It works with any app that works with Chromecast like YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Plex, etc. It doesn’t work with Apple Music and you can’t output system audio to it from iOS. I wrote about the original Chromecast when it was released years ago, but maybe we should do a quick rundown article.
I have an old AirPort Express that I’m only using as an Airplay receiver (I’m not using the WiFi capabilities, it’s connected to an AirPort Extreme by Ethernet), if it dies I’d probably go for one of those options. I also have a 3rd gen. Apple TV, an optical audio (m) to 3.5mm (f) adapter might also work.
I got the xFi Pods because they were easy to install, don’t interfere with the second plug on the outlet, and most importantly kept the same WiFi network name as our Comcast Gateway. My question is, do any of these other mesh systems do the same? Can they take on the name of the gateway and combine their network with the gateway’s WiFi, or do they create their own second network?
The issue I have is that the xFi Pods, while just 3 gave us great coverage, are significantly slower than the gateway. If I’m closer to the gateway, I’m at 200-250 meg/sec easily, but that can drop down to 40-50 if I bounce to a pod.
The absence of at least one USB 3 port makes this system a non-starter for me.
I’m looking at the Synology RT-2600ac router for when my multiple AirPorts (for expanded coverage on three levels) start dying. Synology routers integrate with AirPorts. And Synology has a great software setup package plus responsive customer support and a robust product support forum.
I’m thinking Apple hasn’t done more to continue this option because so many receivers nowadays, even reasonably priced ones, have built-in support for Airplay (as do many standalone audio units, of course, like the Homepod or the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin).
The xFi pods appear to be 1st generation Plume devices, which have been given praise for their design and pricing, but were found to be only middle-of-the-road performance ratings in comparative tests.
The second generation models currently being sold require a pricy subscription which makes them far less cost-effective. Will be interesting to see what Xfinity will carry in the future.
Not to my knowledge, non-Xfinity mesh systems set up Wi-Fi networks separate from the gateway.
Great, thanks Julio. I vaguely remember reading one of the mesh systems did use the gateway’s network name, but I have no recollection as to which one it may have been.
If you remember what that was, I’m very interested to find out.
That just requires custom firmware to recognize the Xfinity gateway.
This is my first time in a forum discussion of any kind. I came upon this thread while looking for information on extending my WiFi from one building to another. The distance is a couple of hundred feet from office to home. Comcast Xfinity is the provider and they tend to have a lock on it in Baltimore City. Rather than keep 2 accounts, I’m looking to extend the WiFi from one site to another. This brings up the key question…can adding and linking any of these Velop units accomplish that purpose? I saw a question about extending into a garden but I didn’t see a response, unless I missed it.
Hi Greg, for a couple of hundred feet… I’d run Ethernet cable between two routers. Some Cat6 Ethernet cable would be robust enough for outdoors. I don’t know your circumstances but after attempting what you suggest it’s what I ended up doing for our studio and it’s only 50 feet from the main house. The speed differential was worth tacking it underneath some decking and running it along a hedge. No animal issues where we live with gnawing etc.
Back when we moved into our current house in 2001, I needed to get Ethernet from the bottom floor on one side to the second floor on the other. The house has serious insulation in the walls and floors, and some large open spaces between the areas, so I opted to punch through the outside walls on both sides and run Ethernet cable on the outside of the house. You can buy Ethernet cable that’s rated for “direct burial,” which means that it doesn’t even need to be in conduit. It’s thick and a bit tough to work with, but has been rock solid. You do need to be able to wire your own jacks, which isn’t hard, but requires precision.
Now, all that said, I would think that any of the mesh networking devices would work for the scenario you’re describing, although perhaps at rather reduced speeds for the remote location. If you can get line of sight between the two nodes, it’s pretty likely to work decently. Personally, I’d just make sure I could return the units if they don’t work.
Make sure to use LAN Speed Test (mentioned in the article) or the like to test the actual network speed from the remote location.
I have my mesh network running not only in the house but out to my front yard, my back yard and all the way out to my garage beyond my back yard. No issues. If I ran into any issues, I’d just add another node.
For this I would look at a point to point link from Ubiquiti rather than tying to bend a mesh network into spanning the distance.
If you really want to do mesh style networking then get the outdoor antennas from Ubiquiti so you reduce the amount of blockages on the signal path. However if you can lay ethernet cable or fibre that would be far more reliable.
I wouldn’t run ethernet cabling outdoors between buildings without lighting surge protectors (not all that expensive). And I agree that I’d really use ethernet cable made for outdoor use. See https://www.lifewire.com/running-ethernet-cables-outdoors-816267
For a run of a couple of hundred feet, fiber optic cabling may be better (though more expensive). Greg Dunn mentions Baltimore City, though, so I am guessing that running outdoor cabling may not be an easy solution in an urban area whether it’s ethernet or fiber.
I really can’t say whether mesh networking nodes would work over a distance of a few hundred feet with adequate bandwidth, but may be worth a try. I haven’t tried it myself. And of course you’d want to have nodes in the two buildings as close to each other on outside walls as possible. And I’d choose a solution that would allow you to return the equipment if it didn’t work well.
To use radios look at this these:
They work great. Setup takes a bit at first in getting firmware updates and IP addresses set up. But you do it via an app on a smart phone. But for under $200 it is a fantastic option.
Next choice is fiber. You can get 100’ or more of multimode fiber plus a couple of media converters for under $300. Maybe under $200. Come back and ask if you need more information.
Both of these options require power at each end. So look at the brochures/manuals and make sure you are ready for that issue.
As to copper Ethernet just say no. See my reply to the other comments for more detail.
Sorry but I’m going to say this is a terrible idea. Almost the worst option. (Today. Maybe not a few years back.) A lightning strike near by can do a serious number on anything this is connected to.
Rated for direct burial means it can deal with freezing ground and water without leaking. But it says nothing about how well it can deal with lightning.
And lightning surge protection that’s worth the name will cost at least $1000 maybe 10 times that. Sorry but that’s reality.
I just dealt with a home based client where the lighting hit a tree in front of the house and blew out 2 surge protectors rated at nearly 4000 joules plus damaged an Airport Extreme to the point it died about week later. I moved him up a Ubiquiti gateway and we swapped out EVERY surge strip in the house. (You can’t tell how far gone they are so we just did them all.)
Now that you can do a radio link for under $200 with a range in km why deal with burried or arial copper?
To add another data point to the mix. I got Amplifi (the consumer side of Ubiquiti) to loan our user group a mesh system. It was just like we would get if we bought it. Box and all. This consists of a main router and 2 extenders. So far 3 people have tested it in homes which NEED a mesh setup. They all loved it. It took care of their dead spots, was easy to setup with the iPhone app, was fast and reliable. I’ve gotten feedback on requiring the same SSID for all channels and LAN IP restrictions. I will be testing it next week and see if these are user issues or real restrictions.
They all say the front panel display is way cool.
(Due to family issues that have kept me out of town for much of the last 2 weeks I have yet to test it myself. Next week.)
Use single mode fibre - not multi-mode fibre. The small initial savings are not worth the longer term pain.
(day job is in fibre optic transceiver technology)