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Thread: Mesh network question.

  1. #1
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    Mesh network question.

    I was looking at specs for some netgear mesh systems. WI-FI speed ratings of affordable models vary from 1.2gbps up to 3gbps. However they are also rated as “best for ISP speed tier” which is a fraction of the rated WI-FI speeds. Do I assume the high Wi-Fi speeds are just an inner-connect speed between the physical nodes and router? And regardless of that rating my actual IOS devices will limited to the “best for” speed? I currently have 300mbps service and reliably get that speed with my typical router setup. If I purchase an inexpensive system rated at 1.2gbps but a “best for” speed tier of 200 or even 100mbps what’s going to happen to my real world experience? Does the quoted WI-FI speed somehow compensate for the much slower “best for” speeds. I hope I’m making sense. I’m never sure anymore Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    Yes, you are correct. You're overall speed is governed by your Internet Supplier and your Modem
    Regards,

    Tom

  3. #3
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    What Thomas mentioned plus the fact that actual wireless speeds are going to be dependent not just on the Mesh nodes' specifications/capabilities, but also the end-points' specifications /capabilities for wireless performance. Very few devices support the latest and greatest performance capabilities that are available in the most recent upgrades to the wireless "WiFi" world. For the vast majority of folks, their devices will generally get better performance with a current mesh system overall, with the more recent devices obtaining anywhere between 300 and 900 mbps performance via wireless vs less than 300 for previous generations. That's just the reality of how devices are continually playing "catch up" to current specs.

    BTW, optimal mesh system performance also comes from hard wired Ethernet connections between them with a third network for backhaul as the next best scenario. (tri-band) Mesh systems that do not support tri-band are going to suffer in performance if they have to depend upon mixing backhaul between nodes with actual device traffic on the same 2.4 and 5 ghz networks as devices.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-30-2022 at 4:37 PM.
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  4. #4
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    The Netgear Orbi is crazy expensive, but yes crazy fast. Jim described the issues with them very well. Distance between you and the node is also very important. Especially with the Wifi 6E band. That being said, it easily provides 485Gbps (for Spectrum service of 400Gbps. Bonus...) If I paid for Gigabit internet from Spectrum, I'd imagine it would be even more impressive. What, perhaps, I like the most of the Netgear Orbis are that the range is significantly greater than I had with my Velops. Speed too, but especially range. And yes, I used wired backhaul. Many mesh systems do not have this capability. It was a must-have feature for my home, so that mesh system moved to the top of the list.
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  5. #5
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    Thank you. So to confirm, regardless of any other mesh system speed specifications and regardless of my current 300mbps download speed, if I purchased a bottom tier Mesh system rated for a “best for ISP service tier” of 100mbps that is all the speed I would ever experience from the mesh router and any nodes I added.
    My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities

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  6. #6
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    Michael, the mess node cannot provide higher speed than the specifications it actually supports. I'll use EERO as an example as I'm more familiar with that. The lower tier device does tap out at 300-400 mbps but with 100 mbps ISP service you'll not get more than 100 (usually slightly less) for Internet incoming traffic and far less for upload with most ISPs. If you were to upgrade your ISP service to gigabit or at least something higher than 400 mbps, assuming it's available to you, the lower tier mesh system will not get you maximum throughput and you'd also have to upgrade your mesh network hardware if you want that..

    You'll need to consult your crystal ball around whether or not you intend to upgrade your ISP service in the future and if more near term, it's likely better to opt for the higher performance mesh system which will work fine at slower speeds until you knock things up for your connection.

    Do note that "device to device" on your internal network, you'll get the maximum speed that the devices involved can sync up to, regardless of your Internet connection limitations...that means endpoints and your mesh node(s) inside the firewall have no restrictions other than the technology they happen to employ.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    That being said, it easily provides 485Gbps (for Spectrum service of 400Gbps. Bonus...)
    I presume you do mean 485 Mbps, not 485 Gbps?
    NOW you tell me...

  8. #8
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    I think on some level you're probably asking the wrong question. In a lot of cases not only does your ISP limit your speeds, you'll also find that that site you visit, or what you do also limits the speeds you're getting. Netflix for example tops out at 25 Mbps per stream for 4K video. So you'd need like 12 people all watching different TVs to max out the connection, assuming everything works out perfectly. Honestly, about the only thing I think most people are going to be doing at home that might tap into those large speeds are having multiple people watching TV, or downloading something like a game.

    The advantages of Wifi6 for most people aren't the speed, but other things like longer range, more devices at once, and less interference.

    So if you're not finding dead spots, and you can all watch TV at the same time, I wouldn't think about updating my router. Even if you do have some dead spots, you're often times better off using something like a plug-in wifi access point to repeat the signal.

  9. #9
    I had so many items connected via wifi that I plain got tired of silly-slow speeds that resulted in unwatchable jerky videos, slow downloads on downstream computers, and even basic file transfer speeds would suck. And I have a relatively decent Linksys EA8500 router. So earlier this year I decided to hard wire all 7 of my desktop work computers. Amazing difference. Wifi only runs my 3 laptops, 2 of which are proprietary to laser engravers, the 3rd is a Win10 that never gets turned on , and the 17 Wi smart-LED light bulbs we have around the place. So now the less-stressed wifi works much better than it ever did, and cabling all the computers (and TV's) was the best thing I ever did for speeds and connection reliablilty...

    --all I know of mesh wifi, is our security camera's use it, proprietary to their 'box', they're not on my computer network. And one camera never seems to want to work...
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  10. #10
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    +1 on wired connections on stationary devices. Our house - built in 1995 has home run RG6 cable but no CAT 5-6 ethernet. Many fiber/cable companies use MoCA to transmit video but older equipment uses a slower version, 175 Mb./sec. I learned how to use the hardware for ethernet in addition to video. We replaced the company routers with 2 MoCA 2.0 bonded adapters and unmanaged switches, theoretical 1 gb/sec. iPerf3 says we're getting around 700 Mb./sec TCP/IP, 1.05 Gb./sec. UDF. If we wanted to we could have a wifi repeater at any cable TV outlet. There is a new MoCA 2.5 Gb. standard, I don't feel a need to upgrade.

    Edit: An extender that relies on a wifi link in a location with weak wifi is going to work as well as that weak wifi signal permits. I'm sure mesh systems work well but I think those work better with a wired backhaul as well. I don't have a mesh system so don't know much about them. I suspect they work well because the distance between transceivers isn't great so wifi signal strength is good. I suspect that the magic is being able to hand off from one transceiver to another seamlessly, sort of like a cell phone.
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 07-03-2022 at 9:09 AM.

  11. #11
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    I have no IT tech info to offer. I often find myself fighting gadgets and have little patience.

    That being said, I have a 4500 square foot log home. Five levels. Wi-Fi has always been spotty in some areas of the house. But as I add devices and as Wi-Fi is now seemingly integrated into almost everything......I have had to upgrade my routers and used a variety to widgets to improve whole home connectivity. My internet provider recently upgraded my service to 1G fiber. With this came their own proprietary Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. It's fast, but does not work as well as what I had before, which was a Netgear Orbi set up. The Orbi was Wi-Fi 5, and came with two satellite routers. That system never, not once, gave me any trouble. It just worked. This new set up I am forced to use works OK, but not nearly as well as the Orbi system did. I have no idea what kind of magic voodoo NetGear has inside that system, but it works. I would convert back to it, but my ISP will not allow it. I have to use their devices.

  12. #12
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    I have tried several extenders over the years, but none have worked as well as the Orbi Mesh system.

    I have AT&T as my ISP with fiber optic 1Gb service. My Orbi system plugs in the rear of the AT&T Router with an ethernet cable.

    All my WiFi devices connect to the Orbi mesh system. Between cameras, smart plugs, thermostats, TVs, I have about 35 devices connected.

    I have 5 bars of WiFi anywhere in my house and external garage.

    It was an expensive upgrade, about $550, from Costco for the router and two satellites, but if I get about 6-10 years out of it, I'll be happy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    I have tried several extenders over the years, but none have worked as well as the Orbi Mesh system.
    Ditto. I have a drawer full of extender gadgets. I installed the Orbi mesh last year and it hasn't hiccuped once. I was lucky to get 3 bars (usually 2) on my shop/CNC computer. I now get a consistent 5 bars.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    I presume you do mean 485 Mbps, not 485 Gbps?
    Doh!!!!!!!!!!

    If you go the Orbi route, I would suggest buying the Wifi 6 version, not the Wifi6E version. Just too expensive, and will likely be some time before your gadgets support it. Plus really is sensitive to distance from the nodes, so while I liked future-proofing while buying it, I really do think it was extra money wasted. Plus they tell me that I can't use their Orbi Wifi6 nodes to connect to it, so I'm not spending an additional $500 to get a node for my workshop. I used one of my old Velops until the price comes down from absurd to reasonable. That means two SSIDs (which I hate), but their present price really is crazy. And they should make them backwards compatible if you don't need Wifi6E in a particular location and want to add a node.
    Last edited by Alan Lightstone; 07-03-2022 at 8:26 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Alan, it's not unusual for there to be limited or no backward compatibility with devices like this in the industry...'nature of the beast. Mesh systems are "one unit" when they are, um...meshed...so identical hardware is to be expected.
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