I have always been searching for the best home Wifi solutions, and have spent lots of time an money trying to figure it all out. I am as far away from an IT professional as it comes, so I have felt like I’m always chasing my tail. I have spent lots of money “trying things” as I tell my wife. We spend nearly $70 per month on the best internet service we have access to at our house. We cut the cable and went to streaming as a family over a year ago, and I also have a need for good upload speeds to do live video and audio for my Podcast. Because our house is a 2 story with a basement, I was stuck in the basement for the live videos and our TV’s upstairs were slow and clunky.
So, I went from a what I thought was a decent router but was limited to 2.4 and 802.11n standard to what was at the time one of the best routers on the market because it had dual-band (2.4 and 5.8) and also the latest 802.11ac standard – TP-Link Archer C7 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (AC1750). It cost me about $100 back in 2015. We learned to be patient with the Amazon Fire TV and I ended up setting up a hard-wired connection and studio in the basement. It was not ideal, but hey at least we were not paying nearly $200 a month for TV and internet and it worked.
Then a few weeks ago, my wife and I started talking about how we could improve some things in our life as far as balance. I found myself spending a ton of time alone in our basement working and we had a room that was out office closer to my family that was pretty much vacant. We made the decision to move our huge desk (not a ton of fun, but good exercise…) and then pay someone to come out and run ethernet cables upstairs. By a stroke of good fortune, we had some friends over that same weekend and I was asking one of our neighbors who is an IT professional his thoughts on improving our internet situation. First I found out the antennas on the C7 made a difference. I was basically concentrating all of the signals into the ground around the basement. I made that change the next day and already saw an improvement.
He also showed me his set-up on his phone and the control he has of his home network. I’m a sucker for cool tech like that and apps get me excited. He told me about his set-up and that he was using a Ubiquiti UniFi UAP AC Long Range Router. He did a quick search on Amazon and it only cost $110. I was impressed! Well, we had a fun night playing some board games, having some adult drinks and apparently at some point in the evening, I hit buy now in my Amazon app. I had to be OK with the clothing purchases my wife made that night too. PSA – Parents, Adult Drinking Games and Amazon Apps with one click buying set up are a bad idea!
Two days later, this little gem showed up at my house. Apparently trying to get consumer grade tech to really work with live streaming and longer range wifi is just throwing money away. There were tons of box opening videos on YouTube along with tons of great reviews. Unfortunately for me, those were all by IT professionals and people way smarter than me. So that night I was up from about 10 PM to 2 AM trying to get this new enterprise level router set-up. While that part sucked, once I finally got it figure out it was night and day. Yes, I was in my own head about it, and it ended up being easier than I made it once some light bulbs clicked. All of the TV’s worked like a charm and I was able to cancel the expensive networking expert visit.
I went from barely being able to connect to the 2.4 band upstairs in the office to having awesome speed. I also have full control over the system right from my phone. I can see all the other wifi system around me (neighbor’s houses) I can select a different channel to minimize interference. I also learned that night when we had friends over the microwaves cause havoc on wifi, so by setting the 5.8 band to “Auto” it accounts for that. Lastly, when I’m going to be live streaming I can go into the software in my Ubiquiti UniFi UAP AC Long Range Router and turn off all of the other devices on my network and the upload speeds I get in the furthest reaches of my house are awesome.