Richard wants to know how different a mesh network is from a network extender. Leo says that extenders repeat the signal and send it along the way. So the bandwidth gets cut in half because it's communicating half the time. Mesh, by contrast, has its own back channel to talk to the router and satellite units. Leo says it's a little primitive, but he could have two of the same wifi routers with the same SSID and password, and they could hand off the signal to each other. But the Netgear Orbi Mesh router is the better option. And it uses WiFi6.
Eric recently upgraded his internet for GB access. But he's having issues with where the network terminal is located. He has his own wifi router but the problem is the wall separating the optical router. So he had to buy a long ethernet cable in order to move the router to where he can get a good connection. But it slows him down. Leo says that powerline networking is an option, but the speed will drop about the same. It's also dependent on the quality of wiring. MOCA is possible, or wireless over cable. It's essentially Ethernet over coax. And it's pretty fast.
JC's Asus router is no longer supported by the company. What router should he buy? Leo says he doesn't really have to buy a new router. He can install DDWRT's firmware on it and then keep that router up to date. The chatroom recommends going to asus-wrtmerlin.net for a custom firmware for the Asus router.
But if he wants a new one, Leo recommends getting a mesh router, especially for a house as large as JC's (2500 sq ft). A base station and a beacon would be good. Leo's favorite is Eero.
Peter gets a Gig up and down with Fiber. Leo says he probably doesn't get that all the time. Would he get that with WiFi and a mesh router? Leo says if all devices are WiFi 6, maybe. But everything has to be wifi compatible. The thing is, WiFi 6e is right around the corner, so it's probably a good idea to wait. Leo had the Orbi with WiFi 6 and it was only 10% faster. Not really worth the extra expense.
Frank has a security camera that he's got connected to his WiFi. And his network is really slow now. Leo says that may be due to constantly uploading videos. When he couples that with the congestion of multiple devices sharing the network, it can slow things down. Leo recommends going with a mesh router so that the congestion is much better managed. What about an extender? Leo says that extenders essentially cut bandwidth in half, so it'll make it worse. Go with the mesh router. Leo recommends Eero and Netgear Orbi.
Rich has a room about 35 feet away from the base station, and they have issues with dropouts from it. Leo says that WiFi is a line of sight technology, primarily, and so anything that goes in between the access point and the device can interfere. One way to solve the problem is to put your access point higher up the wall. That will move the signal away from a lot of things that will get in the way.
Daisy is having trouble with slow internet. Leo says to run SpeedTest by google and see how fast your connection is. There's also Fast, which is a connection test for NetFlix. Also, make sure you're not too far away from your router. If you're more than 100 feet away, that's going to slow things down. Also, too many walls between your router and your laptop can cause issues.
Kent needs more reliable wifi. He has a wifi router with extenders, but as he has wifi calling, often the call would just drop or buffer. So he went with an Orbi mesh router, and while he has a more consistent connection, he has an issue with the actual connection to the internet. Leo says that Netgear's Orbi is the fastest out there, but it's very simple in design. Dropouts can occur if the access point isn't connecting to the base station. So he can reboot the access point when it happens. Kent is using an ISP provided router that he has to use.
Vip wants to know if he should wire his home with ethernet cable while he has the walls open. Leo says ABSOLUTELY. And use Cat6 while you're at it to future proof it. Hardwired is always preferable to WiFi and it'll be faster, have far fewer dropouts, and no congestion. Leo just did it himself. We're lifting a lot more data now with WiFi and IoT smart devices. There's a lot of congestion.
If you have a challenging wifi environment and can't afford to wire your home, Leo advises going with a Mesh router: eero, Netgear's Ubiquity, even Asus has gone mesh.
Frank has never needed a WiFi extender in his home, but his girlfriend's house could use one. So he installed one, but it doesn't seem to be doing much better. Leo says the reason is because an extender has to spend half it's time talking to the router. They can't speak to both devices at the same time. Mesh routers, by contrast, have a dedicated backchannel that is always on, that talks to the router without impeding the bandwidth speed. They can be a bit more expensive depending on how many satellite units you need for the house.