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NBN - Fail - Alternate Modem and VPN help needed

So we had massive issues ADSL2 - Optus modem/router installed in the Loungeroom right next to the TV and it would lag with the spinning wheel of death on Netflix. Almost no Wi-Fi coverage in adjoining bedrooms. A 90sq m top floor apartment.

Finally have HFC - NBN installed with the 'upgraded' F@st3864V3 AC modem. It had to installed in adjoining dining room on an external cavity wall. Plugged directly in to the PC tower we get speedtest of 40Mbps... but far worse W-Fi than before. 1Mbps in the bedroom and so much buffering in the lounge it is impossible to watch any of the on-demand services. Optus tech support have said that their equipment is only rated to provided Wi-Fi coverage of 7-10 metres - an average room size

Optus wont give out the codes for the VOIP phone so I have to have a workaround something along the lines of this thread I guess to enable me to use their useless modem.

I want to keep the phone line for home based business and I have far better alternative modem/routers or routers here. NetGear D6300 or NetGear Nighthawke R6400V2, and a D-Link DAP-1650 Range Extender. As per above thread I am looking at picking up a secondhandNetgear FVS318 ProSafe Cable/DSL VPN Firewall. We rent, so can not run cables, especially as we have single brick internal walls and no cavity.

I would love 2 networks. Normal one and a second secure VPN one that I could switch between and/ot access remotely. Either of the NetGear routers seem to have this covered. Dont know what happens if I put the router switch first. Just need the simpliest option as I am struggling to find someone to help set it up.


Option 1 - keep PC tower connected to Optus modem and bridge the second device. Depending on the Wi-Fi range either in the dining room or
Option 2 - using the second router on a powerline adapter in the loungeroom, or
Option 3 - use the Wi-Fi range extender to plug the AV equipment in to and set up for either of the routers, or
Option 4 - use the router I want, a range extender if required and an ATA box for the VOIP (but no idea how to set it up), or
Option 5 - buy mesh network routers - $$$$ and honestly dont see why I should have to in a small apartment and new NBN service

I am just SO perplexed at how backward our coverage is with this massive expensive upgrade to NBN is. We had more reliable service and way better coverage over 10 years ago when we had cable internet connected. And we have nothing but issues with every single piece of Sagecomm equipment supplied by Optus. With all the smart technology, home networking we are moving towards you would think they would partner with a manufacturer that had apps developed to make all of this more seamless for the home user and more reliable. Even the other Telcos are using Netcomm gear like the NF17 (which I also have)  or NF18

Thank you 

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Re: NBN - Fail - Alternate Modem and VPN help needed

What you've also asked for on Whirlpool as well, you can't have say...



As two separate networks that take differing paths, its simply not in the scope or realm of what Optus offer nor the consumer hardware that exists today. Something like this, you'd need a network engineer to come and setup some more expensive equipment in your home.

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Re: NBN - Fail - Alternate Modem and VPN help needed

I have some quite a bit of reading and thought I understood it reasonably well so perhaps I am not articulating it correctly. Also there are numerous options there to work with. Functional WiFi for 100 sq m would be a great start and not unreasonable for the superfast, super expensive NBN network

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Re: NBN - Fail - Alternate Modem and VPN help needed

This is probably too late but...

I would recommend using Powerline (or running an Ethernet cable) as in Option 2.  But do not try to use more than 2 Powerline devices as in my experience their utility diminishes rapidly especially the newer faster models (especially in apartment blocks where neighbour interference on the power cables - similar conceptually to WiFi interference - can also be an issue)

So use Powerline to get to a more central spot in the house/apartment then put in a very good quality WiFi AP or Router.  It is always better to use a single WiFi AP than have range extenders or mesh products (especially in a small apartment).  Generally, range extenders (unless considered, fitted and set up well - the later is what mesh products do) frankly should be banned, they are like junk food for networks and often end up just creating more and more problems (especially in apartment blocks).  They seem like a cheap quick fix but they are rarely either (especially in apartment blocks).  They are a great cheap (mesh products are not) product for stores to sell in an attempt to "solve" a common problem.  In VERY simple terms they have to compete with every other device in the network for WiFi access and they can drastically reduce already limit bandwidth even more while providing a seemingly local solution.  Remember available WiFi bandwidth speeds are a result of both signal quality (coverage) and the current demand (number and bandwidth consumed) of the devices connecting, plus competition with other nearby devices on the same frequency (including WiFi extenders and neighbour's WiFi especially and even worse in apartments as they are also above and below you), always use a "WiFi analyser" to "see" what is going on in different locations around the house.  Use a good Android phone with the free app of that same name.  Always find the least busy 2.4G channel 1, 6 or 11 slot (the other channels should never or rarely be used) then manually/permanently set the WiFi AP/Router to that channel and check with the analyzer when/if you're having issues.  In the new WiFi Access Point setup DO NOT USE the AUTO CHANNEL SELECTION option (especially in apartment blocks) you should set it (but not forget it - check regularly).  They often create a nightmare and their success depends on too many random occurrences like when it was turned on and when the other noise (range extenders, neighbours etc are turned on especially in apartment blocks).  Think about what happens when the whole building/neighbourhood power comes back on - way too random.


I would attempt to get the Powerline or cabled Ethernet to where you regularly consume the most bandwidth and ideally close to the centre of the building.  Get a Powerline unit that has a built-in switch (TP-Link or DLINK have them, and/or get a small switch).  Plug your games console(s) and main TV/Roku/HTPC directly into the Ethernet switch with cables.  This will alleviate the WiFi bandwidth stress (especially in apartment blocks) on your home network leaving the WiFi for just the portable devices is what you need to do (especially in apartment blocks).


The Optus router needs to be up front for the VoIP - But you need to DISABLE WiFIi on it.  Most people just assume Phone+Internet= Same company as it has been this way for years.  But now if you must have a home "fixed" number with NBN/4G/5G access consider using an independent VoIP provider like SipTalk or MyNetFone. While they may be a little painful to setup initially the benefit comes as you will save a lot of pain and many headaches when changing to another NBN Internet reseller (from recent experience).  You have a choice of using the Optus as the router-box for firewall/DHCP and setting the second router just into Access Point mode.  Or perhaps using the DMZ (may be in WAN or LAN settings) feature in the Optus box and disabling it's WiFi/DHCP/NAT/Firewall then letting the second Router/AP device do all that for you.  The later is what I would choose but the downside is it also makes dealing with Optus more difficult when troubleshooting.


In apartment blocks really it would be wise for the occupants to work together to solve conflicts in WiFi but rarely have I seen it happen, but with modern WiFi routers you have more channels available in the 5GHz (we are not talking 5G mobile here) space (again what some mesh products leverage) so perhaps even though it has a lower range it has significantly greater bandwidth to compensate.  Use it when you can (new study finds 5GHz better) and only use 2.4G when you must.  Multistory apartments are massive problems for 2,4GHz WiFi as there are only 3 channels (1,6,11) essentially and you CANNOT interleave these successfully in 3D space. This is why in Japan they have a fourth channel 13 that allows for this (without overlap), but it is not available usually (hint) in Australia.  Another problem these days is many of the WiFi devices can be configured for 20Mhz/40Mhz/80Mhz bandwidth (you can think of that as consuming 1, 2 or 3 channels of bandwidth simultaneously).  Basically destroying 2.4Ghz WiFi access for all others around you if you have the most powerful WiFi.  Please play nice and set it to 20Mhz only (especially in apartment blocks)! Cooperation is better than in-operation.  If you are on a farm in the middle of nowhere or your using highly directed beamforming antennas then the other options apply (but only then).


On VPN options with many WiFi Routers, you have some VPN options but they are limited.  If you want true quality, flexibility and performance (at a ~$400 price tag) get one of these  You won't regret it, apart from the price and having too many choices on how to configure it (available here and here).  If you want a more mainstream device then be sure to get something that also supports OpenWRT (check their compatibility list before buying the WiFi AP/Router).  Others router/AP products to consider:

I hope that is useful (even now). Best of luck... especially in apartment blocks 😉

PS: I am not affiliated in any way with any of the products or services mentioned here and have given two or more options when I can.


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