How to tell if my Apple Time Capsule is overwhelmed as a router?

I’ve been using a Time Capsule as our wireless router for the last 5 years or so. But with remote school starting up today, we saw a bit of glitchiness in the various Zoom and Google Meet meetings that everybody was participating in. I’m trying to figure out how I can determine whether all of those connections are overwhelming our Time Capsule—or if the problem is somewhere else.

Can anybody point me towards some means of evaluating how well the Time Capsule is performing?

Summary: Don’t spend time investigating the behavior of this old device, just buy a new one from a reputable network equipment vendor.

Longer version:
The latest Time Capsule was (according to the information I found on Wikipedia) released in 2013. That’s 7 years ago. As forward thinking as Apple may be (doubtful if it comes to networking b.t.w.) the technology has moved forward in those years. If you feel the Time Capsule can’t handle your connections, that might be true. So buying a new device is probably the best solution. As long as it’s a recent model and not too cheap, it will most likely beat the Time Capsule. As this won’t be an Apple device, buying a new one won’t break the bank.

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Our Time Capsule always had difficulty reaching the corners of our fairly small house. A couple of weeks ago I replaced it with an eero, and I wish I’d done it sooner. Now we truly have whole-house wireless.

Bonus: I found this thread and discovered how easy it is to add the Time Capsule to our new network. So we’ve been able to keep using it for our Time Machine backups and for a few extra ethernet ports.

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You asked about how to troubleshoot. The easiest way to see if wi-fi is overwhelmed is to run ethernet to as many devices as possible to see if it makes a difference.

I ended up running ethernet cables around my house under the eaves and into a couple rooms. I reused penetrations for coax cable that I did not need. Then I used some old airport base station extremes as wi-fi access points. Airport utility makes it really easy. You can do the same thing with other wi-Fi routers. Just put them in brisge mode and assign them the same SSID and security settings as your main wi-fi router.

I did try buying a couple new wi-fi routers before doing all this work, but none of them were as reliable as the old airport base stations. I wish Apple would get back into the router business. They did it right for what I need.

I remember EverythingApplePro referring to a leaker who was saying that there would be a new AirPort router later this year, but please take that with a big grain of salt.

I’m still using an AirPort Extreme with an Airport Express extending my network. I use the Express’s digital-out connected to powered studio monitors to stream music via AirPlay but I hardly ever use the monitors since buying HomePods. The network is okay: hands-off but not the fastest, and I have to reboot it twice a month or so these days.

I’m more than ready to jump ship for a WiFi6 mesh system, but they’ve rolled out slower than expected this year and the ones that are out have little competition and are very expensive, like Orbi’s offerings

Competition and manufacturing gains will reduce costs and prices so that kind of router is on my shopping list for 2021.

Thanks all for the suggestions.

We have an old victorian house with no ethernet cables anywhere.

After using the Ookla speed test app on my phone and iPad in different locations, and at different times, it seems like we’re frequently seeing speeds 1/5 to 1/10 of the speeds observed when in the same room as the base station. We don’t see signal disappearing anywhere, but clearly it seems to be far weaker in some places (which, I think, can slow things down everywhere?).

So the question now is:

New stronger router? Or mesh?

Wifi 6 would be nice for future-proofing. But the orbi wifi-6 mesh seems to be extremely expensive. Any thoughts or recommendations?

I was in a similar situation this past winter. After much research I decided to try Eero due to their feature set, support for Homekit and excellent technical support reputation (their engineers post regularly on the Eero subreddit). The Wifi 6 routers products are fast, but you pay in stability by being on the cutting edge with networking products. I prefer solid and time tested when it comes to my network.

Like others have said, I repurposed my Time Capsule as a wireless client in bridge mode and it continues to serve as a repository for my TM Backups.

There was a 2 week return window and after 1 week there is no way I was going to go back. I am very happy with the upgrade.

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I’m having good luck with a trio of Eero’s (better than the Apple gear that they replace) in my ~30 yr old house which has in the middle of the house steel beams and girders, and far as I can tell very solid load bearing walls. Always had trouble getting whole house coverage on both halves without using multiple routers and repeaters. All that junk gone now, and I now even enjoy the coverage into the back yard. Your mileage of course may vary.

@ciaran, are you UK based? If so & you’re tempted by an Eero system then check into them carefully. I believe that in the UK all the ISP’s use PPPoE authentication which isn’t supported by Eero (or at least wasn’t). I believe you can set up the Eero system in bridge mode connected to your existing router & just acting as wireless access point. If your existing router isn’t cutting it thought then I’d be inclined to find a solution that replaces it completely.

I’ve got a set of the TP-Link Deco’s which have been reasonably sturdy (which is a mesh system). If you’re torn between a new “stronger” router or a mesh system maybe look at a Router that supports being expended into a mesh system.
The TP-Link Decos are quite extendable and all work with each other, I started with a couple of the high end units then added a cheaper model from the Deco range later to fill in a blank spot.
Others that come to mind are the Synology RT2600ac which can be extended with the MR2200ac unit to create a Mesh network. I think the Unify range has similar options starting with a dream machine, I believe you can add nodes to that to turn it into a mesh network.

I’ve not heard enough great things about WIFI 6 yet to believe it’s worth the price tag / worth adopting yet. My personal perspective on that would be that if all my wifi gear exploded this evening and I had to go out and replace it tomorrow, WIFI 6 wouldn’t be on my list of demands. Your situation may be different though.

I’m in UK and Eero works just fine (Virgin).

The Virgin-supplied box is in “modem” mode (as per instructions by Eero). However, it works in “router” mode also (which is the default value as delivered by Virgin. The Virgin tech told me either works. I chose to go with Eero’s instructions.)

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Ah, that’s interesting / good news! Do you know if the Virgin box negates the need for PPPoE or if Eero have updated to work with it? That would be interesting to know for future reference!

do not know.Just read the Eero instructions, hooked it up, changed the Virgin box to “modem mode”, and it worked. beauty of Eero, I guess.

Nothing mentioned in documentation about PPPoE. My understanding (and it’s been years since I learned/used all this stuff is that PPPoE is for connecting to the ISP. The Virgin “box” takes care of that (that’s where the cable from the world comes in). Haven’t the foggiest the technology they use. Eero connects to the Virgin “box”.