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Best way to change my home network

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Steve1960
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Best way to change my home network

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 23 Apr 2014 8:28 am

Here is what I have:
Singtel 200Mbps Fibre connection and modem
Singtel router, have not looked at which model but I doubt it is anything spectacular
Ethernet connected: Smart TV, Singtel MIO TV box, Home Office desk (VOIP phone and laptop), Apple TV
WiFi connected: 4 iPads, 5 mobile phones, MacBook Air, printer, UK TV VPN box

Here is why I want to make changes:
I am out of Ethernet ports on the router. I could use one more for the UK TV VPN box as it’s a bit clunky on WiFi and I am making some changes to the apartment layout later this year and will need a wired connection in the living room.
At least two of the WiFi connected devices could take advantage of 802.11ac, it may even benefit the others. It is also future proofing.

Here are two options I am considering:
a) Replace the Singtel router with a better performance 802.11ac router. Add an unmanaged switch for the extra connections I need. Unmanaged should be OK as I will only ever connect two devices and they will not be used at the same time.
b) Keep the existing router and buy an Apple Airport Express or Extreme. It provides the 802.11ac and has what I think are unmanaged Ethernet ports although I am not sure. Maybe it's just a Hub?

Comments on where I am going wrong and any additional suggestions welcomed.

Many Thanks

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Wed, 23 Apr 2014 5:13 pm

I would get a Giga-Switch.

Alternative is to have that plus 'Ethernet-Over-Powerline' so that maybe the switch is at the opposite end of the house from the router.

Since my PC is very far from the modem/router I run a Powerline Ethernet and so far the speed is good though I just had to upgrade the plugs a couple of weeks ago to take advantage of un upgrade to the main line.
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'

SIR Stirling Moss OBE

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 8:49 am

ScoobyDoes wrote:I would get a Giga-Switch.

Alternative is to have that plus 'Ethernet-Over-Powerline' so that maybe the switch is at the opposite end of the house from the router.

Since my PC is very far from the modem/router I run a Powerline Ethernet and so far the speed is good though I just had to upgrade the plugs a couple of weeks ago to take advantage of un upgrade to the main line.


Interesting option, I recall JR8 talking about it on this forum but I forgot until you reminded me. I think if I owned the apartment and could not live with the plastic conduit along the walls and around door frames I might consider such alternatives. However, I only rent and I don't mind the conduit so I will probably stick with running cables. I already did that from the router to the home office and Singtel did it from the outside Fibre connection to the living room wall. Plenty of plastic on the walls already!

I am going to keep the existing router, the wired connections are fast and I understand setting up a new one involves a fair amount of set up to get MIO TV working and I can't be bothered with that!

I am going with my option b) to get the additional sockets and improve the WiFi

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 9:22 am

Steve1960 wrote: However, I only rent and I don't mind the conduit so I will probably stick with running cables. I already did that from the router to the home office and Singtel did it from the outside Fibre connection to the living room wall. Plenty of plastic on the walls already!



As a renter myself, though, I know it saves a huge effort every 2-3yrs on moving around to just plug'n'play' without re-running wires and conduit.
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'



SIR Stirling Moss OBE

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:01 am

I completely agree with ScoobyDoes and personally I don't think you will see any significant improvement with wifi unless something in your current setup is fundamentally wrong. And even if it is wrong because of thick walls and such, you may still not see any improvement.

I have used home plugs (Ethernet over powerline, EoP ) for past 5 years. They are good, sufficient solution most of time, but they depend very much on the condition of your power cabling and energy receivers installed. They maybe far from ideal or top-performing, again depending from you flat layout. I am also in a rented flat and in the current place I had opportunity to lay the physical cabling the way it is not visible (no trunking) so I did it. This is the only solution allowing robust and high throughput connection. None of the EoP adapters or wifi based network will come close to it.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:09 am

Steve1960 wrote:
ScoobyDoes wrote:Alternative is to have that plus 'Ethernet-Over-Powerline'


Interesting option, I recall JR8 talking about it on this forum


Yes that's correct. As I recall the cabled 'network' in our walls was and is buggered, and wi-fi within the unit was simply unable to get around all the ferro-concrete walls and corners. We had the precise same at our previous flat here and I had a 10M network cable trailing on the floor from the lounge (primary socket) to the study, that worked fine but was a trip-hazard, looked ugly, and was a dust magnet.

So I went and bought the required set-up of 'TP-Link' home-plug adapators, (from Funan Centre, Courts I think). We have it in each room where IT gets used. This works generally very well.

In the study/office, my PC is connected via the aforementioned network cable into an adaptor, into a mains socket. From there the network is via the in-wall mains 240v cabling. I could connect via wi-fi to the adaptor too, but my desktop doesn't have wi-fi...

Elsewhere in other rooms, my wife connects various devices all via wi-fi, to adaptors in those rooms.

It is proving very reliable. I was getting a few 'Page won't load' results yesterday, but I'm quite sure that was the sluggish-as-heck '''fibre''' connection, rather than anything to do with the Homeplugs ...

It's probably one of the cleverer, useful and simple products we have bought in quite a while.

[Sorry if this sounds like an advert, it's really not :) I'll be getting equally enthusiastic about dining at the Fat Cow next! :)].



- Correction, Harvey Norman, not Courts ... IIRC!

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:49 am

I've used the TP Link stuff for years... works great and substantially cheaper than the brand name products.

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:21 am

I see your points. I don't have a problem with the wired connections on the router. Fast and furious, no issues.

I also don't have a problem with WiFi dead spots other than our main bedroom which has three metal stud walls between it and the router. This is not important as we don't use WiFi devices in the main bedroom anyway.

What I do have is poor WiFi performance from the Singtel Aztech router and a lack of Ethernet ports for things that need it or where I prefer to use it. It's not only a distance issue, performance from the router up close and personal (as checked on multiple devices) is just not that great. Also plenty of stuff on the Internet about the poor WiFi on the Aztech. Singtel give it away for free so I am sure it's not that wonderful.

So a second router would seem to fix both issues. However, I can see using the power circuit would be a good option to save running the additional cable I want in the living room. Doesn't overcome my desire for better WiFi performance though.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 24 Apr 2014 7:35 pm

I don't know how this Mio thing works. Is it ADSL based and this aztech wireless router is also an ADSL modem? If yes I would buy:

1) GB switch (8 ports - you should buy one supporting jumbo frames) - I use TP-Link TL-SG1008D, cheap (~SGD60) and reliable
2) A wireless router of your liking

Disable the wireless LAN in the singtel aztech router, hook up the switch to one of its ports, hook up the new router (acess point) to another old router port and you should be ok (you may need to specify the gateway pointing to the old router).

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Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 28 Apr 2014 8:49 am

Job done. In the end I bought an Apple Time Capsule.

Connected it to one of the ports on the Aztech router so now I have 2 additional Ethernet ports which is enough.

Left the Aztech WiFi switched on and the maid uses that connection for her iPad and phone.

All our stuff is now through the Apple WiFi and the hard drive in the router / Time Machine software takes care of backups for my wife's Mac without me having to do anything which is nice.

WiFi speed improved even at 2.4Ghz. The Macbook Air on 5Ghz is very quick now. Don't seem to be getting any interference between the two 2.4Ghz WiFi networks.

The only downside is that signal strength in the main bedroom is now non existent with the Apple WiFi rather than almost non existent on the Aztech. Not a big issue though.

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Postby aster » Thu, 01 May 2014 11:37 am

Are you able to set up two seemingly separate networks, one for the 2.4GHz and the other for 5GHz?

Try connecting separately to each frequency's SSID setup to see if you are seeing any differences in signal strength where you mentioned you are having issues getting connected. One band is better for overall distance, but the other is better at penetrating walls and other objects in the way.

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Postby Steve1960 » Fri, 02 May 2014 8:10 am

aster wrote:Are you able to set up two seemingly separate networks, one for the 2.4GHz and the other for 5GHz?

Try connecting separately to each frequency's SSID setup to see if you are seeing any differences in signal strength where you mentioned you are having issues getting connected. One band is better for overall distance, but the other is better at penetrating walls and other objects in the way.


Yes thanks you are correct. There are 3 metal partition walls between the routers and the main bedroom and its not easy to move the routers to a better position unfortunately.

5Ghz will never penetrate. At 2.4Ghz it appears the Singtel Aztech router has a stronger signal over distance / penetration than the Apple Time Capsule (backed up by some Internet reviews I have read the Apple is not an outstanding performer at 2.4Ghz).

Up to now it was not worth addressing as we never used WiFi in the main bedroom however my wife (going 4 months pregnant) yesterday requested Internet access when she goes to lay down on the bed and relax so now I have to do something about it!

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Postby Steve1960 » Fri, 02 May 2014 8:12 am

Sorry to answer your question, yes the Time Capsule does allow setting up 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz separately but it didn't help. Nor would I expect it to as even set up to auto switch between bands the best signal would be chosen which is neither in this case!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 02 May 2014 9:09 am

Steve, can't you just use a set of TP powerline plug links to get her into the bedroom?

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Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 06 May 2014 1:19 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Steve, can't you just use a set of TP powerline plug links to get her into the bedroom?


Thanks, yes that is exactly what I did based on all your recommendations. It was the perfect job. Fast, cheap and with low expectations!

Bought an Aztech power line kit for 60 dollars in Challenger. Took 5 minutes to fit and set up and because my wife only wants to browse Facebook or the occasional Internet site speed was not an issue.

The allowed me to overcome the shortage of electrical sockets near the router and plug the power line into an extension lead. I know that slugs the performance but like I said there was low expectation so what she wants to do works fine and she is happy

Job done :-)


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