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Do I Need a New Router or Modem? (1 Viewer)

Dennis Nicholls

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I pulled off the back of my laptop today, and was surprised to see that there are actually THREE antenna cables, one not being used.

Dell WiFi Cables.JPG


Maybe Mike should pull the back off his laptop to see if there's a second antenna cable he could use.
 

Dave Upton

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I pulled off the back of my laptop today, and was surprised to see that there are actually THREE antenna cables, one not being used.

View attachment 72724

Maybe Mike should pull the back off his laptop to see if there's a second antenna cable he could use.
Looks like yours has a slot for an LTE (WWAN) card which is what the extra cables are for.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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No there's actually FIVE antenna cables - three for WiFi and two (unused) for a WWAN / GPS card. I just ordered the Dell / Ericsson 5540 card for $8 off eBay. I'll see if I can make it work for GPS.

There are lots of new/old Dell laptop cards floating around at cheap prices on eBay these days.
 
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Dennis Nicholls

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Well I got the Intel 7260 installed. Not as much of an upgrade as I was hoping. OOKLA tests run at the far end of the house, maybe 60-75 feet through 4 walls.

802.11 N - Intel 6205
2.4 Ghz D 4.27 U 0.15
5.0 Ghz D 13.68 U 2.31

802.11 AC - Intel 7260
2.4 Ghz D 19.28 U 2.27
5.0 Ghz D 23.76 U 2.20

At any reasonable place in the house it runs full speed on 5 Ghz, i.e. over 100 Mbs which is the promised speed.

Install was mostly easy. Attaching the RF cables was a major hassle. Win 10 auto identified card and installed basic drivers for both WiFi and Bluetooth.
 

JediFonger

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AC actually performs worse than n or g. you can go farther with g maybe n. but with ac you need to pretty close to your router.

if you have just 1 router, you need to get into the mesh 802.11ac wave 2 type or wifi6 products. multiple runs with physical cable runs. if you that large of a house. that will work best regardless of your endpoint laptop/device.

every wall you hit will reduce your wifi performance by 20FT or so subtracted from the 'theoretical' distance for the specs.

Well I got the Intel 7260 installed. Not as much of an upgrade as I was hoping. OOKLA tests run at the far end of the house, maybe 60-75 feet through 4 walls.

802.11 N - Intel 6205
2.4 Ghz D 4.27 U 0.15
5.0 Ghz D 13.68 U 2.31

802.11 AC - Intel 7260
2.4 Ghz D 19.28 U 2.27
5.0 Ghz D 23.76 U 2.20

At any reasonable place in the house it runs full speed on 5 Ghz, i.e. over 100 Mbs which is the promised speed.

Install was mostly easy. Attaching the RF cables was a major hassle. Win 10 auto identified card and installed basic drivers for both WiFi and Bluetooth.
 

John Dirk

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if you have just 1 router, you need to get into the mesh 802.11ac wave 2 type or wifi6 products. multiple runs with physical cable runs. if you that large of a house. that will work best regardless of your endpoint laptop/device.


In theory this should be correct but it did not prove to be so in my case. I purchased the Netgear Nighthawk MR-60 which is a mesh system with two satellites. I placed the router in my home office [which is upstairs] and wired satellites in my family room and basement. I ran this in tandem with a Netgear CM1100 [DOCSIS 3.1] cable modem.

I have 100Mbps Xfinity service. The best I could ever get at approx 30 ft from the router was maybe 80Mbps but it would sometimes be as low as 20Mbps while the router itself was reporting 100-120Mbps via its management interface. Performance varied widely and I could never find a common factor to explain it. The satellites would also occasionally lose sync with each other for no apparent reason. After a few days of this I returned the MR60 and purchased a [DOCSIS 3.0] Netgear C7000 v2, which is a modem/AC1900 router combo. It is now located in my home office, exactly where the MR60 was previously located and I resurrected an old Netgear R6700 which I have in AP mode and located exactly where one of the MR60's satellites was previously located. I've been running this arrangement for about a week now and I am getting consistent speeds of 80-120Mbps from pretty much anywhere in my house.

I was never really sold on mesh technology but thought I would give it a try since multiple satellites seemed like a nice and easy way to distribute coverage. Admittedly some or maybe all of the problems I experienced may have more to do with the Nighthawk MR60 than mesh AS a concept. After all, Netgear does offer the Orbi product line at a higher price point.

That said, my takeaway is that mesh systems are potentially good for those who...
  • Can afford a quality product such as the Orbi or Nest line
  • Want a plug & play experience
  • Have wired connectivity available for the satellites.
If you are adventurous and willing to endure a little trial and error I believe equal or better performance can be obtained from non-mesh arrangements and for considerably less money.
 
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Dennis Nicholls

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I don't really "use" my laptop in the far (master) bedroom, just keep it there plugged into the charger. I just wanted enough speed to download antivirus updates and the like. And I don't want to spend more than $15. I'm happy with today's cheap upgrade, and it is also proof that Mike could try it IF he finds a second antenna in his laptop.
 

JediFonger

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do you know the material in the walls of your home? wifi will not go thru brick/concrete/metal
the standard drywall wood stud should be unless you’ve done somn else additional/unique
 

John Dirk

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do you know the material in the walls of your home? wifi will not go thru brick/concrete/metal
the standard drywall wood stud should be unless you’ve done somn else additional/unique


Assuming this question is directed to me? If so, my home is nothing special in terms of construction materials used. There should be no more than a few sheets of drywall and some space between my master bedroom and the router. One night, [out of morbid curiosity] I even got up and walked the laptop back into my home office and the speed still only increased moderately. I'm willing to chalk the whole thing up to the particular product I chose not being so great. My main points were, mesh is not a guaranteed fix for poor wifi coverage and, in fact, a properly implemented traditional wifi network can actually provide excellent coverage for larger homes.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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OK I just discovered a no-cost fix.

When used in the back bedroom my laptop was on a dresser in front of a huge mirror. Now a mirror is a piece of glass with a metal layer on the back side. It apparently is enough metal to act as an RF shield. In front of the mirror download was about 30 Mbps, but slid down past the mirror about 2 feet and now the download is about 45 Mbps.

Be careful of mirrors even if you aren't a vampire.
 

JediFonger

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OK I just discovered a no-cost fix.

When used in the back bedroom my laptop was on a dresser in front of a huge mirror. Now a mirror is a piece of glass with a metal layer on the back side. It apparently is enough metal to act as an RF shield. In front of the mirror download was about 30 Mbps, but slid down past the mirror about 2 feet and now the download is about 45 Mbps.

Be careful of mirrors even if you aren't a vampire.


yep based on my experience installing in super ancient building those materials will deadstop wifi signals or at the very least deflect them.
 

Dave Upton

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yep based on my experience installing in super ancient building those materials will deadstop wifi signals or at the very least deflect them.
Mesh systems are very nice for older homes that have brick or plaster walls, or strangely shaped homes that are quite long and thin. I personally use two access points in my house, these are dedicated Wi-Fi devices connected by a hard wire back to my router / firewall. I did spend about $600 for the two wireless access points, but I routinely get 300-400mbps speeds on my phone and laptop throughout my house.

Here's what I use:
Amazon product
 

Dennis Nicholls

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This is the router I use. https://www.newegg.com/netgear-archer-a5/p/N82E16833704486 It's a couple of years old design but for some reason Newegg still sells stock at $30 shipped. TP-Link support has been very good. For your needs this may be an idea for a cheap upgrade path. How far in distance do you need WiFi?

edit looks like Amazon too Amazon product


CORRECTION

I got the Archer C5, not the Archer A5. My C5, now out of production, has the gigabit LAN ports. The A5 only has 100 Mbs LAN ports. To add to the confusion they now sell a model called the C5 but it has 4 antennas while mine has only 2.
 
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