RocklinCA
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RocklinCA

My Gigabit Wave Broadband at Home

I often see neighbors on the Next Door app asking about Wave Broadband vs. AT&T, which are the only two internet service providers in Rocklin. Such online discussion often turns into a commentary of how bad of the providers are and how we need other options like Comcast to level the playing field. I don’t disagree with the gist of the conversation, but in reality, such a chance is not likely to happen soon.

I tried AT&T once and went back to Wave Broadband. I have Wave Broadband for my offices in Lonetree Blvd., as well. Wave Broadband’s enterprise sales office happens to be in the same building as well. In this article, I will share my home set up for Wave Broadband.

Wave Broadband Internet Package — 1 Gbps

I only subscribe to their basic cable and highest speed internet package, which at this time happens to be limited to 1 gigabit per second. We do not watch cable television. We prefer streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube, so internet connection is our primary need.

Hardware Setup

I do not use Wave provided router. I replaced it with a Nighthawk CM1100 DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem.

Nighthawk CM1100

This is a very powerful cable modem that can handle transmission rates up to 10 Gbps. So in the future, when Wave offers 2 Gbps, 5 Gbps, or even 10 Gbps options, I will be ready.

My Nighthawk cable modem has gigabit network ports. One of these ports is connected to my WiFi router.

I use a Linksys EA9500 as my WiFi router. This is a beast. It has an excellent 2.4 GHz radio that can cover 4800 square feet of my two-story home.

Linksys EA9500 WiFi Router

However, I prefer the 5 GHz radio for common area access. I keep the 2.4 GHz radio turned on because some of my WiFi devices such as Ring doorbell, Lift Master garage door opener, WiFi outlets, and many other IoT devices, etc. still use 2.4 GHz radio.

I also changed all the splitters with new ones to reduce signal loss. The ones I used are MOCA compatible. In other words, they handle 5–2300 MHz frequencies. Also, I added 75 Ohm terminators on all unused cable jacks throughout the house to avoid signal issues.

My home doesn’t have built-in cat-6 (network) cables throughout the house, but like almost all homes in the US, it has coax cables for TV in each room. I decided to use the MOCA adapter to turn the coax cables into a hardwired network. You can read about this in another article I wrote earlier last year.

Testing WiFi Speed on a MacBook Pro

I connected my MacBook Pro to the 5 GHz radio and used the Speedtest software to check the network speed. I got 648 Mbps to download and 10 Mbps upload over WiFi.

Using Speedtest on MacBook Pro over WiFi

Testing WiFi Speed on an iPhone Pro 11

On my iPhone Pro 11 using the same Speedtest app and the same destination server, I was able to get 582 Mbps over WiFi on the 5 GHz radio.

Speedtest app running on iPhone Pro 11

These are pretty good numbers for WiFi in the house, but if I hardwire the mac using an Ethernet adapter, I get over 800 Mbps.

Since most of the time I am not using the hardwired Ethernet, the max speed is around 500–600 Mbps depending on the device. Whenever I am doing these tests, the test conditions are not “ideal” as many of my other devices are on and some are streaming videos. I am reasonably happy to get this kind of performance out of Wave Broadband’s 1 Gbps package.

We routinely watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube on multiple devices all around the day and especially on the weekends. Some of my users — boys in elementary school — play Fortnite and other bandwidth-demanding games on iPads, Xbox, etc. and would have complained about lag thousands of times over! So everyone seems to be happy with the current level of performance.

My office on 5701 Lonetree Blvd. also uses Wave Broadband’s symmetric business packages where we get 100 Mbps up/down. These packages are much more expensive as they come with service level agreement (SLA) with five-nine (99.999) uptime guarantees. Having the Wave Broadband enterprise sales office in the building is also a plus as we got to know the manager and the sales staff well. We really don’t have any issues with Wave Broadband in the office as of yet.

So all is good with Wave Broadband here in Lindbrook Dr. and Lonetree Blvd. I have been a Wave Broadband customers for 9+ years now. I do like competition and I hope that we get to see 10 Gbps options soon. There is a big competition that is coming to town in the form of 5G and these internet service providers will have to do some magic to stay in business. Otherwise, people are going to abandon them with 5G routers at home. However, I do have reservations about bringing 5G routers in the home. I have yet to study them well enough to make a decision. I will cover 5G routers in due time when they are available in our area.

If you have any questions, please feel to write a comment below or contact me via the Next Door app. Have a great day, neighbors!

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