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BetronParks
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Virgin Media Home Network?

Hi guys are able to give me some advice on a set up?

I’ve got a virgin media super hub 3 downstairs at the back of the house however get poor WiFi signal upstairs towards the front. I would like to add Ethernet connection/s upstairs at the front for an office whilst also improving WiFi in that area.

The current super hub has 3 ethernets currently connected (tv,Xbox and TiVo)

What would you recommend? I’m a total noob when it comes to networking.

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Andrew-G
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Re: Virgin Media Home Network?

Various ways of doing this.  If you need more ethernet ports then a twelve quid "unmanaged gigabit etherent switch" will act as a port multiplier and can be placed anywhere - next to the hub, or on the end of a single ethernet cable run through the house.

For better wifi coverage, you can just add a VM pod (free, with conditions to Ultimate Oomph customers).  The pod turns creates a basic mesh wifi system - not particularly powerful, but it works.  If you don't get it free, then they're £5 a month, which isn't good economic sense, but some customers are not worried about that.

A step ahead of that would be to put the hub in "modem mode", and use a mesh wifi system, currently costing around £100 for a three unit system like the TP-Link Deco S4.  There's plenty of choice in the market, and many different makes, just avoid any cheaper systems that don't have "gigabit" ethernet ports because that will constrain performance even at lower speeds (so don't buy a Deco E4 or Tenda MW3, for example).  If money's no object Asus and Netgear do some superb mesh systems at much higher prices, some with four ethernet ports on each mesh unit, but you're looking at £200-300 for those.

With a mesh system, you could put one of the mesh units at the front of the house, and then connect non-wireless devices to the two ethernet ports on the mesh unit - they'll see that as a connection to the router, because the wifi is provided by the mesh system.  This relies on the mesh system getting good speeds internally, and if there's multiple solid brick walls between the first mesh unit and the one serving the upstairs front then you might need to run an ethernet cable from primary mesh unit to that secondary - but you can try without and see how that goes before committing to the considerable effort to run a long length of ethernet cable.

When buying ethernet cable, buy Cat 7.  It's cheap and readily available, and for domestic uses the cheaper still Cat 6 or 5e doesn't save enough money to make it worthwhile.  If running any of it outside search for weatherproof cable, if using internally and surface mounted then flat profile white Cat 7 is readily available and can be fairly inconspicuous.  You'll either need to buy a fifteen quid ethernet cable termination kit, or buy pre-made cable, the pre made is easier, but any holes that have to be drilled will need to be 15mm across to pass a plug through, and that's a big hole if you have to look at it.  Make sure any drilling is within your capabilities, and work safely (goggles, check for mains electricity, gas or water pipes), and before making the hole think about any reinstatement of decor or weather proofing.  Assume around £17 for 20 metres of flat Cat 7 cable, and then budget for whatever you need in either smallest size mini-trunking or suitable cable clips, say another £30 for fitment and assorted odds and ends.

I think the optimum might be as follows:  Hub in modem mode connected to first mesh unit.  First mesh unit connected to unmanaged switch.  Unmanaged switch serves existing ethernet devices and long ethernet link to secondary mesh unit for upstairs front.  Upstairs secondary mesh has one spare hard wired ethernet port (if needed you can fit another ethernet switch there).  Third mesh unit connected only by wireless, placed where you see fit.  Altogether that's a £157 including cable and fittings (plus £12 with a second switch).  Excellent wifi everywhere, hard wired ethernet for all necessary devices and upstairs front.

There's no doubt this is moderate amount of hassle to do, and not cheap (two tanks of petrol?) but done properly it'll give you a superbly connected property that you'd only need to do once.  Then you'll move house....

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