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Superhub 3 replacement for better Wifi range

Hi all, have trawled through similar threads on this but haven't found a suitable answer.

We live in a three-bedroom flat and the SH3 delivers great WiFi speed at close range (200mbps in living room where the SH3 is) but drops dramatically in the main bedroom (10mbps max) or completely in the kitchen. I assume this is brick walls, lack of line of sight etc and the general weakness of the SH3.

I recently got a tp-link archer a7 ac1750 router and used it instead, switching SH3 to modem mode. However the improvement was minimal (20mbps in bedroom) and I also had couple of drop-outs in the day, so I'm returning the tp-link and switching back to SH3 as router.

My questions:

  1. Is there another router that people would recommend, especially for a flat?
  2. Is mesh a better option? If so what would people recommend (e.g Eero) and would one unit be enough?
  3. My SH3 currently auto manages between 2.4ghz and 5ghz. Would it make a difference if I split it out into two separate networks?

Many thanks!

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Andruser
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Re: Superhub 3 replacement for better Wifi range

My questions:

  1. Is there another router that people would recommend, especially for a flat?

Probably not.  Whilst there's better routers than the Hub 3 (eg more aerials, better signal processors), all domestic routers operate at the same power because that's been laid down in international technical standards.  Depending on the building it's possible that some of the internal walls are reinforced concrete, which is even worse than brick at reducing wifi signals.  Don't forget as well that most flats involve multiple routers from other properties in close proximity and competing signals may be a further hindrance

Is mesh a better option? If so what would people recommend (e.g Eero) and would one unit be enough?

A mesh system would be a good choice, but given the concerns about signal strength you'd need to consider either a tri-band system (circa £200), or using a £70-£130 mesh with ethernet cables to connect the nodes.  On a conventional purely wireless dual band mesh (like mine) the link between primary and subsequent nodes is over a shared portion of the 5 GHz band, and if you have a difficult wifi environment this may still result in still limited speeds.  My wifi environment is easy and so there's no problem from the dual band setup, but I don't know if that will work for you.  If considering ethernet cable runs, be aware that you can buy flat profile white Cat 7 ethernet which may make domestic cable runs more palatable.....

In terms of a one unit mesh.....I'm afraid there's no such thing, despite marketing that implies otherwise.  You will need at least two units for form a mesh, depending on the performance you might need to add a third.  For me, two TP-Link Deco M4's provide total coverage of both floors in a medium large 4 bed detached and cover the garden and detached garage as well.  But if all your internal walls are solid you might need three.

As a personal opinion, avoid the Eero (and Google/Nest, and BT) products.  It isn't that they don't work, just that they are poor value for money.  Stick to TP-Link, Asus, or Netgear products is my recommendation.  Any mesh will do if you go down this route, just make sure it has gigabit ports to avoid throttling the whole system unless you're on a 100 Mbps connection and happy with that.  Tenda mesh products are often very good value, and worth considering, but again avoid any without gigabit ports.  

My SH3 currently auto manages between 2.4ghz and 5ghz. Would it make a difference if I split it out into two separate networks?

Probably not, but it is certainly worth a try.  Then always use the 5 GHz if the device can see it, and whilst in settings turn off "automatic optimisation" and increase the 5 GHz channel width to 20/40/80. 

And finally have you considered wifi boosters that use data over powerline?  Normally I'd sniff at these as an inferior solution to a proper router or mesh, in your situation they might well work perfectly?  And if the rooms are on the same mains circuit they could be your simplest and cheapest option.

 

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Re: Superhub 3 replacement for better Wifi range

Huge thanks for the detailed and thoughtful reply Andruser.

I hadn’t considered the power line option but will do so now, starting with the ones Virgin provide for free.

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