Internet/Wifi upgrade

I’ve been looking at a better solution for our Wifi at home, we currently have a BT contract that has expired and the Wifi coverage has never been great. I bought a set of 4x BT Whole Home Mini Mesh units but even then, we get drop outs and poor connections in parts of the house.

Download speeds are generally not an issue (streaming very rarely buffers), its devices dropping out of wifi signal and not having coverage in every part of the house let alone the garage which would be nice!

As the contract has expired, I was looking at alternatives, Gigaclear have recently moved in and offer full-fibre to the router at up to 900mbps but put off by all the negative reviews.

Staying with BT we can get the same speeds at 65-75mbps but with newer Smart Hub & Whole Home Discs for £51/month.

Vodafone are offering the same ~65-75mbps speed as everyone else but include a WiFi 6E Tri-Band Router and Mesh Node for £39/month, which is a good deal less than we are paying now!

The Vodafone deal seems attractive with the Tri-Band Router and Mesh Node included, anybody used Vodafone broadband or the new ‘Ultra Hubs’?

Personally I would always recommend having your own WiFi access points, separate from the router. I use Ubiquiti, but there are also good mesh systems from Netgear, BT, Google etc. Just add as many access points as you need for your house layout.

Use that and turn off the WiFi on your router, then you can easily change broadband provider whenever you like, and the WiFi is still the same.

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Thanks, any idea where to start with Router/AP models?

I’ve not been impressed with the BT Mini Mesh system, although I guess it is the ‘basic’ one, even with four we are not getting coverage over the whole house, ground and 1st floors. We are somewhat limited by plug socket availablity at the moment so a more powerfull AP would be better I guess rather than smaller ones we have right now.

I’m not familiar with Ubiquiti, is there anyone who does a Router/AP kit for simplicity?

We need a new (cheaper) broadband contract anyway hence why the Vodafone option was attractive as it includes the hardware as well rather than spending £200-300+ on a new router and AP system.

We are planning an electrical re-wire of the house, and I am hoping to install some ethernet cables to around 5-6 points for any future AP backhaul connectivity (and future proof while we have all the floorboards up) but that’s likely to be 2025 at the earliest IF we can find a reliable electrical contractor.

If you’re going to rewire anyway then it might make sense to get the Vodafone system for now.

I think it’s best to have multiple access points that are wired by ethernet to the router. Any system that gets on the way of this, such as a wireless mesh or homeplugs, introduces latency and the opportunity for things to break or not work that well. I would suggest to plan for this for when you rewire.

In a long house with some thick walls and a lot of neighbouring networks, I’ve never had a good experience with broadband provider kits, or basic consumer devices. I spent a fair bit of money, and it was always annoying.

Since getting a couple of Ubiquiti Unifi devices, it has been great throughout the house. You just plug them into your router, install the software on your computer and set them up. They form a single mesh network, and hand devices over to the best access point transparently. I have just thrown them into the loft, one at the front and one at the back of the house.

If you’re going to get a router then the default recommendation is Asus, but tbh the broadband provider ones are generally ok for most uses, apart from long range WiFi!

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Thanks, I’ve seen good reviews of the Asus routers and APs but such a bewildering array of different models it’s difficult to know where to start!
I’ll have a look into the Ubiquiti products although they seem at the higher end cost wise.

I do like the idea of ethernet connected APs as you suggest, its likey to be 2025 now at least before we can look at that, with the Asbestos removal, garage roof replacement and Solar Panels all being booked in this Summer.