Recommend me a new Router

Grumpicus wrote:

If you're using an Asus router, https://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/about is a simple firmware upgrade.

Advantages? If the current official firmware is keeping me going fine is there a good reason for me to switch?

Thin_J wrote:

is there a good reason for me to switch?

Not if there's nothing here that compels you. I honestly can't remember what originally inspired me to install it but I've had no troubles with it. If you're interested, I supposed you can always give it a shot and then revert back to the stock firmware later.

Anyone have experience with Google Wifi mesh routers? Now that I'm working from home a lot more, the lag spikes have really started to get to me. It's both in online gaming and when on Zoom video calls. I've troubleshooted to see if its something else on the network and even upgraded my modem (ditched the Comcast modem). Some light research shows that this is a common problem with Google Wifi so I'm tempted to ditch it and try something else.

Is it a problem with the Google product or something endemic to mesh networks in general?

Can you test by running an Ethernet cable? That would rule out the ISP. After that, you'd probably want to disconnect your Google AP and run scanning software to see what the local radio environment looked like. You might be competing with neighbors, particularly on 2.4GHz, which can travel several houses down the street.

I have no specific experience with Google's WiFi in particular, and if you don't see any other problems it might just be a bug in the firmware.

Permanent Ethernet runs are always the best way to do networking if you can, because that puts the entire problem under your control. You don't have to worry about what anyone else is doing or any outside interference, and conditions won't suddenly degrade if a neighbor buys a new wireless gizmo.

The downside to that, of course, is the labor involved in running wires. There's also the cost of wires and jacks, but that's pretty minor compared to the labor.

Malor wrote:

Can you test by running an Ethernet cable? That would rule out the ISP. After that, you'd probably want to disconnect your Google AP and run scanning software to see what the local radio environment looked like. You might be competing with neighbors, particularly on 2.4GHz, which can travel several houses down the street.

I have no specific experience with Google's WiFi in particular, and if you don't see any other problems it might just be a bug in the firmware.

Permanent Ethernet runs are always the best way to do networking if you can, because that puts the entire problem under your control. You don't have to worry about what anyone else is doing or any outside interference, and conditions won't suddenly degrade if a neighbor buys a new wireless gizmo.

The downside to that, of course, is the labor involved in running wires. There's also the cost of wires and jacks, but that's pretty minor compared to the labor.

Thanks! I'll try some of these things. I was avoiding hardwiring everything due to aesthetics and the labor but understand that might be helpful at least for isolating the problem. FWIW, I also found a Eero system at a good price so I picked it up to replace the Google Wifi system.

One thought - my understanding was that these advanced mesh systems would auto-switch to empty channels without a lot of noise. Maybe that doesn't work as well as expected?

I also have an Eero system. Works well for us. The more expensive tri-band units help.

The problem with auto-switch is that everything is wireless now. There really aren't empty channels anymore in a lot of places -- which is why Malor suggested shutting yours off and scanning.

LilCodger wrote:

I also have an Eero system. Works well for us. The more expensive tri-band units help.

The problem with auto-switch is that everything is wireless now. There really aren't empty channels anymore in a lot of places -- which is why Malor suggested shutting yours off and scanning.

Triband is in my opinion a must have feature in a mesh setup. Most devices can't take advantage of it but the mesh devices can use the extra band to communicate with each other freeing up frequency in the other bands for your other devices. That said I am planning on wiring my house up with at 4 to 6 (two behind the TV and maybe two to my PC area and two to my console setup on the other side of the PC area) Cat6A runs this winter (when temperatures in my attic get less oven like).

Rykin wrote:
LilCodger wrote:

I also have an Eero system. Works well for us. The more expensive tri-band units help.

The problem with auto-switch is that everything is wireless now. There really aren't empty channels anymore in a lot of places -- which is why Malor suggested shutting yours off and scanning.

Triband is in my opinion a must have feature in a mesh setup. Most devices can't take advantage of it but the mesh devices can use the extra band to communicate with each other freeing up frequency in the other bands for your other devices. That said I am planning on wiring my house up with at 4 to 6 (two behind the TV and maybe two to my PC area and two to my console setup on the other side of the PC area) Cat6A runs this winter (when temperatures in my attic get less oven like).

*Must have unless you have ethernet backhaul

I was avoiding hardwiring everything due to aesthetics and the labor but understand that might be helpful at least for isolating the problem.

If the budget allows, you could hire pros. The costs used to be about $100/drop for normal houses without anything weird going on, but it's probably higher by now.

We're very happy with our Eero as well. My wife and I have been both working from home with the system for 6 months now and there's rarely a hiccup in spite of us being in video calls and downloading large software packages most of the day. The network covers the entire 2200 square feet and then some with only 1 repeater.

Malor wrote:
I was avoiding hardwiring everything due to aesthetics and the labor but understand that might be helpful at least for isolating the problem.

If the budget allows, you could hire pros. The costs used to be about $100/drop for normal houses without anything weird going on, but it's probably higher by now.

It's not even that. My house is already wired with drops in every room but given the amount of devices and a weird office set-up, I end up with a lot of cables strung along the baseboard. I actually end up wiring all of the mesh network routers together (I know - which kinda defeats one of the values of a mesh network) but devices flow seamlessly around the house.

Trashie wrote:
Malor wrote:
I was avoiding hardwiring everything due to aesthetics and the labor but understand that might be helpful at least for isolating the problem.

If the budget allows, you could hire pros. The costs used to be about $100/drop for normal houses without anything weird going on, but it's probably higher by now.

It's not even that. My house is already wired with drops in every room but given the amount of devices and a weird office set-up, I end up with a lot of cables strung along the baseboard. I actually end up wiring all of the mesh network routers together (I know - which kinda defeats one of the values of a mesh network) but devices flow seamlessly around the house.

Having your mesh endpoints wired together is basically the optimum way to deploy them from a maximum bandwidth/dependability perspective. If you think of a wireless mesh setup in something like a long ranch style house (my great uncle had a house like this that felt like it was about as long as a football field) depending on placement of your endpoints and the main controller you might have a chain of endpoints (i.e. endpoint 3 talks only to endpoint 2 and endpoint 2 talks to endpoint 1 and endpoint 1 talks to the main controller) talking to each other thus increasing latency and the chances for packets to get dropped/corrupted/interfered with.

Trashie wrote:
Malor wrote:
I was avoiding hardwiring everything due to aesthetics and the labor but understand that might be helpful at least for isolating the problem.

If the budget allows, you could hire pros. The costs used to be about $100/drop for normal houses without anything weird going on, but it's probably higher by now.

It's not even that. My house is already wired with drops in every room but given the amount of devices and a weird office set-up, I end up with a lot of cables strung along the baseboard. I actually end up wiring all of the mesh network routers together (I know - which kinda defeats one of the values of a mesh network) but devices flow seamlessly around the house.

Yeah, it's pretty normal to have a snarl of Ethernet wiring. Sometimes you can simplify the cabling a little by going with bigger switches; perfectly competent 16-port jobs are under $100 these days. But sometimes there's just no helping it, as every wired device needs at least one wire.

As Rykin says, a wired backbone is typically ideal for a wireless deployment. It means you can spend your whole frequency allocation serving clients, instead of losing a bunch for backhaul between routers.

Unifi is pretty much my favorite hardware these days.. not the crap Amplifi brand they purchased but the Unifi hardware. They have a solid Firewall/Security/Router appliance as well as rock solid Access Points in various form factors and flavors.

But I repeat the suggestions above that where possible Ethernet backhaul works best for AP's over a mesh network.

Update ya'll!

Eero system installed. While it's all hardwired into the gateway hub through a switch, the app still tells me that the two hubs are "wireless". It's working but speeds aren't what they should be through-out the house.

Quick googling said that I should switch it to "bridge" mode but that borked the whole system. Going to poke around a bit more.