WiFi advice needed

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by W0AZZ, Nov 12, 2020.

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  1. W0AZZ

    W0AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just moved into a newer home about a month ago and nothing in the house is wired with ethernet. The house is a 3000 sq ft, reverse ranch with a finished basement.

    I have some quad shield RG-6 and some MOCA adapters to run a connection from my Comcast modem to the opposite side of the house (basement) where I plan to install my shack. I also have a Linksys WiFi router on an end table in the upstairs living room that provides adequate coverage upstairs but that signal fades downstairs.

    With 4 family members and a host of wireless and wired devices, I'm leaning to installing some ethernet where I can and use a mesh WiFi system or adding a WAPs to the ceilings upstairs and downstairs if possible. I have looked at Ubiquiti's WAPs but setup seems like a pain for a non-IT person and the cost of adding a cloud key and running a computer 24/7 for the controller doesn't sound appealing.

    What are my options at this point that won't interfere or be susceptible to RF from my shack? Are the TP-Link wireless access points self supporting or do they require a controlling software controller on an external device too? What about those desktop mesh WiFi devices? This is all a bit foreign to me.
  2. WB8NQW

    WB8NQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    My WiFi/router in in one corner of the basement about 20' from the radio desk. No interference either way involving amateur activities. House is full basement 1-1/2 story 40' X 50'. Is router near the center of the house with equal distances to most areas? I figure with the WiFi antenna about at ground level the signal off the property should be very small
  3. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a small house but its all concrete construction. I use one of those little Netlink repeater devices in one part of the house. Its plug and play. Runs on the same channel :eek: but I guess its synced in some way that doesn't cause any interference in overlapping areas. That alone may be an advantage over linking up independent routers.
  4. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I just installed one of these to improve my "Living room office" WiFi (actual office is downstairs, and router is there)... WiFi was weak in the LR and hard to do Zoom calls for business.

    SUPER easy to configure (I just used an Ethernet cable and did it via the portal) - took 2 minutes.


    Just a thought


    KP4SX and NG1H like this.
  5. KA5IGI

    KA5IGI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Picked up 3 TP-Link Deco M9's from costco about 6 months ago when they were on sale. Have one upstairs, one downstairs and the other is in the mother-in-law in the backyard. All 3 are on the ethernet backbone but they will function thru wifi (just not as well). The only really funky thing about them is that it requires a smartphone app to install and update. It can function as a router or ap as desired.
    W0AZZ likes this.
  6. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Strictly speaking, inexpensive WiFi repeaters work; but because they 'share' a channel, the max throughput of the network is cut in half when you use one.

    Numerous home WiFi systems have come out in the last several years which use what they call 'wireless backhaul.' The router and the wireless access point(s) use one channel for clients, and a different channel for communicating with each other. This allows you to use a single SSID, and gives you full throughput on the entire network.

    Amplifi is made by Ubiquiti, but it is very much geared toward non-IT oriented people. I recommended it to a co-worker who is admittedly not tech savy. She ordered it, followed the instructions on the card that came with it, and set it up herself.

    Not everyone would see benefits from a gigabit local wireless network; but if you stream or transfer files from one device to another on your local network, it is extremely beneficial.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do not over kill it. ;)
  8. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    All I know is that my speedtest.net speed tripled when I added my repeater. I can now do Zoom calls from my "living room office" without having to go downstairs to my office "work office" if I don't want to.

    That works for me.

  9. WA9FZB

    WA9FZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My network system is a bit unusual, but may give you some ideas. My cable internet service comes up to the second floor office, where the shack also resides, using a Motorola Surfboard modem/router. That is the straightforward part. The office computer is hard-wired into the cable router. That router also feeds several Cat-5 cable runs to other areas of the house, including the basement rec room, which is where a second NetGear router/ wireless access point is hard-wired to all the Home Theater gear. That same router supplies WiFi to the entire house. The wireless router in the basement supplies sufficient signal strength to the WiFi enabled shack notebook on the second floor. I note this not to crow about my non-standard network configuration, but to let you know that it all works in spite of my rig being on the air. I have absolutely NO interference in either direction (to the internet/wi-fi or to the rig). Of course, I do only run 100 watts. If I ran an amp, then it might be a different story.
  10. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Available WiFi data rates are determined by protocol, bandwidth, and signal strength. Your ISP has completely different limitations on data rates. Chances are good that even though your potential WiFi speeds were cut in half, the signal strength without the repeater was so low that your former data rate was less than the new half-rate with the repeater. Changes are also good that your ISP is providing a data rate which is lower than the repeater half-rate.

    If the over-riding concern is internet speed, then this is a very workable solution. The other solutions I mentioned provide the same benefit, but without compromising LAN speed. LAN is very important if you run network attached storage, a DVR that you use on multiple televisions, or many gaming setups. (It is not everyone's thing, but there is also the general appeal of an efficient system).

    Like the original OP, I have a house which is not wired for network; and I wasn't keen on running CAT6 everywhere. Using wireless backhaul to get 5GHz signal throughout the house means that I have a wireless LAN that is actually faster than a gigabit wired network.

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