Wired or Wireless Home Network Setup

Its useless to you and most of us.
However if you ever sell the house it will be valuable for those who still want to subject themselves to cable tv…

We’re in one of those places that will never have cable. The cable company folks laughed when I called to ask about options. That’s part of why this seemed so weird.

I think that far more important than installing cable, is installing conduit in such a way that it’s easy to run and replace cable (in a new house anyway). Data cable standards change pretty frequently compared with how often houses are rebuilt.

“My” fiber modem is a loan from my ISP and as such they decide where to put it = in an electrics cupboard, with a single RJ45 port in the living room, which I use for my 4th Gen. Time Capsule which is only used for storage of photos, videos, and as a local NAS for media consumption.

iPhone, iPad Pro,  TV & Xbox One run wireless with decent results - though fair to say that I live in a two-room apartment :grin:

I found this set of videos which have loads of info about various aspects of the Unifi system: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1fn6oC5ndU-S8BQkshYPO_yIQyT1yctU.

I started looking at it as I currently have the TP-Link Deco m9+ mesh system. It’s worked in terms of getting wifi around the house though I was disappointed with the management software. There doesn’t seem to be any way to:

  • do MAC address white listing,
  • see if the mesh nodes are backhauling on wifi or ethernet
  • see what device is connected to which node.

I’ve started to consider the Unifi system as an eventual replacement.

To address the original post about wifi vs cabled, I prefer to having things on cable where I can, in some instances like the NAS it doesn’t do Wifi so it has to be cable.
I’ve also ended up with our Samsung laser printer on a ethernet, it should do wifi but it kept falling off the network and frequently wouldn’t wake up when you wanted to print. It works fine on ethernet though, I’m not sure if this is a general issue with having devices like that on wifi or a problem specific to that printer.

Don’t run wire, run conduit instead.

Doesn’t have to be fancy, cheap plastic
tubing will work, but check your local codes.

Did that in latest house and like @tomalmy
have had RG-58, Cat 5, Cat 6 and might
pull fiber; just because I can. :slight_smile:

I also use Ubiquiti, and while mesh networks
can solve a lot of problems, they wireless
uplink to other APs that are themselves
fully wireless. This introduces multi-hop,
and the corresponding bandwidth impact.

As wireless networks are intended for connectivity
to end stations, if you CAN run wire to an AP, you
backhaul at wire speeds, and keep your network flat.


Can someone help me figure out what I am missing.
I am trying to run some LAN tests for speed.

Arris SB6190 > Netgear Nighthawk X6

Synology NAS connected directed to Nighthawk
Macbook Pro connected to Gigabit Switch

Wifi is turned off. Network Utility on mac says there’s 1 Gbit Link connection.

Test 1 - Transfer 10 GB from Synology to Macbook (wired) took almost 20 minutes
Test 2 - Transfer 5 GB from Synology to Macbook (wired) took almost 8-10 minutes

I know “true gigabit” is unlikely, but what else could be accounting for the bottleneck on the LAN?

Some possible areas for investigation:

One thing to keep in mind is that your transfer speed is stated in Gigabits where as your data is in Gigabytes, there are 8 bits to a byte so effectively ( as I understand it) that would mean your first data test is 80Gigabits. Alternately you could think of it as your link speed is 0.125 Gigabytes.

Are all your cables cat5e or cat 6? Regular cat5 apparently only supports up to 100Mbps rather than 1000MBps (gigabit). Looks like you’re good between the MBP & the switch but what about the cables between the switch & the NightHawk and the Nighthawk to the NAS? Sometimes it worth trying with a new cable too in-case you’ve one that’s “working” but not quite up to speed.

How old is the NAS? If it’s old then does the NAS actually support gigabit speeds or only 100Mbps? How’s the speed of the drives in the NAS, is that setup even capable of offloading the data that quick?

Can you test plugging both the NAS & MBP into the switch and cut the Nighthawk out the loop? Perhaps same test but both plugged into the Nighthawk to remove the switch and compare results? Once you’ve established the cables are ok, then I’d start looking through the nighthawks settings. Is it one of the models that’s got quite a few settings for managing QoS? Might be that out the box it is setup to prioritise gaming traffic and throttle anything else to preserve the ping rate?

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File transfers aren’t the best measure of network speed/health. I’d use a traffic generator on one end of the link and a receiver on the other (iperf (a command line utility) does this well, running in both client and server modes).

The other thing to consider is what kind of data are you transferring with your test? If you copy one big file vs a lot of small files, that will make a huge difference in transfer speed. The CPU and RAM of your NAS will also affect how fast it can transfer your data, and how the drives are setup on your NAS (RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 or SHR) will all have different speed. And how many drive in your array? You should be able to get up to 105MB/s if all the stars are aligned, if you’re getting 80MB/s, it’s not bad, but some had 5MB/s, because of problem with SMB, so that would not be “normal”. You will never get the same speed as a direct attached thunderbolt 3 SSD for instance.

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Doing some upgrades in the house in the next week!
Going to sell my Nightgear Nighthawk X6 soon after the install is done.

  1. Upgrade Cox Plan from 300 D/30 Up to Cox Gigablast
  2. Adding 2 Unifi Nano HD to the 2nd floor.
  3. Adding 2 Unifi UAP-AP Lite (Each one is going to my 2 garages where I have some equipment but on opposite sides of the house) *Debating whether to get the UAP-AP-HD or just stay with the Lite.
  4. Unifi PoE switch, Gateway, Cloud Gen2
  5. Everything will be wired cat7

Going to put everything in a Rack enclosure. Once that’s done, the next upgrades (maybe in a few weeks later) will be…

  1. Synology Expansion
  • Decision of purchasing 2nd Synology (Rack-Mount) or keep the current and buy larger HDs.
  1. UPS
  • Sell my current UPS and swap it out for a Rack-Mount friendly.
  1. Fans
  • Googling if they have quiet fans that can be put into a rack enclosure.

What are the issues with Powerline? Why would they be sketchy for some houses? I’m about to get into a place but I think getting wifi to the floor I’m on may be an issue. I’m going to try using my Netgear wifi extender. But I’m wondering if a Powerline would be a much better option. And are there better Powerline options than others? I’ve never used one before.

Do you live in an old house? Some older houses with less robust wiring in some cases simply do not support Powerline networking, with no easy fix. Older wiring with less shielding the adapters may not work to provide a solid connection. (I’ve heard that more recent implementations of Powerline hardware have mitigated this problem for some.)

Also, the wiring is also susceptible to electrical interference and there are known issues with high load devices interfering with Powerline adapters(efg refrigerators, microwaves and vacuums.

If you or a neighbor are shortwave hobbyists you may also find Powerline causes interference. Same for some FM radio frequencies.

Thanks, @bowline. I don’t know how old the house is but it’s definitely not newer. (I am not buying the house.)

I’ll try my wifi extender and cross my fingers. If that doesn’t work, I’ll then try Powerline hardware. I’ll also have a much better idea of the setup of the router and where I’m putting things relative to other devices.

Powerline can be a great option. As long as you buy from a shop with a 30 day no-questions-asked return policy (like B&H) you’re safe to try it out.

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Rather then powerline you can also put the coax cables to use:

MOTOROLA MoCA Adapter for Ethernet Over Coax 2-Pack, 1,000 Mbps Bonded 2.0 MoCA (Model MM1002) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078HMDDVS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_wozrDbH9W39H2


How do you handle devices that don’t have wireless capability? For example, I have PS2 with ethernet that loads games from my Synology using SMB1 ( all it supports ) , but it doesn’t have a wireless adapter.

I’m in a 1 bedroom apartment so I have to find space where I can. My network is a mix of wired and wireless networks. I keep devices that need high-bandwidth and low latency wired, and devices that don’t need a lot of bandwidth or low latency on wireless networks.

I compared wired and wireless bandwidth using an application called iPerf. Wireless averaged around 200Mbps , and wired 900 Mbps. I work with multi gigabyte files all of the time at my workstation, so I keep that wired, along with my NAS (Synology and my application server (Mac Mini). My cable modem(Arris) and router (Ubiquiti USGW) are wired in a switch(Ubiquiti 16 power with POE) . Also connected to it are my AP(AC Lite ) and long run cat6 cable that goes to my workstation.

Wireless devices are home automation and gaming consoles. I don’t play competitive shooters so it’s ok to have higher latency. 2 exceptions are my gaming PC(no wireless card) and PS2(also no wireless capability ).

Below is my current “Server room” with is space I made in my walk in closet. It’s temporary until I get all the parts I ordered to build a proper server rack arrive and I put it all together. It was supposed to be my project for this weekend, but the earliest I could get everything delivered was Monday 6/15.

All of my devices in regular use right now are wireless. My Eero base has two ethernet ports(one goes to the modem), and my AT&T router/modem has a few more if I need them.

The satellites don’t have any ports.

UniFi does do true wireless backhaul,
depending on which AP you use.
Their “mesh” products as an example.

However, I agree to backhaul with
wire (or fiber) whenever you can.

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