I’ve Got a New Router—Hurrah! Oh Crap!

Johnny Angell

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Several months ago I signed up for Xfinity broadband, 200 mbps. WIFI-wise, I never got that. Then I realized the cheap bastards (and other providers, I suppose) had only supplied a 2.4 single band router. I bought my own, a Motorola MG7550. Now when a run a Speedtest on my ipad I ususally get speeds in the 100’s and sometimes 200+, for wifi. The Hometheater moves much better now.

I thought the best way to set up the router was to name the 5ghz channel the same as my old network so that all my devices would automatically attach to it. Well that works when the device has the 5ghz channel, but many don’t. I’ve got a thermostat, sprinkler valves, electrical plugs, Ring, garage door, and probably something I haven’t thought of that don’t have the high speed channel. So I ended up with a lot of disconnected devices.

It would have been better if I had named the 2.4 ghz with the old name. Everything would have joined, and then I could have gone back and changed things like our computers and ipad to the high speed channel. Since the 2.4ghz channel is subject to more interference, I would have kept devices that don’t need high speed on the slow speed channel.

This is why I was never hired in install devices.
 

Johnny Angell

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I also forgot to mention. Devices that have an app on my iphone to control them like the thermostat, water sprinkler valves, plugs, Ring, garage door, require the phone be attached to their network. Which means the slow network. This isn’t too bad for my phone, I don’t really do much on it that would benefit from the high speed. What happens if I get the newest Ring which has two channels and I put it one the 5mghz channel. I put the phone on the high speed channel and the phone can’t communicate with the devices on the slow speed channel. Sheesh!
 

BobO'Link

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I'd name the 2.4G the same as your old network and put the same name on the 5G with a "-5G" on the end. That is, if you use "mynetwork" on the 2.4G then use "mynetwork-5G" on the 5G band. I also have the same password on both bands but that shouldn't matter. With mine set up that way my laptop on 5G sees the printer on 2.4G just fine and prints with no issues. I don't have any "smart" devices so can't say if they'd work that way but they should as the router should control access between the wifi bands as well as between any wired devices. Even though one is 2.4G and the other is 5G they're logically on the same network. The guest network is setup independently (both 2.4G and 5G with the same naming scheme, adding -5G on the 5G band name) and can't see anything on the main network, wired or wireless.
 
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John Dirk

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Small world. I have an appointment with Comcast tomorrow morning to enable 100 Mbps service.

Did you buy your own cable modem or just the WiFi router? Owning your cable modem will save you money over time as Comcast charges you for it every month.

Unless you're experiencing performance issues I wouldn't be concerned about devices not supporting 5G. While 5G does have a theoretical speed advantage over 2.4G, the real advantage is [as you stated] the 5G frequency spectrum isn't shared by cordless phones, microwaves, etc which should make for more reliable connectivity.

Devices closer to the WiFi router should be connected via 5G if possible. 2.4G is best for devices further away since it travels better than 5G. As @BobO'Link already stated, all devices on either network should be able to "see" each other. Phone based control apps sometimes use an ADHOC network [private connection between your phone and the device] for initial configuration but the phone should connect to either your 2.4 or 5G networks afterwards without issue.
 
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Johnny Angell

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I also forgot to mention. Devices that have an app on my iphone to control them like the thermostat, water sprinkler valves, plugs, Ring, garage door, require the phone be attached to their network.
I’m quoting myself because of what posters haven written appear to make my statement wrong. Any channel on the same router is considered to be part of same network. My tablet or phone can see, and control any device on the router’s network no matter the channel. Do I have that right?

My original single channel on the old router was named Jada01. Now my naming is as follows:
Jada01 — Is now the high speed channel.
Jada01-24 is the low speed channel.

Will this work? All my devices can see one another. My phone on Jada01 can see and print on the printer which is using Jada01-24? My phone on Jada01 can see the Ring doorbell on Jada01-24 and receive notifications from it?
 

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Did you buy your own cable modem or just the WiFi router? Owning your cable modem will save you money over time as Comcast charges you for it every month.
That's the truth. I've always owned my own modem. Last year I upgraded it to a 600Mb/s range model. Cost about $60, and Comcast charges something like $10 a month to rent from them. It just takes a phone call to service to get it started. It didn't take long at all.
 

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I’m quoting myself because of what posters haven written appear to make my statement wrong. Any channel on the same router is considered to be part of same network. My tablet or phone can see, and control any device on the router’s network no matter the channel. Do I have that right?

My original single channel on the old router was named Jada01. Now my naming is as follows:
Jada01 — Is now the high speed channel.
Jada01-24 is the low speed channel.

Will this work? All my devices can see one another. My phone on Jada01 can see and print on the printer which is using Jada01-24? My phone on Jada01 can see the Ring doorbell on Jada01-24 and receive notifications from it?
That is correct.

I only recommended naming your 2.5G side the same as the old wifi as reconfiguring some of those "smart" devices can be more troublesome than reconfiguring computers/tablets/phones.
 

BobO'Link

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Small world. I have an appointment with Comcast tomorrow morning to enable 100 Mbps service.

Did you buy your own cable modem or just the WiFi router? Owning your cable modem will save you money over time as Comcast charges you for it every month.

Unless you're experiencing performance issues I wouldn't be concerned about devices not supporting 5G. While 5G does have a theoretical speed advantage over 2.4G, the real advantage is [as you stated] the 5G frequency spectrum isn't shared by cordless phones, microwaves, etc which should make for more reliable connectivity.

Devices closer to the WiFi router should be connected via 5G if possible. 2.4G is best for devices further away since it travels better than 5G. As @BobO'Link already stated, all devices on either network should be able to "see" each other. Phone based control apps sometimes use an ADHOC network [private connection between your phone and the device] for initial configuration but the phone should connect to either your 2.4 or 5G networks afterwards without issue.
I have a separate modem and router. I like it better that way as it's easier to troubleshoot issues and generally less expensive to fix should one of them die or only one "need" an upgrade (which has happened).

I have much better throughput on 5G than 2.4G on my laptop. I have a 400 Mbps connection and typically get ~100Mbps higher transmission speeds on 5G than 2.4G. When it was only 100 Mbps there was no difference.

When I upgraded to 400 Mbps I had to replace my router as it only supported speeds up to 100 Mbps on wifi. My modem supports up to 1 Gbps (which is overkill for most people). I only went to 400 Mbps for unlimited data. 100 Mbps was working just fine for what we do but the data cap (250GB) was stupidly low (a pet peeve - data usage should be governed by speed, not some artificial "cap") and we'd gone over a couple of times with an overage fee that was the same as the cost difference between the 100 Mbps and 400 Mbps package.

The theoretical maximum transmission speed for 2.4G on 802.11n is 300 Mbps and is typically ~150 Mbps (and significantly slower if you connect via B or G). The theoretical maximum speed for 5G on 802.11n is 900 Mbps with ~450 Mbps typical (can be much faster if connected via ac).

That pretty much mirrors what I see. If I connect to the 2.4G side I get 140-170 Mbps speeds and 275-350 Mbps on the 5G connection. I've never seen 400 Mbps speed - which is common for cable connections as they advertise "Up to..." instead of a hard number.

That said, like John said, 5G doesn't travel as far. I lose the 5G when I get to my garage but the 2.4G is still working, even outside the house.
 

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Unless you're experiencing performance issues I wouldn't be concerned about devices not supporting 5G. While 5G does have a theoretical speed advantage over 2.4G, the real advantage is [as you stated] the 5G frequency spectrum isn't shared by cordless phones, microwaves, etc which should make for more reliable connectivity.
There's another advantage for the 5 GHz spectrum. The channels in the 2.4 GHz band are so close to each other that devices using adjacent channels can interfere with each other. If you space channels in a multi-access-point network, you might wind up using only 3 of them (e.g., 1, 7, 13) (as a place where I once worked did).

The 5 GHz channels are far enough apart that they don't have this problem.

Of course, how many channels are usable on either band depends in part on the proximity and channel usage of your neighbors.
 
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DaveF

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Why do some routers force you to have separately named and managed 2.5GHz and 5GHz networks? I've never had to worry about that on my routers. Just set them up, and they automatically connect devices to whatever network is appropriate.
 

Johnny Angell

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Why do some routers force you to have separately named and managed 2.5GHz and 5GHz networks? I've never had to worry about that on my routers. Just set them up, and they automatically connect devices to whatever network is appropriate.
Which ones are those?
 

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When I moved last fall to my new home, the 2.4GHz was extremely slow, and I had a lot of connection issues. I did a quick scan and found 10 or more networks overlapping in my house. That is all my neighbors using 2.4GHz and there was no available open channels, so I was constantly conflicting with their traffic. I switched to 5Ghz and since then have had no issues, and though 5GHz doesn't have the same range, with no conflicts I get a larger area and better speed. I turned off the 2.4Ghz wifi in the router.

I did lose a device that only has 2.4GHz wifi capability (Wyze cam), but consider that a small loss. In my opinion everything should be made 5GHz nowadays.
 

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Which ones are those?
My apple routers do this. I assume they're not the only ones. I'm pretty sure newer mesh network devices auto manage this as well.

I see the separate bands in cable-co provided routers; my parents' router is this way. I didn't know it was typical of consumer wifi routers. Seems like it only adds confusion and needless choices and configurations for users.
 

TonyD

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Why do some routers force you to have separately named and managed 2.5GHz and 5GHz networks? I've never had to worry about that on my routers. Just set them up, and they automatically connect devices to whatever network is appropriate.
This is what I’m doing.
We have Comcast and they want $12 a month here for their router.

I bought one from Bestbuy that apparently is a router/modem.

The only issue we see is you can’t connect to their app that controls devices in the house on the phone or on the X1 box.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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I did a quick scan and found 10 or more networks overlapping in my house. That is all my neighbors using 2.4GHz and there was no available open channels, so I was constantly conflicting with their traffic.
I see lots of neighbors' networks when I check on my Dell laptop, both 2.4 and 5. Many display the mfg's name and model number so they are all running on default settings with default passwords. Not smart.

I use my grandparent's HAM radio call sign with a 2 or 5 prefix. I keep my laptop plugged into a charger in my master bedroom which is on the opposite side of the house from my office with modem and router. At night I use the 2.4 band but during the day I move the laptop closer and use the 5 band.

And of course I use my desktop for major data dumps, as it's hardwire cabled to the router. The updates to the GPS map database for my Miata are about 6 GB. Better to use a hardwired connection.

This really isn't Apple specific - should this be moved to "Computers"?

Modem: Arris surfboard SB6183
Router: TP-LINK C5 / AC1200
 
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xx Brian xx

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My original single channel on the old router was named Jada01. Now my naming is as follows:
Jada01 — Is now the high speed channel.
Jada01-24 is the low speed channel.

Will this work? All my devices can see one another. My phone on Jada01 can see and print on the printer which is using Jada01-24? My phone on Jada01 can see the Ring doorbell on Jada01-24 and receive notifications from it?

Name both networks Jada01 and skip having the two names. Devices that work better on 5Ghz will connect to the 5Ghz, while the devices that only support 2.4Ghz will not even see the 5Ghz and will connect to the 2.4. There is really no need to have two different names anymore unless you have a device that you want to force to stay on one channel.

Brian
 

John Dirk

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@DaveF - Are you saying your router doesn't allow separate names for the 2.4 and 5G bands? I've never heard of that before. Are you using a smartphone app to manage the router settings? If so, most have limited feature sets.
 

DaveF

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@DaveF - Are you saying your router doesn't allow separate names for the 2.4 and 5G bands? I've never heard of that before. Are you using a smartphone app to manage the router settings? If so, most have limited feature sets.
Yes, Apple routers don’t create separate names for the 2.4 and 5 bands. It’s been that way for ... 10+ years

they're managed with desktop or mobile apps.

I’m surprised this is unique. It’s obviously how it should be done from a UX perspective for normal users.

And for network nerds, the info is in there if you want to connect explicitly to a band, I think.
85D7A548-AFA5-489E-B6CF-4E62BD517EA3.jpeg
 
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Scott Merryfield

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Which ones are those?
The combo cable modem / router I have from Comcast does this, as well. I decided to rent from them instead of buying my own, as I had some bad luck owning routers for a few years. It seemed like I was replacing my router every year or so due to one issue or another. The combo unit I have sells for about $180 (I needed voice connection support), so at $10 per month to rent the payback is just not quick enough for me to own one and risk needing a replacement.
 

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I have a separate modem and router. I like it better that way as it's easier to troubleshoot issues and generally less expensive to fix should one of them die or only one "need" an upgrade (which has happened).
I should really mention I have three boxes: a modem, a router, and an OOMA box for VOIP. They all seem to play nice together.

I like having different names available for the different bands. What's even stranger is the WIFI support for Win 10. It displays all of the received channels in the neighborhood, which helps when you want to hack into a neighbor's system. :emoji_smiling_imp:
 

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