Hi all, I'm hoping someone will have some insights or experience with home WiFi that might give me some direction.
TL;DR, aka Cliff Notes, aka Summary:
- My network is flaky. I need to reboot it every few days.
- My ISP upgraded all of my hardware a month ago to brand new WiFi-6 mesh (3 nodes), to try and solve the problems (I had their previous pre-6 mesh setup).
- Should I ditch the ISP setup and get something like TP-Link ?
- Given that 2.4Ghz can handle "up to 600 Mbps", what's the point of me having 5Ghz, when my Internet connection is only 250 Mbps?
- Would separating bands into different APs help?
The long and windy road of details...
I've been having WiFi issues at home.
The ISP (Telus, in BC, Canada) has upgraded me to their latest WiFi-6 with 3 mesh nodes to resolve other issues I was having with their slightly older models, but it's still kind of flaky.
One of the mesh nodes is the main node for handling routing.
The fibre modem is a separate box that only handles the modem function, along with an ethernet hub built in (and land-line telephone).
It's a Telus branded system, and it appears this is a custom system built by, or specifically for, Telus. The version-build numbers are very low on the units.
The 3-node mesh setup at home seems to get unstable quickly, in the order of just a few days. I often spot smart home devices that are off-line. It seems to drop them and re-connect them randomly too. I've been taking WiFi smart home devices offline one or two at a time for testing, but nothing has been shown as being the cause so far (the door locks are tricky to live without!)
Unplugging one of the mesh nodes seems to have made the setup a little more stable.
I'm suspicious of the Telus Mesh system. I have a feeling that the smart-routing that combines everything into one AP name is not routing things well, or maybe the older smart devices are not handling the routing well if/when it happens. Ultimately the whole system becomes unstable to where my iPhone won't connect and it claims that the password is wrong (when it worked just fine right before that)
My Plan, please let me know if you have any advice or comments:
1. I can try unplugging the extra mesh node, leaving just the one main node - I can move that into the main area of the house, which might be central enough to just do the trick.
if that doesn't work:
2. Separate out the frequencies, to have a different AP for the 2.5 and 5 GHz bands.
and if that doesn't work
3. I might have to ditch the ISP provided equipment and manage my own network. I've seen some good reviews about the TP-Link Deco routers.
Interestingly, I have cheap(er) Internet at the family cottage that just has a one-piece router with separate APs for the frequencies, "slow" 25Mbps speed, and it's solid as a rock, handling all the things like a pro - security cameras, streaming TV, several WiFi based smart home devices. I get a good signal far away from the house too.
Overall, at 1/10th of the official speed, that cheaper WiFi seems to be faster simply because it actually works reliably
Another option I've been wondering about:
4. Would it make sense to have a separate (hardware) WiFi router just for the smart devices? I've been using the Telus smart-home network (like a separate Guest network). I have about 20 WiFi-based smart devices now, and about 5 user devices (iPad, iPhone, etc). 25 does not seem like a lot for an advanced WiFi-6 system to deal with though
5. Would it help to shut down all except the 2.4 GHz bands? It feels like our Internet experiences should not suffer from that, given that our 250 Mbps Internet connection is less than the (theoretical) limit of that band. We don't transfer much within the network (some pictures get backed up automatically, but that's in the background).
In general, I would love to hear what everyone else is doing with their home network and especially the smart-home networks!