Can I use a mesh WiFi system with Spectrum Internet?

My mom has Spectrum internet / WiFi and it used to run really well. Smooth and fast connections. They told her they upgraded their routers and no longer were going to support the one she had. They came out and replaced it all for free but the internet itself slowed down but the WiFi now doesn't go nearly as fast and there's now dead zones in the house when there never used to be. I have two little brothers one is big into gaming and the other lives on his phone so they both need a strong WiFi signal. 

 I mentioned getting a mesh system to help with these issues but she is convinced that only Spectrum equipment will work. Is she right or can we get a mesh system from Walmart or wherever and have it work fine? If we can, any recommendations on what brand to use? 

Update:

if a mesh system isn't the best option, what about an extender? 

3 Answers

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  • 2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    If the Internet slowed down because Spectrum changed their device then get them to explain why. That shouldn't be the case. Spectrum is likely requiring that you use a DOCSIS 3.0 or DOCSIS 3.1 compatible cable modem, that is the change requiring the upgrade.

    A real mesh system won't slow down anything, but an extender will.  I can explain why if necessary.   Spectrum (actually all ISPs) offer different bandwidth levels of service.  You need to verify that you are or aren't getting the bandwidth your paying for.  In order to test this you should first verify what bandwidth level you're subscribed to, for this you may need to call Spectrum support.  Then connect a PC via hardwired Ethernet directly to the router and go www.speedtest.net and run speed tests.  You won't always get the same performance, there is no such thing as guaranteed bandwidth, only "up to xMbps".  You should take the measurements at different times of the day over the course of a few days.  What you're looking for is to see if you ever get the bandwidth you're paying for.  If over the course of a dozen or so tests you aren't getting the bandwidth you expect call Spectrum support for help.

    If you want to switch to a mesh system you need to get rid of the Spectrum provided equipment.  You need to get a Spectrum approved cable modem, see list (https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/complian...  Then you need to get a router that supports mesh.   Examples = Google Nest routers, Netgear Orbi, Eero, Amplifi.

    The Spectrum router may support mesh WiFi, but you would need to verify that with Spectrum and get their compatible access points.  

    As for your moms' concern, she is mistaken.  All you need is a cable modem that is approved by Spectrum.  They want you to use (rent) theirs because it puts $ in their pocket.  The advantage to using their equipment is they don't have an excuse when you aren't getting the performance level you are paying for.

    If you do get your own modem, be aware that you need to disconnect the old modem then wait several minutes before you connect the new one.

  • 2 months ago

    I'm not very familiar with Spectrum. However, you should be able to use mesh networks with pretty much any internet provider. I don't know what kind of network setting configurations you may need to do.

    Wi-Fi extenders are terrible. I don't recommend them. They work by creating a second Wi-Fi network. You connect your Wi-Fi devices to this second network. The problem is that extenders typically halve your speed. Wi-Fi is a half-duplex communication meaning it can only send or receive data at once; it can't do both simultaneously. So while you will get a better Wi-Fi signal, you will have half of the speed. Of those 2 options ,I would go with a mesh Wi-Fi network setup. They can get pricey, but they will work much better than extenders.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    It will work, but mesh routers are going to increase the ping times and cut the speed down even further. Not the best solution for gaming. 

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