Improving Internet Connectivity in my Office

I currently have a 30Mbs internet connection in my home. I plan to have a media room of sorts where I can stream multiple sporting events in one of the rooms in my home on the weekends. With where my wireless router is located right now, the signal has to get through 3 or 4 walls to get to the room where I plan to stream a majority of my shows.

My Current Setup:

Cable Modem:ARRIS SURFboard SB6183
Wireless Router: Belkin AC1200 DB Dual-Band AC+
Signal Strength from Router to Office: -66 dBm

Internet Connection Options:
30 Mbps (+$0)
60 Mbps (+$20)
110 Mbps (+$40)

Goal:
Simultaneously stream 5-6 events in 720p or 1080p

Given what I have, what would you do? I really don’t think only a WIFI connection to my office will work given my current setup. My wife is streaming HD media right now and my son may be watching video on a table, but current speedtest.net results in my office indicate:

Ping: 26 ms
Down: 5.29 Mbps
Up: 4.41 Mbps
I know of several options off the top of my head:

  1. Ethernet from the wrireless router through the attic into a gigabit switch where I can connect each TV in my multimedia room.
  2. Increase my connection speed from my service provider. If possible, I would like to avoid this recurring fee.
  3. Ethernet over power solution
  4. Wireless extender
  5. Wireless repeater
  6. Better cable modem and / or wireless router?

Do you guys have any thoughts about this? I feel like the ethernet connection into a gigabit switch is probably the best solution, but I would honesty prefer to not get in the attic and have to fish wires. The easiest might be to just increase my incoming connection speed but then I have a recurring cost (when I could just use that to pay someone to do the ethernet connection and save money long-term.)

Netflix recommends 5 megabits per HD stream:
https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306

30 should be enough if you get a good signal. You can always increase it later if improving the signal doesn’t help.

I’ve had really good results with powerline networking, specifically this guy:
https://www.amazon.com/LEA-Networks-NetSocket-200Mbps-Filtered/dp/B00XB6WKPI/ref=sr_1_2?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1468979951&sr=8-2&keywords=av200&refinements=p_85%3A1

I plug the router into one end (via the filtered outlet) and the faraway computer through the filtered outlet at the other end. A lot simpler than running ethernet cord through the roof. Give that a try… at $26 it’s your cheapest option. If that still doesn’t help, then try the 60 Mbps. In terms of in-home connections though, nothing beats hardwired ethernet straight from the router to the device. But for just streaming video, it probably isn’t necessary. You don’t need gigabit if the original stream from Netflix is only 5Mbps… you just need to get a stable, reliable 5Mbps connection.

You’re unlikely to see much better results with a different router unless it supports a completely different frequency or MIMO.

You can try changing the channel, though – use WiFi Analyzer to find the best one. But powerline is still better. Less interference and walls to penetrate.

Hardwire isdn cables to computer(s) from router, use the wireless for phones and tablets.

I too have had success with Ethernet over power line. Dirt simple to set up and I haven’t had to do anything to it in over a year.

first off get rid of that Belkin router …there worthless and most online services coding hate them …

As much as it sucks, hardwire ethernet is THE way to go if it’s all possible. It’s a one time thing. Provided you do it right and nothing happens to the cable (physically), you’ll only be in the attic once if you plan everything out correctly. Depending on the physical layout of your house, there’s tips and tricks to make it pretty easy to get the wires where they need to be. If you have a basement with an unfinished (or rather un-drywalled) ceiling, that’s going to be much easier. No walls to deal with.

Another option is to get wireless repeaters. They’ll halve your speed, but your signal will go that much further.

Having said all that, a router shouldn’t have an issue going through 3-4 walls. Mine is in my basement and sends the signal up to my first floor and to the other side of my house just fine. It even makes it out to my front/back yard and into my attached garage without any problem at all.

As for your products, your modem is fine. You can/should upgrade the router. In general, get one with external antennas. As for the brand, I can’t tell you the last time I played with Belkin. My brand of choice for the last 10 years or so has been Netgear, I’ve been very happy with all my Netgear routers and switches.

I appreciate all the advice. I feel like my first course of action should be to get the wireless router upgraded to a decent one and then, if that still isn’t working good enough, consider ethernet over power or hard wired ethernet to my media room. I didn’t realize my router was garbage so I’d rather not come up with workarounds because I’m using antiquated hardware.

Any thoughts on this router: https://www.amazon.com/Netgear-AC1750-Smart-Router-Processor/dp/B00Z0V2NQ8/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 Or any others you would recommend over this in the < $125 price range? I have a budget for this media room for this “season” so buying the router is one less Amazon Fire I can get. So I could increase the router budget and get a better one, but then that means I begin dropping other things off. I should have mentioned that part of what is prompting this is we are totally cutting the cord in my house and using Playstation Vue so media streaming is very important, but we play no online games.

Also, would I get better performance for things that are connected via ethernet by buying and using cat6 cables?

Thanks so much for the help!

I’m sure that one will be fine. Like I said, I’ve had very good look with Netgear products. They might take a little more know-how than, say, Linksys, but I really like them. My (home) router is a Netgear N600 and it works great.

Yes, OMG, yes. It’s not even really a comparison. Better speeds, better connectivity. No messing around with passwords/passkeys/security. No issues with obstructions, less bandwidth issues, more of a ‘plug and play’ type thing. If you can go wired, you should always do that. If you’re setting up a media room, I strongly suggest you do what it takes to get an ethernet cable from the router to that room. You only need one, and then you can connect a switch to it and hook up all your devices to the switch. Furthermore, you can then even add something like this* to the switch and have a wifi hot spot right there in that room so you can have a laptop/tablet/phone that can grab a wireless connection 10 feet away.
*This device, while called a “range extender” has two modes. “Range Extender” and “Access Point”. It has an ethernet port on it. If you just plug it in to any random outlet in your house, you can connect it to your wifi and it’ll ‘extend’ your wireless signal (a bit more complicated than that). In that mode, you can connect a wired device to the ethernet port and it’ll send the signal, wirelessly, back to your router.
In “Access Point” mode, you run a cable from the router to it’s ethernet port. While it’s still creating a new wifi network just like it does in “Range extender” mode, it’s not getting it’s original signal from the routers wifi signal, but rather the ethernet cable. This not only gives you a good, clean, strong signal, but gives you the ability to put it anywhere, even places where your wifi signal is otherwise non-existent.
ETA ethernet cables are dirt cheap now if you buy them online. Get them at monoprice . com or even Amazon and you’re looking at $10-$20 for 100 foot cable (for example) instead of, say, double or triple that at a big box store. And that’s terminated. I don’t even bother making my own cables anymore, not unless I have a good reason to.

I recently asked my neighbor (a cable guy) about how to go about improving my wi-fi. He told me the most common router he sees in the field (among people who seem to know what they’re doing) is the Netgear Nighthawk.

I did a lot of research and reading and chose the Nighthawk X4S. It was very easy to install and I can now sit in my hammock in the back yard, over 100 feet from the router and passing through five walls and watch videos and play games, no problem.

If you’re using multiple devices at the same time, you might want to look into the Nighthawk X6 or X8 … gonna bust your budget, though.

Just googling right now (I haven’t been in the market for a router for quite a while). The Nighthawk does appear to be top of the line. However, the OP can’t go wrong with the AC1750, which is just one step and $50 behind the Nighthawk.
Two things to keep in mind, most popular doesn’t mean best (in this case, it seems to, but it doesn’t always), but more importantly, when it comes to routers and switches, speed isn’t really that important. For example, you can get a Netgear 16 port switch or a Netgear 16 port gigabit switch, they’re damn near identical but one is twice the price. I bought the regular one (didn’t mean to, just wasn’t paying attention). However, since I do very little transferring on the intranet, as long as it can move data at least as fast as my internet download speed (and what it may be upgraded to over the next few years), does it really matter? Sure, it might end up being a bottle neck someday, but when Time Warner upgrades me from 30Mbps to over 100, I’ll upgrade the switch.

That’s all to say, don’t go out of your way to get Gigabit enabled devices unless you’re transferring lots of data within your LAN. If it’s just coming from the modem to your device, a regular 10/100 device is fine, just like the AC1750 is probably fine even if tops out at slightly slower than the AC1900. (450/1300 vs 600/1350, almost no one is maxing out any of those numbers).

TLDR, OP, the AC1750 will be fine.

Awesome, I will give that a shot and see how it works. Regarding direct wired ethernet, my cable model is located on an external wall in my living room. That makes getting in my attic in that spot all but impossible unless I a missing something or willing to tear out a ton of drywall. I’m sure I could pay a professional to come in and do it for a few hundred. My other option is use an internal wall near the router and then just string a cable to it and then move that up to the attic.
I think my easiest option is to buy a new router since I know that one is old and see what kind of performance I get. Since I am really only concerned with high performance one day a week, I could just string an ethernet cable across my house on that day and put it in a switch.

Shouldn’t be that hard.

Find a space between studs that is open to the ceiling level, with no headers across it. Then from the attic drill a small hole in the sill plate, and use a rod or fish tape to run Cat6 cable down to where you need the connection. Cat6 cable is so small it should cause no problem with the insulation in that exterior wall. Punch a small hole* there that the cable will fit through. Run the other end of the cable through the attic and down a wall in the media room.

*Later, you should enlarge this hole to fit a regular lov-volt electrical box there, with appropriate cable connectors. But starting with a small hole makes it easy to patch that if this doesn’t work for some reason.

I need to get in my attic and take a picture so we are speaking the same language. In my attic, the external wall to my living room, if I recall, has headers all the way across and then obviously insulation underneath between the brick and my drywall. My attic tapers down so sharply in this spot there is just no way I could stand or even hunch down in this area from my attic. MAYBE if I got multiple pieces of plywood I could use them to crawl over there.

So my only way I figured I could get a cable there up through this wall would be to take it up and not down. So I could cut a hole in my drywall at the ceiling, poke the cable through to the attic through the header (there is already a hole in the header because my internet is ran down between these studs). So at this point I have the cable running on the interior of my house outside the drywall and up in the attic. I then have to figure out a way to fish the cat6 inside the house down through the insulated wall to an ethernet jack I would install. Once I have this done, obviously I could run the ethernet down through internal walls to my office/media room.

I hope this makes sense. Short of getting multiple pieces of plywood and one of those magnetic fishing things (or maybe a fishing tool such as https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BP7WBO/ref=crt_ewc_title_srh_7?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER is sufficient for pushing it down), I am having trouble picturing it.

Fishtape is great, but on an insulated wall it has a tendency to end up on the other side of the insulation. Makes for a PITA.
1)Do you have access to the basement? That’s another option.
2)You can usually tuck wires between the baseboard and the carpet or even remove the baseboard, put the wires under the drywall (there’s should be a gap) and replace the baseboard). Either do that the whole way or just enough to get them to an easier spot to work with. Either a place where attic access is easier or the basement ceiling is unfinished.

Also, if you have a basement with an unfinished basement, what I’ve done is just skipped the jack. I just took a razor blade and made a very small X in the carpet*, drilled a hole in the sub floor and dropped the cable through that spot. Typically this is behind some equipment or furniture anyways, so it’s no one’s the wiser. Use the same technique to bring it back up. You can, of course, put network jacks in the wall, from the basement, but this is a lot faster and if you ever need to remove them, for any reason, you just pull the cable out and the hole is gone, no one will ever see it.

*It’s VERY important to cut the carpet. Taking a drill bit to a carpet will damage it. The threads can/will wrap around the bit and, much like pulling a thread from a garment, you run the risk of yanking a giant thread out of your carpet…don’t do that.

Thanks so much for the help guys. I hate to keep saying “but”, but I have no basement and am on a slab with all hardwood and no carpet (allergies so we removed all of it). I suppose I could rip out the baseboard or crown molding. I think I would have more success doing drywall than either crown molding or baseboards. :slight_smile:

Also gonna recommend the Netgear Nighthawk. I’ve recommended it to someone else on here before.

I have the previous model, the Nighthawk R7000, which you can get on ebay now for $99-120 (same price as a new AC1750). It does AC1900 with crazy good range. We also have concrete walls in the basement, a detached garage, etc, and I get great signal in all those areas. This model still has beamforming+ and all those neat features that the new ones have.

Baseboards are pretty easy. Work slowly and gently with a pry bar and something so you don’t damage the walls and either find yourself a finish nailer to put them back in place or just glue them and be done with it. Another option is to find some way to move the modem/router to an interior wall. Even if it means putting it in another room. If you’re going to go with wired (as much as you can) and a good wifi router, it’s not going to matter much where the router is (provided you follow some basic rules, like don’t stick it behind the furnace and water heater).
Also, if you have cable in two adjoining rooms, pop the faceplate off, there’s a good chance the box goes directly from one room to another. That gives you very good access to get a cable from from this room to that room with out having to drop two cables. I’ve done that in a pinch. Then, if you want to make it look nice, you just need to find a faceplate with a coax and ethernet jack.

It’s often the case with electrical outlets as well, but it’s not legal to have ethernet (or any other low voltage) in one box. There’s a way to do it, but we can cross that bridge if we come to it. It would require electrical work.

Having said that, just running the cable through the wall is always an option as well. It’s just a hole the size of a pencil (if you can make your own cable, a half inch or so if you don’t). I know, most people don’t like that look, so you can install an Ethernet jack on each side, connect them between the walls (no attick access required). Connect the ‘live’ cable on one side and connect your device on the other. Between furniture, throw rugs, plants, ‘getting used to it’ and the fact that the cables come in about 20 different colors now, even if you just run it along the floor, it’ll probably barely be noticeable if you do that.