Router Upgrade Time

Networking, Wireless Routers (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax WiFi), NAT, LAN configuration, equipment, cabling, hubs, switches, and general network discussion
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Qui-Gon John
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Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

So I have been using, for many years now, a Netgear N300 with External Antenna (WNR1500). I am about to get a new ISP (Open Infra Fiber), coming off Spectrum Cable Internet. After I get the ISP side swapped and my current router up and running, I am thinking of upgrading. I looked into the initial release of my current router, it said 2012 (although I probably did not get it until at least a couple years after that). I have a good Linksys I got from my daughter's house, but it is only a year older, with a 2013 initial release. So I am looking into buying a new one. I saw the Netgear WiFi 7 and I'd really consider that, except the price. $700 for a router is a lot. I'm OK with spending a $200 (even up to $300). So any suggestions would be appreciated. My reasons to consider this are hopefully better range/signal strength, (I don't really want to go mesh). Just about everything works now, where they all sit. The router is in our office, which is an internal room to the house. So the router is 'roughly' right in the center of the house. Also, hoping a new one will connect easily to all devices. The current one I had to tweak a few settings to get things like connected light bulbs, Ring and Garage Door Controller to work.
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Philip
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

Hi Qui-Gon John, good to see you around :)

There have been quite a few Wi-Fi developments in the past 10 years, you definitely need an upgrade. 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 (2.4 and 5GHz), or Wi-Fi 6E (2.4, 5, 6 GHz) would be your best bets. The "6E" variant adds another 6GHz band, that you may not need unless you are going into mesh networks where it can be used as backhaul. There are not many clients that support 6GHz.

I would get Asus RT-AX86U Pro, or RT-AX88U for ~$220 on Amazon and call it a day. Added bonus is you can do a mesh with different Asus routers in the future. Netgear Wi-Fi 6 routers should be similarly priced, the differences between cheaper and more expensive ones is the speed of the chipset, which translates into how many clients it can support comfortably without overloading the hardware. Most of the Wi-Fi 6 routers will have much better/faster hardware than your current setup anyway.

I hope this helps
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

Philip, thanks, I will check those out, as well as some of the Netgear Wi-Fi 6E's as well. One of the installers for my new ISP service, was suggesting getting an Eero. He said, start with the main one (base), I may not need any other, as my router location is pretty central to my house. What's your take on an Eero vs. an Asus or Netgear. And like you said, anything new, like a 6E should be way improved over my current one. In the past, when I have swapped out routers, in most cases, if I made the SSID and the WiFi Password the same, most devices just picked up the new router, no issues. Do you think it would still work that way.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

Hey Philip, what do you think of this Netgear WiFi 6E I found on Netflix, compared to those 2 Asus.

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Nighthaw ... _hp_d&th=1
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

fethiye wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 1:09 am
RT-AX88U seems to be a good option, thanks for information :)
It might just be how Amazon is listing them, But the RT-AX88U shows Wi-Fi 6 (not 6E). The RT-AX86U came up as 6E, but when I choose Router & WIreless Router that changed to just 6. Still would like to know thoughts on the Netgear I linked to. I think that is usually much more expensive, but this is a Renewed (Refurb).
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

You don't really "need" Wi-Fi 6E, unless you want to future-proof, have 6GHz clients to use it, or multiple mesh routers that use 6GHz for wireless backhaul... Wi-Fi 6 devices are much cheaper, and you will get similar performance.

That Netgear you linked has great specs, should work well.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

Thanks again Philip. So I am thinking about what you said, that I probably don't need 6E. I also came across some bad info on things Netflix has been doing, (removing features, etc.) Read a bunch of reviews and such on Dong Knows Tech. So I think I will stay away from Netgear (even though it's the only brand I've used for my home router since moving from DialUp to DSL back in 2000). So right now I am leaning towards the RT-AX88U Pro ($239 on Amazon now). But before I finalize, I read a review of the RT-AX88U Pro and at the end, they said, "The truth is, most people don't need a router this powerful in their home. If you only have a couple of people using it, an AX3000 or even an AX1800 router could be all you need." So I looked at the AX1800, it is $69 on Amazon. Should I consider that and saving a good bit of money or should I just spend the extra for hopefully better, faster and more powerful Wi-Fi Strength? Any other thoughts?
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

You can get away with the AX1800 if you don't have many clients as well.

I have an AX86S (they no longer make that model, just a bit slower CPU than the AX86U), and it handles 20+ clients easily (3 laptops, 10 IoT devices, cameras, kids, phones, tablets).

This seems like a good deal too (refurb): https://amzn.to/49G5E1m
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

I decided to go with the RT-AX88U Pro. It's about $160 more than I could have gotten the AX1800 for, but the supposedly much higher WiFi speed, as well as the fact that it hasn't even been out a year, pushed me to splurge. Supposed to arrive tomorrow. Current plan is to install it Thursday. I'll check back and let y'all know how it goes.
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Philip
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

It's a good router, you're getting better/faster chipsets with newer models.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

OK, so I just connected the new AX88U Pro. Couple of questions.

1. In the setup it had me enter the SSID & WiFi password. There was an option to "separate 2.4g & 5g". I did not do that, hoping that it will just use whichever is better for a connecting device. Plus all my other devices just had my Las Name as the SSID and the one password. So I was thinking this might make it easier for those devices to connect. If I split 2.4 & 5, then I have to choose one to give the same SSID I had previously to and the other would be LastName_24 (for example). Am I correct in thinking it will use whichever frequency is better or should I split them and specify? FYI, it seems all of my devices, Laptop, Roku TV, Roku Premier, Ring, MyQ Garage Door, FEIT Power Switch, Geeni Light Bulbs, have connected using the single SSID/Pwd.

2. I did a speed test from a laptop (in the office, same room as the router). Very slow, only 54 up/50 down. It was higher with my old router. What am I doing wrong? What should I check/change? I do see this laptop connected on the 2.4ghz vs the 5ghz. I looked into the Wireless Card in the Laptop, it only supports 2.4ghz, not 5ghz. Dell 1506 802.11 b/g/n. But I thought I read something else that said if you use one type of WiFi Password Encryption, then you are limited to slower speeds. Also, I read about "Airtime Fairness" but I found it in this router settings and it is already disabled.

3. Is there anyway to change the icons in the Network Map. They have one that looks like a Cell Phone I'd like to assign to our Cell Phones.

4. Another problem popped up. This evening, my iPhone started switching from my WiFi to 5G, when the screen goes black (sleep?). This did not happen with my old router and it was not happening most of the day. From when I first setup the router (around 9:30am) until about 4:30pm. One thing, should only be coincidental, but my wife came home right around the time this problem popped up. We both have iPhone 12 Mini. But different MAC, so I don't see how that could be the cause. Any suggestions to resolve this would also be appreciated.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

1. I use single SSID for the different bands most of the time as well.

2. This is very dependent on settings. I would go through the Advanced > Wireless settings, and try these:
Wireless mode - auto, disable 11b
WiFi Agile Multiband - disable
Target Wake time - disable
Authentication - WPA2-Personal
WPA Encryption - AES
Protected management frame - try with Disable/Enable, not sure
Channel Bandwidth - 20 MHz (for both 2.4 and 5GHz)
WPS - off
Airtime Fairness - disable
Multi-User MIMO - disable
Tx power adjustment - Performance, or Good maybe

3. Yes, there is. You click on the "Clients" icon in the middle column (NOT the "View List" button), then use the icons in the right column to edit the devices.

4. Not sure, some devices turn off Wi-Fi to preserve battery, I'd look at the phone settings for preferred network (Wi-Fi over 5g) There may also be something in the router Wireless settings, hm.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

Thanks Philip, I am working thru these settings. Where can I find "disable 11b"? You really recommend setting both channel bandwidths to just 20 Mhz? I don't understand that a lot, but it seems doing so (from the default of 20Mhz/40Mhz (2.4), likewise on 5, would be limiting and possibly slow things down. Also, I could not find Protected Management Frame. Oh one other interesting tidbit. Like I said, I got some info from Dong Knows Tech. Well they guy knows a lot, no doubt about that. But he doesn't like to admit when he is wrong. On his review for the Asus RT-AX88U Pro, he says the keyed holes in the back (which come with rubber inserts) are NOT for wall mounting. A few other people challenged him on it and in the end he just said "well you can mount anything if you’re creative". So when I got mine I checked this out and did a few other searches and found it is. I let him know this "The key is it must be a flat head on the screw and just the proper size. Too large and it won’t slide up into the oval part. Too small and it will not stay securely. I have a pic of the back with screws and wall mount fasteners sticking out". I tried to get him to let me send him the pic (you can't post a pic on his comment section). But he never did that.
Last edited by Qui-Gon John on Fri Mar 01, 2024 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Philip
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

Some of the settings may not be there, or slightly different between the models.

The 20 vs. 40MHz channels - it depends on what your client devices can handle, many can't deal with wider channels.
Having older standards supported like 802.11b/g also limits the speed/bandwidth available to all devices. My router has a specific checkmark to disable 802.11b support.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

Thanks again Philip. So I did set the 20Mhz, as you said. I also unchecked the tick box for 5G that said "Enable 160 Mhz". As to disabling the older standards, I looked thru the manual and couldn't find anything. I just emailed Asus Tech Support. I finally found the DIsable 11b. It was a Check Box beside "Wireless Mode", I was looking for it having it's own line in the menu, sorry.

FYI, I just realized with these settings the Transfer Rate for my cell phone, reported on the Client List page, was much slower. I experimented and it seems turning off Multi User MIMO caused that. When I turned that back on, my transfer rate on the phone went from about 250Mbps back up to like 1200Mbps.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

Very interesting.. I had it turned off on mine for some reason, I will experiment with it.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

So I have noticed another problem. Noticed a couple days ago, just writing it up now. So I often transfer video files between my PC (a Lenovo Tower) and my wife's Dell Laptop. Since I changed the router, whenever I do this, while the transfer is going on, on both computers, the mouse is almost totally unresponsive. Once the transfer is done, it returns to normal. Don't see why WiFi would affect a cordless mouse/USB.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

Mice use the same 2.4GHz bands as Wi-Fi, even Bluetooth uses similar frequencies. Depending on the channel, WiFi may be interfering. I would try to reconnect/reset the mouse connection while doing a transfer, it should automatically pick a different less congested channel. Alternatively you can manually set the 2.4GHz channel on the router.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

So would turning the mouse off/on while a transfer is in progress do it? Or would pulling/then re-inserting the little USB transceiver for the mouse do it? The file transfer is using 2.4ghz (between the Asus & wife's laptop...my PC is hard-wired Ethernet).

UPDATE: Well I tried both things at once. Began a file transfer, turned off the 2 mouses, removed the USB, reinserted the USB and turned them back on. They still act messed up.

So in the router my 2.4G is set to Auto and is currently on Ch. 3. Is there a specifc one you would recommend me moving it to, that might stop this problem?
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

I usually use a "Wifi Analyzer" app on my phone to see what other networks are in the area before picking an uncongested channel. In general, 2.4GHz channels overlap by 3 in either direction, so the only completely non-overlapping channels in the same area would be 1,6,11. Many routers used to default to 6, so I would usually pick 11, or 1 if I had to guess. It's ok to overlap other networks a little, just best not to use the exact same channels as other networks in the area.
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

I found a WiFi Analyzer, but didn't see anywhere to see the 2.4Ghz channels. I set my Router to 11 and will test a little later.
UPDATE: Just copied a movie over to laptop and used my mouse while it was copying, and it worked fine. Thanks for the advice!
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Philip »

Nice! Glad it worked ok :)
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Re: Router Upgrade Time

Post by Qui-Gon John »

Philip wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2024 7:49 pm
Nice! Glad it worked ok :)
The Asus has been doing pretty good. I have another question. I had put the Asus Router App on my phone. I was at my daughter's yesterday and wanted to show someone info on the router. So I opened the App, but it said it could not pull anything. Apparently only useful when I am home, in range of the WiFi directly. Is it possible to have it work from another location (over the internet). If so, is it difficult to setup and how do I do that? Thanks
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