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#368143 - 01/01/2017 16:34 home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc.
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
I'm doing many different things to the home network now. Right now, I've got AT&T for data and voice, and Comcast for video. Comcast data, in a bundle with video, turns out to be much cheaper than equivalent service from AT&T, and I get to keep my TiVo, so I've decided to go all-in for Comcast.

I've decided to future-proof myself and get a gigabit-capable cable-modem, even though I'm only buying 200Mbps service. If I decide to upgrade later, I won't need a new cable modem.

I'm also replacing my two Apple Airport Extreme's with a Google WiFi trio. One in the wiring closet to act as my border gateway, one in the home theater, where we tend to hang out, and one with location TBD, but all of them will be hard-wired.

Making this all work is going to require more Ethernet ports than I've got available in my closet, so I'm going with a 16-port Netgear gigabit switch. Remember when something like that would have been scandalously expensive? Anyway, that will let me light up every outlet in my house, if I want. (The builder was an idiot in so many ways, but at least he ran Cat5e to every single phone jack.)

This will solve most of my problem, except for my home theater rack, where I've got three devices that want hard Ethernet wires, and which will grow in the future. Right now, I'm using my Airport Extreme to keep two of them working (Bluray & TiVo). When I swap in the Google WiFi, I'll use an older 4-port GigE switch to keep everything going, and my long-term solution (as part of the eventual 4K video upgrade) might end up being a Sony ZA3100ES 7-channel receiver with a built-in Ethernet switch, which doesn't seem to be offered by any other receiver vendors. I'm a bit irked that Sony is requiring you to buy it from a custom installer, rather than offering it through standard retailers, but I'm sure somebody will just sell the damn thing over the Internet.

Whole-house video: I've already got a TiVo Roamio (6-tuner) and one TiVo mini (1st gen). I've now got a second TiVo mini on order, so I'll get rid of the Comcast cable boxes in our house and we'll be doing whole-house video on three TVs. Fun fact: the second-gen TiVo mini comes with free lifetime service, making it effectively half the price of the first-gen unit with equivalent service. That makes it a no-brainer. (The TiVo mini also supports Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. I've got a Chromecast in the home theater and might go with those on the other two TVs as well. The TiVo interface for everything seems to be less annoying than switching back and forth.)

But what about voice? Life's much easier when you keep your voice service separate from your data service, so I've been spending way, way, way too much time reading up about the world of VoIP. Ultimately, it came down to two choices: Ooma vs. Obihai + VoIP.ms, and I decided to go with the latter.

Ooma: You pay more up front for the box ($99 list, $80+ at Amazon with a "coupon" they're offering today, as low as $50 on last month's Cyber Monday discount, but I wasn't ready then to pull the trigger). Basic service is free, which is good, but if you want fancier services (notably, if you want voicemail that forwards to your email), you're paying $10/month. Ooma really has three things going for it. 1) It's engineered to be easy to configure. 2) They have an encrypted tunnel from your box to their cloud provider. 3) If you're talking to another Ooma customer, you get HD voice quality. Newest thing: Ooma is trying to convince you to use their box as your firewall/gateway and sell you security services with a monthly charge. This doesn't interest me at all, and kinda makes me wonder about the longevity of their business.

Obihai 200 + VoIP.ms: The Obihai box is only $47, and is a generic "ATA" (analog telephone adapter) that lets you connect to hundreds of different Internet VoIP providers, meaning it's easy to ditch one and move over to another one. This keeps pricing really cheap. VoIP.ms, in particular, seems to be one of the bigger players and they expose all kinds of crazy configurations. For example, check out the instructions for connecting VoIP.ms to NoMoRobo. In short, if you're willing to learn the lingo of VoIP, you can set up lots of stuff and pay no more than $6/mo for it. Note that this Obihai box can also play nicely with Google Voice, for free, but it's very difficult to intuit whether that's a long-term solution or a temporary thing until Google gets around to killing it. Notably, the Obihai 300 -- an updated version of the same hardware, has a virtually identical feature set and does not support Google Voice. The writing is on the wall for the end of Google Voice.

FWIW, I considered creating a new Google account for the sole purpose of parking my home phone number there, having it ring through to the Obihai box, and configuring Gmail to forward the voicemails to my normal account. Given the flakey future of Google Voice, I decided not to pursue this. Also, it requires a fairly complex porting process, and you have to pay extra for 911 service from a VoIP provider. For now at least, I'll try setting up everything with VoIP.ms and see how well it works.

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#368144 - 02/01/2017 02:41 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My understanding is that the Obi300 and Obi302 models are intended for bundled sales with/by VOIP and ISP companies, which is why the Google Voice functions are missing. As far as I know they are not 'updated' models, merely feature focused versions.

I use the full featured Obi202 model which provides support for two simultaneous phone calls (independant Line 1 and Line 2). I do not use the built-in Obi router functions nor the USB or Bluetooth. Wired Ethernet to my Apple brand router but no discreet QoS features enabled in the router to prioritize VOIP traffic.

I use VOIP.MS for inbound and outbound calling and Google Voice for 'free' outbound calls. All my inbound calls go directly through VOIP.MS numbers and ring via the Obi telephone ports. I have four or five PSTN inbound VOIP.MS phone numbers including one fax number, eight Panasonic cordless handsets plus a corded two line desk telephone (all have access to line 1 and line 2). *

There is a learning curve as both the Obi box and VOIP.MS are highly configurable. On the Obihai side there is a configuration web portal on the device and the device is configurable via the ObiTalk web service. For some settings the ObiTalk web configuration (if enabled) will take precedence and will overwrite changes made directly to the device settings. Some technical settings can only be made on the device web interface.

Some web browsers seem to work better with the Obi device web interface. Pop-up help only worked with one of my browsers.

VOIP.MS I have no problems with. The service itself is excellent. Customer service is professional when needed but there is some expectation that the customer understands how his equipment is supposed to be configured and how telecom stuff generally works.

* I also have a free iNUM inbound number provided by VOIP.MS which allows zero cost calling from anywhere on the Internet that can call an iNUM number.

Another calling method is via free PSTN to SIP gateways which exist as local numbers in many cities. Call the local gateway, then dial the target SIP number for my service, and my home phone rings, zero cents per minute for me and only local calling costs for the caller.

Anyone using an Obihai box can call anyone else using a Obihai for free, globally. There is even an OBiON app for smartphone that provides access to all of your Obi service enabled calling methods. The Obi app is activated using the unique Obi 'device number' of your particular box.

And SIP to SIP calling over the Internet is also free, you just need to know the SIP number to reach the person or company you are calling.

Tip: make sure your internet router/modem and the Obihai box are UPS powered so the telephone system will continue to work when the electrical power fails. I also have the cordless phone base station on the UPS.


Edited by K447 (03/01/2017 00:39)

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#368145 - 02/01/2017 03:18 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
I've noticed that there's this crazy syntax for writing out patterns for what sorts of calls to forward vs. whatever. It looks kinda like regular expressions, but not exactly. (See, e.g., this poor documentation.) What exactly is this stuff? Is it documented in anything beyond a list of examples?

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#368146 - 02/01/2017 03:26 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: DWallach
I've noticed that there's this crazy syntax for writing out patterns for what sorts of calls to forward vs. whatever. It looks kinda like regular expressions, but not exactly. (See, e.g., this poor documentation.) What exactly is this stuff? Is it documented in anything beyond a list of examples?
Yes, that [Dialing Plan] stuff can take some time to get your head around.

Be aware that there are differences for the pattern matching depending on what it is being used for. Inbound matching syntax is slightly different than number dialing matching for outbound, and I recall there were some edge cases that confused me. Often the examples and syntax will only be described for one case (say outbound) and how it differs for inbound is not clearly explained. There are also vendor specific variations to the syntax.

The Obi pattern syntax is fairly 'normal' but when searching for examples online sometimes you will find otherwise valid syntax that is not entirely applicable to the Obi devices. It has been a while since I last needed to edit my own settings so I would need to brush up before diving in.

There are a lot of legacy underpinnings behind the telecom methods. Some of the options are rarely used anymore but persist for compatibility reasons or just because.


Edited by K447 (02/01/2017 14:59)

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#368147 - 02/01/2017 14:12 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13506
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: DWallach
What exactly is this stuff?


It's a "dialing plan" or "dial plan", something that once occupied a useful part of my head when I was helping design telephone switching systems at Nortel Networks. smile

Voip.ms usually has examples of exactly what to use on any given ATA, but one can cleverly customize those further for greater convenience. Eg. to eliminate the need for the area code prefix on numbers you dial a lot, etc.

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/doc...pqa-108747.html

Cheers


Edited by mlord (02/01/2017 14:13)

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#368148 - 02/01/2017 20:15 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11871
Loc: Sterling, VA
As a big Tivo and Google fan, I approve of your setup smile

You might consider upgrading to a Bolt at some point, although the $150/year is a little tough I'll admit. The performance of the new model is incredible. A shocking improvement over my Premiere XL4 that died recently. It used to take Netflix about a minute to open and then it moved ridiculously slow. Now it opens in about 5 seconds the first time after an extended absence, and about 1 second after that. Everything moves a lot quicker in general.

I'll be interested in your experience with Google WiFi. I might buy the one-pack since it works with the existing OnHubs. Does anyone know if the ethernet jack on a remote WiFi puck can act as a wired bridge for a device without wireless?
_________________________
Matt

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#368149 - 02/01/2017 22:01 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: mlord]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
This is an enormously helpful link. Of course, I should expect this syntax to vary from vendor to vendor, which means it's going to be a bear to debug if I want to write a bunch of rules and get them correct for things like calling 911.

I'm already planning to set up NoMoRobo -- in general -- but forward a specific set of phone calls directly to voicemail, such as the weekly prerecorded phone spam we get from my daughter's school. We do want the message, but there's no point in ringing the phone for it.

So, yeah, from day 1 I'm going to be diving into all these rules and plans and such, and voip.ms doesn't seem to have this level of documentation at all.

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#368228 - 18/01/2017 03:53 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
Update!

Everything works! Google WiFi was easy to set up and is consistently delivering the full 240Mbps to my laptop as I can get from my GigE-wired desktop. Yes, I'm paying for 200Mbps and sometimes get 20% more than that. At least, that's with Netflix's fast.com, which is presumably harder to fake out than other speed testers. This is even faster than the WiFi speeds in my office, where my campus IT people have seen fit to put a Cisco managed-something-or-other WiFi AP directly in my ceiling.

The Obihai / VoIP.ms setup has also been very happy. NoMoRobo takes a bit of getting used to. Never, ever grab the phone on the first ring, unless you recognize the callerID. The way it works is that NoMoRobo is set up on a calling group with your home phone, so whoever picks it up first "wins" and connects to the call. They'll pick up after the first ring if they determine the call is spam. In practice, this means I'm sitting in my home-office, the phone rings, and I sit there holding my breath waiting for the second ring. Kinda fun.

At this point, I can declare my house to be "4K ready". The next stage will be when Sony announces pricing on the A1E. Similarly, I'll need to sort out whether I really want the Sony ZA3100ES amp, for which the main plus is that it has an Ethernet switch, or whether I want to slog through all the other options as well. All the latest Dolby Atmos 3D Sound crap seems to mostly only just make my head spin in three dimensions.

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#368259 - 27/01/2017 15:37 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Dignan]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1350
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I might buy the one-pack since it works with the existing OnHubs.

Do you think there is an advantage to using them with an OnHub

Originally Posted By: Dignan
Does anyone know if the ethernet jack on a remote WiFi puck can act as a wired bridge for a device without wireless?

The impression I got from a review I read yesterday is that both jacks could be used as LAN on the remote pucks - sorry, I don't recall which review.

@DWallach Does Google WiFi have any Cloud dependency? We've seen Google, and other vendors, abandon products in the past. Could Google hamstring your Wifi if they left the market?
BTW great thread.

@K447 & @mlord Any reason to replace a working Cisco PAP2T with the Obihai ATA.

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#368260 - 28/01/2017 00:33 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Phoenix42]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11871
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: Phoenix42
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I might buy the one-pack since it works with the existing OnHubs.

Do you think there is an advantage to using them with an OnHub

Only that I already have the OnHub already so it's nice that a brand new product came out over a year later that would still work with my existing router.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Does anyone know if the ethernet jack on a remote WiFi puck can act as a wired bridge for a device without wireless?

The impression I got from a review I read yesterday is that both jacks could be used as LAN on the remote pucks - sorry, I don't recall which review.

I'll look into that, thanks.

Quote:
@DWallach Does Google WiFi have any Cloud dependency? We've seen Google, and other vendors, abandon products in the past. Could Google hamstring your Wifi if they left the market?
BTW great thread.

It uses an app to control the system, which communicates to it over WiFi or the internet, depending on whether you're at home or not (I've been able to connect to the router from within my house even when there was no outgoing connection).

They could always abandon it, but I don't believe there's been a precedence for them doing that to a product that people actually paid money for. Although I'm probably forgetting something.
_________________________
Matt

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#368261 - 28/01/2017 01:47 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Dignan]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1350
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: Googles
Ports
2 Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point
WAN and LAN on primary Wifi point; both act as LAN ports on additional Wifi points

https://support.google.com/wifi/answer/6280668?hl=en&ref_topic=6246512


Edited by Phoenix42 (28/01/2017 01:48)

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#368263 - 29/01/2017 02:39 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11871
Loc: Sterling, VA
Perfect! Thanks!
_________________________
Matt

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#368264 - 30/01/2017 15:02 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
One of the nifty things about Google WiFi is that the app works whether you're home or away. So, sitting here in my office, I can tell you that my TiVo has consumed 24GB of data in the past week (watching NetFlix) and my home-office Mac has consumed 2.4GB in the same week (probably from the latest OS X upgrade).

This obviously implies that Google is storing this data as a cloud service, attached to my Gmail account in whatever fashion. If you've got privacy concerns with what Google can learn about you, or if you're concerned that Google might at some point become evil, then Google WiFi is clearly not for you.

FWIW, I do trust Google, largely on the strength of the people I know who work there. But also, it was super easy to swap in the Google devices, and it would be super easy to swap them back out again.

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#368265 - 30/01/2017 16:41 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13506
Loc: Canada
Cloud service (aka. "holes in your firewall") and accompanying mobile apps seem to be pretty commonplace for home routers. Netgear and Asus both have that kind of thing, probably others do too.

I had to go out of my way to kill off the Asus (and Trendnet, WTF?) daemons on my router to close that firewall loophole here.

Cheers

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#368266 - 31/01/2017 04:34 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30591
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: DWallach

This obviously implies that Google is storing this data as a cloud service, attached to my Gmail account in whatever fashion.


On the subject of IoT privacy and security, I just went on CPAP this last weekend, and was simultaneously impressed and alarmed at the tech. The doctor prescribes the pressure level, which these things used to get from an SD card, but now they get the prescription data from a built-in cellular connection. And report the results data back through the same connection. I can go to the web site, punch in my device's serial number, and look up how successfully I've been using the CPAP. There's even a mobile app. They have even gameified it so that I'm trying to get 100 points every night and "complete the circle".

So I now have an Internet of Things device hooked up to my upper respiratory system. Yay.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368267 - 31/01/2017 11:39 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: tfabris
So I now have an Internet of Things device hooked up to my upper respiratory system. Yay.
What could possibly go wrong?

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#368268 - 01/02/2017 01:40 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Tim]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30591
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Tim
What could possibly go wrong?


So far, what has gone wrong is that two of the five days don't show any recorded data on the web site. Too bad, I was hoping that last night I'd get my 100 score. smile
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368271 - 01/02/2017 12:41 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
See if you can game the system by taking Unisom or Benedryl or something.

Better sleeping through chemistry!

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#368275 - 02/02/2017 02:36 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: mlord]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
Cloud service (aka. "holes in your firewall") and accompanying mobile apps seem to be pretty commonplace for home routers. Netgear and Asus both have that kind of thing, probably others do too.

I had to go out of my way to kill off the Asus (and Trendnet, WTF?) daemons on my router to close that firewall loophole here.

Cheers
Do you have any comment on the EERO mesh WiFi products?

Starting to think about what to move to as my Apple AC routers age away.

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#368276 - 02/02/2017 03:05 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11871
Loc: Sterling, VA
I tested out Eero in my home about a month ago. They were easy to set up and did a great job of creating the mesh network. The signal at each spot kind of varied a little, but every spot in my home had coverage.

It was just a test unit though, so I had to give it back. Way back when the Eero was first announced I had preordered it because you could get a significant discount. I eventually cancelled that order because it was just too much money and my Unifi APs were working ok (I wanted to upgrade to 802.11ac).

From what I've seen, I don't see any reason to get the Eero over Google WiFi. It's half again as much for what's basically the same product.

Or, depending on the size of the space you're trying to cover, you could just go with the Google OnHub. It's less expensive, and I've been extremely impressed with its signal strength. It's able to reach every part of my house - including the basement - from the top floor (3 floors total).
_________________________
Matt

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#368277 - 02/02/2017 06:27 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Dignan]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
...

From what I've seen, I don't see any reason to get the Eero over Google WiFi. It's half again as much for what's basically the same product.
...
Originally Posted By: DWallach
... If you've got privacy concerns with what Google can learn about you, or if you're concerned that Google might at some point become evil, then Google WiFi is clearly not for you.
...
I do not want Google devices in my home.

Hence the interest in eero.

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#368278 - 02/02/2017 14:20 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: K447]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
Originally Posted By: K447
I do not want Google devices in my home. Hence the interest in eero.

Needless to say, this is every bit a concern for me. I might as well make my threat analysis explicit.

Random untargeted Internet attacks: there are all sorts of unpleasant things out there on the Internet, just looking for the unpatched security nightmare of the various devices on your home network. For that, you need a firewall / NAT of some description, and preferably one that gets regular software updates from the vendor. I was entirely happy with my Apple gear until they end-of-lifed it, so it was clearly time to jump. Google WiFi auto-updates itself without me having to do anything. That seems nice.

Attacks against the router, itself: This has lately been a thing, particularly for routers with default passwords on their web interfaces. Attackers redirect your browser to then attack your router. To some extent, any router can be configured wrong, but Google seems to do the "secure by default" thing correctly. See also the auto-updates.

Evil vendor 1: data collection on everybody: In this weird modern world, where "if you're not the customer, you're the product", it's a completely realistic threat that your WiFi vendor might have it in for you. Certainly, ISPs do many variants of this (deep packet inspection, etc.). I'm modestly impressed by Google's public stances in opposition to this sort of thing. Of course, a significant fraction of my traffic is to and from Google servers, so they'll see that anyway. Much of the rest is encrypted (https or ssh). Also, needless to say, my ISP knows a ton of information about who I am and where I connect and I have to trust them, whether I want to or not. To me, the best tradeoff between technical complexity and privacy protection is running a good ad-blocker. I currently endorse uBlock Origin.

Evil vendor 2: man-in-the-middle attacks of various sorts on everybody: We see this mostly in the land of the evil ISP, doing things like injecting advertisements or extraneous cookies into web pages, or resolving failed DNS records to their own servers. Google and its customers are often the victim of this sort of attack. Also, if Google were to pull this crap, the uproar would be striking. And then I'd throw away my Google WiFi gear and buy something else.

Evil vendor 3: targeted attacks on me: This is the San Bernadino iPhone threat model, wherein the government wants to get into my router's firmware, and because the vendor does trusted boot / signed firmware, that requires the vendor to spin up a custom, signed firmware image, just for me. I'm at least modestly impressed that Google has made it hard for this sort of thing to happen without their explicit intervention, and knowing the people there, they'd go to court, just like Apple, to fight any order compelling them to produce signed malware.

Lastly, how about Google vs. startup-vendor-du-jour vs. cheapo routers you buy from Amazon: So far as I can tell, Google isn't doing this to make a ton of money, given how the Google WiFi is cheaper than its competition by a significant margin. Instead, they seem to be trying to make an engineering statement, raising the bar for everybody. The most obvious way you can see this is their use of USB-C for the charging port on the Google WiFi. You know that this increases the cost, yet they're doing it because, damnit, it's the future. My concern with the cheap routers is that their vendors won't properly support them (see, e.g., the FTC lawsuit against D-Link) and that, simply, they're not built to last. For a while, I was buying a new Netgear ADSL box once a year because they were burning out on me. The startups (Eero, also I'll put Unifi in this camp) are a bit harder to analyze. Since, pretty much by definition, a startup is still trying to find the exact business model to make them successful, you can imagine where they might want to change how they work over time. As mentioned earlier, Ooma (the VoIP people) are now trying to extend their VoIP adapter to also be your home router, and charge you monthly for the privilege. Should you trust them?

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#368280 - 02/02/2017 19:44 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: K447]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13506
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: K447
Do you have any comment on the EERO mesh WiFi products?


No, but the marketing on their site does sound glorious if one needs more than a single AP in the home, or even just better flux capacitation. smile

If we were still in our old neighbourhood, I'd be tempted there. But the new neighbourhood is spread out enough here for a single AP to cover the whole two acres (less interference with the neighbours).

EDIT: Ouch, just noticed the price tag. No way.



Edited by mlord (02/02/2017 19:45)

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#368281 - 02/02/2017 19:47 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13506
Loc: Canada
Quote:
EDIT: Ouch, just noticed the price tag. No way.

How about Luma Home Wifi instead, at (less than) half the price?

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#368284 - 02/02/2017 22:50 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11871
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Quote:
EDIT: Ouch, just noticed the price tag. No way.

How about Luma Home Wifi instead, at (less than) half the price?

More like 2/3rds but definitely cheaper (and the same as Google WiFi). Although that looks like a temporary price, given than they also sell a two-AP package for $299. So I'm guessing that Google is putting a lot of pressure on these companies like Dan said.

Originally Posted By: mlord
If we were still in our old neighbourhood, I'd be tempted there. But the new neighbourhood is spread out enough here for a single AP to cover the whole two acres (less interference with the neighbours).

One side effect of mesh networks that I quite like is that, theoretically, you could have less interference with your neighbors in many scenarios. For example, my neighbor has his router in a room as close to my home as possible. I can tell he's juiced this thing pretty good because I'm getting strong readings from the far side of MY house. In theory, if he had a mesh network he wouldn't need to pump up that AP as much because there'd be coverage by other APs in other parts of his house. I'd really like to recommend this to him, but they're two of the only neighbors who talk to us (not the friendliest neighborhood), so I won't rustle feathers smile

Of course, this is just in theory. Unifi lets you set the APs to automatic signal strength and let the system figure it out, or you can set it manually. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who just max it out.
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#368289 - 03/02/2017 02:48 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Dignan]
K447
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Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Access Point channel allocation and channel mapping often is more important than raw WiFi signal strength.

Assigning WiFi channels to interleave with each other reduces interference and setting the channel overlaps to physically distant routers can make a big difference.

Do you use an app like this WiFi Analyzer to see what WiFi sources are using which channels and manage the frequency overlaps?

I often find a huge number of w24Ghz WiFi sources 'stacked' onto the same channel, sometimes a half dozen or more on channel 6, for example.

Even on the 5GHz band it is not unusual to find several routers using the exact same couple of channels rather than spacing themselves out. 5GHz band has some weirdness with some channels being regulated to lower power and some channels only being available in automatic mode, not manual settable.


Edited by K447 (03/02/2017 02:51)
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#368290 - 03/02/2017 04:59 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11871
Loc: Sterling, VA
Good point, I completely forgot about that. Shoot.

And yes, I use WiFi Analyzer all the time, but the Android one. I love that thing.

And it's outside this discussion, but I'm so glad I'm out of our old condo. The WiFi situation there was insanity. A dozen networks on all the common channels and a few on other random ones.


Edited by Dignan (03/02/2017 05:00)
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#368292 - 03/02/2017 12:56 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: K447]
jmwking
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Registered: 27/02/2003
Posts: 649
Loc: Washington, DC metro
Originally Posted By: K447
Access Point channel allocation and channel mapping often is more important than raw WiFi signal strength.

Assigning WiFi channels to interleave with each other reduces interference and setting the channel overlaps to physically distant routers can make a big difference.

Do you use an app like this WiFi Analyzer to see what WiFi sources are using which channels and manage the frequency overlaps?

I often find a huge number of w24Ghz WiFi sources 'stacked' onto the same channel, sometimes a half dozen or more on channel 6, for example.

Even on the 5GHz band it is not unusual to find several routers using the exact same couple of channels rather than spacing themselves out. 5GHz band has some weirdness with some channels being regulated to lower power and some channels only being available in automatic mode, not manual settable.


As I understand it, in the 2.4 GHz range you want to limit APs to channels 1, 6, and 11 - so it does look stacked. Each channel actually overlaps a couple channels on either side, but only negotiates for time with other APs on the same channel. So, for instance, two APs on channels 6 and 7 will interfere rather than cooperate. That said, strategically balancing between those three channels and our neighbors is useful.

Channel bonding in the 2.4 band also causes overlap problems.

The channels in the 5 GHz band don't exhibit the same overlap, but oddly do still get stacked - I've seen it in condo buildings a lot. I live in an older, small-lot town, see 18 of the 2.4 GHz ssids, but usually detect only my two using 5 GHz.

(And everything I have that doesn't move around - media center, printers, storage - is hard wired.)

-jk

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#368296 - 04/02/2017 03:05 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: jmwking]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
For 2.4Ghz WiFi routers, it is true that only channels 1,6,11 are separated enough to not overlap at all.

That said, moving some of the WiFi 2.4Ghz routers to the intervening channels of 3 and 8 and leaving others on 1,6,11 will often significantly reduce the overall interference and improve speeds and WiFi consistency.

In other cases I will move all of them away from channel 6 and spread them across 1,3,5,7,9,11.
I will also ensure that the units closest in channel numbers are physically separated as far as possible.

Any form of channel bonding ('wide' 40Mhz channels) on 2.4Ghz tends to make a hash out of sharing the spectrum with neighboring WiFi. I generally turn it off and do my best to select minimal interference channel allocations.

I understand that WiFi routers are supposed to graciously interleave their signals in time and channel but I find that many routers simply do not do this very well. I suspect that if a router cannot clearly 'hear' another router it will ignore it when choosing its own configuration.

Also, many WiFi routers apparently only scan for channel interference when they boot up. Once operating they seem to not notice the arrival of other routers on the same channels.
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#368299 - 04/02/2017 17:32 Re: home network upgrades, whole-house TiVo, residential VoIP, etc. [Re: Dignan]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7856
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Dignan
And it's outside this discussion, but I'm so glad I'm out of our old condo. The WiFi situation there was insanity. A dozen networks on all the common channels and a few on other random ones.

That sounds like paradise to me.

I'm curious what improvements the next WiFi standard will bring to handle dense environments. At some point I'll run a scanner while walking around my apartment and the entire floor before I move. The WiFi menu on my mac can't fit fully on a 1680x1050 resolution, resulting it a menu with a scrollbar. I'd estimate the scan will end up seeing at least 150-200 networks from my apartment alone.

A few factors help amplify that number compared to past places I've lived:
  • The average apartment building is 7 stories, offering units anywhere from 250-2500sqft in size. Most of the apartments above the 3rd floor have wooden floors/walls so less radio absorption.
  • Condo buildings are also scattered around the neighborhood, some towering around 40 stories
  • Near a large body of water with active radar that causes a reduction of available 5ghz channels randomly (DFS)
  • A lot of apartments are occupied by tech savvy or tech employed people, increasing the average gadget per household count. I see chromecasts, smart tvs, and all sorts of other things
  • Comcast is the cable provider here, lots of xfinity guest networks in households that have no router or computer equipment beyond a smartphone.


Mesh networking may be my only option for full apartment coverage at decent speeds. As it is, I have to have a repeater just outside the bathroom to cover an IoT scale that only supports 2.4GHz channels. It at least 802.11n, g is unusable with all the interference.

For now Iíll hold onto the Airports I have, and ponder what to replace them with later. While the rumors peg them as no longer being made or updated, a firmware update did go out recently. Iím guessing if they arenít discontinued, the updates may be pending a stable APFS release for Time Capsule support. iOS 10.3 is going to APFS, and perhaps a new router from Apple would be running a variant of iOS instead of the current OS the lineup has ran for ages.

If they are ultimately discontinued, the AppleTV will carry on the duties of bonjour sleep proxy and homekit control while out of the house and I can start looking outside the ecosystem.
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