Taking the AirPort Extreme out of the Cupboard Tripled my Bandwidth

In mid-2014, I switched the bandwidth provider here in the Reinventorium from Eastlink to Bell Aliant.

While I’d previously been using an Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router hooked up to the Eastlink modem, I put this away in the cupboard when Bell Aliant installed a wireless-capable router — an Actiontec R1000H — as part of its service. Why complicate the setup, I reasoned, with possibly-dueling routers.

And things worked well, with bandwidth of 50 Mb/s down and 50 Mb/s up  consistently since the original install.

Last week, though, I got a letter in the mail from Bell Aliant (curiously addressed to “Catherine Treasurer”) revealing that my (theoretical) 50/20 plan had been upgraded, at no additional cost, to a 100/50 plan; I saw no evidence of this in practice, however, with a Speed Test showing only 50/50:

Results of Speed Test

I called Bell Aliant and asked them to check their modem, and they couldn’t find anything untoward, and so they scheduled a service call.

In the meantime, though, I wondered if it might be the wireless router, or my mid-2011 MacBook Air, that was the limiting factor, not the bandwidth into the office. So I plugged my MacBook directly into the Ethernet, and, presto, I was seeing much more bandwidth hardwired than I was seeing wirelessly.

I tried fiddling with the settings on the Actiontec R1000H to see if I could take advantage of heretofore-untapped capabilities of the router, but, try as I might, I couldn’t make it work any faster than 50/50.

So, on a lark, I took the old AirPort Extreme router out of the cupboard and set it up, plugging it directly into the Actiontec and creating 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless networks.

On the 2.4 GHz AirPort network I got much the same throughput as with the Actiontec router; on the 5 GHz network, however, there was a dramatic uptick to 150/100, which is more than Bell Aliant tells me I should be getting (I’m not complaining):

Speed Test after the move to the 5 GHz network.

So I’ve canceled the service call for Bell Aliant, and am now happily booting along the information superhighway with three times the horsepower.


IgnodobbYhods's picture
IgnodobbYhods on December 8, 2015 - 12:57

but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any solutions to help prevent content from being ripped off?

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