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Is it time to upgrade our router

davidk1952
Guide

Is it time to upgrade our router

Real World use and performance in my home network set up and ideas for an upgrade.

 

First Here is My current home set up 

Router is a :  

Netgear Nighthawk x4 AC2350 Smart Wifi Router  R7500 v1  (5g is actually 1730) and I am connecting at 866 Mbps with my notebook. AC9260 wifi adapter.   My internet is currently Spectrum 500Mbps down 20 up.  99% of the devices in our house is hard wired to the router (when we built the house in 2006 we placed all of our equipment in a central location and home run Cat 5 cables back and through use of 1 gb switches I have been able to direct wire to almost all of our devices. 

 

The only real use of our wifi  is on our 2 Laptops or our Samsung phone or tablets.     Our Notebooks were upgraded to the Intel wireless 9260 cards a few years back and I'd say depending were were testing we get 250 -35 Mbps fairly consistently in testing.  

In the next few months we may have the opportunity to go to Fiber with a 1GB up and Down service... my guess my current set up would be fine as most of the devices are hard wired so Wifi 6 does not come in to play at that point and honestly with wifi 250 -350MBPS to cruise and occasionally download a file ... I'd say it's not worth the change out of a router and adapters.... I don't see a need for a bunch of Mesh Satellite's as I have hard wire connection to all the places I need.   It is just my wife and I and any streaming of content is on plex through our plex server and NAS devices are all hard wired.  I just don't know id I want to hassle replacing the current router and if I did then I'd have to update our wireless modules. but the need of over 400Mbps ... I just don't think it will matter.  

 

Anyone want to chime in on what I may be missing?  And why I would want to change the system out?  I'm listening.   If there is a viable reason to change the router let me know why  (keep in mind my cables at this point are all Cat 5 runs.   But then again if there is a good reason to change let me know what it would get me.   One thing  I am at Windows 10 and don't see that changing anytime soon.  

Message 1 of 6

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davidk1952
Guide

Re: Is it time to upgrade our router

As for Fiber....  we will have to see if they really can run it to our house...  United Communications has partnered with Middle Tennessee Electric and they are running the fiber lines on the MTE poles and then from the pole they run it to the back of your house where the Electric line is run ... the problem is where they run our power and where I need the Fiber to end up  may be a problem getting to,  we will see.   My guess I am thinking by summer, they first said 1st quarter 2023 but It looks like they are running behind so I'm not holding my breath.

 

The reason I have not thought about the Mesh  systems is that to better my wifi upstairs I ran a trend net access point that is hooked up for wifi only with private and guest access.. all other devices in that area are hardwire home run.    As for our studio that is in another building it has a ethernet line run to the studio and in the studio I have a router - access point and my studio computes are connected via hardwire and I have a private and wifi settings for folks that come to the studio  right now I am getting full speed in the studio with this set up. 

 

You mentioned dual band mesh and I took a look at what I could find on that...I'm not sure it it would be much different than what we already have with the exception of Wifi 6 and at that point I'd change out our wifi cards to the AX200 modules. 

 

Any large downloads and uploads are done hardwired on a desktop or notebook plugged in, fiber would be nice as our upload speed is max 20 Mbps so the faster fiber would open another door for me. 

 

I have been experimenting with the Eufy wireless camera's, they are pretty neat where the cameras talk to a hub to store footage and it talks on a separate encrypted 2.4gz wifi channel so far I am really impressed at what I am seeing but I've just started to set things up but saying that it is a separate situation to my Network needs.   

 

Finally in looking at the mesh stuff the difference between dual and tri channel isn't that much and I'd probably step up to the tri channel to future proof my set up... but until actually get them to bring me fiber it does not make sense to do anything at all... at 500Mbps I seem to be doing just fine.

 

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Message 6 of 6

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plemans
Guru

Re: Is it time to upgrade our router

If its working fine, I'd keep it. 

Once you start hitting that 250-300mbps with devices, there isn't much notice in speed differences unless you're downloading massive files. (in my experience)

And while the intel 9260's are capable of more speed, you probably won't notice a whole lot of real world performance differences. 

The 9260's can hit the magically 1733mbps but its with specific technology (like the R7800/ XR500). Is it worth upgrading to a *slightly* better router? 

And if you don't have AX devices, its not much point upgrading to AX (unless you plan on upgrading devices). 

 

Again, for the time being, I'd just keep using it. AX prices will only keep coming down plus more devices will keep being released with AX technology. so when you finally have a couple that could benefit, then you can upgrade and reap the benefits. For the time being, with your setup, you won't really see much. 

Current setup: CM2000-> RBKE963B-> Trendnet TEG-S380-> GS716T-> pi-hole
also in AP setup: RAXE500->EAX80
1.4gig download/50mbps upload from Xfinity
We’re members of the public helping out on our own time.
Message 2 of 6
davidk1952
Guide

Re: Is it time to upgrade our router

Piemans,   thanks so much for your answer and I appreciate your feedback...  Yep, it it's not broke...perfect suggestion.   I've had Networks through out our homes for years and always felt if you can hardwire and homerun everything connection problems are almost non existent.   Funny, when we built this house in 2006 if I recall the cable was just changing from Cat 4 to Cat 5 and so I figured I'd go ahead and go  with Cat 5 and 1 GB switch's.   

 

In 2017 Spectrum went from 60mbps to I think 200 Mbps and I changed out the router to the R7500  V1 (V2 had not come out)  and both hard wire and wifi was was maxing out at the time.  Then Spectrum kept increasing speed and offered 500MBps and I jumped on it but I had to change the Wifi cards in both of our notebooks. .    I am not sure how much more I can push with Wifi at this point and if it even matters...  Any large file transfers I do on  a desktop and we have a recording studio so we have to transfer and download  multiple  files and the hardwire works great!  

 

United Communications starting to put in Fiber and 1 gb up and down for 3 years at $49.95 may be worth the hassle  of signing up but I really didn't want to get in to changing a bunch of  equipment  until I see that the fiber is stable.  From all that i see, my current set up the hardwire devices  should get full speed... and if I get 400Mbps on Wifi I'll be happy....    So, that's were we are ... waiting for the the GB install and I'll evaluate things then.     but with only a couple of devices on Wifi "m not going to rush in to it.  

 

Thanks again for your comment and feedback  ... .

Message 3 of 6
plemans
Guru

Re: Is it time to upgrade our router

I'm a bit jealous of the fibre option. Still stuck on cable with limited upload speed and data caps. 

Oh well. 

 

I do have to say, I really didn't notice a whole lot of difference going from 300-500-1gig service. Usually the bottleneck is the servers you're using as websites aren't going to let you saturate their service. So they limit the speeds. Again, its just mainly speedtesting or downloading massive files from servers designed to do so that I see a regular day usage difference. 

 

And you picked well. If you're wired for gigabit, check into mesh for your next system. The benefit to having hardwired is you can pick up a cheap (ish) dual band mesh system and hardwire in the satellites. makes them perform as good (better in some cases) as the triband systems with the dedicated wireless backhaul. My house isn't huge but after switching to mesh (and getting used to it), I wouldn't look back. Its just better coverage and ease of use. My wife doesn't complain because there's multiple networks to connect to. 

Current setup: CM2000-> RBKE963B-> Trendnet TEG-S380-> GS716T-> pi-hole
also in AP setup: RAXE500->EAX80
1.4gig download/50mbps upload from Xfinity
We’re members of the public helping out on our own time.
Message 4 of 6
L1nX
Aspirant

Re: Is it time to upgrade our router

Probably not.

 

Truth is even with WIFI 6 or whatever you can't get 1000mbps wirelessly, even if you actually get that in your little wireless status popup, remember WIFI is half-duplex, that means best senario you get 500 mpbs.

 

It seems you have done everything right, the hard wire, the switch, so you definitely not a noob, it's actually quite a suprise that a pro like you came up with this question.

 

Your hard wired APs are actually a better "mesh", so don't get tricked by those fancy words. Since you are connected by wire, you don't need any wireless "backhaul" which is the major sale point in the WIFI6 mesh system. So you are as good as now.

 

Plus I bet you already know even if it's plex streaming, there's not that much bps going on out there. Even if it's a 40GB bluray ISO, without any transcoding, let's assume it's 2hr long, that's just (40*1000*8)/(2*60*60)=44.4 Mbps. Let's say you have a 80GB 4k bluray ISO, that's just 90 Mbps.

 

I stream similar but in a much simpler way, I just mark the folder as shared in my iMac (acting as my central "server", better than any NAS or small gadgets, much much easier to use, hassle free), and using Kodi, VLC or whatever to open via SMB protocal (Windows no different), I have no problem even on a 802.11n network. That's why I didn't even setup a Plex because I find that there's absolutely no need to do any transcoding if you watch just locally.

 

Actually it's pretty hard to fully load a 1Gbps fiber optics, that's why ISPs are willing to sell you such fast network in a reasonable price. Most people believed UHD is very bandwidth hungry but truth is thanks to h265, it's not. Online streaming only need 25mbps at most. Best 4k webrips are just 20-25GB or so. So even if you have your TV open at every room 24*7, that's probably just max out at 100mbps.

 

Since what you do is almost the same no matter it's a 100mbps network or a 1000mbps network, there's very little extra cost for ISP to provide you with these "fast" speed. So why not, instead of drop the price as technology evolves and everything eventually becomes cheaper, ISPs just "UP" the network once in a while for the same or a slightly raised price, with no extra cost.

 

Current optic fiber network infrastructure is based on EPON or GPON spec, which has a max bitrate of 1.3Gbps or so, that means for ISP, once the fiber optics infrastructure is laid, they already have everything they need to providing a 1Gbps network. Little extra cost is needed. They just slowly raise the bandwidth to maximize their profit. That's also understandable but we have to know better.

 

So I guess you have already know the answer.

 

Once in a while the technology "advancement" tends to makes us believe everything we have right now is outdated, but truth is, not exactly. Your setup is good, I don't think you have to even think about it unless you are noticing some real-world limitations/issues.

 

But if you really is techy-itchy and really have some extra money to spend, all you need to look is some good AP, as WIFI 6 is reported (cnet has some test, other sources too) that COULD provide you with some real-world speed bump "up to" 50%, if you have all your devices complying with the newer standard.

 

That means if you are now getting 200mbps real-world speed, you COULD get up to 300mbps if you upgrade all the wireless parts (client and AP) to WIFI 6. That could be a lot or not much difference to you. If it were me I just won't bother.

 

Enjoy what you have.

Message 5 of 6
davidk1952
Guide

Re: Is it time to upgrade our router

As for Fiber....  we will have to see if they really can run it to our house...  United Communications has partnered with Middle Tennessee Electric and they are running the fiber lines on the MTE poles and then from the pole they run it to the back of your house where the Electric line is run ... the problem is where they run our power and where I need the Fiber to end up  may be a problem getting to,  we will see.   My guess I am thinking by summer, they first said 1st quarter 2023 but It looks like they are running behind so I'm not holding my breath.

 

The reason I have not thought about the Mesh  systems is that to better my wifi upstairs I ran a trend net access point that is hooked up for wifi only with private and guest access.. all other devices in that area are hardwire home run.    As for our studio that is in another building it has a ethernet line run to the studio and in the studio I have a router - access point and my studio computes are connected via hardwire and I have a private and wifi settings for folks that come to the studio  right now I am getting full speed in the studio with this set up. 

 

You mentioned dual band mesh and I took a look at what I could find on that...I'm not sure it it would be much different than what we already have with the exception of Wifi 6 and at that point I'd change out our wifi cards to the AX200 modules. 

 

Any large downloads and uploads are done hardwired on a desktop or notebook plugged in, fiber would be nice as our upload speed is max 20 Mbps so the faster fiber would open another door for me. 

 

I have been experimenting with the Eufy wireless camera's, they are pretty neat where the cameras talk to a hub to store footage and it talks on a separate encrypted 2.4gz wifi channel so far I am really impressed at what I am seeing but I've just started to set things up but saying that it is a separate situation to my Network needs.   

 

Finally in looking at the mesh stuff the difference between dual and tri channel isn't that much and I'd probably step up to the tri channel to future proof my set up... but until actually get them to bring me fiber it does not make sense to do anything at all... at 500Mbps I seem to be doing just fine.

 

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