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How are the new modems for Wi-Fi coverage compared to 3rd party routers?

Hwaiting
I plan to stick around

Hi everyone (not sure if this should be in Internet or Ignite TV, it's a bit of both)

I'm having my legacy Internet/TV converted to the Ignite platform this week by a tech. My current configuration is with the CODA-4582 modem in bridge mode connected to a Netgear R7000. I use separate SSIDs for 2.4 and 5 Ghz.
I have the modem and R7000 located centrally on the 2nd floor. At the basement TV location, I can get a 2.4 Ghz signal in the mid -60dBms and on 5 Ghz get in the mid -70dBms (using a tablet and Netgear Wi-Fi analyzer app). So my initial thoughts are that the R7000 seems to provide sufficient coverage, at least on paper.

 

I guess I have a few questions:

1. Have people found that the new modems have comparable signal strengths to 3rd party routers like the R7000? If the Rogers setup solution works right out of the box, I'm thinking I might give it a chance rather than run to bridge mode. I imagine since bridging is an unsupported setup, the tech is going to set everything up the "Rogers" way and install any Pods if needed which will then implement band steering. 

2. Is there a signal strength threshold for the TV boxes before Pods need to be implemented? When it comes to the TV boxes, will the tech only be looking at connecting at 5 Ghz or is connecting at 2.4 Ghz an acceptable solution?

3. If using the Rogers solution and they say I do require Pods/band steering, I do have an old laptop that only has 2.4 Ghz and I've read it might have problems when band steering is on. Is this more the exception or the rule? I guess worse case scenario I buy a Wi-Fi USB adapter for the laptop (unless can the R7000, if not being used anymore, act as a wireless access point for the the laptop to be hardwired to?)

4. One of the reason I was using an external router is I have a USB HDD connected to it acting like a network drive. Do the new Rogers modems allow for USB drives to be connected to it?

 

Thanks! (crossing my fingers that the install will all be fine).

3 REPLIES 3

Re: How are the new modems for Wi-Fi coverage compared to 3rd party routers?

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@Hwaiting  I don't have an R7000 so I can't compare its Wi-Fi performance to that of an Ignite gateway.  Given that the R7000 has external antennas that can be moved/adjusted (vs internal antennas on the Ignite gateway), I would guess that it would work better with devices that connect from a farther distance.

 

Re: #2, Is there a signal strength threshold for the TV boxes before Pods need to be implemented? When it comes to the TV boxes, will the tech only be looking at connecting at 5 Ghz or is connecting at 2.4 Ghz an acceptable solution? 

 

The Ignite set-top boxes will connect on either band.  There is no "minimum" signal strength but keep in mind that it is REALLY important that any active Wi-Fi devices have the best-possible quality connection.  As the signal strength fades, the data rate on the Wi-Fi connection drops, and active devices with poor quality connections will consume more air time when they transmit/receive data... and that, in turn, will degrade the Wi-Fi performance for ALL other devices that share the same channel/frequencies.

 

The Ignite set-top boxes require approximately 10 Mb/s of bandwidth for an HD stream; 25 Mb/s for a 4K stream.  That's not a lot of bandwidth.  If your in-home network performs well and your Internet connection performs well, then Ignite TV will perform well.  (However, look at how many people we have here complaining that they see black screens and constant A/V drop-outs with Ignite... and that would be because either one or both of those are problematic.)

 

Re: #3, If using the Rogers solution and they say I do require Pods/band steering, I do have an old laptop that only has 2.4 Ghz and I've read it might have problems when band steering is on. Is this more the exception or the rule? I guess worse case scenario I buy a Wi-Fi USB adapter for the laptop (unless can the R7000, if not being used anymore, act as a wireless access point for the the laptop to be hardwired to?)

 

Really hard to say without more information.  If you do not have Pods, you can run the Ignite gateway with separate network names for the 2.4 and 5 GHz networks, and that will disable band steering.  With Pods installed, you cannot do this and must have band steering enabled.

 

In one family member's home, an XB6 gateway can provide good WiFi coverage throughout the home and good-enough coverage in the front and back yards.  (I have it carefully placed in the family room, where I found a gap in the plumbing and duct work behind the main structural wall.  If you move the gateway just 6 inches (15 cm) in any direction, you will get Wi-Fi dead spots.)

 

In another, they have an XB7, and I had to add a Gen-2 Pod to provide good coverage throughout the home.

 

In both cases, all connected devices have an RSSI better that is better than -65 dBm.

 

If all else fails, you can still add the R7000 to your network and run it in AP mode.

 

Re: #4, One of the reason I was using an external router is I have a USB HDD connected to it acting like a network drive. Do the new Rogers modems allow for USB drives to be connected to it?

 

No.  There is no USB port on the Ignite gateways, so they cannot be used as a File or Print server.

 

 

One other thing to keep in mind is that the router/firewall functionality on the Ignite gateway is VERY simplistic.  The XB6 and XB7 gateways are fast, and can easily move data at Gigabit rates.  However, there is no way to even do something as simple as configure an alternate DNS server.  Port forwarding is also simplistic and can be finicky.  You are now also forced to use the Ignite WiFi app for some configuration and management functions.

 

However, if your networking needs are pretty simple/typical, then running in a Rogers-supported configuration will also simplify your life in many ways, and the network will pretty much run itself.

Re: How are the new modems for Wi-Fi coverage compared to 3rd party routers?

Hwaiting
I plan to stick around

Sorry for the late response (I had trouble logging in to the forums the other day). Thanks for all those answers.

I had my installation today and things went pretty smoothly. Modem is on 2nd floor and my basement TV gets 2 Wi-Fi bars so I didn't need any pods.

I decided to setup with a single SSID and fortunate for me my 2.4Ghz-only devices were able to connect no problems. Things are just working so I think I'm going to keep this configuration instead of trying to bridge.

I had heard that when you upgrade to Ignite that you get a new account #? Is that true? When I log into MyRogers through the browser, it's still showing everything as is as if I'm still on my legacy system. It even still shows an offer to upgrade to Ignite. I guess it will update soon or perhaps at the next billing cycle?

Thanks again -G- for your responses.

Re: How are the new modems for Wi-Fi coverage compared to 3rd party routers?

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

I'm glad to hear that everything is working well for you!

 

If you want to try to get slightly better WiFi performance, walk through your home with a mobile phone in your hand.  See how may bars of WiFi you get everywhere.  In the areas are where you get spotty coverage, try to find out what could be blocking the signal.  (Something behind the walls?  Large bathroom mirrors?)  Then try repositioning and reorienting the Ignite gateway to see what effect (if any) this has.

 

For better precision, try using a WiFi analyzer app instead of looking at signal strength bars.  You don't need anything too fancy.  I use Apple's AirPort Utility app on my iPhone.  It's free, comes from a reputable source, and has a WiFi Scanner that you can enable in settings... and this allows be to see the signal strength of my WiFi access points and information about neighbouring WiFi networks.

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