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New User Mesh Wifi Query

StevePN
Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎27-08-2021

New User Mesh Wifi Query

I've recently signed up for Plusnet Fiber, and I'm trying to get ahead of my install so I'm ready to go on the day.

Looking around here, it seems that the router that comes as standard is a little questionable. I've been looking for a VDSL/2 Modem/Router and there seems to be quite a few questionable options there too!

My plan is to use something like BT Mesh Wifi, plug one node into the router, and then run everything (cabeled and wifi) by connecting to the mesh wifi.

I'm kind of new to Mesh wifi, so my query is:

Do I even need a better hub in this instance? If all wifi is going through the mesh wifi, and any cabled connections are plugged into the back of the mesh units, does a different router give me anything or does it just become a dumb box that the internet just passes through?
14 REPLIES 14
Baldrick1
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

@StevePN  Welcome to the forum.

The BT mesh systems are I believe simply WiFi extenders. The first unit plugs in to the hub and away you go. The standard Plusnet hub one is all you need. You may decide to turn off the wireless on this so that you don’t have two wireless networks running.

Note that many mesh systems from other manufacturers have a built in router. These are really designed for FTTP services rather than the UK’s pathetic FTTC bodge. If you buy one of these you need to either change the hub one for a modem or change  the hub and/or mesh unit settings to get them to connect properly. However these will future proof your investment if FTTP is installed in your area (if ever!).
Be aware that mesh disks have a limited number of Ethernet ports so you may need to install Ethernet switches. The Tp-link ones are cheap and work well.

smeech
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Registered: ‎25-05-2015

Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

The problems with buying a new VDSL modem/router are that options are limited, and you'll lose some access to Plusnet's technical support by not using their supplied Hub One.

On the other hand if you're going to add a mesh system to your Plusnet router you'll connect the mesh's Internet socket to one of the Ethernet sockets on the router. You will need to decide which one performs the DHCP allocation to your devices and handles the DNS queries, so that they don't conflict. You'll probably want to turn off the router's wifi facility.

The simple option is to turn off DHCP allocation and DNS in the mesh system by running it in AP mode and allow the Plusnet router to do the work, but you will be tied to Plusnet's own DNS servers and won't be able to use some of the more sophisticated configuration facilities in the mesh system.

The alternative is to use the Hub One effectively as a modem only. You can assign a static address in the router for the mesh, and turn off the DHCP facility on the router. Then you can allow the mesh system to handle these and assign your preferred DNS server (e.g. Cloudflare, Google etc.). This how I have my Orbi mesh system configured.

Baldrick1
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

@smeech 

Let’s not complicate matters.

Options for buying your own hub are not particularly limited but if using mesh for wireless then there’s no point, the modem section of a hub one is perfectly adequate.

The BT whole home WiFi mesh units do not have a built in router so apart from one disk needing connecting to the hub the rest are set using the app that comes with them. No fiddling with DHCP or AP mode is required.

Your Orbi is another kettle of fish as it has a built in router.

Strat
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

Moderators Note
This topic has been moved from Fibre Broadband to My Router.

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StevePN
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Registered: ‎27-08-2021

Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

Thanks to everyone for the replies so far.

I'm not scared of a more technical setup, but my bigger concern was getting the most of out of the connection.

I didn't want to spend money on a new modem/router if it was going to be wasted when I put in the mesh system to extend the wifi out to the back of the house and garden, but I also didn't want to buy a mesh system if it was going to be hamstrung by any limitations of PlusNet router, and I'd need to buy a new router/modem as well as the mesh.
dvorak
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

The BT whole home works fine with the hub one, I have had that set up.
The tougher functions and modem are fine.

It’s not merely a wifi extender, otherwise it wouldn’t be a mesh Roll_eyes
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Baldrick1
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query


@dvorak wrote:
It’s not merely a wifi extender, otherwise it wouldn’t be a mesh Roll_eyes

Bad wording from me. The message that I was tried to get over was that it extends the range of the router sourced LAN. It does not include any routing functions, which are handled by the hub. Consequently it is very easy to install and set up.


The tougher functions and modem are fine.

Is this predictive text confusing tougher with routing?

busb
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

I'm in a similar position. Currently with EE & my PN fibre Ex connection goes live on the 10th. I have a split-band Wi Fi extender that works fine but obviously have to reconnect devices to it that I could obviously reconfigure for the new router. I'm investigating buying a mesh network but am far from choosing one.

They seem to be not quite as simple to set up has the suppliers would have us believe. From what I've gleaned so far is that there are 2 ways to connect them: Bridge mode or Double NAT where the former seems to be the most desirable. I probably have about 20 devices & want to decide pretty soon how to proceed so I don't have reconnect them twice! The cost differences seem quite extreme form ~£100 up to over £1k for a single extender version. Every system I've looked at has the usual spread of both excellent to appalling reviews.

I currently have 4 devices connecting directly to the router's Ethernet ports & a couple of Duux fans that insist the phone or pad with their app installed is connected via 2.4GHz until set up is completed so would need to temporarily disable the 5G Hz band. Any insights would be most welcome! If I go with a mesh system, the backhaul will be wireless.

Baldrick1
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

@busb Welcome to the forum.

If you have an EE hub based on the Smarthub 6 then you can use that. All that you need to do is disconnect the DSL lead (it is most important that you drop the connection), change your username to <yourusername>@plusdsl.net and your password to your account password, save if you have a save tab else ignore this step.. Replace the DSL lead and it should reconnect and lock on to the Plusnet service.

Hence no other setting up of devices will be required. Your other option to save a lot of fiddling is to change your Plusnet hub to the same SSID and wireless password as your current hub. However, be aware that the BT Smarthub and it's EE equivalent are much better devices than the Plusnet Hub One, which under the hood is an old BT Home Hub 5A with tweeked firmware.

Mustrum
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

@Baldrick1  alas I don't think that is right, the EE hub requires the username ending with "@fs". 

Whilst they do seem to be getting more aligned with BT, they still have some "unique" features. 

 

busb
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Registered: ‎27-08-2021

Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

 Baldrick1

Thanks for your reply & welcome! I don't recall ever having to return a router so if EE don't request it, carrying on using it would hopefully mean I wouldn't have to re-enter new SSIDs & passwords for 20ish devices - just reconfigure it to work with PN. Most of the devices connected to the existing cheapo extender don't move so at a pinch, could just carry on much as now, well hopefully anyway!

busb
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Registered: ‎27-08-2021

Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

Again, thanks! Hopefully, PN's TS will be able to advise me.

Baldrick1
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

@Mustrum 

My post was based on this post. https://community.plus.net/t5/My-Router/EE-Home-Hub-on-Plusnet-Fibre-Line/m-p/1792696#M24337
I don’t see the relevance of @fs that is changed to @plusdsl.net as part of the username change.

@busb 

If you can’t use the EEhub then you can change the Plusnet Hub One to use the same SSID and password as your existing hub.. Just go to the advanced wireless settings and change them.

If it turns out that you can’t use the EE hub and the Plusnet hub isn’t up to the job then get a BT Smarthub 6 from an auction site. You can also change the SSID and password on these. Follow links from here for the full settings https://community.plus.net/t5/My-Router/Using-A-BT-Smarthub-An-Update/m-p/1795292#M24601

 

Mustrum
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Re: New User Mesh Wifi Query

@Baldrick1  I had not seen that thread, so thanks for that.

The issue is that (some earlier) EE Hubs such as the Brightbox's expect the "@FS" in the username, and won't allow anything else. 

Even on the latest Smart hub's , but maybe not the Smart Router (HH6 equivalent) I have seen one example over there where it would not accept a username without the @FS. The same thread also shows that a HH6 using the default BT Broadband username works over on EE now - which I verified on my Netgear D7000. I suspect that before long PN/EE/BT will all revert to the BT way of connecting and do away with the need for individual username and passwords.

As it happens I just renewed my contract and have a Smart Hub, so may do some more experimenting, if I get some free time.