Updated: Apr 3, 2022
Home networking became "Preoccu pazione principale" for "she who must be obeyed" and I, as February of 2020 dawned on us, just as the whole bizarre COVID thang became a live Black Mirror reality show we were all living through in slow motion horrors.
The home network was one of the few things I could control with a high quality of functional satisfaction that at least gave us the mirage of being in control of something in our respective lives.
It did in fact serve up a large slice of salvation to a large degree for me at any rate and it was the highway to relative sanity.
I was already in seven shades of hell when COVID came a calling.....
Turns out that this home networking action is also great Sado-Masochism stuff that legends are made of by the way!
In the face of all of the uncertainty and my en-point suspicions around a temporary 2 week stay at home thing becoming a de-facto epic a year or more long, I determined that I needed to go out and get some serious home networking gear “Pronto Maximus” before massive demand made the networking goodies as scarce as rocking horse poop while the masses woke up to what was coming and reacted en-masse like hordes of Huns invading Rome.
Bun fights for basics in Safeway or Best Buy aisles is just not my cup of tea.....it must be said……I guess I got all of that pent up anger out my my system playing rugby till my mid thirties.
Bun fights actually happened in all my local supermarkets for toilet paper and paper towels days after my networking goodies arrived back in the mid March time-frame of 2020.
I can vividly recall walking down the aisles of some 40 odd East Bay supermarket stores back in March of 2020 to witness for myself what I had heard from incredulous neighbors regaling me with stories of the selfish panic buying of these items that was going on and the fights that broke out between the selfish specimen scooping up everything and others complaining about this sort of greedy behavior.
I long ago installed gear at home to make TP a relic of the past and marveled it was still a thang...? Ever heard of a Bidet chasps? A Toto Toilet maybe?
Neway, based on said uncertainty that was in abundance I knew that this squeeze on goods situation I saw coming was for sure inevitable and already restrictions on what Amazon was shipping then was all being prepped and classified as "critical" for US government use only on many of the mainstream shopping web sites.
I know a good few web developers who work at Alphabet who passed this alarming fact on.
Everything for a short while was categorized as "Government Protected" and we could not get any of these items for a hella long time.
Can you believe Amazon has now become the direct "strategic supplier" of goods to the whole US Government???
Toto Neorest NX for civilized folk..
Fun fact - there was once actually a document written by the US Government that absolutely "Forbade" the practice of acquiring things from Amazon that they blithely ignored because they all failed to plan for emergencies.
I bought my new NAS and Network goodies just before this Amazon lockdown became the way it was.
Yes, sadly, I too buy from Amazon......But I am going out of my way to buy from the other retailers as well these days now that Fry's is dead.
This blog focuses mainly on the subject of home networking and how to get yours into business quality shape.
I advocate getting your computer related goodies from Best Buy or Newegg just to give Amazon some competition en route....Even Walmart stocks some of this stuff at great pricing levels as well so there are many options available to you online.
The types of houses and apartments I have architected networking solutions for vary from very small apartments to large multi-level houses by the way.
Our own home in Northern California is a 2 level KB homes affair covering some 3200 Square feet and another 1200 feet in the back yard.
Now be aware that this Home networking lark is fraught with all sorts of misty foggy and very grey terms and technology features that the ISP's themselves do not actually support.
There is a lot of deliberately misleading claims printed on the boxes of these Home Networking thangs by the marketing folks at the companies that make them, so be very careful you understand what they are saying and what you are actually getting into here.
SRR - Some research required....
What is important to remember is there are three general areas of networking technologies at play here in a home use network setup for Xfinity or COX.
The first one is what we call the WAN which is your internet connection from your ISP via DOCSIS 3.1 cable technology which in theory can get to speeds of 10 GB/s but which is a standard 1 GB/s for most home use scenarios in LA or the Bay Area.
Sadly, data going the other way (uplink) on DOCSIS 3.1 is a very poor 42 Mbps max.
This is why DOCSIS 4.0 has me trembling and quivering like a leaf in a force 10 hurricane in eager anticipations.
That deal is bringing 10 GB/s download and 6 GB/s upload speed to the masses and best yet, it has been ready to roll for 2 years while they test and play with it.
Well that is to say thisis what DOCSIS 4.0 can deliver.
I hear Comcast have been testing devices that deliver 6 GB down and 4 GB up.
My next upgrade will be a new DOCSIS 4.0 cable modem and a WiFi 6E mesh network pack from eero.
I hope these will start to appear in 2022/3 as Xfinity and COX roll out the technology here and there but for some reason there is a lot of foot dragging going on by these guys.
I hear it will be $300 a month for the pleasure when it does eventually arrive....
I was planning to go with the CM2050v and a nice new orbi 6E mesh networking rig but I will stick with what I got for now and wait for DOCSIS 4.0 or get ne an eero PRO 6E two pack with a CM2050v.
I already have 8 x 6e client devices as of today just waiting………
There are currently no DOCSIS 4.0 devices on the market. we can expect to see prototypes this year and products next year. But as I discovered recently they are dragging their feet for some bizarre reason.
When DOCSIS 4.0 capabilities begin to appear in networking hardware, it will be important to remember that its purpose is to future-proof these devices, not to immediately enhance them.
Even without a 10 Gbps internet offering, however, this protocol improvement means customers will be sharing more bandwidth with the same number of people, which can dramatically improve WiFi performance during periods of heavy usage or traffic.
Meanwhile back to the three areas of networking at play I was attempting to discuss.
The second area at play with respect to home networking is on the WiFi (WLAN) Technologies side for the clients (compute devices) that use WiFi.
The third area of focus is the network link between the DOCSIS 3.1 Modem and the WiFi device (LAN).
This can be as simple as a single Ethernet Cable that connects them or a Networking switch they both connect to. The important thing here is what type of Ethernet connection it is ( 1 GbE or 2.5 GbE M-Gig).
This is interesting because all this technology has come a long way from the first simple single radio WiFi 1 stuff that came out at 2.4 GHz way back when.
Cisco made the 5 GHz WiFi stuff dedicated to voice based traffic a thing, then the chip manufacturers started to combine 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi stuff and then WiFi 4 was a thang with the antenna technology getting better with MIMO technology et al.
After that came WiFi 5 and now WiFi 6 and its variants to the current WiFi 6E stuff that is now the cutting edge of wireless action.
Wi-Fi 6 is the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new consumer-friendly name for the IEEE 802.11ax standard.
The 802.11ac standard has also been renamed Wi-Fi 5; 802.11n is now Wi-Fi 4.
The purpose of this new naming scheme is to make it easier for the general public to identify device generations without remembering the complex 802.11 alphabet soup.
Let me highlight that WiFi 6 is NOT the same as WiFi 6e so make sure that the WiFi device you are considering specifically has WiFi 6e printed on the box if you have not bought the latest stuff yet.
Mostly empty save for emergency broadcasts, that 6 GHz band is more than twice as wide as the 5 GHz band beneath it, with enough bandwidth for up to seven (7) non-overlapping 160 MHz channels.
In layman's terms, if the 2.4 GHz band is akin to a one-lane country highway and the 5 GHz band is a three-lane interstate, picture the 6 GHz band as a shiny, new seven-lane superhighway, and only 6E devices get access to the onramp.
As such I am of the opinion that there is not much point buying Vanilla WiFi 6 AP's these days if you can get one that can flash firmware to make it full WiFi 6e capable later.
It needs to be WiFi 6e capable.....If not hold off your purchase for a while longer as this is starting to get real interesting.
The fly in the ointment with WiFi 6e is there are not many clients that sport the ability right now.
For some reason making WiFi PCIe NIC cards has become a very niche zone for DIY home builders to play with due to the limited WiFi NIC manufacturers these days but 6e seems to have stirred these sleeping OEM manufacturing giants from their slumber.......
A Samsung S21 Ultra smartphone has WiFi 6e capability so that device could benefit greatly.
Yay for me, as I have one!
Most my Wireless clients in my collection of various computer devices however were 802.11ac which is vanilla WiFi 5 fare.
I bought some OKN 6e PCIe adapters from Amazon while writing this the other day - while doing some Amazon ferreting around for clients that supported 6e and Bluetooth 5.2 with Intel chipsets and drivers.
Do not buy the cheep chinese junk. The good ones are $45 and northwards....
I went for the better ones as reported by various reviews on some technical media comics that are online these days - I have links to my fave ones in this blog you can click on.
This all went so well that I have all of my seven AMD Ryzen workstations off of my Ethernet switches as the Zoom tests went very well Indeed.
I even got "She who must be obeyed" off of Ethernet as well.
The WiFi 6e side was good and the zoom sessions are great, what is not so great is the bluetooth pain these devices bring.
Also shod with an Intel device and drivers for BT, as the WiFi piece is, the Bluetooth stuff is pretty ugly.
There are also bizare OS power saving antics to deal with that make BT devices lose their connection which you can never restore after they come back to life from sleep or hibernate.
I had to install UBUNTU 21.04 to see the rapid PCIe resets the BT side of the equation was generating with the cheep cards. So not a fan of the cheep stuff and I sent them back and bought the expensive ones instead!!
If you care, 20 minutes with a soldering iron may fix the issues..
WiFi 6e Data transmission rates using mesh networking technology can be as high as 10.8 Gbps depending on the chipset used in the particular WiFi device model you are looking at.
The Wi-Fi 6e specification made its debut on consumer devices in the spring of 2021.
In addition to lowering a router's latency to create faster network response, Wi-Fi 6e added more than a gigahertz of fresh electromagnetic spectrum space in the U.S - ranging from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz.
This additional block of spectrum, generally referred as the 6-GHz band, allows routers to create an extra 14 data channels that are 80 MHz wide or as many as seven heavy-duty 160-MHz-wide data channels.
In the real world, this means that an online gamer or an augmented-reality-goggle wearer can now grab a 160-MHz channel without starving the rest of the household of data.
Virgin territory as far as Wi-Fi is concerned, the 6-GHz realm helps those who live (and often work) in areas crowded with different Wi-Fi networks, such as apartment buildings.
In other words, if it's hard to get a reliable connection to your router with a 5-GHz network, due to congestion on that band, then Wi-Fi 6e's 6-GHz band will likely work better and deliver more data.
This 6-GHz advantage is also one of Wi-Fi 6e's greatest shortcomings.
Higher frequencies mean shorter range, and the 6-GHz frequency is so high that its range is limited to same-room or next-room connections.
Once you're out of 6-GHz range, the router automatically switches your connection over to a 5-GHz link.
These manufacturers deliberately fudge and confuse these three areas of networking technologies applicable to the home networking technology focus areas used in your home network setup.
The link between the DOCSIS 3.1 modem device and the WiFi device is either 1 GbE or what they call an M-Gig Port that is 2.5 GbE.
When you see a DOCSIS 3.1 modem product that claims your internet can run at speeds up to 2.5 GB/s this does not mean your 1 GB Xfinity internet service will magically start running at 2.5 GB/s, it means it has one Multi-Gig 2.5 GbE port to connect to a fancy dedicated WiFi 6e AP which also boasts a 2.5 GbE port and maybe support up to 2.5 GB/s DOCSIS side speed.
2.5 GbE is a strange non-standard duck by the way. This is generally a point to point connection between two devices each armed with said M-Gig port.
There are in fact switches you can buy that have 5 to 10 ports of 2.5 GbE capability made by QNAP and TRENDnet, amongst others.
These are fine vendors of craptastic level gadgets and they are not good in terms of quality FYI.
Both the DOCSIS 3.1 Modem and the WiFi 6e AP device need to be equipped with a 2.5 GbE M-Gig port for this to even be relevant.
Oh, by the way chasps, the cable you will need to use to connect two devices on that M-Gig port needs to be a CAT 7 or CAT 8 cable. A Cat 6e Ethernet cable will not cut the mustard on that one!! It will work, but it will not work as well as it can on a better cable!
Also bear in mind that technically the maximum theoretical top speed of 6 GHz WiFi is the same as 5 GHz WiFi @ 9.6 GB/s but the channels available to 6 GHz are a wider spectrum with larger channel sizes which translates to a faster connection speed.
Its like a single deck bus vs a double decker bus that travel at the same speed...
The FCC is proposing allowing WiFi 6e devices to transmit in this spectrum without a license but some countries will actually block this spectrum use.
The FCC is still talking about this so devices you buy will probably be using the standard WiFi 6 spectrum until this becomes clearer and ratified.
The United States has now adopted WiFi 6e and this link below has all those countries who are considering or who have adopted 6e https://www.wi-fi.org/countries-enabling-wi-fi-6e .
ASUS is already making a few devices today that have this capability and the NETGEAR Nighthawk 12-Stream WiFi 6e Router (RAXE500) sporting AXE11000 Tri-Band Wireless Speed (Up to 10.8 Gbps) with a new 6 GHz Band with Coverage up to 2,500 sq. ft. and around 60 devices or clients using the 6e technology can be bought if you can find them anywhere.
Just be aware of what networking device goes where and how they are linked to each other speeds and feeds wise.
Also, in general, note that WiFi 6e is in early days adoption phases right now and there will be many changes and software updates in them thangs.
Also I am currently testing 6e goodies in the KB homes setup and the range is dire.
This brings other realities to the table.
Geography Applicable to blog: Entire San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles area including San Diego and Orange County.
ISP's: Xfinity and COX.
Way back in the February of 2020, before the COVID apocalypse of dilly leagues bureaucracy really got to the Ultimate premier league insanity levels, it had became apparent to me that this "event" (sic) was in fact going to be a long term thang to deal with and that working from home aspect needed some care and attention for the lengthy work from home experience I determined with my amazing powers of observation was heading our way like a massive Tsunami.
Listening to all the rhetoric and such with the U-turns per minute made by these bureaucrats gave me that sinking feeling that has seldom been wrong and I lost no time springing into many actions.
As powerless as this situation made us all feel, I could, I reckoned, at least control the work environment at home and make it as kick-ass as I could.
My bad times spidey senses meanwhile were jingling the way Ming the Merciless goes to bat with that Flash Gordon character in some sort of precognitive alarm bell fashion.
The main driver here was that “She who must be obeyed” and I could not conference call at the same time on the home network we had at the time as the VPN software her org uses and our then poxy Xfinity AP/Modem just weren’t besties.
In fact the Xfinity Modem/AP gear seemed to be the sole reason for the sad networking situation and I identified it as the only bottleneck with my sniffer gear pretty rapidly.
Our home networking setup was pretty stable after Comcast engineering initially limited our bandwidth while coping with the new and massive COVID-19 work from home surge that they were suddenly dealing with.
That was OK as we were in an emergency streets war time community pulling together type situation here and there was plenty bandwidth to share to accommodate everyone's needs.
Things steadily got better as Comcast Xfinity got their act together in a pretty impressive manner over the course of the year that followed.
On Monday April 26th 2021 I even got an email from Xfinity informing me that my bandwidth was going up to 1.2 GB/s!!
I am currently wondering deeply about this claim....it did get better though!!
The CM2050V for example claims it can do 2.5 GB/s network speed but this is not on the DOCSIS 3.1 Cable side!
This is on the custom 2.5 GbE port to connect to your WiFi 5/6 AP device that also sports a 2.5 GbE Multi-Gig Port.
Finding one is a not so easy task either!
If you have 100 devices on your home network it for sure is a way to meet performance expectations if you marry it with WiFi 6e. For the rest of us it will not make much of a difference.
I started thinking about DOCSIS 3.1 and 2.5 GB/s and then started doing ad hoc math on the cable side of the equation and was suddenly curious how they could ever go to 2.5 GB/s on that DOCSIS 3.1 coaxial cable.
On the M-Gig side, sure, that is in fact 2.5 GbE.
They cannot deliver 2.5 GB/s for each home user now currently using their 1 GB/s DOCSIS 3.1 based internet services, is the for now short answer.
It is complicated with DOCSIS 3.1 though.......
I hear some customers could in fact get 2 GB/s service on the DOCSIS 3.1 cable but I am not sure how far beyond 1.2 GB/s they can go on that thang...
This 2.5 GB/s speed as stated on the CM2050V box is actually very misleading indeed, it should state 1 x 2.5 GbE M-Gig LAN link.
This is what they call a Multi-Gig port that allegedly supports link aggregation - only some Xfinity folks I know shared with me that the link aggregation referred to here is actually only on the DOCSIS 3.1 side…..? Like how dudes??
Classic deliberate mixing of WAN and LAN terms here.
If you connect a BYOM device with this M-Gig port to another device with a 10GbE port or a 1 GbE port it will in fact drop down to just 1 GbE.
So stating it once again, remember that the "other" device you are connecting to will also need to have the same 2.5 GbE M-Gig port.
Also, the ISP's do not actually support port link aggregation yet.........Funny business on that actually being in the Nighthawk menu options and disabled?
I do want to thank the whole Comcast Xfinity team for their amazing effort during COVID that allowed work from home to be a workable thing by the way.
You Xfinity guys were the unsung heroes of the whole COVID calamity and I for one really appreciate it very much!!
The Xfinity cable modem gizmo Xfinity had initially supplied us with also served as a WiFi router but I had to replace it with my own Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 Modem and another dedicated WiFi 5 mesh device when it became obvious a combined DOCSIS 3.1 and WiFi gizmo was not a grand idea at all.
The Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 allegedly supports up to 2 GB/s data transfer speeds on the DOCSIS 3.1 cable per the spec sheet on the thang and wild "Multi-Gig" fuzzy claims on the box it came in.
The CM1200 has no M-Gig port................
Lots of questions bubble up as a result of this marketing scrambled egg........
Theoretically you could go to 10 GB/s with DOCSIS 3.1 but I doubt they can let everyone have 10 GB/s and more to the point can the CM1200 even go there?
I would seriously doubt it, but then Xfinity is capping the speed for us at 1200 Mbps....
I am still thoroughly confused about dual 1 GB/s claims and link aggregation on that DOCSIS 3.1 Coaxial cable on the CM1200 box though...
As the CM1200 does not have a 2.5 GbE port I assumed the 2 GB/s statement on the spec sheet refers to the actual DOCSIS 3.1 feed or maybe it is in fact on the 2 x 1 GbE ports aggregated together?? The mind boggles...
Seems to me you can never much exceed this 1-1.2 GB/s speed on the DOCSIS 3.1 side of the equation.......?
It would maybe be 2 x dual homed 1 GB links aggregated on DOCSIS 3.1...... If it is dual feed from the Xfinity side my question then is this: where is the second separate coaxial cable feed then??????
That would requires two separate circuits from Xfinity.
This unexpected and apparently unlikely claim of gratis (1.2 GB/s) faster speed from Xfinity has indeed turned out to be the real(ish) deal by the way.
Well, that is to say I am now seeing 923 Mbps throughput on the thing compared to 755 Mbps prior.
I am testing Mellanox MSN4600-CS2F and Spectrum-2 400GB switches so apologize for mixing Mbps and GB terms, I know what I mean…..😎🙈💁🏼
This is pretty good but I still need to expand what this 1.2 GB/s thang is all about at some point in proceedings as well.
Xfinity tell me some 1 GB customers got boosted to 1.2 GB in a few select areas. I am obviously in one of them.
This all means that the CM1200 is the perfect cable modem device for most folks needs so do not waste your money on the CM2050 device unless you have WiFi 6 devices with a 2.5 GbE port.
I actually sold mine and went back to the CM1200 btw....
However if you have voice services you must get the CM2050V gizmo @$249. It is worth it!
The vanilla CM2000 actually does have a 2.5 GbE M-Gig port though...
Only worth doing if you have a WiFi router with such a port on it....
My orbi does not but the new orbi WiFi 6 mesh stuff does...
Initially, as AT&T had allegedly equipped the new homes in Almond Ridge with AT&T Fiber optic to the curb, their Internet service seemed like a no brainer on paper, if it actually was true.
Chance would be a fine thing however….
True to form, in January of 2020 after 2 years of struggles we had been left with no choice other than to abandon our 1 GB AT&T internet service because a. it was not 1 GB and b. It was in fact about as useful as the mammary glands on a near expired Bull.
We called AT&T support a couple of hundred times to no avail before we decided ok, enough already!! We gotta do something about this less than satisfactory non-internet (sic) service.
That "something" was switching back to Comcast Xfinity.
Vote with your feet is my motto, even though we had plenty of reservations about the Xfinity TV service and those Xfinity TV controllers are utter shite, it must be said...
The picture quality is actually AOK but my word, those Xfinity TV controllers have to be the slowest and worst devices man can be subjected to on the gadget front.
They actually went backwards with the new gear controllers!
Serious craptastic level stuff legends are made of no less, in my humble estimation!!
These negative Comcast internet service sentiments all stemmed from our last residence in Danville CA in the Eugene O'Neill national historic site gated community on Kuss road which AT&T Internet services could sadly not reach.
The problem there with Comcast was that the distance to their Central Office junction connection was so bad that the TV looked like grainy static broadcast from the moon but the internet on their DOCSIS 3.0 cable was actually weirdly pretty AOK.
Back then it was DOCSIS 2/3 fare at first and 33/12 Mbps internet service only.
They got it up to a whole 144 Mbps at one point before DOCSIS 3.0 made it a 180 Mbps affair.
We opted for Comcast business internet service at that address because that way Comcast attended to our connectivity issues at the business priority level if we were ever down and we switched TV service to DirecTV satellite TV services on a Satellite dish nailed to the outside of the house for the TV side of the equation with zero problems, so that Comcast DOCSIS 3.0 cable was all for internet (no TV).
In contrast our community here at the converge point of Brentwood/Oakley/Antioch was a new KB homes development in a new suburb called Almond Ridge and our house was built in 2016 to our spec which we moved into just before the Christmas of 2016.
We were hoping for fiber optic cable to the curb here because the area was new and that is in fact what AT&T claimed they had pulled in here but for some reason AT&T just could not provide a stable service that we needed for conference calls or even normal internet and TV service which was subsequently switched by us to DirecTV satellite again because their over the wire AT&T services just did not cut the mustard so to speak for either internet or TV.
At first AT&T claimed they could deliver full 1 GB internet speeds but they simply could not.
They knew it all too well, I later verified.
Hence the insult to the injury so to speak.
I have read an internal report from them that one of their VPs let me read on her laptop.
She has since joined Elon to play Satcom games with Starlink.
AT&T then bought DirecTV who we had switched to for TV service and we were snookered again and I had to deal with them once more.
We were not going there - even if we had to fall back on 300 baud modems or even God forbid, Cherokee smoke signals…..
"She who must be obeyed" works for a large health care org focusing on dental matters and she had worked from home a good few days of the week the 2 years prior to COVID-19 breaking out and is now also working full time from home like me.
I have always been a designated work from home type by the way and have been the last 25 odd years living and working in the USA but as I was at home solo most of the time or in hotels when I was not, the home network gear never got that much attention.
It served our purpose at the time.
"She who must be obeyed" has a meeting and work schedule that is totally nutz IMHO.
She does a lot of Zooming back to back from 8 AM through 5:30 PM.
I had hoped the Xfinity tech gurus would see with their own beady eyes that our internet was not optimal and connect my office upstairs with a gratis Ethernet wireless extender device like AT&T had done but of course once it was installed they then proceeded to worm out of what they said they would do to make it good.
We had told them about our challenges upfront when we started talking to them about our setup and they had in fact come to our home to see how many devices we have that use the internet - at my rabid insistence.
They had of course initially said that this was not going to be a problem but when we started to have dropped calls and the Zoom, Skype and Webex call conferencing software all started reporting the network was unstable, we just had to do something.
This was no different to AT&T...👎🚫😳
So we got on the old Graham Bell to Xfinity to bitch about it a wee bit and they to their credit did send a superb technical type out to look and see what's what the very same day.
He was actually a very nice guy too.
Unsurprisingly, after he counted the devices on our network, he informed me with zero hesitation that the totally poxy Xfinity internet gateway modem gizmo Xfinity had issued us with, which also doubles as a wireless AP, was totally overwhelmed and just not up to the job for more than 5 devices - Max he stressed.
Actually, he said it could do just a single one.
I challenged this statement....
I think its good for around roughly between minus one and say Zero clients or serving as an exotic paper weight in the Tax office.
What pointless and Poxy looks like
There are several technical reasons why this is so.
First off, mixing WiFi operations with DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem technology all in one device causes quite a few technical problems.
WiFi gear transmits signals like a radio does through the air at certain frequencies on various set channels at a set transmission signal power level.
Your neighbors also probably have the same sort of WiFi setup and if you are all on the same channel you will have ugly contention for the same bandwidth and the same channel space issues.
When electronics gear like DOCSIS stuff is too close to the radio signal source, harmonics and their sideband effects and all sorts of freaky RF stuff makes designing circuit boards in these sorts of gadgets a bit of a major challenge.
Xfinity combined DOCSIS 3.1 cable functionality with wireless AP functionality in one gizmo which can only cater to a few client devices that join the wireless communication jamboree that goes on in your home between the wireless access point and each client device seeking internet services - whilst managing contention from your neighbors for said channels and bandwidth while it is at it and is clearly not up to the task expected of it at all.
Those are the PC words for that situation, my own are a tad more colorfull...
At that juncture in the March of 2020, “she who must be obeyed” and I had many, many FREDs that were used for doing our jobs and assorted hobbies from home base alpha.
52 of them in total by my reckoning, but I may have missed a few.
I then had a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone, a large iPad, two Macbook Pro's, six AMD workstations, an Ethernet NAS and a Huawei MateBook X-Pro that was laptop of the year for 2018, to name but a few of my gadgets.
“She who must be obeyed” has her iPhone, an iPad, a MacBook Pro and her work Lenovo Laptop.
Then there is the Apple TV gizmo, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and Sony SmartTV...oh and the Solar panel stuff and the Ring Door bell and the other ring devices out the sides, out front and out back...
Anyways, said Xfinity technical guru gave me a few tips to potentially make things better with what I had and I hauled out my brand new never before used old school Apple WiFi 4 Wireless router that was now a good 5 years old and plugged that in as he had suggested to the above pictured poxy Comcast Gateway modem gizmo in the forlorn hope that it would somehow solve the problem.
This did not make things faster and it was in fact significantly slower but the network was actually much more stable.
This situation changed when “she who must be obeyed” and I were on Zoom conference calls the next day however.
I did not have an issue until she VPN-Zoomed in.
I have told her you can use video on these Zoom sessions for the first few minutes and do intro's, then turn off the video conferencing but she just ignores me.
If you are using VPN plus Video on conference calling sessions by the way you are making the voice and video packets cross the network twice which is not sustainable to the WiFi network‘s stability on such older WiFi 4 gear and the conference call will repeatedly drop while in session.
You should NOT use Zoom or any video conference call meeting software in video mode while on any VPN session on your home WiFi, keep to voice only and the shared screen format for presentations.
Video chews a huge chunk of the bandwidth of your WiFi anything version space and too many people with full video on a huge conference call effects the voice quality..
As such I decided to do what the awesome Comcast technical guy had told me was the choice option, which was getting my own DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem.
This saved us $14 a month as well which paid for the new Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 gizmo by the way.
The Modem box tells you the voice situation at the bottom left of the box (in red).
The Gateway with the voice component built into it is the CM1200CV modem which was $55 more than the CM1200.
I see the new replacement for the CM1200V is the CM2050V gizmo @ $249.99.
V is for Voice services in case you were wondering.
I looked at my Xfinity account and it listed me as having voice services.
The CM1200 is not supposed to work per Xfinity technical gurus but it seems you can provision the data only piece if you have the voice contract and they will actually do it.
At Best Buy I asked them for some advice as the Mesh Networks WiFi 5 gear the Comcast tech told me about seemed to be the way to go and he had mentioned I should consult with the Best Buy resident WiFi Guru on the best one for multi level houses.
After I researched the matter myself for some 4 odd hours on the old interwebs thang and found concurrence with that good advice, with some intense goggling on the Googles, I had some rough ideas about what to look for.
The choices for Xfinity, Cox and Spectrum DOCSIS 3.1 Cable modems are many.
My top 5 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable modem Recommendations are:
NetGear Nighthawk CM1200
Arris SURFboard SB8200
NetGear Nighthawk CM2000
Netgear Nighthawk CM2050
You will notice I do not support any Cable modems that also sport WiFi router capability.
This is mainly because of the AC2350 dual band WiFi chips these things seem shod with, in my humble opinion, truly suck.
I got 20 different manufacturers WiFi 5/6 gear in a big test with a KB Homes development showcase setup in the San Francisco East Bay Area inn 2020 and 2021 and I was not impressed with any of the mixed Modem/AP devices bar the Netgear X4S.
Go with specialist stand alone gear that does WiFi 5 or 6, as it will be better.
Get a decent Cable Modem that does DOCSIS 3.1 action and keep the functions separate, but remember DOCSIS 4.0 is near...
You might think you are saving money by having a combined device that does both functions in one device but these devices are by and large a fat waste of time and money unless you are solo with just one Computing device like a laptop.
They also just do not do what the stand alone devices do with QOS and security functions they serve plus a myriad of other cool features the stand alone devices sport.
The Netgear X4S device does do most functions well but it ain't cheap!! It also has lotsa gotchas. Ones that I could never live with....
For WiFi 5 or 6 routers you can spend a lot of money, the Netgear orbi stuff starts at $385 and goes up to $999.
You get what you pay for with WiFi gear in case you are wondering. Here, cheap is indeed chicken cheep.
Wi-Fi 6 uses Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation, which allows up to 30 clients to share a channel at the same time, thereby improving efficiency by boosting overall capacity while reducing latency.
To cut a very long story short, OFDMA assigns time intervals to clients that allows them to better parse out available network channels.
For example, if one person in your home is streaming a movie and another is checking social media on a smartphone, OFDMA allows a router to assign channels to each device based on when it needs it most.
Wi-Fi 6 also uses Target Wake Time (TWT), which allows devices to determine when they will normally wake up to begin sending and receiving data.
For fancy new home door locks, WiFi 6 is the floor, the minimum entry point.
Do not waste your time on older WiFi gear for these devices. It will work, but sans the features they sport.
Lockly Vision for $399
The new WiFi 6 standard also takes advantage of previously unused radio frequencies to provide faster 2.4GHz performance, and it uses refined bandwidth management to provide enhanced Quality of Service (QoS) options.
Additionally, Wi-Fi 6 offers eight-stream uplink and downlink Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), which streams data simultaneously rather than sequentially, allowing a more equitable sharing of bandwidth among connected MU-MIMO enabled clients.
Wi-Fi 5 MU-MIMO topped out at four streams. WiFi 6 doubled this to 8 which is why it is kick-ass.
Aside from the capabilities mentioned above, Wi-Fi 6 also offers features like beamforming, which transmits Wi-Fi signals directly to clients rather than over a broad spectrum.
All Wi-Fi 6 devices can also handle WPA3 encryption, which is the newest iteration of Wi-Fi security that'll use features like robust password protection and 256-bit encryption algorithms to make it harder for people to hack into your network.
One nasty surprise I did uncover when using WPA3 - Your network bandwidth starts to think this is 802.11b time again in the 1998 era and drops to 30 or so Mbps......throughput (No thank you!!)...
Your network will also theoretically run faster due to background networking improvements, like support for 1,024-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), a method that allows more data to be packed into each signal for increased throughput (with WAP3 Off - of course).
This can deliver up to 25 percent more capacity than the 256-QAM method used in most Wi-Fi 5 routers by the way.
All this jargon is quite a lot to unpack, but rest assured that any device you get that supports the final Wi-Fi 6E standard will have all of these features and capabilities in place.
You can still get older orbi WiFi 5 mesh goodies that are still pretty good by the way.
If your use case is for business type action with video streaming and not much in network Game action, WiFi 5 mesh setups are still pretty effective and the price is right as well.
All the new Apple M1 goodies sport WiFi 6 chipsets but not the newer 6e stuff.
Look for WiFi 5 or 6 mesh gear that supports Satellite devices with 2-4 Ethernet ports on them so that you can bridge data over WiFi and then go to Ethernet in your offices and rooms from the Satellite device.
Take note of the WiFi maximum throughput details on the Apple M1 based Macbook Air in the table above by the way.
I bought a couple of AX210 based 6e NICs with Intel chips for both WiFi and BT 5.2 action and tested them with my WiFi 5 RBK50v2 setup.
My M1 Macbook air tested out at 626 Mbps on the WiFi 5 orbi RBK50v2 AP. On 1 GbE Ethernet it could only manage a paltry 260 Mbps.
The two WiFi 6e shod AX210 AMD Ryzen workstations scored 526 Mbps and 1 GbE was between 279 and 426 Mbps…
So I abandoned 1 GbE on all my devices after testing on two went impressively well and believe me my testing had Netgear, Cisco and others bleating that my standard was unrealistically high.
Well, I gotta be happy with it....
The new OKN cards have been stunning on Zoom but one quirk was freaky irksome.
These X210 PCIe NICs also come with Bluetooth 5.2 on the same WiFi NIC gizmo.
Turns out the BT 5.2 thang was an issue for my AMD Ryzen rigs on the cheep cards I bought, because of CSM in the BIOS and the fact there was a reset on the Bluetooth device thousands of times a minute.
I suspected and confirmed poor soldering was the culprit here.
These Cheep Chinese devices often display piss poor soldering work requiring you to resolve the poor workmanship yourself, if you care.
Though I am a pretty skilled solder meister myself from my years in the S.A Telkom Microprocessor lab, I prefer not to on brand new gear and opt for the Amazon returns window at my local Kohl's store instead.
I also found the lack of adequate power for the BT 5.2 chip, which does not come from the PCIe bus, is what is causing the on/off power flipping problems in combo with the truly shite soldering effort.
That combined with the fact Windows 10 uses a 2006 BT driver on a BT 5.2 device, is actually a major hassle.
In fact, the way Windows 10 loads generic device drivers instead of the proper ones is something that power irks me greatly.
I am drifting to Linux as a result and will probably be off of Windows OSes on all my machines as a result of this sort of irksomeness from Redmond.
They took control of the device drivers for Windows a few years back did Microsoft and have failed to do a decent job of it since.
I give them a Double P rating for their effort on Windows 10/11 device drivers (PP) - this stands for Piss Poor by the way.
Pass the salt!!
The Microsoft mouse and keyboard combo I use would randomly freeze for 5 -15 minutes which is how long the on-off switch flip takes the OS to shut down the Bluetooth devices which is mega-irky.
I just loaded the F37a BIOS for Gigglebyte to help solve these issues and had to shut off CSM support which is on by default for some strange and bizarro reason.
I had to turn off all power saving settings in device manager properties on all USB and BT devices in Windows Device Damager as well by the way……super-mega-irky!!
The other fix is the purchase of a double USB header with male USB Power plugs you have to feed back into the computer enclosure from the dual USB ports facing outwards and you then plug in the BT 5.2 power into the small circuit board the header device comes with.
This powers the BT device from the two external USB ports and looks very ugly!!
This means Gigglebyte motherboard power is mega-irky.
Is life not wonderful, with all these little things of irk to irk you off!!
Neway, back to the MacBook gear, the older Intel based MacBooks throughputs are quite challenged when it comes to expected throughput on WiFi 5 or 6 AP's.
My 15“ i9 shod MacBook Pro which is armed with WiFi 5 got 579 Mbps throughput. Below is a table of various legacy MacBook WiFi chips capabilities.
As you can see a 2018 13" Macbook Air is a dog on WiFi and it can only do WiFi 5 and below...
While your Netgear orbi app will test out at 923/42 Mbps if you have a Samsung S21 Ultra and my setup, your collection of devices will only go as fast as the WiFi chip they came with.
That is to say you will not see much higher WiFi speeds than 120 Mbps on a 2017 series MacBook anything...
Zoom works much better with 1 GbE Ethernet switches than WiFi 5 or 6 by the way though it appears these AX210 cards are doing something with the voice and video Zoom traffic to make it work quite well.
Think this is the beamforming tech in action here.
I am not seeing shared screens well in Zoom though but I need a few more sessions to get into this as it may be Teams and Webex related.
My Netgear orbi RBR50v2 mesh master device and its one RBR50v2 Satellite form a WiFi 5 bridge between upstairs where our offices are and downstairs where the TV and media station action is.
Upstairs I plug the RBS50v2 satellite into my Force10 1 GbE switch and all my desktops and laptops are also using 1 GbE via CAT6e cables to plug into said Force10 switch.
When you look at WiFi devices themselves by the way, you rapidly realize there are many technologies and chipsets at play here.
You will see things on the WiFi devices boxes like Dual-Band, Tri-Brand, AC2200, AC3000, AX3300, AX4200, AX5700, AX6000 and AX6600 and such.
What this means is that the radios in the WiFi devices, if it is AX or AC designated can serve WiFi speeds at the number stated after the AC or AX letters in Gbps.
For example the speed of the data in an AC3000 device is 3 Gbps, the AX4200 is a 4.2 Gbps device and the AX6600 can do 6.6 Gbps data transfer speeds on the WiFi side of the equation.
The AC stuff works the exact same way as the AX in terms of speed it operates at.
Do not forget the DOCSIS 3.1 feed coming in from your ISP is a mere 1 GB/s and has nothing to do with the AC or AX WiFi speed at all......
If in doubt ask your DOCSIS 3.1 based ISP what "Multi-Gig" internet means exactly.
In my book multi is more than one, so where is it then?
Where this AX or AC frequency rate on your WiFi mesh device makes a difference is if you have sawn of savages doing gaming between each other in network (WiFi) and not impacting the Internet.
Here, the more bandwidth you have on the WiFi AP side of the equation the better.
Conference calling, gaming and video action can be served in the home network with AX without much impact to the Internet WAN side of the equation.
For this purpose, AX6600 looks most appealing indeed and AX11000 is pure heaven!
The Older WiFi 5 stuff my rig uses is AC3000 based which are Tri-Band mesh radios serving 3 Gbps when you add the three radios capability together and are more than suitable for most home networking setups but not as fancy as the newer AX6600 Tri-Band fare.
It has to be said that the AX series capability with WiFi 6 mesh gear has a large advantage over the older WiFi 5 AC gear mainly due to the six (6) antennae and the mesh capability.
My top 5 WiFi 6 router devices are:
Netgear orbi AX6000 Tri Band Mesh WiFi 6 - 3 Pack ($999)
Meshforce M7 Tri Band Mesh WiFi 6 - 3 Pack ($249)
Asus ZenWiFi AX Tri Band Mesh WiFi 6 (XT8) ($449)
TP-Link Deco X68 Tri Band Mesh WiFi 6 ($280)
Netgear orbi RBK852 - Tri Band Mesh WiFi 6 - 2 Pack ($632)
The sole surviving synapse made an executive decision to go for the CM1200 and the orbi RBR50v2 WiFi 5 system, given that I suspected that we are in home networking realities for the next God knows how long….
I went for the orbi mesh WiFi 5 system mainly because of the Ethernet bridge feature and also because it had Bitdefender security built into it via Netgear Armor which I have found is a pretty cool way to protect devices on your network.
It solved my AV and malware cost control problem.
WiFi 6 was not around in my Best Buy store when I bought my goodies by the way. The orbi RBK50v2 pack was pre WiFi 6 gizmo era.
With Bitdefender activated on these orbi mesh devices through Netgear Armor, this system blocks nasties as you surf the interwebs.
You can now pick up this Netgear orbi WiFi 5 gear for a song and this will do the job well for most folks that just want range and good performance at a reasonable price.
Those new orbi WiFi 6e goodies in three pack form cost over $1000.......(one router two extenders).
Bitdefender also tells you which device doing the web surfing is the culprit when it runs into a malware nasty by the way.
I have seen many people reviewing these claiming this is worthless and irksome but they are uneducated on the subject.
Irksome with the stupid messages for sure!
I have been reviewing AV and Malware software for over 35 years and I believe its a pretty reasonable solution, after testing a good few of them.
It's also one less thing to manage in the home network environment.
I was spending too much paying for Malware and AV software per device with webroot and Spyware Dr.
I saved another $300 per annum minimum doing the Bitdefender thang on the orbi platform.
Sure, the Netgear Armor GUI sucks but the Bitdefender piece itself does the job.
You can send the Bitdefender install pack to any device on your home network from the App on your smartphone too, pretty cool in my estimation of things.
“She who must be obeyed” signed up for the Xfinity stuff without my input but I did not want a combined Cable Modem Gateway that also included a normal WiFi router as apart from the fact none of them work very well, when I was in college studying electronics, RF frequency issues mixed with digital chips were stuff nightmare legends are made of and when I dived into it I found RF is a truly weird and dark art to cater to in digital electronics circuits.
As the system was not delivering I got to undo most of her poor decisions on the details of what we got with Xfinity.
I got into the best bits of gear for the job and began to illicit opinions of the gurus in each separate area.
In Best Buy, when I was browsing for the various devices to buy I noticed that some of the orbi Network gear had a router and a Satellite device that both sported 4 x 1GbE Ethernet ports on the back of the things.
The orbi devices bridge between each other using MESH WiFi 5/6 and offer awesome Ethernet network connectivity as well.
This meant I could do what AT&T had set me up with in my home office and I could stick all my computers on 1 GbE Ethernet in my office again!!
l did not mind paying for this either - though I do prefer the ISP to be leaned on for as much as possible.
I advise all my peers to use Ethernet for work purposes using these wireless to Ethernet bridge devices by the way.
We measured connection quality between computers using WiFi and Ethernet and it is hugely better on Ethernet than WiFi for obvious reasons, if you follow how WiFi works.
The bonus was superb wireless signal strength upstairs as well, even if the orbi RBS50 Satellite device did break my RF and digital mix mantra with that device.
The setup of the CM1200 modem was a bit of a problem because "she who must be obeyed" had been force bundled by the Comcast sales leprechaun with voice services which she was told by said sales leprechaun was "free" when she got the Xfinity Comcast service bundle and the new CM1200 Gateway gizmo did not work with said "free" voice services.
We did not want them anyways.
We told the Comcast Xfinity folks that from the beginning. They ignored us completely on that score.
However, when I tried to activate the Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 Gateway gizmo the instructions provided with this Netgear device and the Comcast Xfinity experience did not tally a whole bunch.
In fact those Netgear guides for my series gear was completely useless for both the Orbi RBK50 and the NightHawk CM1200 Cable Modem IMHO.
The newer CM2050V DOCSIS 3.1 modems do not have this issue btw, some sanity has obviously prevailed at Netgear but true to form I did find the one problematic caveat in the CM2050V deployment at my pals home in San Francisco.
The Xfinity workflow does not allow for the fact you may be activating more than one of these modems on different accounts at different addresses.
My victims are usually present when I do this and I make them do this part on their iPhone themselves.
In this case my victim was not in residence so I used the Xfinity app on my new phone which never had the app on it prior, thinking that typing in his account details would do the trick, only it never asked for them…..?
I ended up adding his device to my account by mistake doing this despite the fact I was doing it 70 miles away from my house - standing in San Francisco central next to his device in his basement.
I had assumed the laptop I had started the process with had found his network details and as it did not ask for the account name or his details it assumed it was my stuff when I switched to the Xfinity phone app that somehow still had my details in it.
It even came up and worked informing me his device was now on my account on his network! Ooops!! Obvious logic gates could stop this from happening.
All because it did not verify the account details first.
This should never have happened.
When I did the deed of activation on my gear a year ago I had to call Comcast Xfinity folks in Houston and give them both the MAC address and serial number of my modem device with my account details before I could get it going, it was not automatic self activation capable as the logic free guidebook that my CM1200 came with suggested.
The new auto provisioning process is quite stupid by the way.
On the laptop you plug into the CM2050V Ethernet port Xfinity tells you via a web page that appears on said laptop to download an App for Android or iPhone called Xfinity Home to complete the activation process on your smartphone.
Guess who has been cutting corners and doing stuff cheep-cheep again with this dire App?
This all assumes you will only ever do it once on a single system at a single address.
The Xfinity Home smartphone app does not ask you to log in with your account details. It assumes things. Never assume things.....This is bad logic.
Obviously the Xfinity accountant was the one who did the software specs and requirements with no input from technical folks or any understanding of workflow or logic imparted by the software coders.
It must have been the same accountant who specced out the Xfinity Modem/AP devices as they are all shod with craptastic WiFi chips. Cheep Cheep.....
Said basic app will ask for the CM MAC address of your new modem device with warnings your new modem gizmo has no Wireless capability like the totally pointless device they want to rent you.
Well Duh!! That's the whole point of getting your own DOCSIS 3.1 modem!!
It would be useful if this step would also ask you for your account details as well and apply some basic logic to tie the two together.
In any event, you definitely do not want a combined DOCSIS 3.1 and WiFi all in one device anyways, so select the "your own modem" option on the Xfinity Home smartphone app which then asks you to type in said modem gizmo‘s CM MAC address.
I had this same sort of experience with COX in Orange County as well.
I marveled in wonder that someone actually got paid money to produce said garbage "manual" on the CM1200 series devices by the way.
Fortunately, I know how they sync the devices at Comcast with the MAC address and serial no so I hopped on the old Graham Bell again and called Comcast Xfinity tech support folks to aid my efforts to make it happen.
The Xfinity support lady I ended up working with in Houston took the MAC address and serial number after I told her the plot and she then realized my new CM1200 device was not going to work with the Comcast bundled voice services our contract made reference to.
She went away for two lengthy breaks and put me on hold then made some excuse her system needed a reboot and promised to call me back in 15 minutes when it had.
She did not.
30 minutes later I called back and this time some nice older guy gave me the short and curli's of it all.
5 minutes later he kiboshed the voice services I did not want, sent a sync signal to my new device and my computer got an IP address and we were away to the Interwebs races.
Then it was on to the WiFi 5 mesh network gear piece of the equation.
I am currently scheming on grabbing some WiFi 6 orbi action but am pondering devices with features that aid and abet DOCSIS 4.0 stuff.
At first I tried to get the Old Apple WiFi 4 AP to work but it went green once sans an IP address and I gave up deciding that deep level six efforts were better served with the final gear if I was going to go there.
This orbi stuff informed me in the quick start comic leaflet that I was going to need the Android Netgear orbi app to make it happen.
I had downloaded it 2 hours prior and was in fact ready for action.
However the RBR50v2 was having none of it for some reason so I plugged my Huawei laptop into the Nighthawk Gateway Ethernet port again to verify sanity and instantly got an IP address and the internet.
I was now puzzled and actually had to RTFCBM.
Surprisingly that made zero sense so I fired up the orbi App again and it suddenly instantly recognized what was what and activated WiFi at the same time searching for the Satellite device that I swiftly nipped upstairs to power on and we wuz away to the internet races on the WiFi angle.
The original gear Comcast had installed speed tested out at 522 Mbps max with a 25 Mbps upload speed.
The new Orbi and Gateway gear was reporting a steady 822 Mbps sustained and 40 Mbps upload.
That was more like it!!
My conference calls that Friday the 13th were all stable and not one dropped.
“She who must be obeyed” had one drop but she was using Zoom with VPN and I was amazed it even worked at all.
I had initially noticed though that when the TV goes on (Huge ass 120 inch Sony BRAVIA 4K Smart TV) that network performance dropped to 22/10 Mbps??
I resolved this issue with a modem boot and something Comcast Xfinity guys did but won't own up to after a short sharp bitching session with Houston about it.
With the TV on 4K I was getting 821/40 before the upgrade to 1.2 GB/s. Now I get .923 steady Gigglebytes per second.
We never work with the TV on though so this is sorta OK, but do bear that in mind if you have Xfinity/COX or some similar Cable service that uses DOCSIS 3.1.
This has never happened again by the way. With the TV on I can get full speed test glory these dayz.
Actually many people I know have called me for advice and I have found that many of them needed to throw their old wireless gateways away and also pair their Nighthawk CM1200 device with one of the many orbi or some such mesh WiFi 6 devices that are available.
There are a good few these days.
The eero 6+ 2 or 3 pack is a great deal for smaller homes and apartments by the way but I suggest the new eero PRO 6E 2 pack is the way to go and this retails for $499 with the 3 pack at $699.
A lot less than the Netgear Orbi 6E 3 pack but note that the AX rate on the eero PRO 6E is 5400 with one 2.5 GbE M-Gig port and another vanilla 1 GbE port which will require another 1 GB Switch if you need more Ethernet ports.
The Eero Pro 6E features a built-in Zigbee radio for connecting things like lights and locks with your network, and it’s built to embrace the upcoming Matter smart home standard by way of Thread support, which will let the system relay signals from Matter-compatible devices.
eero PRO 6E rear view
Both are great inclusions for smart home enthusiasts.
I have seen many COX setups in SoCal not work well with just the NetGear Nighthawk CM1200 replaced in their existing home networking schema.
I'm afraid those old Wi-Fi devices just have to be replaced by the newer mesh networks gear which is what they are calling WiFi 5 or 6.
On diving into it deeper, I saw on my Wildpackets wireless sniffer that there was some sort of sync going on between the CM1200 and the orbi WiFi 5/6 devices that I do not see with any older wireless AP, be it Apple, Cisco or any other older technology wireless networking AP.
The multi frequency capability of the newer mesh gear is huge compared with the old radios in use on the older WiFi 1 AP gear.
The new gear DOCSIS modem is using DOCSIS 3.1 instead of the 32 channel thang that DOCSIS 3.0 used and various frequency spreads to maximize throughput and the WiFi 6 stuff is using 8 parallel flows or more depending on the chipset used.
I believe DOCSIS 3.1 uses 24 channels for download and 8 channels for upload which is why upload speeds suck.
Most of my victims have been very happy purchasing the same pairing I have as they also have double story houses with an upstairs and no ethernet cables in the walls.
Just be aware Microwaves and these new multi-spectrum multi-channel networking WiFi any version rigs are not fans....
Don't warm up a steak pie in microwave while on a Zoom conference call for example and expect sane communications you can actually understand to ensue...
Early in September of 2020 I did a network test on my Ethernet, WAN and Wi-Fi components which by then were very stable and was pretty impressed with the results.
I have two Threadripper rigs now and twin X570 desktops armed with Ryzen 7 3800X CPU's and another two with X570 and Ryzen 5800X CPU's and the latest XT 6800 PCIe 4.0 AMD GPU in each rig.
The Chess AI work bench has visitors from Lenovo, HP and Dell in the 1U AMD EPYC range of gear with dual or single EPYC setups.
The Chess AI setup also also has its own Juniper Q10K switch. All running 10/25 GbE.
The other day Lenovo sent me an SR665 with dual Milan EPYC CPU in it and get this, 8TB RAM in it.
My Chess AI won 900 straight games on it. Watson can't touch it....😉🙅💯
SSD in these is all WD Black SB 850 PCIe 4.0 fare and some Intel labs Optane test combos that each sport SSD read and write IOPS stats too frightening to publish.
Those new PCIe 4.0 Radeon rigs in the X570 motherboards
are the cats cream screamers with those WD Black 850 SSD devices that are also PCIe 4.0.
I'm now looking for 8K monitors in the Affordable spectrum.
Might be a bit of a wait....
I am after all a bit frugal with the $$.
In any event, in review over a year later it has all been well worth the effort.
Upstairs we are Now all WiFi 5, no Ethernet.
I got some new office chairs and curved monitors to go with the new setup to reduce the screen count a tad.
I'm struggling with keyboards though.
My Red Dragon keyboard had some funky town shit going on with the AMD AGESA stuff AMD is battling with fixing that screwed up the USB ports.
The recent BIOS F35 update with some AMD software updates seems to have set it straight(er) and I have worked with some folks on signal to noise ratios on that thing.
Seems much more stable now but I think the AMD Ryzen master software needs an update as well which has happened since I penned this blog by the way.
I have started to hit the road more with my Sales Execs as well and it looks like some more lunch and learns will be the order of the day shortly.
Presenting Nutanix updates in a Medical KN100 mask is not my idea of fun though.
For those of you with the Comcast Xfinity modem device, do yourself a favor, give it back to Comcast.
Even the new White plastic device they replaced the old black square plastic device with, that they now claim is AOK is also complete junk.
This is mostly due to the parasitic Xfinity services they are running with prioroty on YOUR device.
Also bear in mind these Xfinity modem things transmit WiFi as well, you already bought an Orbi or something equivalent for Mesh WiFi 6 action if you followed my advice, so all it will do is pollute and clash with your new WiFi 6 device bandwidth.
Let the Nighthawk/ARRIS modem do DOCSIS 3.1 workload on that coax cable and Ethernet, which you plug into your WiFi 6 gizmo via an Ethernet cable and let the WiFi gizmo do WiFi….
Best Buy, Newegg or Amazon etc. are where these goodies are obtained from so go get yourself a serious DOCSIS 3.1 modem device made by Netgear or ARRIS from one of these retail sources.
My Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 is now $149.99 and is worth every cent. This is still available at Best Buy. The CM1200CV is the one they killed for some reason.
If they kick up the speed to 1.4 or 1.6 GB/s I may be in need of a new modem device tho but I suspect this ain't happening anytime soon but it is in fact rated to a max of 2.0 GB/s so I should actually be good with it for a few years.
I see the CM2050V-NAS100 is rated for a max ceiling of 2.5 GB/s on the DOCSIS side - again, HOW? Seems to me they are confusing the M-Gig spec here...
So you need to think carefully between the CM1200, CM2000 and the CM2050 stuff because the DOCSIS 3.1 speed is all the same in this geography @ 1-1.2 GB/s service.
I also noted that the latest Xfinity TV ad is claiming 2 GB/s DOCSIS 3.1 action but the Xfinity tech I spoke to tells me this is not generally available to anybody bar some business side stuff?
If you cut the shabby, shitty Xfinity Modem/AP device from your Xfinity contract you will save money and run faster (guaranteed) and with more devices on the better alternatives like those which I listed that are available these dayz.
All Xfinity modems suck IMHO.
I think its the firmware and the ‘other’ Xfinity services they use your gear for.
Bad code and junk antics on these things for these "other services" that they offer through your modem being the problem de jure.
Xfinity likes to share your device bandwidth with other customers who have an Xfinity account and who may be in range of your setup with their compute or smartphone device.
You will notice an Xfinity SSID and wonder where that is coming from. It is being broadcast by YOUR Xfinity Cable Modem/AP device, not your neighbor.
This makes them parasites to your bandwidth without your permission. I am sorry but that whole setup is just wrong and totally unethical.
It is another reason to get your own gear and not use theirs, no matter what.
Your system gets slower when these ‘guests’ leech on to the Xfinity SSID and services on YOUR device and load it up as a priority service over yours.
What they do not tell you is these "guests" get priority over your own network services.
Getting your own modem setup kills that unethical practice dead!! No more Xfinity guest bandwidth sucking parasites for you!!
I strongly suggest you get new WiFi 6 Mesh networking gear along with the DOCSIS 3.1 Modem gizmo - here the choices are Netgear Orbi RBK852/853 Tri Band gear, eero Pro 6E WiFi systems or the excellent Gryphon Mesh WiFi gizmo.
If you are in a smallish apartment the Gryphon gizmo is for you by the way - it covers 1800 Sq feet quite easily.
There are a few unnatural acts you have to perform with each of them by the way - such as turning off network performance measurements and pointing NTP protocols to US Navy or Google services in the DOCSIS 3.1 Modem gizmo.
DO NOT USE THE Netgear NTP services and make sure the traffic meter is turned OFF!!
Make an entry for US Navy NTP services - you can look up the IP address on your smartphone using Google.
Apparently coders at these OEM orgs that make this gear do not really understand DNS and NTP very well.
Also the Orbi mesh gear comes with an integrated security system called Netgear Armor which is Bitdefender powered that means you do not need to buy antivirus packages for each computer or other device on your network and it blocks all the bad shit that goes on with the internet.
You get a 1 year free Bitdefender subscription with the orbi devices but you have to activate it ASAP.
I just renewed and it was $65 per year. Given how many devices I have that are protected that actually works out pretty cheap....
By the way you cannot turn off these NTP services from the orbi app. My one big bitch with all of these WiFi 6 devices is that the Apps are all double P rated (PP).
Bitdefender software itself is ok but the whole Netgear armor wrapper makes that orbi app one of the worst smartphone apps ever written.
On average the Bitdefender software that gets installed on each client is worth the bad application GUI Armor offers to make it happen.
SO USE IT.
It is invaluable - IMHO.
I have an anti-Google thing going on right now due to many Google Anti-Trust antics that are served up to web browsing victims through Google Chrome so I pointed mine to various US Military services I have worked with before and I just managed to use the Hughes Satellite link clock for the NTP master as well as a test.
If you want to make security a thang on your home network setup by the way, you will have to remove Google Chrome and Google services from all of your devices.
Sad but true.
This combined with BitDefender will make your web surfing much more secure and you can even look at various VPN schemas as well but be careful of VPN as 99% of these VPN companies do exactly what they are supposed to be protecting against.
They will sell your data instead of Google selling it. Many unethical shenanigans going on in this VPN space as well, sadly.
I am going to have a blog on this VPN stuff as well as it is my area of special knowledge and it is clear most people believe all the crap out on Google about this subject area.
Cyber criminals and Ransomware pirates love Google to bits by the way... Literally..
WRT to selecting the right DOCSIS 3.1 Cable modem gizmo, just pay attention to if you have the voice services or not with your current cable service and match it with the modem gizmo you buy as I hear Comcast and COX are now getting funny about voice services being reconfigured down to just Internet Data as they lose money in some weird deal they have with the US Government FCC folks which makes them give you a hard time to opt out of these after the fact.
For $55 extra its worth the hassle not to go there if you can avoid it.
You will require a laptop with an Ethernet port and one Ethernet CAT 6 cable for this step - your smartphone is not smart enough for this, sadly.
Turn off WiFi on your laptop when using Ethernet. On some computers this is a manual process.
Windows 10/11 is a funky beast.
Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into the laptop's Ethernet port and go to your Xfinity router, NOT the WiFi 6 device and plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into one of the DOCIS modem gizmo's Ethernet ports.
The ethernet port should be active in Windows 10/11 when you plug in the cable at both ends, if it ain't you may need to reboot and fire up the Network Connections to see what is active in the network settings of Windows 10/11.
Open a web browser and type in www.google.com when your ethernet port is green and up.
If the Googles malware site comes up, type in something and search for a fun subject like say "Auto immune diseases after covid jab".
You should get a lot of claims of fake news and fake factchecks (sic) via Fakebook (double fake) garbage.
If you do, you have internet services as usual to the Xfinity gizmo end point in your home.
We are not done.....That was just step 1.
The next step is to connect to the Ethernet port on your WiFi 6 router device that should already be connected to your Xfinity Modem you just plugged into in step 1.
That is to say the ethernet cable end you plugged into your Xfinity cable modem must now be unplugged and plugged into the WiFi 6 router.
You can leave the other end of the cable plugged into your laptop Ethernet port.
Do the same thing on the ethernet port on your WiFi 6 device with the Googles malware antics you just entertained yourself with on the Xfinity modem gizmo.
Now your laptop is plugging in to your WiFi 6 device via ethernet port on the WiFi gizmo.
Assuming the Googles malware test worked, you have now established the interwebs flow of data is getting to the WiFi 6 thingamabob's Ethernet port.
Now disconnect the ethernet cable from your laptop and the WiFi 6 thingamabob and put it back into WiFi mode and connect to your WiFi's SSID network.
You may have to reboot your laptop again when changing network types by the way (from WiFi to ethernet and visa versa).
Do the Googles malware antics again and Goggle for auto immune diseases like say NMOSD.
You should again see a whole bunch o crap sourced from factcheck.org and Fakebook on the subject.
This all gives you a good indication that the interwebs thang is functional to the basic 101 level.
If you have Xfinity, connect to the Xfinity broadband test web site from the laptop and run the test.
Click on the blue button under the Space Shuttle logo that invites you to test your connection speed.
If you do not have the space shuttle logo you may get a bicycle or airplane instead - this indicates what they think of your setup in terms of speed by the way.
Best tests are done 3 meters away from the WiFi 6 device or one of it's satellites if you have any.
Some pointers and facts about home networking.
If you join a Zoom meeting via VPN you are making all the TCP/IP packets that carry your information across the network do everything twice.
You do not need to VPN to connect to Zoom or Webex or GoToMeeting or Microsoft Teams conference calls.
If your IT department argues with you, send them my way and I will educate them about VPN and conference calling basics and TCP/IP packet flow in a VPN session to the 101 level.
You might also want to make sure all your WiFi devices and Xfinity modems have the latest Firmware upgrades.
Do not do these all at once..........Do them one by one and verify it all works first before moving on to the next piece.
If you want Good times internet wise that is!!
Next get into the WiFi router device setup pages through a web browser page (usually http://192.168.1.1). You will need the admin password for this step as it will prompt you.
This should offer up the configuration settings page for your device once logged in as admin.
The applications that run on your SMART phone do not have this capability in the app by the way.
Most of them that is at any rate.
You have to do it on a web browser on a laptop or iPad type device.
Turn off NTP or point it to the US Navy NTP site.
Never use the services from your devices manufacturer for NTP, DNS or some such home wired stuff they developed as they have no idea what they are doing and I am not just saying that to be negative.
This came out of much testing nightmares with each of these manufacturers.
You can look these up on the internet on on your smartphone without being on the WiFi you are setting up by the way.
Go to settings on your smartphone and turn WiFi off. This will let you Goggle on their 3G/4G/5G services.
If your smartphone can take calls it is likely using 5G services these days.
With the NTP pointing to a sane NTP that is stable and network performance stuff turned off on your orbi WiFi gizmo you should be good to go.
Every now and again its good to pull the power on your new DOCSIS Modem gizmo which forces the Xfinity side to re-sync with your modem gizmo.
These things get to an "I need a reset" situation about once a month..
This is because updates and enhancements made by Xfinity often do not work until you reset power and force a resync between their gear and your gear..
The modem cache memory also gets polluted often and this is funky, Xfinity now download firmware to run on your modem to mitigate this and other technical issues.
I checked mine and its running V3.12.03 and Xfinity loaded this firmware on my modem.
How bizarre is that? I can see the technical reasons why they want to own firmware on a Bring Your Own Modem (BYOM) though....
Do not be shy of getting on the old Graham Bell to Xfinity and bitching about lack of service by the way but do Goggle for area network outages on your smartphone which should be connected to 5G services and not your WiFi 6 gizmo for this piece.
If you see an Xfinity network outage in your region call them to tell their auto answer robot thang you are not a happy bunny.
If they do not have it listed proceed to be the first to report it if your have no joy communicating with the interwebs!!
Staying silent when there is a network outage in Xfinity land = everything is working just swell to their management folk.
Keep them techie types on their toes, always!!
My most recent deployment adventure at my pals joint in San Francisco turned out to be quite a text book example of various issues I often find with the WiFi 5 or 6 equipment I find in most home setups by the way.
For example if your master WiFi 5/6 device is in the basement, make sure the satellite devices in higher elevations are kind of directly above the master device.
So if it is a 3 floor Victorian house with the master WiFi 5/6 gizmo in the basement, make sure the first satellite is directly above it and the satellite device on the next floor above that should also be directly above the ground floor satellite gizmo or staggered like stairs going up.
Microwave devices and WiFi gear are not pals as the Microwave oven steps on WiFi frequency bands.
Microwave ovens cook with radio signals, WiFi devices are multiband radios in the 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz spectrum...One at 2.4 and two at 5 if it is Tri-Band.
Also, these Wifi devices need to be in the open and not be near metal objects or in enclosed cupboards.
WiFi devices work on line of sight data transmission principles and their radio signals can only penetrate certain objects easily.
Whatever they have to cut through (walls and cupboards) limits their range with each object in its way.
You can get devices that transmit radio waves through any object but these tend to kill anything organic and as we have not evolved to the Android state quite yet.......
Any metal objects near the WiFi satellite devices will also introduce all sorts of quirks and issues with the antennae inside them and then MIMO does strange things as a result.
I always have my WiFi 5 AP gear open and elevated for maximum range and effective use free from metal objects near their vicinity of abode.
Oh and one more thang!
If you get the orbi kit and keep the Poxy Xfinity modem you will have pretty severe WiFi channel and radio frequency channel contention to deal with.
That Combined Modem/AP device is broadcasting AC2200, AC2350 or AC2700 WiFi information on a separate WiFi network also on the 2.4 and 5 GHz spectrum.
Two WiFi systems broadcasting in the same house across the spectrum is never good unless they are master and satellites in a mesh network arrangement like the orbi's are.
You cannot turn WiFi off and disable it in these Xfinity Modem/AP units because they are serving up Xfinity services on YOUR device to others with Xfinity accounts.
Your orbi WiFi router is also broadcasting with it's three radios across the WiFi spectrum on a lot of different channels.
This can potentially kill both Wireless Access points dead.
You will also find WiFi dead zones in your home - do not put WiFi AP devices in a WiFi dead zone!!
Any cabinet with doors is a WiFi dead zone by the way.
This is why I strongly advocate getting rid of the Xfinity supplied Modem/AP device on your network.
The radios inside the Xfinity combined devices suck, they really do, so do yourself a big favor and give it back to them.
Also resist having a Guest WiFi SSID on your WiFi router as this also complicates the radio spectrum and I am into simplicity with WiFi.
I just finished testing my M1 Macbook Air on WiFi and on ethernet and I got 508 Mbps on the WiFi 5 side and 180.2 Mbps on the ethernet side.
However, the quality of video and voice on WiFi is nowhere near as good as on the ethernet link which reports 180.2 Mbps speed so the speed is not the whole story for video and conference calling.....
With WiFi 6e/6E this will be a new ball park, per my testing results at any rate.
Ethernet brings much QOS and control to Video and Voice traffic so be on ethernet for that function as much as you can be.
Also bear in mind that if you want to be picky and have the best performing WiFi possible all devices must have WiFi 6E chips on the WiFi device and use the max amounts of channels available.
Apple M1 airs are 2x2 so you will only get limited performance out of those on circuit board WiFi 6 chips in the darn things but 508 Mbps for WiFi 5 as my testing showed is actually pretty damn impressive.
Also, devices like your ring cameras and such are primitive and run on WiFi 1 which your AP will have on that one radio.
But that radio will get cluttered with the low quality dross on your network so you may want to get Ring cameras that are also WiFi 6E capable...
Some things to think about....
For those of you up and running sans 10 million to 1 snags like this one produced, as specified, enjoy your new web surfing experience, these are the good times!!
Xfinity Mexico finally solved the MAC address association issues my pal and I wuz having and we arrived in good times for interwebs actions on our individual networks....
Muchas Gracias camaradas!!