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sasllcFlag for United States of America

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Slow wireless issues

This client needs help in a home environment.  They only have one hard-wired PC, which is a modern I-5 tower, and when I run speedtest I get speeds I've never seen before of more than 160mpbs download.  But every other device is wireless, and on the laptops I've tested remotely (before I make the long trip there) I'm generally getting only about 4mbps download--and sometimes less.  Clearly I need to come up with something better for them.

Right now they have a Comcast router in the basement, plus a basic Netgear AP upstairs, which is on a different channel, but otherwise configured the same as the router.  Both are configured as 2.4ghz 802.11g.  This is what they are connected to now wirelessly.

I see the router also has 5ghz 802.11 a/n/ac available, and according to the setup screens on the router, it looks like it is active, and the SSID is broadcasting, etc.  I wanted to try this to see if it will help with the slow speeds, yet I never see this 5ghz wireless network available to any of the laptops.  I don't understand why it does not appear on the list of wireless networks.

I only have one chance to "do this right" as I travel to the site, so I need recommendations on what to do, and what equipment to take, based on experiences by experts who have had to do this before.  The cable comes into the house down in the basement and is connected to the router there, but we don't necessarily have to use the wireless radio that is built into the router.  It is a two-story, 2500sf home, so I want good coverage, and I can run APs in various rooms if that is the way to go.

Note that in the past, I tried running three APs spread throughout the house, all on different channels from the router, and that worked great for awhile, but things got so flakey that I had to have them disconnect all three APS, so now they rely solely on the router in the basement.  I never have understood that, either.  Note that signal strength from the basement is always fair-to-good.

Also note that if they connect any of these laptops to a Cat5e cable, they also get speeds of 160mbps running speedtest.  The laptops range from new to 3 years old, and all are running Win7 or 8.1, with I-3, I-5, and I-7 processors.

What can I do and what equipment can I add that will DEFINITELY get them fast wireless speeds throughout the house--since I won't have the options of doing trial-and-error?  TIA
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Mal Osborne
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Fortunately, this house is at the end of a road, with few homes near it, and  surrounded by forest on three sides.  If I browse for available networks from one of the laptops, I only see three.

Still, I will change the channel on the Comcast router from the default of 1 and see if that helps.

When I go there, if I do find other networks on the same channel, do I simply need to set the router to be some other channel, or do I also need to 'separate it' as much as possible?  For example, if there are area networks on channels 3 and 5, can I just pick any other number for my router, or do I need to set it to something 'far away' from 3 and 5 such as 11?

I am assuming that all their equipment is modern enough to connect with 802.11n, and maybe ac as well.  I need to take everything I will need in order to make this work right, because I won't have a second chance.  So what should I take with me, in order to get good, fast WiFi coverage in a two-story 2500sf house whose router is in the basement?  Should I continue to use the wireless in the router?  Should I get several APs?  Should I use 5ghz 802.11n, or 802.11ac?  What brand and model should I buy?

Specific recommendations are greatly appreciated.