Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh

Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-22 15:39:18

I have a high level plan I’d like a little help, guidance and feedback on…….

 

I have quite a large, old house. My current network setup is based on the following:

  • FTTC connection into the house
  • Main router is based on the Cisco Linksys E4200 with 4 ethernet ports available
  • Wifi provided across the house using various Devolo powerline units & the wifi capabilities of the Cisco Linksys E4200 (common SSID / Password across all units)
  • A couple of wired Ethernet connections provided again, using Devolo powerline units

 

Whilst the Devolo units have served their purpose, they can be a little unstable, of various different ages / speeds and I wish to replace them completely.

 

Here’s my plan so far:

  1. Completely remove all Devolo powerline units - I don't want any comms on the power system at all any more
  2. Turn off wifi capabilities on the Cisco Linksys E4200
  3. Purchase / deploy a 3 pack Deco M9 Plus – each one to be configured in ‘Access Point Mode’ with a direct ethernet connection back to the main router, the Cisco Linksys E4200
  4. Thereafter, if I encounter any weak wifi areas I'll add additional Deco M9 Plus units where required – not hard wired back to the router, effectively wifi repeating / expanding the mesh wifi network

 

Question No.1: Thoughts on the above plan?

 

To the next challenge …..

I have a separate remote building connecting back to the main building with ethernet cable. Unfortunately, in the main building this ethernet cable connecting is nowhere near the Cisco Linksys E4200. I am currently using a Devolo powerline plug to deliver network capabilities out to the remote building.

In the remote building, I have a Linksys E2500 serving 2 devices, both hard wired.

 

Question No.2: What TPLink device do you recommend taking the wifi signial out to the remote building over the existing ethernet cable?

 

To the final challenge …..

I have an ethernet connected laser printer HP Laserjet M551 – no wifi capabilities. Again, being served by ethernet using a Devolo powerline unit.

Question No.3:  What TPLink device do you recommend to convert this into a wifi printer?

 

Thanks in advance.....

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-22 20:01:02 - last edited 2021-07-22 20:01:44

@ah9999 

 

Question No.1: Thoughts on the above plan?

 

It is a good plan. I see no flaws with it. Deco mesh in Access Point mode works perfectly when all Deco units are Ethernet wired.

 

In my house, I tried WiFi range extenders, powerline adapters - was not happy with their performance. It was adequate, but with occasional issues that I got eventually tired of.

Got myself Deco mesh in Access Point mode that runs on two M9s with one wired Satellite M5, can't be happier. Turned 2.4GHz off in Deco, running everything in house on 5GHz WiFi. I have found I have weak 5GHz signal in far corner of my workshop which is part of my house, but have Ethernet cable terminating there- will be buying one more Deco M5 to place there for an ideal house coverage.

 

Questions for you, before I suggest how to deal with remote building and laser printer.

 

1. Why did you select M9 instead of M5? If you plan to wire all your Satellite Deco, M9 will perform similarly to M5, but it is more expensive. What benefit you see in M9?

 

2. Internal walls in your house, are they made of solid brick and cement, of concrete, or of wood?

 

3. What is your budget for that plan? Not monetary value, but please choose from two following options:

  A) I would rather have consistent WiFi mesh hardware in the house, even if I'll have to pay somewhat more. Consistency brings simplicity and ease of management; 

  B) I am interested in savings, even if I end with mix of different WiFi mesh hardware types and all potential headaches down the road from managing such system.

 

4. In the separate remote building, why do you have Linksys E2500 to serve two hardwired devices, instead of generic wired networking switch?

 

5. No powerline adapters after home refresh, right?

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-23 10:13:02

@Alexandre. 

 

Thank you for coming back to me and your help.

To answer your questions:

  1. Why M9 instead of M5 – purely due to the size of the house, I assumed the tri-band capabilities of the M9 combined with 8 antennas would provide better coverage?
  2. Wall structure – whilst some of my internal walls are of a wood structure, a lot are solid brick work. I was hoping the placement of the initial 3 units hard wired back to the centre would 'span' any troublesome walls
  3. Budget for plan – A, I’d prefer to spend more to achieve a good, consistent workable solution which will last a long time
  4. Remote building, why do you have Linksys E2500 – it serves 2 x hard wired systems, a Synology NAS device and a hard wired solar panel system (SMA Inverter) PLUS the important element I missed out (sorry) also provides wifi capabilities to that building (using common SSID / password to the main house)
  5. No powerline adapters after home refresh – absolutely, they have served me well delivering okay performance and okay resilience. The time has come to remove them all and sell them as a job lot on Ebay. Due to in being an older house, there are a number of consumer units in various places which cause the powerline systems issues.

 

To my printer, whilst it’s perfectly functional it’s now nearly 10 years old – it’s an HP LaserJet M551 (colour, duplex) which I could replace with a new wifi laser printer (colour, duplex) for about £250. Depending on the cost of making my existing M551 wifi capable it may be prudent to tech refresh the printer?

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-23 14:38:16 - last edited 2021-07-23 19:39:16

@ah9999 

 

M9 will perform better than M5, this is correct. In my non-scientific speed tests of wired Satellite M5 on 5GHz the best I could get was 415Mbps. Same test with M9 yilded 635Mbps. 

 

There might be a concern for Satellite Deco M9 with wireless backhaul, when its 5GHz signal does not penetrate walls well. It is the reason I asked about type of your house walls. If  wireless Satellite M9 can't get 5GHz signal through, it'll perform no better than M5, and might even worse. Not sure for your house, only practical tests would tell.

 

It makes sense for you to start with 3-pack M9s, they all will be wired.

 

Back to your remaining two questions.

 

Question No.2: What TPLink device do you recommend taking the wifi signial out to the remote building over the existing ethernet cable?

 

Satellite Deco M9, wirelessly connected to the rest of the Deco mesh. On the other side, in the remote building, I would suggest also Deco M9, with 5-port gigabit switch. You'll need switch, because you will only have one free Deco Ethernet port, but two wired devices you will need to connect to it.

These two Decos will be connected by Ethernet cable going between buildings. 

Decomission Linksys E2500.

 

Question No.3:  What TPLink device do you recommend to convert this into a wifi printer?

 

One more Satellite Deco M9, also wirelessly connected to the rest of the Deco mesh. Connect printer to that Satellite Deco by Ethernet cable. 

 

------------------

 

In summary, you'll need 6 Deco M9. Initial wired 3-pack, and 3 more that will work as repeaters and Ethernet ports for your wired devices.

 

Considerations

 

My recommendations for questions No.2 and No.3 can work only if Satellite Decos have good WiFi connection to the rest of the mesh. Otherwise, you may wish to research different solutions. That means, you will need to test practically how wireless Satellite Deco performs at each of two locations: at printer side and at Ethernet cable that goes to remote building.

I would recommend you buy Deco M9 3-pack initially, and configure it with wired Satellite Decos. When you are satisfied with results, start testing. Take one of Satellite Deco to printer location, power it on. In Deco app, you can see Satellite Deco reporting quality of WiFi backhaul, here is an example:

 

 

This shows very good signal quality between Satellite Deco and Living Room Deco it is connected to.

If signal is excellent or reasonably good, complete test by connecting printer to Deco by Ethernet cable and verifying it is working. It should.

 

Repeat same test with placing Satellite Deco where Ethernet cable to remote building terminates. Check signal source. If it is good, complete test by connecting Ethernet cable to that Deco. Your Linksys E2500 in remote building should work and Internet access in remote building should be available, but I still recommend replacing it with M9.

 

After you ran these tests you can figure how many M9s you need to add. Note that you can't buy single M9 unit, they are sold in 2-pack and 3-pack. Which means, you must plan in advance how many you should get, don't put yourself in situation when you need to add just one more Deco M9.

 

Alternatives

 

For taking WiFi signal to remote building, there are not many. You dismissed powerline adapters, and I would agree: this is absolutely the last resort.

If you happened to have TV cable terminating near Ethernet cable, consider MoCA instead. That would be better than wireless Satellite M9.

 

As for printer, quality of Satellite M9 backhaul does not matter much here, as long as it is established, because printer is not bandwith heavy. Yet, if mobile device connects to that Deco and Deco does not have good backhaul, mobile device will suffer.

Another option is to look for an inexpensive WiFi router that has "client mode." In that mode, it becomes sort of WiFi network card to your printer. Configure router in "client mode" using laptop or desktop connected to it by Ethernet cable, then unplug and connect printer to it. Router will get access to WiFi as a client, printer will get Ethernet connection to router and to WiFi. 

Of course, you could replace your old printer by WiFi capable printer, but be warned: not all of them work well with WiFi mesh. If new printer of your choice can't handle Deco mesh connectivity well, you may need to return printer and try different brand.

Ideally, you'll need to find a way to wire printer to something. Start with Satellite Deco M9.

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-23 16:01:57

@Alexandre. 

 

Thank you, very logical and makes sense.

 

So for the main, wired 'backbone' 3 x M9's hard wired back to my existing Cisco Linksys E4200 (wifi turned off), each of these M9's to be configured in 'Access Point Mode'

 

Due to the layout of my home, I can likely use an additional 1 x M9 wirelessly connected to:

 

  1. bounce the signal out to my remote building and also
  2. serve the printer with wired connection.

 

An additional 1 x M9 wirelessly connected deployed in my remote building to:

 

1. extend the wifi signal

2. Wired connections, final question ...... the M9 pictures show 2 x RJ45 ports, can I use both of these to connect to my Synology NAS device and solar panel system? That way I wouldn't need the 5 port switch?

 

So in total 5 x M9's allowing me to 'kill' approximately 8 x Devolo units, 1 x Linksys E2500 :)

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-23 19:36:47

@ah9999 

 

You can use both Ethernet ports of wireless Satellite Deco to connect wired devices. No need for additional switch, then.

 

Good luck with your project. When you complete it, if you have time, please share your experience here.

 

If you have other questions, feel free to ask.

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-24 10:29:58

@Alexandre. 

 

Once again, thank you for your help and assistance.

 

I've just placed the order for 5 x M9 units, fingers crossed should be delivered tomorrow along with some new Cat 7 ethernet cables - total cost is ~£430 (I'm hoping to recover about £100 of this by selling the old network equipment on EBay)

 

I'll likely spend a few days carefully planning deployment but at a high level:

 

  1. Remove all networking equipment save for the main Cisco Linksys E4200 router
  2. Turn the wifi off on the Cisco Linksys E4200 router - this will get me back to a 'bare bones environment ready to rebuild
  3. Deploy the 3 x M9's one at a time in 'Access Point Mode' wired back to the Cisco Linksys E4200 router checking coverage / placement as I go
  4. Deploy 1 x M9 into my office to 'bounce' out to my remote building and drive my existing M551 laserjet printer
  5. Deploy the final M9 into my remote building and wire in Synology NAS device and SMA solar panel inverter system

 

On the basis I work from home (have done for about 15 years), steps 1 through 4 need to be completed quite quickly, step 5 can be a little slower.

 

I'm sure it's a lot easier to type the plan than execute but I'll definitely share my experience en route :)

 

 

 

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Re:Help & Guidance Please - Complete Home Wifi Refresh
2021-07-29 16:51:56

Quick update.......

 

I completed the upgrade today, took about 2½ hours in total. Highlights:

 

  • I retired 9 x Devolo powerline units
  • I retired a lot of ethernet cable
  • I retired a Linksys E2500

 

  • The deployment of the 5 x TPLink M9+ units went quicker and better than I had expected (3 wired back to router, 2 in mesh)
  • Wifi signal strength from the M9's was better then expected
  • Great app from Deco, very nice and easy to use
  • Connecting my wired, non-wifi devices (printers, Synology NAS, Bose unit & SMA Solar inverter) proved simple - luckily, I'd set them all up with static IP addresses

 

Results:

 

  • My wifi speeds have increased significantly:
  • Download has gone from 30Mbps to 72Mbps
  • Upload has gone from 10Mbps to 20Mbps
  • Ping has remained at 17ms
  • My wifi / network setup is significant simpler now
  • I'm sure the power consumption of 5 x M9's vs 9 x Devolo + 1 x E2500 is less......I might actually try and work this out
  • I have an vinyl based audio system - interference 'noise' generated by the Devolo powerline system is now gone!

 

Once again, thank you for your help and assistance......

 

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