Lately there have been a ton of new DIY Wi-fi product offerings from companies like Google, EERO, Amplifi etc. that promise you the joy of whole-house Wi-fi without the expense of having to hire a pro to set it up for you. These DIY Wi-fi product offerings promise easy setup, intuitive menus during use and lots and lots of happy families using them via the manufacturers’ slick advertising. However, are they as easy to setup as they claim? Well maybe they are, but it takes more than just easy setup of these devices to get your whole house Wi-fi working correctly. That’s because if you have internet service already, you mostly likely have an ISP issued Modem/Router/Phone Combo already in your home. Adding your own DIY product that does essentially the same thing can cause problems with your Wi-fi reliability and straight up removing the ISP issued Modem/Router/Phone combo without any more configuration can cause Wi-fi issues as well. Thus, it is best to understand a bit more about what you have from the ISP and how it can best interact with your DIY Wi-fi solution.
For simplicity sake, we will only address the scenario where you have a Modem/Router/Phone combo from your Internet Service Provider. There are of course other scenarios like only having a modem, having two modems for internet and phone respectively, etc. but the Modem/Router/Phone combo is the most common. To start, it is important to understand that even though this combo device is just one piece of equipment, it is performing many different functions. Those functions include: (1) As an Internet modem providing you with 1x WAN IP and access to the internet (2) As a Router issuing LAN IP addresses to all network connected devices (3) As a Wireless Bridge allowing wirelessly connected network devices to communication with wired devices and the Internet at large (4) a MoCA bridge in some cases providing you with Whole Home DVR service, On-demand programming, etc. (5) as a phone modem providing you with a digital phone line and (6) As a network switch if you have more than 1 wired network device you want to connect to the internet.
Next, it is important to understand what the DIY Wi-fi system is providing and then compare it to the initial list of the combo device. In the case of the EERO system for example, it is capable of (1) Being a router issuing IP addresses, (2) a Wireless bridge and (3) a network switch. However, what is still missing from this equation in order for you to have everything you had before your DIY product installation is an Internet Modem, MoCA bridge and phone modem. Additionally the EERO system is duplicating the router, Wireless Bridge and Network switch functionality that you already have in place. In some cases, duplication is considered a good thing. However, when it comes to networking, it is almost always not. So how do we remedy to get you to be like those happy families using the DIY Wifi product on TV? Very simply, we eliminate all duplication and ensure we have all parts of the functionality we had before our DIY Wifi setup was introduced.
The first duplication we had was that we had two different routers in our setup issuing IP addresses to network connected devices. We need only one router so we will have to “Bridge” the other. When you bridge a router, it essentially means you are disabling the DHCP server which is what is issuing the IP addresses within a router. Most of the time it makes sense to bridge the router given to you by your ISP via the combo device, however that is no always possible. Thus, in the end the most important thing to remember is that one of the routers HAS to be disabled.
The second duplication is that we have two competing wireless bridges from two different manufacturers. In some more advanced configurations this would actually be Ok, but in a DIY environment we are going to say it’s not. Thus, you must turn off one of the wireless radios. Sometimes this feature can be turned off at the same time as “bridging the modem” which we referred to above and sometimes this can be done separately. Most often, the radio you want to turn off is in the combo device given to you by the ISP. As a more specific example, if we had a Spectrum Modem/Router/Phone Combo and we wanted to connect an EERO system to it, you would turn off the wireless radio in the Spectrum combo box.
The third duplication is the easiest to solve and tied into the other two. Whichever Router your have bridged is where the extra network jacks should NOT be used. When you bridge a combo device you are basically removing all but modem functionality from it. Thus, if you need more than 1 wired network jack port, use the router that has its DHCP server enabled and Wireless radio on.
Now that we have eliminated the duplicates, we have to ensure we still have everything we had before. When we started we had 6 items from the combo box alone which were as follows: (1) Internet Modem, (2), Router, (3) Wireless Bridge, (4) MoCA bridge (5) Phone modem and (6) Network switch. Now we are getting (2), (3) and (6) from our DIY Wi-fi system, but we still need (1), (4) and (5) to have everything we had before. As we have no other equipment for these tasks, we must continue to use the Modem/Router/Phone combo we had before albeit in an alternative configuration. Our 6 functions of our system from before the install started remain intact and amazing Wi-fi will be the result.
Thus, DIY Wi-fi product is easy to install, however, there is more configuration required outside of the DIY Wi-fi product itself which can make filling your house with Wi-fi a little more than a DIY project.
We hope you found this information useful. If you would like reach out to us for any Wi-fi, Security, Home Theater, Home Automation or New Construction needs, please do so at 855-832-4775 or find us on the Web at www.technospeakco.com. If you are in the Los Angeles, CA area, setup an appointment with us so we can drop by an discuss your needs further.
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