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Title: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Rich Orde on September 01, 2017, 08:51:30 am
I am using an X-32 rack, iPad controlled.  Last night the band played a gig at an outdoor venue in a city's downtown area.  The list of WiFi sources was seemingly endless.  I was experiencing an occasional hiccup but then at one point later in the evening I lost connection altogether.  Tried restarting things, changing to an extender, etc. and there were still major connection problems, even standing 10 feet from the router.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a router that can overcome such issues?  The heade guy from the sound company that was there recommended this one:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-ac3100-dual-band-wi-fi-router-black/4465000.p?skuId=4465000 (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-ac3100-dual-band-wi-fi-router-black/4465000.p?skuId=4465000)

Thing is, I would hate to spend that kind of money only to have the same issues.

Any suggestions on this?  Thanks

Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Chrysander 'C.R.' Young on September 01, 2017, 09:00:26 am
Any suggestions on this?  Thanks

Yes.  ALWAYS have a wired backup solution ready to go.

/thread
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 01, 2017, 09:17:23 am
I am using an X-32 rack, iPad controlled.  Last night the band played a gig at an outdoor venue in a city's downtown area.  The list of WiFi sources was seemingly endless.  I was experiencing an occasional hiccup but then at one point later in the evening I lost connection altogether.  Tried restarting things, changing to an extender, etc. and there were still major connection problems, even standing 10 feet from the router.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a router that can overcome such issues?  The heade guy from the sound company that was there recommended this one:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-ac3100-dual-band-wi-fi-router-black/4465000.p?skuId=4465000 (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-ac3100-dual-band-wi-fi-router-black/4465000.p?skuId=4465000)

Thing is, I would hate to spend that kind of money only to have the same issues.

Any suggestions on this?  Thanks

No, this would not help, at least not much.  This is a consumer, or "gaming" router.  It looks fragile too, not something I would want to transport.

The first thing to do is not to rely on the wireless.  Have a wired backup.  What kind of console?

What frequency range were you running (2.4 or 5Ghz)?  You should have been on 5Ghz.  Remote control apps don't take much bandwidth so using the slowest speed setting in your AP is often the best choice. 

There are other mitigation techniques such as not broadcasting your SID and getting your antenna high enough for line of site.

We have many threads on these topics.  Here is one of the more popular:  http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=145637.0

It may be a little dated on equipment selection.  Any decent Access Point from Ubiquity, Engenius, Ruckus, Fortinet, Cisco Aironet (not Cisco Consumer), Sonicpoint etc.  will do the trick.  Simple mounting on a mic stand is key here.

A word on nomenclature.  A router is a device to connect networks together.  It can have an Access Point (AP) built in however in our application the routing functionality must be disabled.  Calling an AP a router generally means you are referring to some piece of improperly deployed consumer gear.   The three building blocks of networks, Access Points, Switches and Routers have distinct roles.  Learning those distinctions would serve you well.  There is also a sticky thread to a networking primer for production professionals.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Rich Orde on September 01, 2017, 09:41:31 am
Using an X32 rack, no option for wired with that console :(  Haven't needed an alternative in over 3 years but last night was the first real problem.

Originally on 5GHz when it failed, tried connecting to both after that with no noticeable difference.

I read this in the link you provided and this does make sense

Quote
make sure you're using WPA2 encryption, and TURN OFF SSID BROADCAST. That is the most important part. That will stop punters from trying to connect to your router all night long. Even with just a password, you run the risk of hundreds of people trying to connect over and over, guessing the password all night. That can actually bog down your network and cause a lot of un-needed wifi traffic in the venue.

That being said, we are using a 5 year old Linksys router.  There has to be something better out there.  Used to use an Airport Extreme but had a lot of problems with that one.

Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 01, 2017, 09:46:41 am
Using an X32 rack, no option for wired with that console :(  Haven't needed an alternative in over 3 years but last night was the first real problem.

Originally on 5GHz when it failed, tried connecting to both after that with no noticeable difference.

I read this in the link you provided and this does make sense

That being said, we are using a 5 year old Linksys router.  There has to be something better out there.  Used to use an Airport Extreme but had a lot of problems with that one.

Pickup a modern AP then.  I like the Ubiquity.  Stick it on a mic stand.

The x32 rack has many wired options.  Connecting a touch screen laptop to the Ethernet port is one simple one.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Chrysander 'C.R.' Young on September 01, 2017, 09:51:19 am
Using an X32 rack, no option for wired with that console :(  Haven't needed an alternative in over 3 years but last night was the first real problem.


The X32 rack has the same connectivity as its larger brethren.  I have the X32 rack and always use a wired backup with it.  The X32's ethernet port  goes to a LAN port on my router/WAP and a touch-screen PC goes into another LAN port.  At my last show, the PC was side of stage and I was out front with a  Mac airbook.  Thankfully, I had no issues that day, but the wired option was live and ready to go had there been an issue.

If you are relying solely on 802.11 Wifi to pull off your show, you are courting disaster.  With anything RF, it is not a question of IF, it is a question of WHEN you will get interference and lose functionality.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Rich Orde on September 01, 2017, 12:09:13 pm
The x32 rack has many wired options.  Connecting a touch screen laptop to the Ethernet port is one simple one.
After last night we are speaking of having something on hand like this just in case.  The band leader has a touch screen laptop that he is going to configure and bring along.  Definitely a worthwhile option.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Mike Monte on September 01, 2017, 03:56:55 pm
After last night we are speaking of having something on hand like this just in case.  The band leader has a touch screen laptop that he is going to configure and bring along.  Definitely a worthwhile option.

'gotta have faders as a backup....

I leave my A&H QU-24 on the side of the stage and mix on my iPad.
I have never had an iPad issue, but, if I did lose connectivity I can limp through a gig mixing on faders.....

call me cautious??

 
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Russell Ault on September 01, 2017, 06:11:30 pm
The x32 rack has many wired options.  Connecting a touch screen laptop to the Ethernet port is one simple one.

I do a lot of shows with an X32-Rack sitting side-stage, and any of the ones I care about I'll always run a wired network connection to FOH. Dealing with Cat5e cable (especially the less-than-rugged foil-shielded stuff) is annoying, but not as annoying as losing control during a show.

A little-known feature of the X32's PC Editor software is that it talks Mackie Control, so if you plug a MIDI controller into the computer running the PC Editor software you can use it to control the X32. In theory this will work over Wi-Fi, but obviously works best on a wired connection. It also reduces the importance of having a touch screen computer, since you'll be mixing on actual faders.

-Russ
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Mike Caldwell on September 01, 2017, 07:32:01 pm
I only use 5ghz, hide your SSID, Get a wifi scanner app (lots available for android) to take a quick look at what's going on in your area to make sure you don't have a channel conflict with someone else, if you do go in and reconfigure your AP / wifi router (yes I know I just said router) to another channel.

I am getting great results with my consumer "routers" in fairly dense wifi traffic areas. TP Link Archer C7 and Netgrear R7000, I sometimes feel the TP link gives me slightly better range. I carry spares of routers and Ipads. My A&H Qu Pac has full front panel operation for an emergency if needed.

Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Jeremy Young on September 01, 2017, 08:05:09 pm
I've had good experiences with my Netgear R7000 as well.  Running 5ghz only, hidden SSID, etc etc like everyone else is saying.

I run an iLive idr32, but even if i don't have a FOH location i'll still bring my R72 surface and wire it up at the stage box.  I just don't trust tablets, especially around drunk people. Forget WiFi dropouts, I'm actually more concerned about dropping the iPad and trying to mix on a cracked screen for the rest of the gig, lol. 

In a pinch i could finish the gig on a wired laptop or midi controller as well if i needed, but I have both R72 and T112 surrface options in my inventory and i always bring at least one so i haven't needed to do something like that yet.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Tim Weaver on September 01, 2017, 09:39:27 pm
The sooner you realize that the X32 is just another computer on a network the better off you'll be. Design your network for a hostile RF environment. Have a WAP that works outside of the "noise". Have a 100 foot ethernet cable you can run out to FOH and plug in a laptop.


For that matter, have a device with an Ethernet port. Those are starting to dissappear.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Tim Woodworth on September 11, 2017, 06:03:47 pm
This is what we use and they have been flawless.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833168119&cm_re=engenius-_-33-168-119-_-Product
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Ronnie Amighetti on September 12, 2017, 04:24:48 am
Hi all, my first post here on PSW. Used to be a member many centuries ago.

A friend who works with X32 and M32 a lot (just like me) swears by this:

https://www.thomann.de/it/nowsonic_stage_router.htm

I've been using various models and it always comes a time when I have issues stayin' connected to my network. Last week I used the up mentioned one and it worked flawlessly all night long. My two cents.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Kevin_Tisdall on September 12, 2017, 10:42:56 am
I am using an X-32 rack, iPad controlled.  Last night the band played a gig at an outdoor venue in a city's downtown area.  The list of WiFi sources was seemingly endless.  I was experiencing an occasional hiccup but then at one point later in the evening I lost connection altogether.  Tried restarting things, changing to an extender, etc. and there were still major connection problems, even standing 10 feet from the router.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a router that can overcome such issues?  The heade guy from the sound company that was there recommended this one:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-ac3100-dual-band-wi-fi-router-black/4465000.p?skuId=4465000 (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-ac3100-dual-band-wi-fi-router-black/4465000.p?skuId=4465000)

Thing is, I would hate to spend that kind of money only to have the same issues.

Any suggestions on this?  Thanks


Lots of good advice already.   I have been using Apple Airport Extreme 6th Gen with only 5ghz enabled.  I don't advertise the ssid and have it password protected.   Works for me.  I bought them used for around $60 each (one for a backup).

--Kevin
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Steve Litscher on September 12, 2017, 11:35:05 am
Count me in as a very happy Airport Express user. We have two (one for back-up), and have (knock on wood) never had any issues, even at events with nearly 2000 people.

That said, the Ubiquiti gear has me curious... placed an order over the weekend and it should be here later today.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 12, 2017, 01:54:49 pm
Hi all, my first post here on PSW. Used to be a member many centuries ago.

A friend who works with X32 and M32 a lot (just like me) swears by this:

https://www.thomann.de/it/nowsonic_stage_router.htm

I've been using various models and it always comes a time when I have issues stayin' connected to my network. Last week I used the up mentioned one and it worked flawlessly all night long. My two cents.

I can't see why that would work any better or worse than any other radio.  I do like the form factor but I don't like that it forces the antenna to be at the fixed height in the back.

Having the AP (you don't need, or want, a router) on a run of protected network cable let's you get it up on anything from a MIC or lighting stand to up in the catwalks or flown on a the truss (have to be nice  to the LD).

Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on September 13, 2017, 11:32:21 am
I can't see why that would work any better or worse than any other radio.  I do like the form factor but I don't like that it forces the antenna to be at the fixed height in the back.

Having the AP (you don't need, or want, a router) on a run of protected network cable let's you get it up on anything from a MIC or lighting stand to up in the catwalks or flown on a the truss (have to be nice  to the LD).

Scott, what do you think about restricting the access by also putting the MAC address of the tablet or phone in the AP? I am sure there is a proper way to refer to this restriction. Would it be MAC address filtering? I looked it up in my Networking for Dummies book.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Steve Litscher on September 13, 2017, 02:11:56 pm
Ubiquiti gear arrived today, and just configured it.

Observations:
- Documentation leaves much to be desired; it lacks clarity around the order of setting-up and configuring items
- The gear is slow to reboot, initialize, "adopt" (Ubiquiti term)
- Required many reboots of the switch
- Localhost application vs CloudKey - man, that was a little confusing... still is odd
- Doesn't appear to have MAC filtering/blacklisting unless you "block" a client that's actively on your network
- Entire process was wonky, overall. Had to factory reset devices several times before they would "take" the configs we wanted to use. Seems to be common... several of the online tutorials showed people having to reset/reboot along the way when things didn't work as they should've
- Chrome plug-in required to find Cloud Key
- Pricey... The WAP, Switch, and CloudKey came in at over $400
- How do you rackmount the switch?? I can't find a kit that'll work with a 19" rack

+ Management panel and insights are pretty cool
+ Much more control over WAP channels/output

So... given the initial experience, I'm hard-pressed to say if this is an improvement over the Airport Express/Netgear swtich solution. Going to try this at a gig this weekend; AE/Netgear will be along as back-up.


If anyone is interested in the Ubiquiti solution, here's what we bought:

Unifi Switch8 150W switch
Unifi AP Pro wireless access point
Cloud Key management device

If this all works out, and time allows, I'm going to create a "set-up for dummies" video and blog post.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjśr on September 16, 2017, 02:08:26 am
Scott, what do you think about restricting the access by also putting the MAC address of the tablet or phone in the AP? I am sure there is a proper way to refer to this restriction. Would it be MAC address filtering? I looked it up in my Networking for Dummies book.

While I'm not Scott I've been using this method instead of password protection for a few years now with Ubiquiti APs. It works perfectly but I have to say I'm strongly considering going back to passwords - it's a total PITA to have enter mac addresses every time you need to connect some new device, which, for me at least, has turned out to be every so often.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 16, 2017, 02:13:12 am
While I'm not Scott I've been using this method instead of password protection for a few years now with Ubiquiti APs. It works perfectly but I have to say I'm strongly considering going back to passwords - it's a total PITA to have enter mac addresses every time you need to connect some new device, which, for me at least, has turned out to be every so often.

Oh brother......Yes, populating the MAC table is the best way to lock down the AP.  Keeping track of the MAC's is the barrier here.  I frequently have clients ask to access their monitor mixes on their devices.  This would make this a non-starter for me to populate that table on the fly.  That's 12 hex characters to have to enter correctly, way too much for my old brain.



Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on September 16, 2017, 08:54:47 am
Oh brother......Yes, populating the MAC table is the best way to lock down the AP.  Keeping track of the MAC's is the barrier here.  I frequently have clients ask to access their monitor mixes on their devices.  This would make this a non-starter for me to populate that table on the fly.  That's 12 hex characters to have to enter correctly, way too much for my old brain.

When you say " I frequently have clients ask to access their monitor mixes on their devices." are you letting them mix their own wedges? Or is this only if they have IEMs?
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Tim Weaver on September 16, 2017, 03:48:58 pm
Oh brother......Yes, populating the MAC table is the best way to lock down the AP.  Keeping track of the MAC's is the barrier here.  I frequently have clients ask to access their monitor mixes on their devices.  This would make this a non-starter for me to populate that table on the fly.  That's 12 hex characters to have to enter correctly, way too much for my old brain.

I never went that far, I just hid the ssid and passworded my network, BUT I did use a small Linksys router/AP in a rack by the stage and my Ubiquity Nanostation for broadcasting to FOH. If you had a similar setup you could put a guest network on the stage-side WAP with a limited range. Just enough to let the musicians get on and use apps. The FOH WAP could be Mac filtered.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Johannes Halvorsen on September 16, 2017, 03:51:46 pm
Ubiquiti gear arrived today, and just configured it.

Observations:
- Documentation leaves much to be desired; it lacks clarity around the order of setting-up and configuring items
- The gear is slow to reboot, initialize, "adopt" (Ubiquiti term)
- Required many reboots of the switch
- Localhost application vs CloudKey - man, that was a little confusing... still is odd
- Doesn't appear to have MAC filtering/blacklisting unless you "block" a client that's actively on your network
- Entire process was wonky, overall. Had to factory reset devices several times before they would "take" the configs we wanted to use. Seems to be common... several of the online tutorials showed people having to reset/reboot along the way when things didn't work as they should've
- Chrome plug-in required to find Cloud Key
- Pricey... The WAP, Switch, and CloudKey came in at over $400
- How do you rackmount the switch?? I can't find a kit that'll work with a 19" rack

+ Management panel and insights are pretty cool
+ Much more control over WAP channels/output

So... given the initial experience, I'm hard-pressed to say if this is an improvement over the Airport Express/Netgear swtich solution. Going to try this at a gig this weekend; AE/Netgear will be along as back-up.


If anyone is interested in the Ubiquiti solution, here's what we bought:

Unifi Switch8 150W switch
Unifi AP Pro wireless access point
Cloud Key management device

If this all works out, and time allows, I'm going to create a "set-up for dummies" video and blog post.
You got all this just to power your foh wifi...? If that is the case I think you have overshot the goal by aprox. two astronomical units... ;)

The AP makes perfect sense; it is a rock solid solution with few or no competitors for its power at that price point. The switch and the cloud key, though... If you use this setup as part of a larger network it makes sense, but for mixer+tablet+laptop you can use any old router with a build in switch (as long as wathever integrated wifi acces point it offers can be switched off!) and run the Unify management software on the laptop. After the initial configuration you won't even need that tool until you make some kind of setup change.

What is REALLY cool with the Unify system is the ease with wich you can extend your wifi coverage. If you have a large venue you can put one ap on stage, one at foh and eg. one at the back of the venue, connect them to the same switch with cat5/6, adopt the new aps in Unify and booom!... Seamless solid wifi coverage all over the place.
Title: Re: Best router for crowded WiFi areas
Post by: Scott Holtzman on September 16, 2017, 05:41:06 pm
When you say " I frequently have clients ask to access their monitor mixes on their devices." are you letting them mix their own wedges? Or is this only if they have IEMs?

Only IEM's.  Never even had anyone ask to mix a wedge.  Love informed folks, they ask if I have a spare channel for their mix.  Usually keyboard or drummers, I drop a feed for their ears and they are happy as a clam.