing, more consistently faster than it was.

Spending $450 versus $250 to get double that speed was an option. But in discussing WiFi with my wife, she noted she never noticed it being slow. So, I thought she was being hindered at times with the wifi. But not so, really. So I decided to not go whole hog, but buy good-enough for more budget pricing.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I guess what I don’t understand is why a single router with WiFi, which is giving me at least several hundred MBPS no matter where I am in the house, wouldn’t have been a viable solution. To me all of these different modules and connections and such seem like solutions in search of a problem, but I’ll also readily admit my thing just works so I’ve been spared the necessity of doing a deep dive.

For me the tinkering ended when initial testing revealed that the WiFi was sufficient to stream uncompressed Blu-ray rips from Plex to any room of the house.
 

JohnRice

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Dave, seriously, why would it ever be remotely necessary, or even useful to have 1Gb WiFi?

As I see it, you have at least 200Mb practically everywhere, with just two exceptions. Dropping problems aside, which is something else, what more do you need?

Dave Upton has repeatedly discouraged WiFi 6, and from what I can tell, it's really only a benefit if you need to connect 30 or more devices to an AP. Do you need that?
 

DaveF

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I guess what I don’t understand is why a single router with WiFi, which is giving me at least several hundred MBPS no matter where I am in the house, wouldn’t have been a viable solution. To me all of these different modules and connections and such seem like solutions in search of a problem, but I’ll also readily admit my thing just works so I’ve been spared the necessity of doing a deep dive.

For me the tinkering ended when initial testing revealed that the WiFi was sufficient to stream uncompressed Blu-ray rips from Plex to any room of the house.
Walls and distance. My experience is that a single router does not work well for my home. Having small access points throughout works better overall.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Walls and distance. My experience is that a single router does not work well for my home. Having small access points throughout works better overall.

Understood.

I do think for whenever you make the next adjustment, it’s worth keeping in mind that a newer router is going to perform better than the ancient AirPort Extreme. I think I said before, we used to have Extremes with satellite Expresses and thought they were as good as it gets, and it turns out the Netgear model that @John Dirk recommended was like night and day. I believe it is entirely possible that the deficiency you’re ascribing to usage of a single router may actually be a deficiency with that specific type of router rather than all routers. :)

I’m glad everything is up and running in improved fashion!
 

DaveF

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Dave, seriously, why would it ever be remotely necessary, or even useful to have 1Gb WiFi?

As I see it, you have at least 200Mb practically everywhere, with just two exceptions. Dropping problems aside, which is something else, what more do you need?

Dave Upton has repeatedly discouraged WiFi 6, and from what I can tell, it's really only a benefit if you need to connect 30 or more devices to an AP. Do you need that?
Faster is better. I’m not on board with the attitude 5 Mbps is all anyone needs.

Mostly, 100 vs 1000 doesn’t matter for email and web browsing. And fortunately I‘ve got most devices hardwired, so I don’t have 50 devices on wifi all the time. (Which isn’t the case for most people.)

But there are practical benefits I can perceive from getting faster and faster wifi:

  • When I travel, I download 2 Gb to 10 GB of shows to watch. Cutting that time down by 15x by going from 50 to 750 Mbps would be a real, perceptible benefit.
  • Downloading videogame purchases, which range from 100 MB to 3GB or more, would be nicely shortened by faster wifi.
  • The potential of getting device updates downloaded in seconds instead of minutes would be a real benefit.
  • Online backups and uploading and downloading photos and videos from mobile devices: faster is definitely better.

WiFi 5 maxes out around 400 Mbps in practical use, based on my reading and testing in my home with multiple devices.

WiFi 6, if it really hits 500 to 800 Mbps in normal use on current iPhones and iPads, would be real to me. I chose not to upgrade to WiFi 6, as I described, for cost reasons right now. But I’m of the mind that WiFi 6 is not just for high end users. It’s an increasingly affordable and looks to be of practical benefit for normal households. WiFi 5 is, if not insufficient, practically inferior. I don‘t understand the negativity towards it.

I’ll probably move to WiFi 6 in just a year or two when cost drops a bit more and it’s a bit more mature.
 

DaveF

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Understood.

I do think for whenever you make the next adjustment, it’s worth keeping in mind that a newer router is going to perform better than the ancient AirPort Extreme. I think I said before, we used to have Extremes with satellite Expresses and thought they were as good as it gets, and it turns out the Netgear model that @John Dirk recommended was like night and day. I believe it is entirely possible that the deficiency you’re ascribing to usage of a single router may actually be a deficiency with that specific type of router rather than all routers. :)

I’m glad everything is up and running in improved fashion!
I did consider going to a single, modern, bug-antennaed wifi router. But I can’t place it in a central location in my home to serve all rooms well. So how would I improve it? I’d add access points or mesh beacons in a room or two where the Uber-router signal is weak.

And so I cut out the middleman and went straight to having the “mesh” system designed as such. :)

Which, again, this is the solution for my home. If someone’s setup is readily served by a single $150 router, that’s great. It’s the easiest and cheapest solution. And the good online guides discuss this, noting that lots of people *don’t* need “mesh” and should just get a single good wifi router. :)
 

JohnRice

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I have no idea who would ever claim that 5Mb is all anyone needs, but that person would be sorely incorrect.

Considering Josh's feedback, the fact my house is actually functionally served with a single AirPort Extreme and I can actually move a new WiFi router 7-8 feet to a little more central location if needed, I'm tempted to just go with a new single WiFi router.

So, I guess, paging @John Dirk on a suggestion for a good single jumbo WiFi router to replace my AirPort Extreme.

John, what about THIS ONE. It has a 2.5Gb WAN port and I do have a 2.5 Gb capable modem, if I ever end up getting service beyond 1Gb some day. It also has 8 LAN ports, which would eliminate a switch. That's not a big deal, I know.
 
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DaveF

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Audiobooks, I forgot audiobooks. These are 300MB to 800MB. If I had a true gigabit wifi, downloading an audiobook would be approximately instantaneous.

That’s
I have no idea who would ever claim that 5Mb is all anyone needs, but that person would be sorely incorrect.
It’s the “Why do you need more than 100 Mbps” question. Why would anyone need more than 100? Why need more than 10? Why need more than 1? This is the treadmill we’re always on. We’re now in 100 class capability. (Which is marginally enough for 4K streaming amidst a household with more than one person doing wifi stuff.)

I’m interested in the next step function, call that getting to 1000 as normal speeds.

Right now, if internet speeds were 1000 Mbps per second, the internet would be *INSTANT!* for everything except for game downloads. And those would be like downloading your email, just seconds.

I don‘t need it. And I traded it off to save a few bucks since practically 100 to 400 is good enough for my daily life. But if WiFi 6 were half the price, I’d have bought that without hesitation and not saved money on WiFI 5 performance.
 

DaveF

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I have no idea who would ever claim that 5Mb is all anyone needs, but that person would be sorely incorrect.

Considering Josh's feedback, the fact my house is actually functionally served with a single AirPort Extreme and I can actually move a new WiFi router 7-8 feet to a little more central location if needed, I'm tempted to just go with a new single WiFi router.

So, I guess, paging @John Dirk on a suggestion for a good single jumbo WiFi router to replace my AirPort Extreme.

John, what about THIS ONE. It has a 2.5Gb WAN port and I do have a 2.5 Gb capable modem, if I ever end up getting service beyond 1Gb some day. It also has 8 LAN ports, which would eliminate a switch. That's not a big deal, I know.

The Wirecutter has the best WiFi hardware reviews and recommendations for normal people I’ve found anywhere. Take a look at their recommended wifi router for $80 or $150.

Also worth noting that WiFi6 is now normal for even budget routers.
 
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