[Pro] Wireless Router Recommendation?

Hey networking gurus. I need some help.

I currently own an Apple Airport Extreme 4th Generation, Dual-Band router connected to a Gigabit Ethernet with a FIOS Network. I’m getting about 20 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up locally and 20/5 on the west coast. Obviously, my Internet speeds are good.

However, I’m having a lot of issues with this router’s ability to handle a lot of network traffic. Here are the devices that are routinely connected to the Airport Extreme:

  1. Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quad Core -wired
  2. Macbook Core 2 Duo - wireless
  3. Alienware M14x - wireless
  4. ReadyNAS NV+ - wired (backup only)
  5. Roku XS -wireless
  6. PS3 - wired
  7. Several network printers

My kids and I are always on our computers, and my family routinely streams Netflix on the devices above. The bottom line is my Airport Extreme can’t keep up with the traffic and as a result everything gets bogged down.

In addition, wireless range is crummy, partly because the Airport Extreme is housed in a GreyFox metal network panel located within our hall closet. Recently, we’ve been leaving the network panel door open, which helps wireless reception a little.

Still, I think our network is just too taxed. Does anyone have any recommendations on a router that offers better Wi-fi range and has a faster processor that can handle our load? I looked at this website, but I’m unfamiliar with some of the better rated brands.
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/view

Would having two routers help my situation?

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I can’t say for certain how much of this can be blamed on the router (I’m sure someone else can) but certainly one problem is with multiple users streaming movies at the same time. That will suck up your bandwidth very quickly and slow things down to a crawl for everyone, even if you have a fast connection.

Todd
http://xiiro.com

On Sep 27, 2012, at 11:53 PM, RavenManiac email@hidden wrote:

Hey networking gurus. I need some help.

I currently own an Apple Airport Extreme 4th Generation, Dual-Band router connected to a Gigabit Ethernet with a FIOS Network. I’m getting about 20 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up locally and 20/5 on the west coast. Obviously, my Internet speeds are good.

However, I’m having a lot of issues with this router’s ability to handle a lot of network traffic. Here are the devices that are routinely connected to the Airport Extreme:

  1. Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quad Core -wired
  2. Macbook Core 2 Duo - wireless
  3. Alienware M14x - wireless
  4. ReadyNAS NV+ - wired (backup only)
  5. Roku XS -wireless
  6. PS3 - wired
  7. Several network printers

My kids and I are always on our computers, and my family routinely streams Netflix on the devices above. The bottom line is my Airport Extreme can’t keep up with the traffic and as a result everything gets bogged down.

In addition, wireless range is crummy, partly because the Airport Extreme is housed in a GreyFox metal network panel located within our hall closet. Recently, we’ve been leaving the network panel door open, which helps wireless reception a little.

Still, I think our network is just too taxed. Does anyone have any recommendations on a router that offers better Wi-fi range and has a faster processor that can handle our load? I looked at this website, but I’m unfamiliar with some of the better rated brands.
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/view

Would having two routers help my situation?

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

On Sep 28, 2012, at 12:53 AM, RavenManiac wrote:

Hey networking gurus. I need some help.

I currently own an Apple Airport Extreme 4th Generation, Dual-Band router connected to a Gigabit Ethernet with a FIOS Network. I’m getting about 20 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up locally and 20/5 on the west coast. Obviously, my Internet speeds are good.

Sooooooo jealous!

However, I’m having a lot of issues with this router’s ability to handle a lot of network traffic. Here are the devices that are routinely connected to the Airport Extreme:

  1. Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quad Core -wired
  2. Macbook Core 2 Duo - wireless
  3. Alienware M14x - wireless
  4. ReadyNAS NV+ - wired (backup only)
  5. Roku XS -wireless
  6. PS3 - wired
  7. Several network printers

My kids and I are always on our computers, and my family routinely streams Netflix on the devices above. The bottom line is my Airport Extreme can’t keep up with the traffic and as a result everything gets bogged down.

I’m not sure this is totally the issue here. A lot of these uses you describe are heavy in one direction – down. At least on my connection here (a symmetrical T1) when the downstream becomes overtaxed with a big continuous download, upstream performance is seriously degraded. The reason for this has to do with how the networking protocols work. Each request for a packet sends a “are you there?”, waits for a reply, then sends a “start sending”, waits for data, then sends a “got it!”, waits for a reply, then repeats. For small requests, this process can interleave smoothly, and lots of traffic can pass without issue. But if your FiOS router (which I suspect is the true bottleneck here) gets overwhelmed with a huge download, it may not allow the other downstream control messages to get through. So even though your internal network bandwidth is massively faster than your pipe to the Internet, only one (big) thing can happen at a time.

I notice this whenever there’s a big software update going on on another Mac on my network. Suddenly the Scripty Actions stop working, because they can’t ping out to Google to see if my Mac is on line. (A ping is 56 bytes, the massive download is many hundreds of Gigs.)

In addition, wireless range is crummy, partly because the Airport Extreme is housed in a GreyFox metal network panel located within our hall closet. Recently, we’ve been leaving the network panel door open, which helps wireless reception a little.

I would definitely let the AirPort out into the air. Keeping it in a (partial) Faraday cage does not help radio reception.

In our 110+ year-old house of stone and petrified wood and plaster, we have an AirPort Extreme on the third floor, and an AirPort Express on the first floor, both roughly centered on the footprint of the house. This gives us great coverage everywhere. We don’t use the Extreme for any of its Gigabit Ethernet switch capabilities, though, just as an access point. The network sharing is done by a Cisco Internet to Internet router, attached to the Netopia T1 router. Various Gigabit Ethernet switches hang off the Cisco, and handle the connections between the other wired Macs. The Express is set up as a wireless repeater – it’s not hooked back to the Cisco.

~> (WiFi)
=> (Ethernet)
Netopia
	=> Xserve (external port)
	=> Cisco
		=> Gigabit switch
			=> Mac Pro
			=> Xserve RAID
		=> AirPort Extreme
			~> Mac mini
			~> MacBook
			~> MacBook Pro (x2)
			~> AirPort Express (range extender)
		=> Xserve (internal port)

Still, I think our network is just too taxed. Does anyone have any recommendations on a router that offers better Wi-fi range and has a faster processor that can handle our load? I looked at this website, but I’m unfamiliar with some of the better rated brands.
Not Found - 404

I would first get the AirPort out of the closet, and let it be a dedicated radio link, rather than trying to force everything through it. You’ve got it sitting where it is so that you can have short cable lengths, which is a great idea, but it forces a compromise with the quality of radio service. If your AirPort sits out in the middle of your house somewhere, connected by Ethernet back to your wiring closet, it will do a tremendous job of extending that wired network through the air. Recent Extremes have three radios, can do all sorts of tricky things with WiFi to get the maximum speed through. As I said earlier, you may hit a limit of your FiOS hardware, with its ability to keep up with simultaneous traffic. But at least you will give everything a fighting chance.

Here’s the Cisco I have: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9925/index.html They’re not very expensive, as such things go.

Would having two routers help my situation?

Yes, but only let one of them be a router. Having more than one router acting as a router is not easily configured with consumer-grade hardware. You need what’s called a Managed Router, which needs a masters in IT to configure.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

Hope this helps,

Walter


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Thanks Walter.

I removed the FIOS router from the equation a while back and I’m running the FIOS Ethernet cable straight into the 4th Generation Airport Extreme, so there shouldn’t be a FIOS equipment bottleneck, since their equipment is no longer there.

I need to brainstorm moving the Airport Extreme. The main reason it’s in the Faraday cage is because that’s where all of the networking stuff is, including the Ethernet line in from FIOS.

Moving the Airport Extreme to a central point within our house would definitely help. I also read that connecting two Airport Extremes via Ethernet improves range tremendously. Like you, I’m not using the Airport’s gigabit ports, but instead using a series of Netgear Pro gigabit switches, which will making moving the Airport Extreme easier.

Is there any benefit to replacing my 4G Airport Extreme with a 5G model? I read that Apple improved the strength of the new unit, plus changed the radio circuitry, but reviews are mixed.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Not sure. Mine is a 4th gen version. The benefit to the 5th gen is the separation of radios, so a single radio is no longer handling g and n bands. This gives the n clients (modern MacBooks, iPhone 4s+) more bandwidth, since there’s no chance they will be down-shifted to g speeds to support a single g client on the same wireless network. (Lowest common-denominator.)

Walter

On Sep 28, 2012, at 12:27 PM, RavenManiac wrote:

Is there any benefit to replacing my 4G Airport Extreme with a 5G model? I read that Apple improved the strength of the new unit, plus changed the radio circuitry, but reviews are mixed.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I just checked and moving the AE any distance away from the Faraday cage may be a problem because of cable lengths and the lack of the extra Ethernet cables already installed in the house.

This may be a solution for at least moving the AE out of the Faraday cage. http://h-sq.com/products/airmount/index.html


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Aside from style, I wonder if there are any benefits from horizontally mounting the AE, versus a vertical mount?


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

The antennas inside the box are oriented for a horizontal mount. This can be either leaving it on a shelf in a bookcase, or mounting it upside down on the ceiling somewhere. There are other (non Apple) base stations you can buy that have rabbit ears style external antennae or jacks to connect remote antennae (which you could hook up over coaxial cable and leave the entire physical layout of your wiring rack alone). That’s another approach.

Walter

On Sep 28, 2012, at 12:42 PM, RavenManiac wrote:

Aside from style, I wonder if there are any benefits from horizontally mounting the AE, versus a vertical mount?


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
List Options | FreewayTalk


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I wonder if there’s an appreciable real-world difference between gen. 4 & 5? Kelly’s router needs are definitely more demanding than mine so an upgrade might not be worth it for me. I didn’t even know there was a gen. 5 Airport.

Todd
http://xiiro.com

On Sep 28, 2012, at 11:32 AM, Walter Lee Davis email@hidden wrote:

The benefit to the 5th gen is the separation of radios, so a single radio is no longer handling g and n bands. This gives the n clients (modern MacBooks, iPhone 4s+) more bandwidth, since there’s no chance they will be down-shifted to g speeds to support a single g client on the same wireless network.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I may be able to tell you sometime this weekend. Moving my existing AE will be a real pain in the butt, but I can at least get it out of the Faraday cage.

But even doing that doesn’t help with wireless connectivity so I may buy an AE5 to see if it makes a difference, especially since BB has a 30-day return policy. :slight_smile:


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I used to spend time working in a Faraday cage (literally) during my Navy days when troubleshooting avionics systems and I can say it was always nice to get out of the cage.

Todd
http://xiiro.com

On Sep 28, 2012, at 2:31 PM, RavenManiac email@hidden wrote:

I can at least get it out of the Faraday cage.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Looks like the power output seems to be going steadily up – the 5 is 181% of the 4. AirPort Extreme - Wikipedia I don’t see anything else listed here. I may be mixing some of the generations together in my head, because the simultaneous band change happened between second and third generation. The fourth generation was the first to feature compliance with the final version of the N spec. I recall reading an article about the 5th gen, and it mentioned that there were more antennae in that version than ever before, probably to allow simultaneous signaling on different frequencies (the N spec uses both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies).

Walter

On Sep 28, 2012, at 2:30 PM, Todd wrote:

I wonder if there’s an appreciable real-world difference between gen. 4 & 5? Kelly’s router needs are definitely more demanding than mine so an upgrade might not be worth it for me. I didn’t even know there was a gen. 5 Airport.

Todd
http://xiiro.com

On Sep 28, 2012, at 11:32 AM, Walter Lee Davis email@hidden wrote:

The benefit to the 5th gen is the separation of radios, so a single radio is no longer handling g and n bands. This gives the n clients (modern MacBooks, iPhone 4s+) more bandwidth, since there’s no chance they will be down-shifted to g speeds to support a single g client on the same wireless network.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Yeah, I’m definitely pulling it out of the cage.

At first, I didn’t think I had enough Ethernet cables to move it, but I realized that my phone jacks are nothing more than repurposed Ethernet cables, so I may be able to locate it more centrally in the house after all.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

That sounds significant.

Todd
http://xiiro.com

On Sep 28, 2012, at 2:37 PM, Walter Lee Davis email@hidden wrote:

Looks like the power output seems to be going steadily up – the 5 is 181% of the 4.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

This past weekend I picked up an open box 5th generation Airport Extreme. I just set it up a few minutes ago. So far the wired speed seems about the same, but wireless is much faster. For comparison purposes, on my iPhone 3G I used to get 5Mbps down and 2Mbps up. Now I’m getting 19 down and 10 up. The true test will be tonight when I stream Monday Night Football to my iPhone.

We’re going to try it out for a week and see how things go.

BTW, I just ordered one of these to get the AE out of the Faraday cage: http://www.amazon.com/H-Squared-AIRMOUNT-S-Mount-Airport-Extreme/dp/B000R9PXE2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349128129&sr=8-1&keywords=airport+extreme+mount

I’ll keep everyone posted.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I was doing some thinking tonight and I realized that my Verizon FIOS line, although fast at 25 Mbps is likely the bottleneck with my setup, especially since a lot of family members are streaming video from Netflix and amazon Prime. The Airport Extreme is capable of 300 Mbps so that can’t be the problem with throughput. I think Walter pointed this out earlier.

I’ve been using the new Airport Extreme for a few days, and there seems to be some improvement in wireless speed. How much is hard to tell because my network conditions are always changing. I may run a few tests this weekend.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I was not familiar with FIOS until you mentioned it. Looking at the Verizon site the numbers do appear impressive but I wonder how well it holds up in real-world use. I don’t live in their service area so it’s moot for me but out of curiosity Kelly what plan do you have, if you don’t mind me asking.

Todd
http://xiiro.com


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Not at all. I have the Verizon’s Solution for Business Bundle. The normal price is supposedly $127.99/mo., but I’m only paying $84.99/mo. That gives me unlimited phone and 25/5 Internet access.

On 4 Oct 2012, 3:21 pm, Todd wrote:

I was not familiar with FIOS until you mentioned it. Looking at the Verizon site the numbers do appear impressive but I wonder how well it holds up in real-world use. I don’t live in their service area so it’s moot for me but out of curiosity Kelly what plan do you have, if you don’t mind me asking.

Todd
http://xiiro.com


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I had FIOS in California - it absolutely rocked. Teens playing WOW, adults
watching streaming movies, moving big files. My only complaint was their
included wireless router had a sharp drop-off in range.


Ernie Simpson

On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM, Todd email@hidden wrote:

I was not familiar with FIOS until you mentioned it. Looking at the
Verizon site the numbers do appear impressive but I wonder how well it
holds up in real-world use. I don’t live in their service area so it’s moot
for me but out of curiosity Kelly what plan do you have, if you don’t mind
me asking.


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

After giving this some more thought, I’m thinking about replacing my 4th gen Airport Extreme with a Time Capsule instead, since the cost difference is only $100 for a 2TB drive, but I have a few questions for anyone who owns a TC.

  1. Can the internal TC drive be setup as just a regular drive versus a TC backup drive?
  2. I currently stream movies from a ReadNAS NV+ to a PS3 connected via a gigabit Ethernet. Will it be possible to use the internal drive of the TC to do this instead?
  3. How will the SATA 2 performance of the TC compare to the NV+

Thanks!


offtopic mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options