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Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

Inspire of investing in boosters there are areas in my property where there is no wifi signal.

I am considering investing in a Mesh system  (eg Google Nest, BT, disc, Netgear Orbi).

Any recommendations as to which system is most compatible with Virgin Hub 3.0 and provides best coverage and speed

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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

They are all equally compatible, whats your budget?

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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

Budget is not an issue. Having a system that works is

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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

Some mesh systems such as the Nest and Orbi are designed to replace the router and run their own DHCP server so you'd put the hub into modem mode, whereas others like the BT WH relies I think on a router and you must leave the hub in router mode.

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Hub 3.0, TP-Link Archer C8, TP-Link TL-SG1008D 8-port gigabit switch, V6
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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

If money is no object get one that says tri band

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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

Mesh systems, while they seem to be the ‘in thing’ at the moment are not necessarily the answer for everyone. Mesh systems pass the signal from node to node and this can certainly decrease the signal level depending on how many hops are involved. Another option is just a couple of good quality Wireless Access Points.

NOBODY can advise you on what is the best system for your home. To do so would require detailed plans of your home and a full WiFi site survey.

Personally I would always purchase discreet components, just a plain router, network switch/es and wireless access points. If any one fails it’s very easy to replace without the full cost of replacing everything. Also makes it much easier to upgrade to new standards that are in the pipeline like WiFi 6e.


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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

Tudor the tri band mesh systems keep the back haul on a separate 5ghz band to eliminate speed drops on each hop

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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

I'm using a mesh system with a Hub 3 in modem mode, so I'll share my experience of my system.  It was a cheap system (two unit TP Link Deco M4 costing seventy quid) and it isn't a tri-band system, so the secondary node is a touch slower than the primary.  This is in a mid sized 4 bed detached house, and the primary unit is next to the Hub 3 which is upstairs, the secondary unit is downstairs. 

In terms of "does it work" the answer is a resounding yes.  All moans about the crummy Hub 3 wifi vanished overnight, speed and reliability of wireless connection have improved significantly, and even one problem Lenovo device that would never stay connected to the Hub 3 now works faultlessly, and the wireless printer is now reliable, unlike when connected wirelessly to the Hub 3.  I've even taken one desktop PC off of a wired connection and put it on wireless, and nobody has noticed any difference in performance.  Configuration was easy - as a low cost system it doesn't have all of the things that a premium router offers to fiddle with so channel selection, channel width, device management are all automated.  You choose your own network name, and the Deco M4 then uses a single SSID for both 2.4 and 5 GHz (but unlike the Hub 3 which uses the same idea but doesn't work reliably, this single SSID works faultlessly for all my devices).

My Deco M4 offers "wifi as an appliance", but it does still allow decent parental controls, device blacklisting and such like.  By automating device management the mesh allows something of the order of 100 devices concurrently connected, but since we've got nowhere near that number I can't speak for how that would work.  The instructions cover adding new mesh nodes, and that's easy enough so if you need to extend the network later that's not a problem, and most TP-Link mesh systems allow mix and match of the components, so you're not constrained by the need to add only Deco M4 units.  

As I'm on an M200 contract, I can't speak for the ultimate speed capacity of the system, but I get the same speed over wireless as wired when devices connect to the primary mesh node at 218-220 Mbps, and I'd guess that if the connection allowed it the primary mesh node would top out at around 280-350 Mbps over wifi with a device that allows that.  When connected to the secondary node via wifi I get speeds up to 180 Mbps, and that's through a supporting wall - I could increase the maximum speed of the secondary node by running an ethernet cable to link the two mesh nodes, but for me that's not a concern - 180 Mbps is plenty fast enough to concurrently accommodate all household use, and the whole point of mesh was to eliminate wireless not-spots without me having to configure complicated routers, switches and access points, and run cables all round the house.  

The only thing that may be worthy of note is that each node has only two ethernet ports (both gigabit), and on the primary node you'd have one taken up with the link to the Hub 3.  So, assuming you don't connect the two nodes by ethernet, then there's one spare ethernet port on the primary node (in my case for my gaming PC), and there's two spare ethernet ports on the secondary nodes - which means you can connect non-wireless devices without running wires all the way back to the primary node.   If I need to connect more wired devices to the primary node I'd buy a £15 ethernet switch, but as I say, it all works so well I currently don't see the need.  If I recall correctly the cheaper Deco E4 doesn't have gigabit ethernet ports, so I'd avoid that one.

For some people, mesh is not the way forward, and I'd divide these into three camps:

  • People with smaller properties: You don't need a mesh system for most three bed bungalows (although a three bed flat with reinforced concrete walls might be a different kettle of fish).
  • People who are happy with the existing Hub 3 wireless performance - regardless of speed, range and reliability, if you don't have any problems, don't spend money.
  • People who insist on the highest possible speed from their wifi throughout their property, want more control, and are happy researching, buying, connecting and configuring the necessary routers, access points, cables and switches.  Even then you could hard wire mesh nodes to achieve much the same effect.

If you want ultimate performance from a mesh system, the premium Asus routers can be configured as that company's AiMesh system.  I haven't any experience of that, but on the basis of the company's expertise and reputation I would expect it to be a superb implementation, although you're then looking at around £150-£250 for both the primary router and the same again for each router to configure as an AiMesh node.  You could also wait for Wifi 6 technology to make its way onto mid price mesh systems, but that'll take time, and the first units (eg TP-Link's Deco X90 announced but as yet unavailable) will be very expensive.  Personally I don't see the need - even 8K streaming "only" needs 50 Mbps, but as I say, some people will not be happy unless they're able to see 350-400 Mbps over wifi.  Personally I'd say Wifi 6 isn't a reason to defer buying a mesh system, so long as you're happy with what you're getting. 

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Message 9 of 31
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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

Hi,

Great to hear the Deco M4's are working for you. I myself have just picked up a 3 pack from amazon and have them working as of last night, but only in standard router mode (with wifi turned off on hub 3). I couldn't see to get them to pick up the internet if the hub 3 was in modem mode.

Did you have any difficulty getting them to work straight away? It could be that i may not have connected the Main Deco to the hub 3 in the right port - i used the top port 1.

If i can't get it into modem mode, am i losing any functionality by keeping it in router mode/

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Re: Hub 3.0 compatibility with Mesh systems

When you put the VM hub in modem mode you must follow a set sequence the first time.

Put the hub into modem mode and ensure the bottom LED is magenta. Turn off the VM hub. Fully initialised you own system, the WAN port on your system must be set to DHCP. Connect to VM hub. Now power on the VM hub. It should now work. 


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