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Mesh / Hub and spoke Wifi router general thread

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Sam Posten, Nov 14, 2017.

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  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  2. Rodney

    Rodney Screenwriter
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    Thanks for the link, Dave. I read the older Ars article awhile back, and this is a pretty cool idea. I just may go this route in my next house.
    I think Comcast is smart to get in on this with their xFi pods.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The price and performance are good, and I’m ok with a lifetime “subscription” cost model.

    I don’t need a WiFi upgrade yet. But I’m staying aware for when it’s time to change up the home network.
     
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  4. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Why would anyone pay a yearly subscription (or an upfront “lifetime” subscription) fee for a home router? I don’t understand the added benefits for which Plume is extorting people.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The subscription gives ongoing replacement warranty service on the hardware. And provides for the network service that optimizes the network performance automatically.

    In any case, the total price with lifetime subscription is the same as the Orbi and Eero systems. So...what’s the downside?
     
  6. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    For reasons I cannot grasp, modern homes are still being built with legacy "wall jacks" for telephones, even though practically everyone now uses a single base station with wireless nodes.

    Since these legacy jacks are usually fed by CAT5 copper, I've converted them for Ethernet use [where practical] in my home. In other cases I used my attic to do a few new CAT5 home runs. I've been able to eliminate the need for WLAN for pretty much everything save a few TV's and my cameras.

    I briefly read about "mesh" technology but it sounded like mostly marketing hype to me so I decided to pass, at least for now. In the past I used DD WRT to accomplish essentially the same thing absolutely free and would try that first if I felt the need for improved coverage. Of course, If home builders would have gotten with the program years ago and started putting CAT5 in every room of new homes this whole issue would be largely gone by now.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Mesh is not hype. It’s the new and better of doing home WiFi. Buts it’s the expensive way, for now.
     
  8. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    This part specifically, Dave. Thanks for buying our expensive mesh network, however, it is gonna suck unless you pay us a monthly fee to make it not suck. And if you stop paying said monthly fee, it will suck again. :huh: Am I missing something? How is this not racketeering? Comparable prices aside, their description of a monthly “not sucking” fee completely turns me off to that company and makes me more inclined to look to the competition for a mesh WiFi solution.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    You're not alone. In the Ars comments, there are not a few people who similarly dislike it.

    To me, it's like my TiVo: without the subscription service, the product is a brick. But there's a lifetime price and even with that it's price competitive with other major options. I simply see it as TCO (total cost of ownership), which is the same as other products. If it were monthly only, I wouldn't be interested. But as a lump sum cost...<shrug>

    In any case, it's one of multiple good products available. If Plume isn't good for you, there's Eero, Orbi, Google, and more. I'm not upgrading yet, but I'm following along for when I can / must upgrade.
     
  10. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    Please elaborate.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    It’s best to read the linked reviews and articles in this thread and Ron’s review as they explain what the mesh systems are and what they do.

    As you do, keep in mind the question: how do you achieve whole-house, gigabit-class WiFi for multiple devices simultaneously?
     
  12. Message #32 of 37 Jun 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    John Dirk

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    Respectfully, I don't really need to since this is what I do for a living. Mesh is basically marketing hype until someone presents compelling evidence to the contrary. I haven't been able to find anything that truly explains it in technical terms. Meanwhile I achieve Gig speed [where I need it] through wired connections.

    Update:
    @DaveF - I didn't mean to come across as arrogant with the above. I have done some reading on mesh and come away frustrated every time. I'm trying to eliminate WiFi for all of my devices with serious throughput requirements.
     
  13. Message #33 of 37 Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    John Dirk

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    DaveF - I read all of the linked articles in this thread but couldn't find "Ron's review." Here is the most concise definition I found [from Wirecutter] for what mesh is and how it differs from traditional WiFi.

    ...Mesh-networking kits, which use multiple access points spread around your house to improve the range and performance of your Wi-Fi, instead of using a single router...

    The reason I called this marketing hype was I didn't see anything revolutionary about it to justify the "mesh" designation or staggering prices. I already have my main Comcast router and a Netgear R6700 [in AP mode and hard wired back to the main router] providing essentially the same functionality. I don't really care about mobile devices automatically switching between the main router and the AP but even this is easily achieved by using the same SSID's on the router and the AP. I briefly tried this but decided against it since it made it difficult to know or control whether my stationary devices [the majority in my home by far] were connected to the correct network. I now have separate SSID's for both 2.4 and 5 Ghz for my upstairs [main router] and basement [R6700]. This way I always know which network a device is connected to. Since the AP is hard wired back to the router, speeds are not compromised by the half duplex nature of WiFi. My home is about 4500 sq ft and it is completely covered, even the yard areas. That said, I agree with Chris Strnad in that any WiFi network represents a trade off in quality and reliability in exchange for convenience and simplicity. For those who cannot achieve Ethernet home runs or at least a hard wired AP connection to their main router, I now see where mesh can help. With that in mind I withdraw my previous statement. Personally, I don't need mesh and even the Wirecutter article acknowledged that most don't.
     
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  14. Message #34 of 37 Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
    DaveF

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  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I’m fortunate to have a decent wired network for all fixed devices. But the iPhones and iPads don’t have RJ45 jacks. I want good wireless for them.

    I have an Apple base station and an express in bridge mode connected by Ethernet. It works well enough and was relatively cheap. It was a pain in the ass to get working initially, but since then it’s been stable.

    Its flexibility and configurability are lesser than what I’ve read about mesh networks. A simple example is changing the network password requires changing both devices separately and rebooting them both. It’s not truly a singular, integrated system.

    When the time comes to buy new WiFi gear, I’ll buy mesh. I’ll connect the repeaters to the Ethernet for “backhaul”. And by all reviews, it will work better and be easier to configure than my current approach to WiFi. Especially if I upgrade to gigabit service.
     
  16. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I am also using an AEBS and an Airport Express as a network extender and it works fine. Setup took less than a minute and I haven't had any problems with it. I'm following mesh as it becomes a thing, but I don't expect I'll ever seriously want or need it.
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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