Updating the Home Infrastructure

The Internet.

It’s something that my wife and I use every day. It’s as important in our home as electricity and hot water. Our work, entertainment, and even our home depends on its constant connection to keep everything moving.

Over the years we’ve struggled to find the right solution to our networking woes. Generally, we would sign up for Comcast or AT&T, pay for a service that sometimes worked, and eventually it would start getting progressively worse until we finally gave up and called our competitor to swap it over again. The cycle was usually annual, but AT&T did reach out to continue a promotion last year that made us keep the service a little longer. We’ve been with them since we moved into the house.

Over the last month, however, the issues had returned. Our speeds were pummiting, connectivity was spotty, sometimes the router just disconnected and would not reconnect. All of these issues were temporary and would resolve themselves within a few hours, but as I mentioned earlier, this tech is fueling almost everything we do. A few hours brings everything to a halt.

So we finally decided to make the switch… again.

This time, however, we also decided we were going all in.

New ISP

We signed up for Spectrum’s Internet Ultra service (400Mbps) and had the installer put the modem in our computer room.

We’ve almost always bounced back and forth between Comcast and AT&T so this is our first time trying a new ISP in some time. I’m really crossing my fingers here. I have a general disdain for ISPs as I feel I often times pay for a service that the providers don’t really provide and there isn’t anything to do about it since no one seems to be able to escape from the grasp of the ISP mentality of “up to” service.

 

Google Mesh Networking

Wifi routers are great.

5GHz signal, with almost no interference, is awesome for modern wireless. The problem is the range is significantly shorter than the old 2.4GHz. In our home, that meant that while the 5GHz was the preferred choice for our devices, most of them couldn’t connect because of range.

Over the last two years, the idea of mesh networking has become more common. I generally avoided it as a gimmick, and while it may still be, I finally decided to bite the bullet and pick up a new router to go with our new ISP upgrade.

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Google Wifi

We picked Google Wifi because it actually had really strong reviews online and the accompanying Google Wifi app has a lot of great functionality and features without the need to go through the old style interface in a browser.

We were able to connect our devices, name them, assign priority, and even setup a guest network in mere minutes.

The ethernet connections on each of the routers is a plus and a minus. On the positive side, I was able to put one in the living room and connect the Phillips Hue hub to the mesh network with no issue, so there’s a little more flexibility there, but in our Computer Room, the lack of hardline connects are what made us buy the Linksys SE3005 switch to accomplish the hardline connections we needed. It’s a little bit annoying, but most people aren’t running to gaming/work rigs that require the comfort of wired connections.

Opinion So Far?

We’re about a week in and everything has worked without flaw since our installation. That doesn’t really mean much to me, however, as we generally have great success with our internet in the first few months every time we switch. The question will be how everything holds up six months to a year from now.

That being said, so far I am a big fan of the Google Wifi app. I like being able to review the devices accessing our network, naming them and monitoring them to see what device is using all our bandwidth, and I think overall the UI really makes this router a winner.

It’s one of the first products that I have purchased from Google that I feel like grew up to be a polished version of an older product (Google OnHub) that was released in 2015 and that I really liked at the time.

Anyway, all of this was a big technological turnover in a short time, so I wanted to write up about it so that I can make angry or proud comments in another year once we’ve really had a chance to use the hardware!

Now, I’m off to surf the web!

1 thought on “Updating the Home Infrastructure”

  1. Gosh, I really lack knowledge in this area. My hubby has no interest in tech stuff, so I have to take care of it, and I am just lost. But, hey, our internet works, right. Happy surfin’! 😀

    Like

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