Need Input on Home Internet/Wifi (rural area)

Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    So I live outside a town about 5 miles and the only decent internet choice we have is Century Link. Unfortunately its the original DSL line they ran back in the 2000's. So my max speed is 10mbps. With Wifi, that drops to about 8ish.

    My question is...for some damn reason our wifi pretty much stopped working consistently in our upstairs office. It used to work, or at least for a while. My wife needs to work upstairs and its just not reliable enough.

    We've looked into wifi extenders but would like to avoid that. They can put out some serious frequencies and we have a 3 month old kid. I'd prefer not to take any risk with strong wireless signals and a soft skull.

    Any one have any input on possible solutions?
     

    moaorbust

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    You can run Ethernet through the walls or try power line adapters. More likely something is causing disruption. Anything big and metal will block signal (think fridge). Anything with RF will wash out the signal (think microwave).
     

    Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    Did you update the firmware on the router?
    Firmware is updated.

    So basically, I would run cat wire straight up to the room, then just get an adapter thing to hook right into the laptops?

    If you measured the total distance in a straight line, its like maybe 15-20ft. Nothing electrical in the way, just the 2nd floor. The office desk is solid wood, but theres no metal on it besides the drawer hangers.

    My biggest issue is why the hell it used to work ok and now it doesn't. I don't feel like anything changed.
    I did reset my router to factory default and hasn't seemed to help.
     

    Missalot

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    It used to work upstairs and doesn't now? Have you added any electronic devices? Something could be interfering with the signal. If you have dual frequency router, try changing frequencies.
     

    Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    It used to work upstairs and doesn't now? Have you added any electronic devices? Something could be interfering with the signal. If you have dual frequency router, try changing frequencies.
    So at the beginning of the COVID shit, my wife started working from home. She worked upstairs in this same office for probably 3 months or so until she had our first kid in June. She had 3.5 months of leave so a bout a week ago or so, she started using her computer a little more in prep for going back to work (at home)...and it wasn't working reliably.

    It sort of works, but is really spotty, and slow about 50% of the time and dips in and out of working. Definitely not to the level that it was, or how it is downstairs.

    By changing freq's do you mean the 2.4ghz vs 5? ... right now I believe its on 2.4
     

    Missalot

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    So at the beginning of the COVID shit, my wife started working from home. She worked upstairs in this same office for probably 3 months or so until she had our first kid in June. She had 3.5 months of leave so a bout a week ago or so, she started using her computer a little more in prep for going back to work (at home)...and it wasn't working reliably.

    It sort of works, but is really spotty, and slow about 50% of the time and dips in and out of working. Definitely not to the level that it was, or how it is downstairs.

    By changing freq's do you mean the 2.4ghz vs 5? ... right now I believe its on 2.4
    Yes. Also run a speed test downstairs and then upstairs and see just how much your signal is degraded.
     
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    Bolo

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    5GHz will help with interference, not range or penetration of walls. It also gives a multiple-fold increase of bandwidth and capacity, but at 8mbps to the interwebs, that part won't make a difference.
    Couple of things:
    1. AP (router) power is a variable setting. You may need to crank it up a bit. 25 feet is a short distance unless you installed a faraday cage in between.

    2. 2.4 GHz only has 3 non-overlapping channels (1,6,11). Without running expensive enterprise wifi gear, if someone / something else is using a channel, it's effectively dead to you.
    How many SSIDs can you see if you allow your laptop to discover them?
    5GHz can help here, there can be as many as 102 non-overlapping channels.
    Remember, anything with a wifi chip- the wireless printer, a kindle, your refrigerator, etc.- all could be beaconing out and clogging airwaves.
    3. Turn everything bluetooth off for a bit before testing. Older BT stuff did cross over into wifi frequencies.
    4. Make sure your wife's laptop is updated and has the latest stable wifi drivers- from the manufacturer, not Microsoft. Their WQHL "certified" drivers are at least a year out of date.
    5. Antenna orientation matters. If your ISP's router was laying on its side when it worked, turn it back over. If it has external antennas, make sure they're vertical. ISP routers are usually cheap internals and they cheap out even more on the antennas.

    Last part, if none of that gets you an acceptable, high-quality signal, we'd need to dig deeper. Something you can PM me about, but best not done on open forum. Too boring and nerdy.

    Edit.. might make sense to write it up as a resource. I sense a lot of comms disruption coming in the future.
     
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    frankxtc

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    We had a problem where the Centurylink wifi is installed at one end of the house, would not reliably reach the other end of the house.
    I ran a 40ft. CAT-6 Ethernet cable I found on Ebay from one of the jacks on the Centurylink modem/router thing, through the attic, to near the middle of the house, installed the new AP on the ceiling w/ the mount provided, plugged in the new wifi Access Point, now we have good wifi all over the place. The Ubiquity needs a power injector to work, I put it in line with the Ethernet cable at the Centurylink end.ubiquityAP.png
     
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    OneMoreNoMore

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    Buy a cheap router and run cat5 from your modem to it and make the cheap router an access point. I’ve had to do it a couple times. Almost the same issue as you. Original setup worked fine for the first year or 2 and then it’s like the signal gets weak or devices aren’t having a strong connection.
     
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    TacticalDillhole

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  • Jun 26, 2012
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    Buy a cheap router and run cat5 from your modem to it and make the cheap router an access point. I’ve had to do it a couple times. Almost the same issue as you. Original setup worked fine for the first year or 2 and then it’s like the signal gets weak or devices aren’t having a strong connection.
    It would be better to get a mesh network, that way you don’t have to have multiple SSID’s
     

    Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    5GHz will help with interference, not range or penetration of walls. It also gives a multiple-fold increase of bandwidth and capacity, but at 8mbps to the interwebs, that part won't make a difference.
    Couple of things:
    1. AP (router) power is a variable setting. You may need to crank it up a bit. 25 feet is a short distance unless you installed a faraday cage in between.

    2. 2.4 GHz only has 3 non-overlapping channels (1,6,11). Without running expensive enterprise wifi gear, if someone / something else is using a channel, it's effectively dead to you.
    How many SSIDs can you see if you allow your laptop to discover them?
    5GHz can help here, there can be as many as 102 non-overlapping channels.
    Remember, anything with a wifi chip- the wireless printer, a kindle, your refrigerator, etc.- all could be beaconing out and clogging airwaves.
    3. Turn everything bluetooth off for a bit before testing. Older BT stuff did cross over into wifi frequencies.
    4. Make sure your wife's laptop is updated and has the latest stable wifi drivers- from the manufacturer, not Microsoft. Their WQHL "certified" drivers are at least a year out of date.
    5. Antenna orientation matters. If your ISP's router was laying on its side when it worked, turn it back over. If it has external antennas, make sure they're vertical. ISP routers are usually cheap internals and they cheap out even more on the antennas.

    Last part, if none of that gets you an acceptable, high-quality signal, we'd need to dig deeper. Something you can PM me about, but best not done on open forum. Too boring and nerdy.

    Edit.. might make sense to write it up as a resource. I sense a lot of comms disruption coming in the future.
    I'll shoot you a PM.

    I'm out in the country, so all neighbors are at least 100yds away. My one neighbor has Century link as well, and his SSID does show up, but I've never been able to actually connect. He's almost 200yds away, and his SSID does say 2.4ghz.

    No kindles, no fancy fridge, no wireless stuff. WE have our two phones, 3 laptops, and 2 smart TVs, one of which is 10ft above the router in our bedroom. We stopped using it because it stopped working consistently. It would start a show then go slow, stop, time out, go slow, time out, and on and on.

    My wifes work laptop is controlled by her work...so I doubt she can do anything with that, but I'll make sure she updates everything or contacts her I.T. department.

    No antenna on my router/modem.

    I did have a technician out about 2 months ago. I have technicians out like 5 times a year in hopes that they get tired of fixing a 20 year old DSL line and upgrade us to Fiber optic like the other half of the rural area lol. He replaced some part on my outside box and said that the original line going to our TV area may be old and need replaced, but downstairs we get good internet 75% of the time. The other 25% is slower but functional. Its never been 100% at 10mbps all the time since I can remember.

    Sounds like the 2nd add-on router might be worth a try.
    I do plan on running an ethernet cable directly to my TV downstairs since its right there...but I still can't understand how the hell the router can't throw a clean signal 10-15ft away through one normal floor.
     

    SDet

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    So at the beginning of the COVID shit, my wife started working from home. She worked upstairs in this same office for probably 3 months or so until she had our first kid in June. She had 3.5 months of leave so a bout a week ago or so, she started using her computer a little more in prep for going back to work (at home)...and it wasn't working reliably.

    It sort of works, but is really spotty, and slow about 50% of the time and dips in and out of working. Definitely not to the level that it was, or how it is downstairs.

    By changing freq's do you mean the 2.4ghz vs 5? ... right now I believe its on 2.4
    Did you install a wireless baby monitor?
     

    SDet

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    The timing lines up.

    You could run a test. Flip it off for a few minutes, see if it's better.

    If that works, you could get a wifi analyzer app, and see if there is a frequency with less interference and switch. I had to do that in my apartment building, no I get wifi 50 yards from my front door.
     

    Sixwhiskey

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    Actually ya we did. But its not on our network.... are you thinking the frequencies between the monitor and the camera are interfering with the house wifi?
    I would definitely turn it off and check the laptop signal again. Someone above mentioned Ubiquiti stuff. I have used it for years in a professional setting and it is great stuff. If you don't want to run a cable you can also try a power line to ethernet bridge which uses the wiring in your house to transmit the data signal. It is the same technology that a lot of smart meters use to send info back to the power company.
     

    A&8's

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    Are you sure another device is getting more of your signal 1st? You may need to put a limit on how much the other devices in your home are receiving. I use a MikroTik router to control/limit/prioritize how much each IP addy gets. It, basically, takes my available 10megs and says, TV1 you get 3megs, TV2 you get 2megs, wife's iPhone you get 2megs, etc.
     

    Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    So I'm at my work office right now so my phone and laptop is here with me.

    Baby monitor is off, kid is at my parents house.
    My wife tried a speed test on her phone upstairs and got 4.5mbps. Basically got zero on her work laptop. She said its updated and she restarted it as well.

    Speed test downstairs by the router got her 7.28 on the laptop, and cell phone got 9.1

    So its DEFINITELY a reach problem. What says the tech wizards?
     

    TacticalDillhole

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  • Jun 26, 2012
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    So I'm at my work office right now so my phone and laptop is here with me.

    Baby monitor is off, kid is at my parents house.
    My wife tried a speed test on her phone upstairs and got 4.5mbps. Basically got zero on her work laptop. She said its updated and she restarted it as well.

    Speed test downstairs by the router got her 7.28 on the laptop, and cell phone got 9.1

    So its DEFINITELY a reach problem. What says the tech wizards?
    This is my suggestion, its the easiest and least expensive. Its a repeater, not a booster. Basically it connects wirelessly to your current signal and just repeats it thus extending the range. Only downfall is it will basically create a new SSID. So maybe label one downstairs and one upstairs. But it should do the trick. its 2.4 and 5 Ghz repeater.


    If you want, i have the version prior to this Im happy to give you if you pay the shipping.
     
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    Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    This is my suggestion, its the easiest and least expensive. Its a repeater, not a booster. Basically it connects wirelessly to your current signal and just repeats it thus extending the range. Only downfall is it will basically create a new SSID. So maybe label one downstairs and one upstairs. But it should do the trick. its 2.4 and 5 Ghz repeater.


    If you want, i have the version prior to this Im happy to give you if you pay the shipping.
    I appreciate the generosity and input. I have a few questions.

    Do I put that repeater where my router is? or connect to it via wire and put the repeater upstairs?

    Does this increase the frequency output overall? I have a 3 month old and trying not to zap his brain with too much wireless shit. Same reason I don't let him put a cell phone to his head or hold him in front of the microwave lol. If you think I'm stupid just ignore the question lol
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    I appreciate the generosity and input. I have a few questions.

    Do I put that repeater where my router is? or connect to it via wire and put the repeater upstairs?

    Does this increase the frequency output overall? I have a 3 month old and trying not to zap his brain with too much wireless shit. Same reason I don't let him put a cell phone to his head or hold him in front of the microwave lol. If you think I'm stupid just ignore the question lol
    you simply plug it into a wall socket directly. Its a repeater, not a booster. it puts out the exact same stuff as your router. it could be called a booster because it makes the signal stronger where it is, but its not technically boosting. Think of it as a radio repeater when you are trying to communicate over a mountain to someone on the other side.

    it will connect to your wifi like any wifi device, and then repeat that signal (with a different SSID).

    My opinions on how you are protecting your child are irrelevant. You do you.
     
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    Gustav7

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    you simply plug it into a wall socket directly. Its a repeater, not a booster. it puts out the exact same stuff as your router. it could be called a booster because it makes the signal stronger where it is, but its not technically boosting. Think of it as a radio repeater when you are trying to communicate over a mountain to someone on the other side.

    it will connect to your wifi like any wifi device, and then repeat that signal (with a different SSID).

    My opinions on how you are protecting your child are irrelevant. You do you.
    That makes more sense, thanks for clarifying. I'll PM you
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    That makes more sense, thanks for clarifying. I'll PM you
    This the one i have


    It may need firmware updating as i havent used it in about 2 years but i know it works and its free :)


    Instead of a repeater, it can be set up as an access point as well if you run an ethernet cable to it from the router. This would give you better speed.
     
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    atvman400

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    I am a big fan of hard wiring everything if possible. Only thing that isn't in my house is phones, nest, and wife's laptop. Usually most wireless routers also have switches on them that you can plug a RJ45 cord into and run upstairs.
    I think the wireless part of the utilities router started to die for me after a couple of years. Started getting terrible connection on phone upstairs. Ended up having the utility shut off the wireless and used my own wireless router to make into an access point in a central location instead of in the basement.
     
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    Bolo

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    This the one i have


    It may need firmware updating as i havent used it in about 2 years but i know it works and its free :)

    Instead of a repeater, it can be set up as an access point as well if you run an ethernet cable to it from the router. This would give you better speed.
    Edit: reply to OP, just agreeing with @TacticalDillhole

    My advice is if it doesn't move, wire it in. WiFi airtime is a shared medium, only one device can transmit at a time per channel.
    Even though you have a 2-year old ASUS, it's still better than the hot garbage built into that Centurylink box. If you can site it somewhere in the middle of the house, you should get good coverage. Once it's set up, you should be able to disable the radio on the Centurylink box (it will only cause a problem at that point).
    My primary AP is at the top of the basement stairwell in a center-hall colonial, at half power I've got >600Mb throughput everywhere except my back and side yard (-70 dBm for the nerds).

    Free way to measure this is with a utility called Fing (available on Android/Apple appstore) or Wifi Analyzer (Windows). Fire it up and walk around. Awesome is -30dBm. Unusable is -90. -70 is the limit of where the radios try to get smart and downspeed your connection to preserve it. Adjust the power on your AP accordingly... adjusting it so you're getting -70 at the furthest spots you intend to use it is best.
    On your concerns about power, far be it from one dad to tell another one how to parent. You do you. For comparison purposes, though, an FCC-certified WiFi AP at -30dBm (1W, max power, 6" away from the AP) has the same radiation density (SAR) as an iPhone 8/X/11 sitting about 8 feet away. 9 feet away from a full-power AP is roughly equivalent to a 4G LTE signal from a tower 2 miles away.

    If it's got a radio, like the TVs, either disable or force it to join your wifi (preferably on a different SSID than you have real computers on). Without being associated, they'll continuously beacon out looking for an open SSID and dirty up the spectrum- like some idiot constantly keying the mike wondering if someone wants to talk. Oh, and those little devices... if they have a "made in China" sticker on them and no FCC certification, there's no guarantee they're not burping out RF all over the spectrum. I've seen small chinesium "wifi" devices take out (multiple) hospitals' wireless in the ER area- that's no joke.

    If the Asus is smart enough to auto-select a channel, let it... even 200 yards away, your neighbor's wifi is gumming up your spectrum. If it's not, pick a different channel manually. 5Ghz can help here. If the Asus has something called "band steering", turn that on. If a device is capable of using 5GHz, it will be forced off of the noisy 2.4GHz spectrum.
     

    Gustav7

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  • Jul 18, 2019
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    Edit: reply to OP, just agreeing with @TacticalDillhole

    My advice is if it doesn't move, wire it in. WiFi airtime is a shared medium, only one device can transmit at a time per channel.
    Even though you have a 2-year old ASUS, it's still better than the hot garbage built into that Centurylink box. If you can site it somewhere in the middle of the house, you should get good coverage. Once it's set up, you should be able to disable the radio on the Centurylink box (it will only cause a problem at that point).
    My primary AP is at the top of the basement stairwell in a center-hall colonial, at half power I've got >600Mb throughput everywhere except my back and side yard (-70 dBm for the nerds).

    Free way to measure this is with a utility called Fing (available on Android/Apple appstore) or Wifi Analyzer (Windows). Fire it up and walk around. Awesome is -30dBm. Unusable is -90. -70 is the limit of where the radios try to get smart and downspeed your connection to preserve it. Adjust the power on your AP accordingly... adjusting it so you're getting -70 at the furthest spots you intend to use it is best.
    On your concerns about power, far be it from one dad to tell another one how to parent. You do you. For comparison purposes, though, an FCC-certified WiFi AP at -30dBm (1W, max power, 6" away from the AP) has the same radiation density (SAR) as an iPhone 8/X/11 sitting about 8 feet away. 9 feet away from a full-power AP is roughly equivalent to a 4G LTE signal from a tower 2 miles away.

    If it's got a radio, like the TVs, either disable or force it to join your wifi (preferably on a different SSID than you have real computers on). Without being associated, they'll continuously beacon out looking for an open SSID and dirty up the spectrum- like some idiot constantly keying the mike wondering if someone wants to talk. Oh, and those little devices... if they have a "made in China" sticker on them and no FCC certification, there's no guarantee they're not burping out RF all over the spectrum. I've seen small chinesium "wifi" devices take out (multiple) hospitals' wireless in the ER area- that's no joke.

    If the Asus is smart enough to auto-select a channel, let it... even 200 yards away, your neighbor's wifi is gumming up your spectrum. If it's not, pick a different channel manually. 5Ghz can help here. If the Asus has something called "band steering", turn that on. If a device is capable of using 5GHz, it will be forced off of the noisy 2.4GHz spectrum.
    I'll try switching my Century link router to 5ghz and use the RP-AC56 and see how that goes.

    Is there any benefit to getting an aftermarket router and replacing my century link router with it? Not even sure how that works if I can.

    I do appreciate all the responses....although @Bolo sometimes you start speaking french lol
     

    Nik H

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    So I live outside a town about 5 miles and the only decent internet choice we have is Century Link. Unfortunately its the original DSL line they ran back in the 2000's. So my max speed is 10mbps. With Wifi, that drops to about 8ish.

    My question is...for some damn reason our wifi pretty much stopped working consistently in our upstairs office. It used to work, or at least for a while. My wife needs to work upstairs and its just not reliable enough.

    We've looked into wifi extenders but would like to avoid that. They can put out some serious frequencies and we have a 3 month old kid. I'd prefer not to take any risk with strong wireless signals and a soft skull.

    Any one have any input on possible solutions?
    Any item in your home that is part of a or associated with a computer has to pass FCC part 15 rules for EMC. It also has to pass FCC standards for human exposure. If you believe your router will radiate things that will hurt you, then I hope you aren't using a cellphone which is next to your skull. You're microwave radiates more shit than your router does.

    WiFi is limited in its ability to effectively propagate in a house. Go buy yourself an Orbi system and put a node upstairs...problem solved.
     

    Bolo

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    I'll try switching my Century link router to 5ghz and use the RP-AC56 and see how that goes.

    Is there any benefit to getting an aftermarket router and replacing my century link router with it? Not even sure how that works if I can.

    I do appreciate all the responses....although @Bolo sometimes you start speaking french lol
    Ha, lol... took me like 20 minutes of backspacing over acronyms and putting things in layman's terms to type that last one out.
    This is what happens when you deal with engineers all day, every day.

    In general, any aftermarket router / access point is going to be better than the one they put into the service provider's box.
    It's a "lowest bidder" thing.
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    I'll try switching my Century link router to 5ghz and use the RP-AC56 and see how that goes.

    Is there any benefit to getting an aftermarket router and replacing my century link router with it? Not even sure how that works if I can.

    I do appreciate all the responses....although @Bolo sometimes you start speaking french lol
    You can use any router you want. You do not have to use CL router no matter what they say.....unless the modem is built into it.
     

    Gustav7

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    Any item in your home that is part of a or associated with a computer has to pass FCC part 15 rules for EMC. It also has to pass FCC standards for human exposure. If you believe your router will radiate things that will hurt you, then I hope you aren't using a cellphone which is next to your skull. You're microwave radiates more shit than your router does.

    WiFi is limited in its ability to effectively propagate in a house. Go buy yourself an Orbi system and put a node upstairs...problem solved.
    While I don't think any of those things are great for our bodies long term (and stacked together)... I'm more worried about my son whos skull is 1/3 the thickness of mine. Its more of concern to me when he's crawling and walking around. Maybe its a pointless effort...but still. And no, I don't put my phone to my head if I can help it (speaker phone)... but I digress...doubt theres much I could change effectively. Put my son in a faraday cage lol

    Ha, lol... took me like 20 minutes of backspacing over acronyms and putting things in layman's terms to type that last one out.
    This is what happens when you deal with engineers all day, every day.

    In general, any aftermarket router / access point is going to be better than the one they put into the service provider's box.
    It's a "lowest bidder" thing.
    LOL... a good friend is a commercial electrical engineer and I have to tell him to stop using jargon sometimes

    That makes sense. Any recommendations?
     

    Nik H

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    Ha, lol... took me like 20 minutes of backspacing over acronyms and putting things in layman's terms to type that last one out.
    This is what happens when you deal with engineers all day, every day.

    In general, any aftermarket router / access point is going to be better than the one they put into the service provider's box.
    It's a "lowest bidder" thing.
    Bingo...
     

    Nik H

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    While I don't think any of those things are great for our bodies long term (and stacked together)... I'm more worried about my son whos skull is 1/3 the thickness of mine. Its more of concern to me when he's crawling and walking around. Maybe its a pointless effort...but still. And no, I don't put my phone to my head if I can help it (speaker phone)... but I digress...doubt theres much I could change effectively. Put my son in a faraday cage lol
    I don't mean to be disrespectful to your beliefs and I apologize if I came across that way.

    I am a EE and have been designing military and commercial communications equipment for a long time. I have been exposed to all sorts of nasty microwave radiation. Stuff that would kill you if you made an error.

    I have 5 children (rumor is that you would produce no swimmers)...all are super smart...no medical issues...I am 59 and no cancer and I don't glow

    You can try to get a better router like @Bolo suggested but you can also get a mesh or distributed system to enhance the propagation of the signal.
     

    Gustav7

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    I don't mean to be disrespectful to your beliefs and I apologize if I came across that way.

    I am a EE and have been designing military and commercial communications equipment for a long time. I have been exposed to all sorts of nasty microwave radiation. Stuff that would kill you if you made an error.

    I have 5 children (rumor is that you would produce no swimmers)...all are super smart...no medical issues...I am 59 and no cancer and I don't glow

    You can try to get a better router like @Bolo suggested but you can also get a mesh or distributed system to enhance the propagation of the signal.
    No disrespect taken. I'm always investigating and learning and I think I change my view on it all the time. Somewhere between mild paranoia and habitual pragmatist lol...

    So a mesh system essentially just works like little radio towers all over your house, taking the signal from the base router and redistributing it?
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    I don't mean to be disrespectful to your beliefs and I apologize if I came across that way.

    I am a EE and have been designing military and commercial communications equipment for a long time. I have been exposed to all sorts of nasty microwave radiation. Stuff that would kill you if you made an error.

    I have 5 children (rumor is that you would produce no swimmers)...all are super smart...no medical issues...I am 59 and no cancer and I don't glow

    You can try to get a better router like @Bolo suggested but you can also get a mesh or distributed system to enhance the propagation of the signal.
    Honestly though, if you only get 10mbs service, I wouldnt spend the money on a new router. let me know if what I sent works out. I think it will.
     
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    TacticalDillhole

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    No disrespect taken. I'm always investigating and learning and I think I change my view on it all the time. Somewhere between mild paranoia and habitual pragmatist lol...

    So a mesh system essentially just works like little radio towers all over your house, taking the signal from the base router and redistributing it?
    Yes with the benefit of it all being the same network. The device may switch the connection to strongest signal but never has to switch networks.
     

    Rio2019

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    There have been some very intelligent suggestions in this post, but I have another suggestion that may be worth checking. I, personally, don't know how to check to see if you have someone else connecting to your wireless without your permission, but If your account is not password protected, theoretically, anyone can steal your signal. It happened to me! A neighbor kid, who lived next door, was using my router to connect to the internet.
     

    TacticalDillhole

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    There have been some very intelligent suggestions in this post, but I have another suggestion that may be worth checking. I, personally, don't know how to check to see if you have someone else connecting to your wireless without your permission. If your account is not password protected, theoretically, anyone can steal your signal. It happened to me! A neighbor kid, who lived next door, was using my router to connect to the internet.
    Most routers you can log into the dashboard and view every client on your network.
     

    Nik H

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    No disrespect taken. I'm always investigating and learning and I think I change my view on it all the time. Somewhere between mild paranoia and habitual pragmatist lol...

    So a mesh system essentially just works like little radio towers all over your house, taking the signal from the base router and redistributing it?
    Yes.

    Think of it this way. Signal strength is inversely proportional to the distance squared....If I am 4 feet away from you and am receiving a signal of a certain strength say 1. I move from 4 feet to 8 feet away so I double the distance. My power received is 1/4 versus 1. It goes down by 2 squared or 4 times. If your cable company's gateway is on the first floor, and your laptop is on the second floor, then signal level will be WAY less than if you are on the same floor. Not to mention walls and whatever else is in the way. These systems really are line of sight. Even though no one tells you that

    A distributed approach basically puts a booster along the way to re-amplify the signal. A mesh takes it one step further. A mesh system may have several smaller boosters that plug directly into you wall outlets. Each unit has the intelligence to move to the optimal neighbor.

    Once you try it, you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.

    It really is safe...you can research and read to prove it to yourself
     
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    Gustav7

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    Yes.

    Think of it this way. Signal strength is inversely proportional to the distance squared....If I am 4 feet away from you and am receiving a signal of a certain strength say 1. I move from 4 feet to 8 feet away so I double the distance. My power received is 1/4 versus 1. It goes down by 2 squared or 4 times. If your cable company's gateway is on the first floor, and your laptop is on the second floor, then signal level will be WAY less than if you are on the same floor. Not to mention walls and whatever else is in the way. These systems really are line of sight. Even though no one tells you that

    A distributed approach basically puts a booster along the way to re-amplify the signal. A mesh takes it one step further. A mesh system may have several smaller boosters that plug directly into you wall outlets. Each unit has the intelligence to move to the optimal neighbor.

    Once you try it, you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.

    It really is safe...you can research and read to prove it to yourself
    That makes a lot of sense, appreciate the layman’s terms haha.

    So that explanation made me think... how far can you mesh your network? My shop is about 50yds our my back door. Could I put something plugged in my first wall outlet in my barn and use it there?

    What would be a recommended Mesh system? I wanna try @TacticalDillhole thing first. Get my wife up and running for work but this conversation is giving me all sorts of ideas lol
     

    Nik H

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    That makes a lot of sense, appreciate the layman’s terms haha.

    So that explanation made me think... how far can you mesh your network? My shop is about 50yds our my back door. Could I put something plugged in my first wall outlet in my barn and use it there?

    What would be a recommended Mesh system? I wanna try @TacticalDillhole thing first. Get my wife up and running for work but this conversation is giving me all sorts of ideas lol
    I use the Orbi distributed network with 2 nodes plus the main unit. You could add a 3rd node in your barn. It may cover 50 yards but that is a long way
     

    Bolo

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    50 yards is no sweat with a patch antenna or a good omni whip. Hell, I even have a few cluttering up my basement I can send ya.
    You'd just need to get an AP with external antenna connectors. I haven't played around in the consumer space the last few years, so I'm not sure what's out there... the stuff that was easy to tinker with is going the way of the dodo.
     

    Nik H

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    50 yards is no sweat with a patch antenna or a good omni whip. Hell, I even have a few cluttering up my basement I can send ya.
    You'd just need to get an AP with external antenna connectors. I haven't played around in the consumer space the last few years, so I'm not sure what's out there... the stuff that was easy to tinker with is going the way of the dodo.
    Haven't seen any consumer gateway or AP that can accept an external antenna. It would violate FCC rules for these types of devices. WiFi certification must include the radiating element as part of the test sequence. The antenna characteristics are noted on the compliance report (both gain and BW).
     

    sirboom

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    I run ethernet through my power wire on my desktop which has WiFi built in, but ASUS used the cheapest POS chip for it so it stops working every 3 months and I'm sick of rebuilding my computer so they can warranty the motherboard. Anyway... nerd talk aside, it works perfectly and I get very fast speeds.

    If your WiFi recently stopped working, but it did before, you might consider a new router (the transmitters reduce in effectiveness over time) or you might get into the settings and change channels manually to see if you can improve the signal. The latter is only likely to do anything in a non-rural setting, but...
     
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    rookie7

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    I had similar issues with my home internet (I also live in a rural area) - in a nutshell it sucked.

    6 mbps down was the max - 2 adult educators and 3 teenagers on wifi during COVID = slow.

    In my area ATT Fixed wireless became available - I would look into it for your area possibly - it is much better than DSL for me. I get (sometimes) 30 mbps down.

    I also had same connectivity issues in my home, and I upgraded to a new Linksys router EA8300. Now we're running well.

    Good luck.
     
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    rookie7

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    To the OP - off topic, but if you're worried about your son's health and development (as all of us parents are) do a little reading on vaccinations too.
     

    goatboy

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    5GHz will help with interference, not range or penetration of walls. It also gives a multiple-fold increase of bandwidth and capacity, but at 8mbps to the interwebs, that part won't make a difference.
    Couple of things:
    1. AP (router) power is a variable setting. You may need to crank it up a bit. 25 feet is a short distance unless you installed a faraday cage in between.

    2. 2.4 GHz only has 3 non-overlapping channels (1,6,11). Without running expensive enterprise wifi gear, if someone / something else is using a channel, it's effectively dead to you.
    How many SSIDs can you see if you allow your laptop to discover them?
    5GHz can help here, there can be as many as 102 non-overlapping channels.
    Remember, anything with a wifi chip- the wireless printer, a kindle, your refrigerator, etc.- all could be beaconing out and clogging airwaves.
    3. Turn everything bluetooth off for a bit before testing. Older BT stuff did cross over into wifi frequencies.
    4. Make sure your wife's laptop is updated and has the latest stable wifi drivers- from the manufacturer, not Microsoft. Their WQHL "certified" drivers are at least a year out of date.
    5. Antenna orientation matters. If your ISP's router was laying on its side when it worked, turn it back over. If it has external antennas, make sure they're vertical. ISP routers are usually cheap internals and they cheap out even more on the antennas.

    Last part, if none of that gets you an acceptable, high-quality signal, we'd need to dig deeper. Something you can PM me about, but best not done on open forum. Too boring and nerdy.

    Edit.. might make sense to write it up as a resource. I sense a lot of comms disruption coming in the future.
    This is good advice. I sit on the board of a rural WISP and while 10 down isn’t zippy fast, you’ll be able to stream video (assuming there is no data cap) and work. In addition to recommendations above, a new wireless access point downstream from the first router may be the solution. Run a cable to the second floor and plug one in. The mesh systems have preformed well and the upgraded lynxsys router above as well. Get it solved and life will be better.
     

    Gustav7

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    This is good advice. I sit on the board of a rural WISP and while 10 down isn’t zippy fast, you’ll be able to stream video (assuming there is no data cap) and work. In addition to recommendations above, a new wireless access point downstream from the first router may be the solution. Run a cable to the second floor and plug one in. The mesh systems have preformed well and the upgraded lynxsys router above as well. Get it solved and life will be better.
    When it works like it should, 10mbps is fine and does everything we want. I tested my cell phone this morning in my living room and it was only getting 7 and when the tech was here two weeks ago it was 10, but that only lasts for a few days.

    Sounds like a mesh system and a better router is gonna be the ticket. Hopefully the RC-AP56 will hold us over until that point.

    Question:
    I only have on box that century link uses, which I believe is the modem and router together. I would need CL to come out and take that away and just give me a standard modem right? Then I use my own supplied router and mesh network to do the wireless in the house.
    Am I off on that?


    Side Note: I knew I could count on the precision rifle guys to also be tech guys lol... Don't ask this question on the SASS/CAS forum haha
     

    goatboy

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    I believe that you can turn off the wireless radio on the centurylink modem and then plug in another “modem” which doesn’t authenticate your account but acts as a switch to divide the signal to other plug in recipients by wire and to broadcast a wireless signal.