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93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 5:24 p.m.

So I have AT&T fiber and in general have no issue with it except for the range on their modem/router combo. From what I understand, I have to use their thing as a gateway but I can add my own router behind it. A better router should fix the range issue correct? Or will the gateway limit it?

My other question is how to get internet to my garage when I build it. If I have Cat5 put in when I run the power out to it, do I just basically need a second router and pair them together somehow?

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
8/17/21 5:39 p.m.

Absolutely run Cat5 or 6 to the garage.  Run a couple as they are cheap.  Never rely on wireless if wired is available.  You can get another router to put in the garage and configure it as a wireless access point (AP) which will create a separate wireless network in your shop with it's own ID and password.  It should also have a built in switch so you will have wired LAN ports in the garage too.

For your house, you can indeed add another router, also configured as a AP or as a repeater.   Easier though is to get range extenders (really just dedicated wireless repeaters) that you plug into a wall outlet and they will extend the range of your existing wireless network to cover areas that are not getting a good signal from the AT&T router.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 5:47 p.m.
stukndapast said:

Absolutely run Cat5 or 6 to the garage.  Run a couple as they are cheap.  Never rely on wireless if wired is available.  You can get another router to put in the garage and configure it as a wireless access point (AP) which will create a separate wireless network in your shop with it's own ID and password.  It should also have a built in switch so you will have wired LAN ports in the garage too.

For your house, you can indeed add another router, also configured as a AP or as a repeater.   Easier though is to get range extenders (really just dedicated wireless repeaters) that you plug into a wall outlet and they will extend the range of your existing wireless network to cover areas that are not getting a good signal from the AT&T router.

Thanks. So for the house, does it make sense to use a range extender rather then disabling the router part of the modem/router combo and using my own router plugged into it?

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
8/17/21 5:59 p.m.

A mesh system is better than a router or signal booster. I have the eero system, but I'm sure there are others. As far as the garage, run wired and put a cheap router out there. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/17/21 6:01 p.m.
stukndapast said:

Absolutely run Cat5 or 6 to the garage.  Run a couple as they are cheap.  Never rely on wireless if wired is available.  You can get another router to put in the garage and configure it as a wireless access point (AP) which will create a separate wireless network in your shop with it's own ID and password.  It should also have a built in switch so you will have wired LAN ports in the garage too.

For your house, you can indeed add another router, also configured as a AP or as a repeater.   Easier though is to get range extenders (really just dedicated wireless repeaters) that you plug into a wall outlet and they will extend the range of your existing wireless network to cover areas that are not getting a good signal from the AT&T router.

I went through this when I moved into my current house, and was recommended by GRM to avoid running cable to the standalone shop due to potential grounding problems. I used a wireless bridge instead - it's been bombproof. The AP in the shop is set up to extend the house wireless, otherwise it's a pain in the ass when your phone keeps trying to hang on to the house network when you walk into the shop and vise versa. The current setup is seamless.

I like to use my own wireless access points instead of the ones belonging to the cable company because I'm a bit of a control freak and this way I don't lose all my configuration when the cable company has to change out the modem. I do have a couple of wireless extenders to deal with difficult spots.

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
8/17/21 6:02 p.m.

Depends on what you want to spend, basically.  The extenders are not too expensive, especially if there is just one area of the house that has a weak signal just get one to cover that area.  You can spend a bunch on a wifi router with multiple antennas that might give good coverage all over the house.  Does the AT&T router have external antennas or is it one of those with a built-in antenna?  If it is built in, you'll never get really good coverage as it won't be completely omni-directional.   If you have a multistory house, you are almost certainly going to have to have repeaters to get a strong signal everywhere.

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
8/17/21 6:05 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Grounding issue is BS.  There are no grounds in a Cat5/6/7 ethernet cable.  There are four differential twisted pairs for signals which are AC coupled on both ends of the transmission line.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/17/21 6:19 p.m.

In reply to stukndapast :

Here's the actual quote:

Something about the two different grounds in the two different buildings getting tied together through the shield in a cat 5 tends to burn them up.

Some reading verified this was a legit concern and that ground loops are real. BS or not, it wasn't something I was willing to risk and a wireless bridge was easier in my situation anyhow as it was not new construction. If I was doing new construction, I'd want to make sure I did it right.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/17/21 6:42 p.m.

I would buy a repeater (or a router that can run a boot of some open source software) and get a Yagi.

I had a booster at the lake trailer, but I couldn't get enough signal for it to repeat.  I mean, the source is like 400 yards away.  I hacked the box by unsoldering the factory antennas on the board and soldered on two pigtails to antenna bulkhead mounts on the outside of the case.  I hooked up a Yagi pointing toward the source and bingo.

They're cheap.  I think I got mine for $12 on ebay.  I think the whole project was under $30

You can do the same thing with a Pringles can for really high gain (but tough to focus) or an old satellite dish and just replace the LNBs with an antenna.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/17/21 6:47 p.m.
93EXCivic said:

So I have AT&T fiber and in general have no issue with it except for the range on their modem/router combo. From what I understand, I have to use their thing as a gateway but I can add my own router behind it. A better router should fix the range issue correct? Or will the gateway limit it?

My other question is how to get internet to my garage when I build it. If I have Cat5 put in when I run the power out to it, do I just basically need a second router and pair them together somehow?

Generally not kosher to run Cat6 with power.  It's not a code violation or a danger, but Cat isn't shielded well and 60hz of high voltage buzzing right next to it makes funky induction things happen.  That's why communications are 10 feet below power lines on a utility pole.

Cat 5/6 is also limited in how far it can run before it quits sustaining data.  I forget... 100'?  200'?

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 6:54 p.m.

In reply to stukndapast :

Built in antenna. 

It is a built in 58 split level. The router is on the main level and i have some issues on the two other levels. I was thinking about getting two Wi-Fi extenders since that seems like the easiest solution and not particularly expensive. 

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 6:57 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

I would buy a repeater (or a router that can run a boot of some open source software) and get a Yagi.

I had a booster at the lake trailer, but I couldn't get enough signal for it to repeat.  I mean, the source is like 400 yards away.  I hacked the box by unsoldering the factory antennas on the board and soldered on two pigtails to antenna bulkhead mounts on the outside of the case.  I hooked up a Yagi pointing toward the source and bingo.

They're cheap.  I think I got mine for $12 on ebay.  I think the whole project was under $30

You can do the same thing with a Pringles can for really high gain (but tough to focus) or an old satellite dish and just replace the LNBs with an antenna.

I am not going to lie i hate working with computers so that all sounds like a massive pain in the ass to me. I really want just a plug and play simple solution even if it costs a little extra. 

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 6:58 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I don't think it is over 100 ft to the garage.

Should I have the cable laid separately or at that point does a bridge make more sense? 

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
8/17/21 7:07 p.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic :

I don't know what "a little extra" is in your budget but This is plug and play for $130. Thats on the cheap end of mesh systems

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/17/21 7:37 p.m.

I've used this little guy to extend my network to the garage. I also used it as an AP in my shop for a while. For $24 it's cheap experimentation and really easy to set up. Unlike my Ubiquiti gear.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R92CL5E

 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
8/17/21 8:11 p.m.

Seriously, look into mesh.

I've been having signal problems too and mesh seems like the right way to go. One login, one thing to connect to. My eero with beacons arrives in a day or two. Cheap boosters were a pain in the behind for devices you move around the house.

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
8/17/21 8:34 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to stukndapast :

Here's the actual quote:

Something about the two different grounds in the two different buildings getting tied together through the shield in a cat 5 tends to burn them up.

 

Someone who didn't know what they were talking about.  CAT5 is a UTP cable, UTP meaning UNSHIELDED Twisted Pair.  There is no shield in a Cat 5 cable.  There are some ethernet cables made that DO have a shield, but they are not UTP and the shield, if it exists, should only be tied to ground on one end and is not part of the ethernet connector.  No shielded cable should be terminated to ground at both ends for that very reason, ground loops.  If you use a regular RJ45 connector on a CAT5/6 cable, there is no connection for any shield.  There are only 8 conductors and they are all signal, and all AC coupled.  There is no DC current path and no ground is involved. 

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
8/17/21 8:48 p.m.
93EXCivic said:

In reply to stukndapast :

Built in antenna. 

It is a built in 58 split level. The router is on the main level and i have some issues on the two other levels. I was thinking about getting two Wi-Fi extenders since that seems like the easiest solution and not particularly expensive. 

Yeah, most of the antennas broadcast in a fairly flat plane, thus the signal strength above and below the plane of the antenna is weak.  I have the same issue at my house but mitigate it to a satisfactory degree by tweeking the external antennas on the router so that I get OK coverage where I need it.  With a built in antenna, your pretty much stuck with what you have unless you move the router around a find a sweet spot that works for the whole house.  The repeaters should get you what you want, unless you are looking for max bandwidth everywhere at once.

The discussions about the mesh system are good, and a good mesh geometry and router setup is state of the art.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/17/21 8:53 p.m.

In reply to stukndapast :

Talk of ground loops shows up on a lot of cable supplier sites as well. It's prevalent enough that you'll want to make sure your installer is more familiar with the ins and outs than just "that's BS". I am not a king geek and have no skin in this game, just trying to avoid problems.

I use shielded cable for my Ubiquiti components as recommended  by Ubiquiti, as they're all POE and Ubiquiti seems to think it's important. Any grounding there is done by the components. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
8/17/21 9:07 p.m.

My nephew is a big time IT Guy. He suggested Ubiquiti Amplifi.

I think this is the one that I bought:

https://store.amplifi.com/products/amplifi-mesh-wi-fi-system

I had to think long and hard before spending this much, but the pandemic (WFH and distance learning) was taxing our old system.

I've had it for a year and I've been very happy with it. Wifi in the garage and backyard were what I wanted and it's been great.

Their spelling sucks though.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 10:05 p.m.

I grabbed one of these cause it was cheap and had good reviews. I'll see how it works. Repeater

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/17/21 10:06 p.m.

So would a Mesh setup work to get the internet out to the garage? 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/18/21 12:18 a.m.

Wait... 100' to the garage?

You have a gain issue, not a broadcast issue.  If you put a repeater/booster near a window closest to the garage, you're golden.  My router is in a closed cabinet obscured by a stone and steel fireplace and I get wifi 150' away at my mailbox.

So, the quick and dirty explanation is that you need a better placement for your router, or you need a different broadcast method.

The kind of antenna inside your box is likely omnidirectional.  It broadcasts 360 degrees, and just like the ripples from a pebble you throw in the water, the waves go out and dissipate their energy exponentially as the circle gets bigger.  Antennas are measured by gain.  A typical antenna (like on a CB radio) broadcasts in all directions, meaning that the energy you give to the signal  gets weak fast as the distance increases.  Something like a TV dish is like the microphones they use at football games inside a parabolic dish.  If they tried to record what #34 said after that play using a cell phone, all they would hear is the stadium crowd.  The dish picks up the sound from player #34 and not much else.

But, if that parabolic microphone is obscured by the Gatorade cooler, it won't hear #34.

You need to do one (or both) of two things.  1- increase the wifi signal to the garage by moving your router, and 2- increase your ability to receive signal in the garage.  That is to say, you can't hear what your friend is saying in the kitchen.  The solution is either for the friend to stick their head around the corner so you can hear, or for you to cup your hand over your ear so you can just hear them better.

 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
8/18/21 7:39 a.m.
93EXCivic said:

So would a Mesh setup work to get the internet out to the garage? 

Mine does.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane UltraDork
8/18/21 8:18 a.m.

Here's the setup I'm currently using.  It works really well:

https://www.costco.com/tp-link-deco-m9-plus-tri-band-wi-fi-system-with-built-in-smart-hub%2c-3-pack.product.100477095.html

It's a Mesh network, so that means they have their own wireless connection from unit to unit, so I have my cable/internet on the lower left corner of my house, a unit in the kids room in the upper right, and then one in the garage.  My phones/devices seemlessly transition between connections as you wander around the property.

I get 700/36 Mbps anywhere in the house, and it drops to about 450-500ish/30 in the garage.   I can pull that  up at the pool or out at the shed, both are about 100ish feet away from a unit, and I can stream music anywhere that we maintain on our property, probably 300+ feet away.

So setup for you would be to plug this into your modem provided by AT&T, disable their wireless network, and configure this via the app, which is really simple.

 

As a bit of background, this replaced a home-brew version that had Ethernet Over Power and a wireless access point running DD-WRT for me, as I've done networking for years.  This is super simple and reliable. 

I've used Ubiquiti equipment before (but not their mesh stuff), and I have full faith that would be just as easy and reliable.

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