Review: Linksys Velop mesh networking kit delivers strong Wi-Fi despite setup quirks

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    MacPro said:
    melgross said:
    What a shame Apple is apparently discontinuing (at least, according to rumors), their own networking.

    apple's models have acted as mesh units long before anyone heard of mesh out of rarified and very expensive industrial schemes.

    all you do is to connect an Apple router to your Gateway (modem/router), either using Ethernet or wi/fi, and select "extend this network". Then using your current network name and password, you're done. You can do this with as many Apple routers you need, whether connected through Ethernet, or wirelessly.

    i hope Apple is working on something meeting current standards. The last ones support a/c and 3:3.
    I have to say having been using the exact set up with Apple gear you mention, i.e. 'extend network' since, well, forever  and I wondered if this was indeed a sort of 'mesh' when it suddenly became the network topic de jour recently.  What's more it is automatic, okay you do have to click 'OK' to the question asking if you want it to be automatic!  Where I'd stopped being interested in the Velop from this review is this, "Every step seems to take a long time, and there are a lot of steps."  Call me a die hard Apple fan but I prefer ... clicking one OK button to 'extend'.

    I too hope Apple is only temporarily out of the router game but in reality are hard at work with the next mind blowing paradigm shift in easy and powerful and just maybe (fingers crossed) local area wireless charging ...?  OK I know that's a stretch  ...  but I am a Star Trek fan. :blush: 
    In theory, it's not a true mesh. But, in practice, the result is the same, and it's a heck of a lot easier to set up.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 61
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 670editor
    melgross said:
    vmarks said:
    glynh said:
    I stopped reading at the first paragraph, quote; "In the past, this was accomplished by network extenders that issued their own network name, or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device." What an absolutely load of tosh...I mean it's not like you can't logon and change some basic parameters! Let's face it the first thing you would do is change the default username & password and you're already 50% of the way there! I've been using and setting up friends wifi for many years by making sure the router and all access points irrespective of make have the same SSID, Password & Encryption! Seamless hand-off all over the house, garden, garage, studio, bar & even hot tub without 'manually switching sources on their device.' Having lived with Mesh networking for the last seven years on my Sonos system I have to say I do fancy taking a look at something like Gen 2 Eero at some point in the near future...
    Thanks for not reading further?

    If you're using extenders, you're not doing true mesh networking. Each additional extender is dropping your bandwidth by as much as 50%. Changing the SSID and password to match the main one can lead to situations where you stay stuck on a device further than your closest one, which is worse. Mesh networking as we're reviewing here does the seamless handoff to the nearest node properly, where extenders do not. Your situation sounds like it would definitely benefit from Velop, Eero, or one of the other proper mesh network solutions.
    Never had these problems with Apple's routers.
    You likely have and it hasn't impacted you negatively enough to notice - the extending that Apple does drops the speed between extended nodes. For internet streaming and email/webpage loading that isn't big downloads, you wouldn't care. You're not downloading 6 GBs of OS X installer at the hot tub, I imagine. 

    I have experienced the 'stuck associating with the further node because it still has weak signal in range.' 
  • Reply 23 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    vmarks said:
    Soli said:
    sflocal said:
    Apple's own Airport routers have been doing this for ages.  They make it sound like it's some new trend...

    I really hope Apple discontinuing it is just a rumor.  They're the best, and best built.
    Apple's routers have never had this feature.

    Thank you. I was going to post this myself, I appreciate your doing it.
    Again, irrelevant. We're talking about home networks. As far as they are concerned, Apple's solution is much better than these. The problem is that Apple hasn't upreaded the hardware in three years, I think, so it's not fully up to date in performance. But my house, which effectively, throughout most of it, acts as a faraday cage, gives me very high effective speeds, when the routers are well placed. These mesh systems are no better, and like most mesh systems, perform poorly when compared to a properly set up network using high performance routers. And it's nonsense that different network names and passwords need to be set with extenders. With some  poorly thought out hardware and software, that's true, but it's not true that extenders must work that way.
    edited June 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 24 of 61
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    avon b7 said:
    melgross said:
    What a shame Apple is apparently discontinuing (at least, according to rumors), their own networking.

    apple's models have acted as mesh units long before anyone heard of mesh out of rarified and very expensive industrial schemes.

    all you do is to connect an Apple router to your Gateway (modem/router), either using Ethernet or wi/fi, and select "extend this network". Then using your current network name and password, you're done. You can do this with as many Apple routers you need, whether connected through Ethernet, or wirelessly.

    i hope Apple is working on something meeting current standards. The last ones support a/c and 3:3.
    Agreed. This is an area Apple made largely user friendly. They could have done a lot to make wireless truly 'magical' and far less voodoo for your average plug and play user.

    I've also always thought that a separate device acting as an internet/wireless guardian router for mortals and with long term support (past the time Macs get left behind for Safari and security updates) would be an excellent sentry control point sitting between the ISP's box and the wired Mac and handling wi-fi. Above all, seeing as many router manufacturers (even those branded by ISPs have been found to have less than stellar security.
    Not agreed. Extending a network is common on even cheap consumer routers. Apple's UI may be simpler and their firmware more stable, but it's still just extending a network, not a mesh network. Everyone reading this site—especially @melgross—should know that mesh networks have existed for a long time in expensive commercial-grade setups, that they've traditionally been more complex to set up and administer, and why these mesh routers are sold as packs and have a higher cost than your typical consumer router even when adjust per unit.

    Additionally, while Apple may or may not be ending their router production I see no evidence that this is happening, but we hear this same "sky is falling" talk every time Apple has a product that doesn't get updated often. The question you need to ask yourself is why should the current line of routers get a major HW update today (or a year or two ago when the chicken heads started panicking) when there's still no Apple device that supports 802.11ad, which may or may happen because of the pros and cons of the technology. Apple was quick to support 802.11n but that was a unique situation. Personally, I wouldn't even expect new Apple routers to be announced until there are new Macs that support the next generation which could be intra-room 802.11ad and 8-channel inter-room 802.1ac, or something completely different, like a truly great mesh system.

    Finally the complexity of mesh networks (as noted by this article) and relative newness in the consumer sector could easily mean Apple is still working on creating the most efficient and user-friendly setup. One possible solution is in-home mapping, or, as we've heard recently "spacial awareness." Apple could even build mesh capabilities into the HomePod, 5th Gen Apple TV and other future devices that all can be intelligently configured with a few simple clicks, including telling you which zones would best benefit from having a dedicated mesh router.

    Will they do this? I have no idea, but you and others have no idea that they are going to kill their router division. All we know is that there's definitely profits to be had in this area and Apple is in a unique position to capitalize on the future of smart-mesh routing.
    edited June 2017 gatorguyStrangeDays
  • Reply 25 of 61
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    melgross said:
    Soli said:
    sflocal said:
    Apple's own Airport routers have been doing this for ages.  They make it sound like it's some new trend...

    I really hope Apple discontinuing it is just a rumor.  They're the best, and best built.
    Apple's routers have never had this feature.

    The truth is that almost everything in that article is irrelevant. What matters is how your network is working for you. As long as there is a good enough signal, Apple's routers, set up as extenders, will give you a very large percentage of the full network signal, often out performing almost any mesh network I've seen reviewed anywhere.
    You're equating a donut spare tire as being good as racing slicks because they can get you around a track albeit at a much slower speed. It's really not the same, and I know you don't you that same logic when people claim that an Android tablet or cheap WinPC is just as good as "an Apple."
    gatorguy
  • Reply 26 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    Soli said:
    melgross said:
    Soli said:
    sflocal said:
    Apple's own Airport routers have been doing this for ages.  They make it sound like it's some new trend...

    I really hope Apple discontinuing it is just a rumor.  They're the best, and best built.
    Apple's routers have never had this feature.

    The truth is that almost everything in that article is irrelevant. What matters is how your network is working for you. As long as there is a good enough signal, Apple's routers, set up as extenders, will give you a very large percentage of the full network signal, often out performing almost any mesh network I've seen reviewed anywhere.
    You're equating a donut spare tire as being good as racing slicks because they can get you around a track albeit at a much slower speed. It's really not the same, and I know you don't you that same logic when people claim that an Android tablet or cheap WinPC is just as good as "an Apple."
    Have you ever tried a mesh network? I've tried a few here, and every one had performance that was significantly poorer than my Apple routers. I'm not alone in that. Look at the reviews in the various computer sites that review these. They agree, performance is usually poorer than regular routers, if you get good routers.

    all you need in a wireless network at home is high streaming of whatever you're doing, without dropping from one area in the house to another. I can move from floor to floor, walking around, and can stream at over 500Mb/s without a hiccup. Considering that my equipment is all rated (from Apple's specs) at 866Mb/s, that's damn good for a WiFi network.

    when you consider that my interior walls are almost all brick (house built in 1925), with wood lath, over which is laid steel mesh that the 3/4" mortar is attached to, with at least 1/4" plaster over that, with god knows how many coats of paint, many of which are leaded, and ceilings with the same lath, mesh and mortar and plaster, that's really good.

    i know how to set these things up. And I've never achieved more than much over a quarter of the performance with mesh. That seems to be the normal. Mesh is good for a steady signal, but not for great performance. Maybe later generations will have it, but not yet, at least, not for home unit buyers at these prices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    vmarks said:
    melgross said:
    vmarks said:
    glynh said:
    I stopped reading at the first paragraph, quote; "In the past, this was accomplished by network extenders that issued their own network name, or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device." What an absolutely load of tosh...I mean it's not like you can't logon and change some basic parameters! Let's face it the first thing you would do is change the default username & password and you're already 50% of the way there! I've been using and setting up friends wifi for many years by making sure the router and all access points irrespective of make have the same SSID, Password & Encryption! Seamless hand-off all over the house, garden, garage, studio, bar & even hot tub without 'manually switching sources on their device.' Having lived with Mesh networking for the last seven years on my Sonos system I have to say I do fancy taking a look at something like Gen 2 Eero at some point in the near future...
    Thanks for not reading further?

    If you're using extenders, you're not doing true mesh networking. Each additional extender is dropping your bandwidth by as much as 50%. Changing the SSID and password to match the main one can lead to situations where you stay stuck on a device further than your closest one, which is worse. Mesh networking as we're reviewing here does the seamless handoff to the nearest node properly, where extenders do not. Your situation sounds like it would definitely benefit from Velop, Eero, or one of the other proper mesh network solutions.
    Never had these problems with Apple's routers.
    You likely have and it hasn't impacted you negatively enough to notice - the extending that Apple does drops the speed between extended nodes. For internet streaming and email/webpage loading that isn't big downloads, you wouldn't care. You're not downloading 6 GBs of OS X installer at the hot tub, I imagine. 

    I have experienced the 'stuck associating with the further node because it still has weak signal in range.' 
    I have almost 700 apps on my iPad. Some of these apps are over 1GB in size. Many are over 500MB. Often I have 20 apps, or so to update at one sitting. That's several GBs at once, which Apple does. I can download, and have installed, several GB within just two to three minutes. I also edit video. Some of those files are 5GB. I can download them (much of this is projects for documentaries) within, again, maybe three minutes, and upload them at that speed as well.

    im using Verizon 940/880 FIOS, which, for me, is usually about 920/940 with Ethernet, but close to 500/500 using my WiFi network wherever I am at home, except in my basement shops, where it's usually about 75/75.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    @melgross ;
    Honest question here since you've had actual experience with a few of these new home mesh network products. I have really poor signal in both the workshop and summer-house to the point wifi is almost unusable there. I tried an extender which helps but speeds still weren't very good, I'm now relying on  a T-Mo Hotspot for the workshop which works fairly well but the summer house is at the opposite end of the main home and detached 30' from it. I'm considering a Netgear Orbi (is that one that you've tried?) which the Wirecutter recommends, with the satellite unit placed somewhere central in the home. The main unit would end up only 70' or so from the workshop while the summer house might be 60', perhaps a bit closer, from the satellite unit. Am I wasting my money? FWIW I have pretty good signal in both stories of the house proper. 
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 29 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    melgross said:
    Soli said:
    melgross said:
    Soli said:
    sflocal said:
    Apple's own Airport routers have been doing this for ages.  They make it sound like it's some new trend...

    I really hope Apple discontinuing it is just a rumor.  They're the best, and best built.
    Apple's routers have never had this feature.

    The truth is that almost everything in that article is irrelevant. What matters is how your network is working for you. As long as there is a good enough signal, Apple's routers, set up as extenders, will give you a very large percentage of the full network signal, often out performing almost any mesh network I've seen reviewed anywhere.
    You're equating a donut spare tire as being good as racing slicks because they can get you around a track albeit at a much slower speed. It's really not the same, and I know you don't you that same logic when people claim that an Android tablet or cheap WinPC is just as good as "an Apple."
    Have you ever tried a mesh network? I've tried a few here, and every one had performance that was significantly poorer than my Apple routers. I'm not alone in that. Look at the reviews in the various computer sites that review these. They agree, performance is usually poorer than regular routers, if you get good routers.

    all you need in a wireless network at home is high streaming of whatever you're doing, without dropping from one area in the house to another. I can move from floor to floor, walking around, and can stream at over 500Mb/s without a hiccup. Considering that my equipment is all rated (from Apple's specs) at 866Mb/s, that's damn good for a WiFi network.

    when you consider that my interior walls are almost all brick (house built in 1925), with wood lath, over which is laid steel mesh that the 3/4" mortar is attached to, with at least 1/4" plaster over that, with god knows how many coats of paint, many of which are leaded, and ceilings with the same lath, mesh and mortar and plaster, that's really good.

    i know how to set these things up. And I've never achieved more than much over a quarter of the performance with mesh. That seems to be the normal. Mesh is good for a steady signal, but not for great performance. Maybe later generations will have it, but not yet, at least, not for home unit buyers at these prices.
    I add, if the Apple extender setup were being used with the repeaters at the edge of signal strength from the base station then yes it would suck as Soli is saying. In my case in every home I've had (and it's quite a few) since Apple had their router technology, I always made sure my extending devices were receiving almost maximum signals.  Ok it requires a few more in a larger home but effectively results mesh speeds throughout with Apple simplicity.  The problem with extenders starts when people erroneously assume placing one where they are not getting a good signal is the solution.  

    Just as a side bar, maybe Apple have gone AWOL because they are working on a mesh technology system ... with one click set up.  
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 30 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    gatorguy said:
    @melgross ;
    Honest question here since you've had actual experience with a few of these new home mesh network products. I have really poor signal in both the workshop and summer-house to the point wifi is almost unusable there. I tried an extender which helps but speeds still weren't very good, I'm now relying on  a T-Mo Hotspot for the workshop which works fairly well but the summer house is at the opposite end of the main home and detached 30' from it. I'm considering a Netgear Orbi (is that one that you've tried?) which the Wirecutter recommends, with the satellite unit placed somewhere central in the home. The main unit would end up only 70' or so from the workshop while the summer house might be 60', perhaps a bit closer, from the satellite unit. Am I wasting my money? FWIW I have pretty good signal in both stories of the house proper. 
    In some cases running an ethernet cable can be the cheapest and best solution to an out building even if you have to cut a slit in the turf to lay it.  My daughter lives on the Vineyard with a guest house on a large area of land and had the exact same issue getting the internet from the main house.  She'd tried all sorts of high tech solutions (well 'experts' she hired had) in the end Grandpa's solution worked best :)
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 31 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    @melgross ;
    Honest question here since you've had actual experience with a few of these new home mesh network products. I have really poor signal in both the workshop and summer-house to the point wifi is almost unusable there. I tried an extender which helps but speeds still weren't very good, I'm now relying on  a T-Mo Hotspot for the workshop which works fairly well but the summer house is at the opposite end of the main home and detached 30' from it. I'm considering a Netgear Orbi (is that one that you've tried?) which the Wirecutter recommends, with the satellite unit placed somewhere central in the home. The main unit would end up only 70' or so from the workshop while the summer house might be 60', perhaps a bit closer, from the satellite unit. Am I wasting my money? FWIW I have pretty good signal in both stories of the house proper. 
    In some cases running an ethernet cable can be the cheapest and best solution to an out building even if you have to cut a slit in the turf to lay it.  My daughter lives on the Vineyard with a guest house on a large area of land and had the exact same issue getting the internet from the main house.  She'd tried all sorts of high tech solutions (well 'experts' she hired had) in the end Grandpa's solution worked best :)
    Thanks MacPro. That may be the only good solution, but I'll see what Mel has to say to since he has some experience with mesh networks. Since I can get some signal, just not reliably nor fast, I'm holding out hope that a mesh might work. 
  • Reply 32 of 61
    glynhglynh Posts: 131member
    vmarks said:
    glynh said:
    I stopped reading at the first paragraph, quote; "In the past, this was accomplished by network extenders that issued their own network name, or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device." What an absolutely load of tosh...I mean it's not like you can't logon and change some basic parameters! Let's face it the first thing you would do is change the default username & password and you're already 50% of the way there! I've been using and setting up friends wifi for many years by making sure the router and all access points irrespective of make have the same SSID, Password & Encryption! Seamless hand-off all over the house, garden, garage, studio, bar & even hot tub without 'manually switching sources on their device.' Having lived with Mesh networking for the last seven years on my Sonos system I have to say I do fancy taking a look at something like Gen 2 Eero at some point in the near future...
    Thanks for not reading further?

    If you're using extenders, you're not doing true mesh networking. Each additional extender is dropping your bandwidth by as much as 50%. Changing the SSID and password to match the main one can lead to situations where you stay stuck on a device further than your closest one, which is worse. Mesh networking as we're reviewing here does the seamless handoff to the nearest node properly, where extenders do not. Your situation sounds like it would definitely benefit from Velop, Eero, or one of the other proper mesh network solutions.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply Lester but I stand by my initial observation/comment. In your rush to defend your own article you have missed my point completely! I never mentioned nor alluded to extending networks as being a mesh. This was why I mentioned Sonos as an example of a mesh network. Your first paragraph if you read it again and I understand it correctly refers to extenders, plain & simple. Quote; "In the past this was accomplished by network extenders" Unquote; You are referring to network extenders here and not mesh networks are you not? Then you go on to say, quote; "issued their own network name or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device" Unquote; which in my interpretation of your statements is blatantly incorrect for reasons I have already explained. I was never under the impression that I was creating a mesh network but merely pointing out where your opening chapter was misleading at best and factually incorrect at worst. And the reason I stopped reading right there was because usually when an article opens up by dismissing an existing solution out of hand with a statement as inaccurate as yours it turns into a sales pitch!
  • Reply 33 of 61
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,635member
    melgross said:
    The truth is that almost everything in that article is irrelevant. What matters is how your network is working for you. As long as there is a good enough signal, Apple's routers, set up as extenders, will give you a very large percentage of the full network signal, often out performing almost any mesh network I've seen reviewed anywhere.
    Hey, that's great. And for those of us for whom such a strategy is NOT working out well? Reviews of available alternatives are very welcome indeed. So far AI reviews have twice saved me buying a WiFi system that would probably disappoint me.
    Soligatorguy
  • Reply 34 of 61
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 670editor
    glynh said:
    vmarks said:
    glynh said:
    I stopped reading at the first paragraph, quote; "In the past, this was accomplished by network extenders that issued their own network name, or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device." What an absolutely load of tosh...I mean it's not like you can't logon and change some basic parameters! Let's face it the first thing you would do is change the default username & password and you're already 50% of the way there! I've been using and setting up friends wifi for many years by making sure the router and all access points irrespective of make have the same SSID, Password & Encryption! Seamless hand-off all over the house, garden, garage, studio, bar & even hot tub without 'manually switching sources on their device.' Having lived with Mesh networking for the last seven years on my Sonos system I have to say I do fancy taking a look at something like Gen 2 Eero at some point in the near future...
    Thanks for not reading further?

    If you're using extenders, you're not doing true mesh networking. Each additional extender is dropping your bandwidth by as much as 50%. Changing the SSID and password to match the main one can lead to situations where you stay stuck on a device further than your closest one, which is worse. Mesh networking as we're reviewing here does the seamless handoff to the nearest node properly, where extenders do not. Your situation sounds like it would definitely benefit from Velop, Eero, or one of the other proper mesh network solutions.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply Lester but I stand by my initial observation/comment. In your rush to defend your own article you have missed my point completely! I never mentioned nor alluded to extending networks as being a mesh. This was why I mentioned Sonos as an example of a mesh network. Your first paragraph if you read it again and I understand it correctly refers to extenders, plain & simple. Quote; "In the past this was accomplished by network extenders" Unquote; You are referring to network extenders here and not mesh networks are you not? Then you go on to say, quote; "issued their own network name or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device" Unquote; which in my interpretation of your statements is blatantly incorrect for reasons I have already explained. I was never under the impression that I was creating a mesh network but merely pointing out where your opening chapter was misleading at best and factually incorrect at worst. And the reason I stopped reading right there was because usually when an article opens up by dismissing an existing solution out of hand with a statement as inaccurate as yours it turns into a sales pitch!
    And I've explained why it's inadvisable to give devices the same SSID - it works badly, because they don't seamlessly switch reliably. You're actively choosing to set up extenders in a way that leads to client devices on the network associating with access points that are further rather than closer, and to rectify it, you have to be able to switch to them manually, something you can only do if they've been given different network names. That's my experience, and that of many others.

    Netgear, Linksys, and others all have knowledge base articles that caution about this problem. https://kb.netgear.com/24942/How-to-set-up-my-Wireless-Extender-to-use-the-same-SSID-as-my-router "In some situations, users may desire to have the same wireless network name (SSID) on the extender and their main wireless router. Performance may vary when setting up the extender in this way. It is up to the individual wireless client device (PC, Ipad etc.) used to connect to the proper SSID, and it is possible that the wireless device may stay connected to the main router unless moving entirely out of its coverage area." and https://routerguide.net/wifi-range-extender-best-setup-guide/ "We recommend you to use a different SSID than your main router even if you have the choice to use the same SSID. The reason is that having different SSID’s can ensure a proper connection between your device to the “right” place. Many connection problems can arise when you take roaming into consideration when you are moving around with your mobile device inside the house.

    Your mobile devices such as Google Android phone or Apple iPhone typically keep a wireless connection even when it is weaker. In short, when you have the same SSID for both the WiFi extender and the router, your mobile devices will almost always stick to the weaker one instead of disconnecting you and switch to the stronger one." and https://www.asus.com/support/faq/1008036 "The range extender’s wireless network name (SSID) changes to your Wi-Fi router’s network name with _RPT or _RPT5G appended. For example: Wi-Fi router’s SSID: ABC; Range extender’s 2.4GHz SSID: ABC_RPT; Range extender’s 5GHz SSID: ABC_RPT5G;

    This design is to avoid possible Wi-Fi roaming problems. If the range extender’s SSID is the same as Wi-Fi router’s, when you roam in your home, you might find that sometimes your notebook or mobile phone will not disconnect from the existing Wi-Fi AP, and then connect to the AP that is physically close to you. It may keep connecting to the original Wi-Fi AP with poor signal. Therefore, for home environment, it is suggested to set up different SSIDs for range extender by default to distinguish Wi-Fi stations."

    That you decided a review was a sales pitch because you disagree with the manufacturer recommendations for optimal setup was a leap to conclusions. Setting the SSID to be the same as the router SSID is a bad practice, and using extenders optimally means users have to manually switch between networks. The pre-existing extender solutions have a lot of flaws. Not naming the flaws would have been an oversight in setting the context for reviewing the newer technology. Linksys has room for improvement on the app side, and the reason it scored as high as it did is because it's as good as it is at signal strength and speeds. Like Netgear's Orbi, it's expensive, and very good. Orbi is more expensive - 2 units for $400.

    Soli
  • Reply 35 of 61
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 670editor
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    @melgross ;
    Honest question here since you've had actual experience with a few of these new home mesh network products. I have really poor signal in both the workshop and summer-house to the point wifi is almost unusable there. I tried an extender which helps but speeds still weren't very good, I'm now relying on  a T-Mo Hotspot for the workshop which works fairly well but the summer house is at the opposite end of the main home and detached 30' from it. I'm considering a Netgear Orbi (is that one that you've tried?) which the Wirecutter recommends, with the satellite unit placed somewhere central in the home. The main unit would end up only 70' or so from the workshop while the summer house might be 60', perhaps a bit closer, from the satellite unit. Am I wasting my money? FWIW I have pretty good signal in both stories of the house proper. 
    In some cases running an ethernet cable can be the cheapest and best solution to an out building even if you have to cut a slit in the turf to lay it.  My daughter lives on the Vineyard with a guest house on a large area of land and had the exact same issue getting the internet from the main house.  She'd tried all sorts of high tech solutions (well 'experts' she hired had) in the end Grandpa's solution worked best :)
    Thanks MacPro. That may be the only good solution, but I'll see what Mel has to say to since he has some experience with mesh networks. Since I can get some signal, just not reliably nor fast, I'm holding out hope that a mesh might work. 
    Running ethernet is the best if you can do it - mesh is good if you can't. The best of all possible worlds is mesh with ethernet running between the nodes, but that's not common for most people, so we don't review it under those conditions. Orbi and Velop are neck and neck for signal strength, speeds and penetration of construction materials. Orbi is more expensive. Velop can be a bit faster in some cases. at 70 feet, through four walls, you should still get good connectivity. 
    Soli
  • Reply 36 of 61
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    Time and time again we see Apple zealots hate a technology simply because Apple has yet to adopt it. If Apple comes out with a mash router setup it'll be interesting to look back at this thread (and others) to see how people instantly change their position on mesh routing over a simple extender.
    lorin schultzgatorguy
  • Reply 37 of 61
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 670editor
    melgross said:

    vmarks said:
    Soli said:
    sflocal said:
    Apple's own Airport routers have been doing this for ages.  They make it sound like it's some new trend...

    I really hope Apple discontinuing it is just a rumor.  They're the best, and best built.
    Apple's routers have never had this feature.

    Thank you. I was going to post this myself, I appreciate your doing it.
    Again, irrelevant. We're talking about home networks. As far as they are concerned, Apple's solution is much better than these. The problem is that Apple hasn't upreaded the hardware in three years, I think, so it's not fully up to date in performance. But my house, which effectively, throughout most of it, acts as a faraday cage, gives me very high effective speeds, when the routers are well placed. These mesh systems are no better, and like most mesh systems, perform poorly when compared to a properly set up network using high performance routers. And it's nonsense that different network names and passwords need to be set with extenders. With some  poorly thought out hardware and software, that's true, but it's not true that extenders must work that way.
    The problem is that the client devices won't disassociate from extenders that have weak signal, and it's just as true of Apple's as it is of other manufacturers. Other manufacturers recommend against using the same SSID, and put the pain of switching on the end user. Apple prevents the end user from feeling that pain, and hopes the device with weak signal isn't so weak that the user notices it's not roaming to the stronger signal extender. The only help for the Apple user is to place the extenders closer together, advice Apple doesn't actually give. That is, Apple's path is more user-friendly, except that it doesn't actually work for a lot of placement situations, and they don't overcome it with a recommendation in the Airport software. Extenders have one wireless card in them, and they have to associate with both the wireless clients and the upstream network they're extending, switching between the two rapidly, instead of mesh, which has two wireless cards, one for upstream to other nodes and one for downstream clients. That's what makes them faster, and what makes them not suffer the need for multiple SSID to ensure the client is connected to the strongest signal device.

    I'm curious about your fiber install. AT&T and Google Fiber both install an ONT and require the use of their provided combination router-modem. AT&T's doesn't have a true bridge mode - they don't let you disable DHCP, they don't let you bridge it, they only let you connect a router to one of the ethernet switch ports and DMZ it, and it slows down the data massively in the process doing that. Using AT&T's, I get 920/940, 500/500 pretty much everywhere. Do Verizon require their own modem-router? Does it have a bridge mode? It looks like at one point Verizon didn't care, and would let you use your own router connected to the ethernet on the ONT. AT&T send 802.1q authentication packets from their modems before they'll bring up the connection, making it difficult to get their unwanted modem out of the way.
    Soli
  • Reply 38 of 61
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,635member
    vmarks said:
    [...] AT&T's doesn't have a true bridge mode - they don't let you disable DHCP, they don't let you bridge it, they only let you connect a router to one of the ethernet switch ports and DMZ it
    The combo modem/router supplied by my provider (Shaw in Vancouver) doesn't provide a way for the USER to put it in bridge mode, but a quick call to tech support is all it takes to get THEM to do it. Is that possible with AT&T?
  • Reply 39 of 61
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,128member
    glynh said:
    I stopped reading at the first paragraph, quote; "In the past, this was accomplished by network extenders that issued their own network name, or SSID, meaning users had to manually switch sources on their device." What an absolutely load of tosh...I mean it's not like you can't logon and change some basic parameters! Let's face it the first thing you would do is change the default username & password and you're already 50% of the way there! I've been using and setting up friends wifi for many years by making sure the router and all access points irrespective of make have the same SSID, Password & Encryption! Seamless hand-off all over the house, garden, garage, studio, bar & even hot tub without 'manually switching sources on their device.' Having lived with Mesh networking for the last seven years on my Sonos system I have to say I do fancy taking a look at something like Gen 2 Eero at some point in the near future...
    I didn't find using a network extender seamless at all.   Whether using the same SSID or not it was a flaky PIA...  My network extender is now in a box in a closet somewhere (I think).

    I read this article trying to understand if the handoff works any better using this setup -- but didn't find any information on that.   I guess if your network consisted of all stationary units it wouldn't be a problem.  But, roaming from room to room was the issue for me.
  • Reply 40 of 61
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 694member
    melgross said:
    What a shame Apple is apparently discontinuing (at least, according to rumors), their own networking.

    apple's models have acted as mesh units long before anyone heard of mesh out of rarified and very expensive industrial schemes.

    all you do is to connect an Apple router to your Gateway (modem/router), either using Ethernet or wi/fi, and select "extend this network". Then using your current network name and password, you're done. You can do this with as many Apple routers you need, whether connected through Ethernet, or wirelessly.

    i hope Apple is working on something meeting current standards. The last ones support a/c and 3:3.
    I've lost all respect for your technical knowledge.
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