Whole House Wifi systems verses random Router and Extenders
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Thread: Whole House Wifi systems verses random Router and Extenders

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    SulleyBear's Avatar
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    Whole House Wifi systems verses random Router and Extenders

    Is there really an advantage to a "system" such as eero Pro or NetGear Orbi Ultra verses simply having a good quality wireless router and good wifi signal range extenders?

    I recently added the Blink2 cameras at home and are very happy with them. We have an outbuilding which is about 200 feet from the house and I have thought about trying to extend our Wifi signal to be able to place Blink cameras in locations away from the house. The signal strength is good enough to support the Blink Cameras even at the furthest corners of our house. But to get the cameras further away, the signal needs to be extended.

    I already have two Net-gear Range extenders in use in the house due to it being 3 floors and about 3,600 sq ft.

    We have a second floor window which is on an angle and lines up directly with the outbuilding's location. Its one of the window's in Mrs. Bears sewing room and its on the back side of the house. If there is such a product to target the extension of the Wifi signal, I could set it in this window and aim it towards the outbuilding and it would have an unobstructed direct line of sight to the building. Is there a way to "aim" the signal at the building to get it out there, verses just making "bigger ripples with my wifi waves" to reach it?

    Also, the outbuilding is connected to the house electrical service. There are outlets and lights, etc in the building. Is there any way to use the electrical lines and plug a range extender into the outbuilding to broadcast a signal from there to support the cameras? Also, the cameras need to be able to reach their "sync unit" and that is likely another entirely different issue and might not be able to be addressed. Right now, the furthest camera is right on the edge of the sync signal, which is a small box which plugs into the wall outlet and indicates its picking up the wifi signal and communicating with the cameras. I have a feeling that simply getting the wifi signal to the outbuilding won't be enough as its going to be require the "Sync Box" also have a strong signal and I have no idea if that can be "extended" with some other device.

    One of the things I noticed about the dedicated systems were many of the units, including the main one and it's satellites all have jacks to accept direct plug in for Cat5 cables or whatever the standard is. This isn't the case with all or even many of the range extenders. The other issue I noticed is most range extenders plug directly into the 110 outlets where the system components can sit on a desk or table and have a power cord. We don't have many items which I would want to direct plug but like many others, we seem to be adding Wifi devices as new products and purposes present themselves.

    So, for those with the technical knowledge, is there really an advantage to using a dedicated system to extend the wifi signal in terms of more range, greater signal strength, etc.?

    Or is the compatibility of the components the primary advantage? Having pieces which are designed to work together, verses the random addition of a range extender to a router?

    As far as system speed, isn't the modem from the provider the bottleneck which affects the actual speed of the system in the house? We have Comcast and I am pretty sure I bought my own modem as I didn't want to rent theirs any longer, but I am not 100% about this without going down into the utility cabinet where all of the services come into our lower level of the house...

    The system I have isn't anything special, its just Net Gear extenders and I bought a decent Wireless Router at the time a couple of years ago. We don't have any speed issues I notice but we are also not gamers nor do we do many live video chats, etc. We do use Voice over IP and that works fine....

    Are there any of these "Whole House Systems" which really make a big difference or that stand out from the pack? Bottom line, is there any reason to spend $225 to $400 for a new "Whole House System"? Will I gain anything noticeable that the system doesn't presently have?

    The Meshforce whole house 3 piece system (main and 2 satellites) seems to be very well regarded. It's reasonably priced at $199 and it has 4.8 out of 5 stars on 216 reviews on Amazon. It claims to be designed for homes up to 4,000 sq feet. Curious in the opinions on these systems.

    We are NOT Apple people and other than one 160mg IPod Classic I have owned for 10 plus years, I doubt we will have any other Apple products, so their Airport Express or whatever its called isn't of interest to me.

    Please keep in mind my technical knowledge is limited on these types of things because to be honest, I am really not that interested in them. I want what I buy to work and meet my needs, but you won't ever catch me reverse engineering their software or testing their security components in my spare time, or any time for that matter.......I just am not that interested in such details.

    I would like to hear what the technically savvy GTT members think of Whole House verses components randomly assembled.

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    Is there really an advantage to a "system" such as eero Pro or NetGear Orbi Ultra verses simply having a good quality wireless router and good wifi signal range extenders?

    I recently added the Blink2 cameras at home and are very happy with them. We have an outbuilding which is about 200 feet from the house and I have thought about trying to extend our Wifi signal to be able to place Blink cameras in locations away from the house. The signal strength is good enough to support the Blink Cameras even at the furthest corners of our house. But to get the cameras further away, the signal needs to be extended.

    I already have two Net-gear Range extenders in use in the house due to it being 3 floors and about 3,600 sq ft.
    Airport Express range extenders for my Apple Airport-based home wifi worked fine for me, but only within the house. Not great on the deck, not really usable in my back garage or pole barn which is about 100 feet away. Doesn't really matter...I don't think Apple makes Airport wireless routers anymore. I switched my wireless router over to a Netgear Orbi with three satellites and now my entire property including those building is covered, giving me access to Alexa-driven home assistants, Chamberlain garage door managers, and my Nest video surveillance cameras and workshop thermostats and smoke detectors. Performance on wifi-based wireless computers both in the house and in that garage is better too, based on Spectrum's Speed Test program.

    I don't know the answer as to how that stuff would work for you and your needs. For me, that Netgear Orbi MESH system works really well.
    Last edited by MacCool; 07-22-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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    Hey Sully - check out the Ubquiti stuff. I have an "external antenna" that plugs into my router and sits outside. It gets its power from an adapter inside the house (called POE - Power Over Ethernet). Downside was drilling a hole to eun the ethernet cable outside. Upside is great coverage over a lot of my 5 acre property.

    You know from most of my posts that I ain't that smart so if I was able to set it up, you certainly can!

    Out of town right now, but when I get home, I can get you model numbers, etc.

    I'm sure that one of the super tech guys will chime in about Ubitquiti and point you in the right direction.

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    When reading your thread on the cameras I thought about having a camera at my barn which is about 250' away.

    Some history with WiFi here - the main part of my house where my computer room / office is is of double board construction (full 4" of solid wood plus the drywall and siding). WiFi signals have a very hard time getting through to other parts of the house. I never used any extenders so to speak but set up separate routers in different parts of the house and configured them to be access points. Of course to do that I had to run ethernet cable between the routers but has worked very well for me. I have a 1000' spool of CAT5 cable and pick up routers for $10-$20 when I see them on clearance. Probably have 2 or 3 in the attic right now.

    I can get a weak WiFi signal close to my barn but not inside. I have decided if I was to get a signal out there I would just run a direct bury ethernet line out there - then set up another router as an access point there. It wouldn't take much to use a spade to make a slot in the ground to run the cable.

    Safer that way and a sure signal - something to think about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    I can get a weak WiFi signal close to my barn but not inside. I have decided if I was to get a signal out there I would just run a direct bury ethernet line out there - then set up another router as an access point there. It wouldn't take much to use a spade to make a slot in the ground to run the cable.
    You have to be very careful running long cables like Ethernet between buildings as they can be very susceptible to induced voltage spikes from lightning storms, even storms some distance away can induce enough voltage to damage the equipment on each end. They make Ethernet surge suppressors for inter-building wiring but good ones can be expensive and I'm not sure how effective cheap ones are.
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    wifi extenders can work good if your wifi has more bandwidth than you need, they are usually not expensive. when you add an extender it cuts your available band width in half, if you then add another extender to extend your new extended signal you cut in half again or basically 1/4 your original band width.

    the whole house or "mesh" systems do not adversely effect your band width, but are much more expensive.

    hope this helps
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    I'm a fan of designed mesh. I have an orbi setup and I really dig the single ssid, it's pretty seamless.
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    Been the extender route and don't recommend it. I now have the Google mesh setup. Very easy to install and never lose signal wandering around the house or shop.

    Jack
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    I'm not all that familiar with the mesh network setup so I don't know if this is an issue for them or not but... The Blink cameras don't like the WiFi extenders. I'm not really sure how to explain this better so bear with me here.

    Your primary WiFi router has a SSID that it broadcasts. The extenders connect to your router and also broadcast their own SSID so other devices can find it as well.

    So let's say you have Blink camera mounted somewhere and the SSID with the strongest single is the extender but it is within range of your primary router (or a neighbor's router) as well. The camera will connect to the extender and all will be working. If the extender's signal drops out for any reason, the camera will try to connect to your primary router (or any other WiFi router it can find!) and if it can't connect it will keep trying. In fact it will keep trying so hard that it will ignore the signal form the extender if it comes back on line.

    Most WiFi devices will see the extender came back and reconnect. But the Blink cameras won't and this is a known issue. Once they find a "strongest SSID" they will keep trying to attach to that specific SSID even if another SSID with an even stronger signal becomes active. If you find yourself with this happening you have to yank the batteries form the camera and rest the sync module. When the sync module comes back up again you can put the batteries back in the camera and it will find the SSID with the strongest signal again. Hopefully, it is the extender and you're back in business.

    It isn't a huge deal for most people because every few folks have the Blink cameras + a Range extender. If the mesh systems use a single SSID then you could avoid the issue entirely and that might be a factor in your decision.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    I'm not all that familiar with the mesh network setup so I don't know if this is an issue for them or not but... The Blink cameras don't like the WiFi extenders. I'm not really sure how to explain this better so bear with me here.

    Your primary WiFi router has a SSID that it broadcasts. The extenders connect to your router and also broadcast their own SSID so other devices can find it as well.
    MESH networks use a single SSID for the entire network.
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