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Advice re WiFi Pods vs Mesh

roilaa
Joining in

So I recently upgraded to the Volt 1gb package and I'm awaiting the WiFi pod that they are sending out. Over WiFi I am getting around 300mbps in most rooms, though one room was less than 30mbps, hence the pod.

However, I have a mesh system that I've not yet set up, and I'm wondering if it is worth using still or if the router + WiFi pod will be better. I think the mesh is Linksys Velop Ac1300. The one thing I've noticed since I got the new 5.0 router is that it has a smart switching feature to be between 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands. I think I would lose this feature with my mesh system as it is only a basic setup with 3 nodes.

What would you all advise? How good are the pods? Thanks in advance.

5 REPLIES 5

carl_pearce
Community elder

That Linksys is Wi-Fi 5 so you're technically going back a step since the HUB 5 is Wi-Fi 6. You'll also lose some of your bandwidth if putting the HUB in modem mode as the Linksys will have GIgabit ethernet ports, so around 940Mbps across your devices rather than 1130 (1152) Mbps.

If they are the black pods then they are also Wi-Fi 6 so 'should' allow for a decent connection and speed.

Client62
Legend

"smart switching feature to be between 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands"

Your devices are responsible for switching between bands,  this is not a feature of any VM Hub.

Hubs 3,4, & 5 have all used concurrent for WiFi when channels are set to auto. Your device will connect to the strongest signal.

Manually selecting the channel for 2.4 & 5,0 causes them to operate separately. 

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Tudor
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

One thing to consider is also Wireless Access Points wired back to the hub.

"Your devices are responsible for switching between bands,  this is not a feature of any VM Hub." not strictly true. The hubs/access point needs to support 802.11r fast roaming.


Tudor
There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't and F people out of 10 who do not understand hexadecimal c1a2a285948293859940d9a49385a2

Number-6
On our wavelength

802.11r refers to roaming between access points, ie if you have a mesh system, how does your device decide which ‘node’ to connect to? What the OP is talking about is intelligently switching between the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands depending on ‘circumstances’. This is referred to as ‘band steering’, and oddly enough, there are no agreed standards to do this (there is no 802.11 specification for this).

In terms of roaming between access points, one of the best and easiest to understand explanations I’ve seen is this one from Apple. Yes it does specify Apple devices’ criteria for roaming but the site does have a really good explanation of the various components and how they work.

As I mentioned, band steering is far more of a 'wild west’ setup. Either the device itself has to make the decision based on what it has been programmed to do, or, and much more commonly, the router or access point does this. It will determine that a device is apparently responding on both bands and ’steer’ the connection to one of them. Mostly to the 5 GHz frequencies. Except it’s not quite that simple, it may be that a device can connect to both bands, but the 2.4 GHz one is more ‘stable’ than the 5 GHz one, the 5 GHz band suffers far more from attenuation (just physics; as a general rule, the higher the frequency, the more it is effected by passing through objects). So sometimes it is better to have a device connect to the ‘inferior’ 2.4 band even though it could connect at 5 GHz.

So when considering what the ‘best’ solution for the OP, there are a large number of things to consider. The Hub 5 may well (don’t have one, so can’t check) have a facility for band steering - but how good is it? How robust are the algorithms it uses to determine which band to steer a particular device to?

If when the VM Pod turns up, if it is working well and the OP is getting good speed in all rooms, then fine - stick with it. Alternatively even with the gigabit ethernet connection and the fact that it’s WiFi 5 rather than 6, maybe the Velop system will be better, in that it gives a ‘better’ performance throughout the house. And all this depends on what the house is built of, location of furniture (yes, really), which rooms is it important that the WiFi quality is good?

There, alas, is no simple ‘is this system better than that one’ answer. Care to pay someone a couple of hundred pounds and they’ll gladly come round a run a full wifi survey, you’ll even get a very nice ‘heat map’, ie a plan of your house with overlaid coloured areas showing the RSSI (basically the WiFi strength) at various points in your house.

WiFi - very, very much a bit of a ‘black art’, even now!