Thanks smax013. In all reality that occurred to me shortly after I posted. I am currently paying for their lowest package because we don't do much in the lines of gaming, live streaming, downloading or large file transfers between PCs. We do, however, have what's called a Sony Google Box and a Wii. Both are used for watching Netflix movies and my daughter often watches YouTube videos and some general web surfing.
With that being said, I guess what I need be asking is what is the best route to take so as we have a network suitable for our needs.
The signal to other parts of the house have been low since the existance of the WRT150N. I noticed, however, that updates to the new PC were taking longer to come in compared to any other new PC when first connected. Up to a half day later in fact and this Asus is ethernet connected and right next to the router and modem. We do encounter frequent loss of connection while watching movies with the WRT150N. PCs and smartphones usually maintain their connection, however, surfing and downloads (apps, music, software updates) are slow to extremely slow.
1) I've read that replacing my N router with an AC router would still help in extending range and is better than adding range extenders. Is that correct in your opinion? We are in the process of running CAT5e cable to the living room from the router but is not yet completed. Once done, however, we will still need to connect wirelessly with some devices in that part of the house.
Yes and no. I am not fully up to speed on 802.11ac, but from what I understand, 802.11ac only uses the 5 GHz range (it is still backward compatible with 802.11n, 802.11g, and 802.11a). The 5 GHz in general has less range, but 802.11ac does make use of a more "focused beam" of signal, which in theory could make the range much better in some situations. But, I believe that requires you to actually be using 802.11ac (not backward compatibility with say 802.11n), which would mean that any computers you want to have better range would need to have an 802.11ac adapter.
As I said, I am not fully up to speed on it, so I could be wrong. I am sure others will chime in if I am wrong.
2) Would flashing the WRT150N with DD-WRT help at all in extending range or does that just give me other capabilities and security?
I have never really used DD-WRT, so I cannot really say. Others will have to truly answer this. It is possible that it might give you more control over the various radio parameters such that you can maybe boost the signal in a way that the default firmware cannot.
From what I understand, it will allow you to use other routers to extend the WiFi network if the WRT150N's default firmware does not.
3) I also discovered last night that the patch cables between PC, modem and router are only CAT5, so will be changing them out to 5e. How much will that help?
For Internet, probably won't change anything. For local network connections to transfer files between computers, there is a small chance it might help.
4) Being that we watch Netflix movies often, should I increase my package with Time Warner at least to the next level?
Do you just watch on one device with everyone watching that one movie? Or is it several people watching movies on different devices on different devices?
If it is the former, then changing service level may not matter that much...unless someone is trying to do other Internet things while someone is watching a movie. If it is the latter, then going to a higher level of service likely will help.
5) How necessary is it for me to use the ASUS as a host PC. Is this necessary only when sharing a printer, accessing files between PCs or remote troubleshooting?
Thanks much. I really do appreciate the input and suggestions in helping me narrow down the best route to take before dumping what could be unnecessary money and yet see no improvements.
Generally, you only need to use a particular computer as a server/host if you need to share something such as files or printers. Not sure if that answers your question or not.
In general, I think the first thing you need to figure out is what amount of bandwidth that you pay Time Warner to get. If your level of service that you pay Time Warner for only allows for about 15 Mbps, then you are getting that which you are paying. If you should be getting more than 15 Mbps, then it seems like you are not getting what you are paying for.
Beyond that, you should do "speed tests" on your wireless devices. The two tests up above are both wired with the one computer. Do you still have the old Vostro? If so, hook it up and do a speed test with it on a wired connection. The two tests above only really tell you that your router does not seem to reduce Internet speed compared to hooked directly to the modem with an ethernet connection. If you really feel like the new computer is slower than the old computer, then you should do tests on both and see if there is a difference.
The other thing to keep in mind is that for a Internet connection, most of the time the "weak link" will be the actual Internet connection speed you get from your provider. It will more than likely never be the wired connection on your local network unless you are using 10 Mbps ethernet cables or ports (in other words, a REALLY old computer). It is possible that a wireless connection could be a weak link, but even an 802.11g wireless connection will likely "saturate" a 15 Mbps cable modem connection unless you are getting too far away from the wireless access point (i.e. weaker signal means slower speeds). The point of all this is that you need to try to figure out is the Internet connection itself is the weak link for sure or not. If it is, then you would need to upgrade your service before you start thinking about new equipment.
I hope that helps, but let me know if you have more questions.