1. Cable modem? Is it docsis v3.0?
  1. This is probably the biggest gain you can see for your money for the entire household. Providers like Comcast may have their issues but they frequently inch up performance without charging more.
  2. should I use their wi-fi combo router or add on my own?
  1. buy or rent?
  1. Routers, switches, hubs, printer/scanners, general wifi settings
  1. What do you need to know when shopping?
  2. Does brand matter?
  3. Double Nat issue
  4. Change defaults, don't use personal identifiable ssid, enable encryption
  5. Keep firmware up to date
  6. Don't expose your devices to public management or accessibility.
  1. Extending the network in the home
  1. Run a cable - most likely to tick off the spouse.
  1. Any experience here?
  1. Cheapest solution is get length of cable and put your own ends on if you need to run a lot. But the tools and a simple tester can add up even from
  1. Tips and tricks?
  1. Run cable before walls go in, or keep it as simple as possible, one or two runs and wifi onboard points.
  1. Network over powerline; search for powerline networking on Amazon; this is another big bang for buck improvement. have to be all on the same breaker panel. And plug them DIRECTLY into the wall not into a power strip. If a ups is on same outlet, plug it into a surge strip and that into the wall.
  1. You can go with a four port kit option like the one from Cisco.
  1. avoid wifi extenders - Just don’t do it. Waste of your money. Supposedly there are some newer ones shown at CES but till they are actually out, avoid the whole thing.
  1. I can re-share my Airport Express experience here.
  1. Run extra wifi connection points in bridge mode plugging them into a wired back bone such as the powerline adapters.
  1. wifi congestion
  1. Hold alt key on your mac while mousing onto the wifi icon see channels of nearby networks
  2. Channels 1, 6, 11 on the 2.4GHz radio. On the 5GHz I tend to just let Auto do it’s job.
  3. older wifi (wii, 1st gen ipod touch)
  1. run older devices on their own wifi router/ssid
  2. You can also do this by splitting the dual radio setup like in an Airport Extreme. Put the older devices on the 2.4GHz and newer set to N on the 5GHZ radio.
  1. Bluetooth, Home automation like the Phillips Hue bulbs etc all use the unlicensed 2.4GHz radio range.
  2. With the high volume of devices we all have and at different specs, what are the best strategies?
  1. Dual band routers vs. multiple routers?
  1. This section is more about other protocols on same radio band rather than just more 801.11 devices. But yes moving your devices to 5GHz using newer routers can help alleviate congestion in the 2.4GHz range.
  1. Check high data volume data applications like crashplan, devices like Transporter (kickstarter) for data threshold and scheduling settings.
  2. I even have Instacast on my iphone set to not download video, but let the video podcasts download on my ipad to reduce duplicate large downloads
  3. Dropbox allows selective sync so you can sync only what you need to given computers, plus usually syncs lan to lan connection when possible.
  4. If you have kids that are gaming a lot, xbox etc consider a performance gaming router to shape the traffic.  This is a feature I wish Apple would add to the Airport line since we are paying easily in the same class as these.
  1. Consider alternate DNS. Google or OpenDNS. Sometimes your native ISP DNS servers can be overloaded.
  1. OpenDNS tutorial. Older but still applicable. 
  1. In a nutshell: improve the ISP bottle neck. Run over distances wired (via powerline) and use wifi for onramp for mobile devices. Don’t try to do everything directly over wifi.
  2. Upcoming wireless (802.11ad) directionalized beaming the 60Ghz band. Think of it like going from hubs to switches on wired. Good interview with qualcomm on the topic by Hak5, Darren Kitchen,