Need a better wireless network setup

Ira

Active Member
My wife is working from home for the foreseeable future, VPN'ing into her company network. We live in a rent house, so I can't run any wires in the walls/attics to give her a hardwired connection to the home LAN, and she doesn't want me to run a cable along the floor because it would cross several doors/openings and be a trip hazard. She doesn't want to move her desk.
 
Her desk is about 40' away (and three walls) from the wireless access point (old ASUS RT-N66R). Speed tests on her work laptop at her desk shows about 45Mbps download speed. The laptop goes to the access point, then thru a gigabit switch to get to the cable modem. On my hardwired computer, speed tests show a consistent 950Gbps download speed. This machine goes thru two gigabit switches to get to the cable router/modem.
 
Because the only difference between the computers is one is hardwired and the other is wireless, I'm assuming the wireless access point is the bottleneck. Is there wireless hardware setup that will significantly increase her speed? Maybe something that is very directional? Her work laptop is a year or two old Dell, but I don't know what its wireless capabilities are.
 
Thanks,
Ira
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
Good, fast, cheap, pick two... the rule always applies.  

Getting faster Wifi via 5gHz means being closer to the router, no way around it.  The more distance and material you put between the device and the access point, the worse your speed will be.

Given it's likely temporary, get some gaffer tape (actual gaffer tape, not just random duct tape) and tape down an actual Ethernet cable.  She may not like the look of it, but to speed a for something better, for a temporary situation, is probably a waste.

Some of the mesh solutions are supposed to be able to assist for this.  But they can't escape the reality that using them adds delays and slows other wireless traffic.  You'd get better speed connecting to the nearest mesh device but then you'd likely lose a fair bit as it has to get repeated through others.  I mean, it couldn't hurt to try one though.  Could be the improvement is just enough to be ok temporarily.

But I'd still go with taping down a real cable.  Just mind that you don't use the wrong kinds of tape and end up ruining paint or wood finishes.
 

Ira

Active Member
Reliable/fast is my preference. It's very possible that this will be a long term thing. I would rather keep the cost at around $200 or less, but I would double that amount if the improvement is great enough. I would like to get at least 100Mbps, if not more.
 

ano

Senior Member
Two bottlenecks are the VPN speed and the wireless standard. For the Wi-Fi to be that speed, both client and access point need to support it. 802.11ac is the latest you can buy and should support 400mbps if at a reasonable distance. (1300mbps is the rating with many streams, but these routers do not exist.)
 
I'd get a good business router with VPN built in. I just got a Fortinet FortiWiFi 40F and love it. It runs about $400. 
 

pete_c

Guru
On my hardwired computer, speed tests show a consistent 950Mbps download speed. 
 
So you have a Gb connection to your internet provider? 
 
Can you plug in your wife's computer to your Gb switch, bring up VPN and do a speed test to a server she is accessing to the company side server.
 
Depending on the company they can be throttling the VPN connections in.
 
Get an off lease Ruckus Gb Wireless AP on Ebay.  There are hundreds of these for sale on Ebay as they are used in public sector areas plus Universities et al.
 
And they are all under $100.  
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
ano said:
I'd get a good business router with VPN built in. I just got a Fortinet FortiWiFi 40F and love it. It runs about $400. 
The complication there is not all VPN setups are alike.  That and company policy may not allow for anything other than client-to-network VPN.  My wife's firm setup requires this.  And while I know how to configure a router to do this, the IT folks on their end (along with work policies) require a client-only connection (even when there's multiple devices at the site, like both a laptop and a tablet).

A router-based tunnel might pose other problems, too.  Both from a security and from an overall routing scheme (all home, non-work traffic getting sent through it).  

So while I agree with what you're suggesting, know that might not be a workable solution for all scenarios.
 
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
Ira said:
We live in a rent house...
 
What kind of ISP connection is it?  Where's the cabling coming in from outside?  Could be there might be a simple way to bring the link in from a different point on the house?  Or run a wire outside, using outdoor-grade CAT6 cable, back out through the existing hole and then back in at a point closer to her desk?  Lots of variables to consider, like wall construction type and potential for other materials to be in-wall, but it's a potential alternative to consider.  
 

ano

Senior Member
wkearney99 said:
The complication there is not all VPN setups are alike.  That and company policy may not allow for anything other than client-to-network VPN.  My wife's firm setup requires this.  And while I know how to configure a router to do this, the IT folks on their end (along with work policies) require a client-only connection (even when there's multiple devices at the site, like both a laptop and a tablet).

A router-based tunnel might pose other problems, too.  Both from a security and from an overall routing scheme (all home, non-work traffic getting sent through it).  

So while I agree with what you're suggesting, know that might not be a workable solution for all scenarios.
 
I don't use the VPN part of the router, because it doesn't apply to me, but a router like this, designed for a small office would be the way to go, assuming that this is what the IT department of the company involved endorses. I would think that in today's environment, the company itself would supply the premise equipment, but I don't know what is common today. If you do have to buy it, the cost is likely deductible. For cheaper, there is eBay, where you can get a 60E for like $150, but that is overkill.  
 
I guess the moral is contact the company that is at the other-end of the connection for advice, not so much the people here. 
 

Ira

Active Member
I have a 1Gbps service from Xfinity/Comcast. The service enters the house on the opposite side from her desk. I really don't want to be running any additional wires (inside or outside).
 
I'm focusing on the wireless aspect because when I try a speed test using a personal laptop at her desk (going thru the same wireless access point), I get the same results.
 
Even if allowed to do so, I would rather not mess with the VPN client or try to run with a different VPN hardware configuration because I would have to get involved any time she has any type of VPN problem.
 
The walls are typical interior house walls... 2x4 construction, empty wall cavities, painted 1/2" drywall on both sides of the walls.
 
My current access point is from 2012, and the fastest protocol it supports is 802.11n. I guess what I'm really wondering is if a SOHO access point (in the SOHO $200-300 range) that supports 802.11ac should result in much of an improvement.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
I would run a long cable temporarily on the floor from the gateway to her work computer and see it if cures the problem. If it does then run a cat6 wire along the baseboards held in place with little staples or brads. If it is done neatly it will be hardly noticeable and no trip danger. You may even be able to snake through a wall by removing AC outlet and switch face-plates to avoid seeing the cable in the doorway. You could even push a metal coat hangar wire through the wall behind a piece of furniture to pass a cable and it would leave a very small hole when you remove the cable.
 
Mike.
 

TrojanHorse

Active Member
Is 45Mbps not fast enough? You can stream an HD on Netflix with 5Mbps. What is the upload speed? What is the latency? I wonder if those are bigger issues.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
With my new ASUS RT-AX92U router I am discovering that many of my existing devices now support 866Mbps WiFi on 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands. The new router also supports a third band with 5GHz supporting up to 4Gbps. This is also used to link to my older ASUS AC1900AC router as a mesh network and using it as another access point with automatic switching. ASUS brought out new firmware to use your existing router as a mesh access point without starting over.
 
With speeds, even on routers 5 years old connecting at 866Mbps, I am losing interest in hard-wiring anything more at 1,000 Mbps, than I already have installed. It really has made a huge difference to my connect speed from the old WiFi. It may be time to upgrade your router.
 
Now to find new equipment that connects at 4Gbps WiFi. :lol: :lol:
 

Ira

Active Member
Her laptop doesn't have a LAN port. She is trying to locate a docking station she can use that does have one, but it is only to make sure the laptop will run near 1Gbps when hardwired.
 
I think the upload speed was about 6Mbps, and latency was under 20ms.. Her work requires her to download/upload files several times a day, so having the increased speed will help.
 
A cable would have to go across a couple of doorways and a couple of 6' wide cased openings. It's just not worth the trouble...yet.
 

ano

Senior Member
802.11ac can easily support 800Mbps up to about 50 ft.  Likely the VPN, especially a software VPN is the bottleneck, not Wi-Fi.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
What brand AND model laptop?  Not all have decent docking station options.  Some are direct to bus, some are just USB.  

That and if you end up using a USB dongle it'd better be USB3 or you're not going to get full gigabit performance (as USB2 is limited to 480mps).  It'd be faster than 100mbps wired, and no doubt faster than your current WiFi situation.
 
The laptop model# might also shed light on other potential networking 'surprises'.  Some in-built WiFi options have terrible performance.

And we haven't asked the obvious question, if you move her laptop to a point that's very close to the router, do you get better 5gHz network performance?  Because if you don't then that's something to sort of now, and confirm it is or isn't the laptop acting as the bottleneck.
 
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