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SBG6700AC2 Better to use SBX-AC1200P Range extender or Mesh system

  • 23 September 2022
  • 4 replies
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  1. This is for my home network system.  I have 2 month old Arris SBG7600AC2. It works very well for my needs.  I would simply like some extended wifi coverage. 

    According to Oolka, over a cabled connection (not wifi) my internet service provides me 120 Mbps down and about 10 Mbps up.  I know we currently have the lowest service from our provider and I don’t expect much to change in the future to warrant paying for a faster connection.  I average 246 GB per month and at most 12.5 GB per day.

    I don’t have any bottlenecks or performance issues from an internet perspective. But I lose some wifi bars at both distance extremes in the house.

    That said, I’d like to extend my wireless range a bit. The structure is a 2 story 62 x 24 footprint. The current placement of the existing 7600 is pretty much in the middle.

     I have some questions:

    1. Would I be better off from a wifi range perspective to add a range extender (or two) or use one of the mesh systems?  If I use a mesh system, which one is best suited for me? 

    2. If I use a mech system,  does it integrate with the existing wifi on the 7600, or does it just provide me a separate two node mesh wifi network?  IE will I lose the built-in wifi functionality on the 7600?

    Thanks.
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Best answer by plemans 23 September 2022, 18:32

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Userlevel 2

boy I could go into a lot of detail. I’ll try to keep it short.

You have around a 3000sqft house. Most homes are fine with a router and an extender at this size if made from standard materials. (sheetrock/wood).

With that said, I’ve used both mesh systems, router/extender, and mesh +router setups in my home which is around the same size. 

If you can slightly move your router to one side and use a single extender, it provided around the same performance as my mesh system does. And by moving the router a little and the extender to the other side it’d provider a little overlapping coverage.

But I’d highly recommend a triband extender. Reason why is standard single/dual band extenders drop throughput by AT LEAST 50%. This happens because they use the same wireless chip to go router----extender and then extender---device. And they can’t do both at once. Plus you have to account for speed losses from distance/obstructions. so you can really see a performance hit. A triband extender uses a dedicated 5ghz backhaul for just the router---extender communication. That keeps you from taking such a massive speed hit. You still take a little hit from distance/obstructions but your starting point is higher. 

Mesh systems have the same losses if you choose a dual band system. Thats why the tribands work so well. 

My home is setup quite extensive because I do so much testing. But for the speeds you have, you’d more than likely be fine with just adding a triband extender. I’d recommend trying several different locations for it and the router to see what setup works the best. Sometimes a lateral move can help just as much as moving closer as it might take an obstruction in a while out of the equation on blocking wifi (think hvac/plumbing). 

Plus don’t just look at “the bars” on your phone. Test the actual speed in your locations where its lower. Even if you’re have a bar or 2 down, many times it can still saturate your speeds if you’re only at a 120mbps connection. If your 5ghz connects at a 866mbps backhaul (thats link speed, not actual throughput), even if its at half speed of 433 mbps link, still have the capability to saturate around 200-275mbps. More than your ISP proves in terms of speed. 

One last thing to consider is what you do at the peripheral. Most devices don’t need a ton of speed. You can stream 4k at a 35-40mbps throughput speed. So if your gaming/streaming at the peripheral and getting decent speeds (even if it isn’t full speed), you might not need anything else. 

Plemans,  Short answer?  :-).  Just kidding.  Thanks for the very in depth reply. I appreciate it.   By bars, I also meant signal. I use an app called “wifi sweetspot”.  It provides pretty good data for actual signal strength.

In researching further I found some more information of Extender vs Mesh.  While I’d like mesh (for the seamless xfer between access points) and I wouldn’t mind buying a mesh system, I have a recent $200 investment in my SBG7600AC2.  I am 40 days beyond the return date. So an extender may be the way to go.

I forgot to mention that I have cat 6 cables from the 7600 to both the east and west side of the house (where I would put an extender or two) in addition there is also a cat 6 cable to what is currently connected to the 7600.  Will cable connections directly to the 7600 from the extenders ease up on the throughput loss?

Yes, I can move my router slightly “west” for better coverage at that end of the building and then add an extender for the east side where currently access is very poor. 

You mention “tri-band” extenders. Can you recommend a few names/models I can research?  And can I assume they will be compatible with the 7600?

Thanks again for the reply. 

 

Userlevel 2

You’re caught in a catch-22. 

The problem is that most extenders, when ran hardwired, have their smart roaming functions disabled. When used in extender mode (wireless backhaul) it leaves them enabled. 

But you get more speed from a hardwired backhaul.  

So do you get an extender and run it in extender mode?
Or an extender and use it in access point mode but have less efficient roaming. 

See what I mean by catch-22?

Plus I’m not that familar with arris’s extender offerings. Or if their extenders have their smart roaming functions disabled in access point mode. I’ve never used theirs. Just Tp-Link and Netgears. 

Maybe @SURFboard_Moderator has more info on Arris’s extender offers and features. 

Thank you Plemans. I am going to research extenders.