BlueCurve Gateway and Pods

rickatk
Grasshopper

I would like to post about my recent experiences with the Blue Curve GateWay (Arris XB6) and Pods.

I have been using the new Shaw Advanced Router / Modem for the past 8 months or so. I originally had it running my WiFi network but found the throughput a little slow, certainly not at the speed I could get with my trusty AirPort Extreme (630 Mbps over wifi) in Bridged mode. The AirPort Extreme was broadcasting in Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

I then added a Series 8000 Samsung Smart TV to the mix. Directing the TV to the dual band network resulted in a very poor 1.5 Mbps connection. Samsung said that the TV wifi adaptor was not rated for 5GHz. Oddly the opposite seemed to be true. The TV worked very well when I created discrete wifi bands on the Airport router to discrete 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands and pointed the TV to the 5GHz band. I was getting TV wifi connection speeds up to 150 Mbps.

Out of curiosity I ordered a set of the new Blue Curve pods and took down the AirPort Extreme router. After some fiddling and help from Shaw Tech to get the Arris modem unbridged, I created a dual band network and added the pods.

Using the new Blue Curve app everything was very easy to set up. This app reminded me of Apple’s Airport Utility for controlling the wifi gear.

I was sure to take a scan of the QR code on the bottom of the Arris Modem/ Router as directed by Shaw and set up a dual band network using my previous credentials. Most of my peripherals on came back online without much problem and are working fine now.

Impressions:

After scanning the QR code block the Shaw Advanced Router (Arris XB6) all my previous credentials remained and the modem/ router is now a Blue Curve Gateway. The Gateway holds much future potential as it is Docsis 3.1, more on that later.

I have one Bose speaker connected directly to the Gateway as I did with the AirPort Extreme, due to wifi conflicts. The speaker continues to work just fine sitting right next to the Gateway.

Throughput speeds, per Shaw and Ookla Speedtest , is still slower with the Shaw gear as before. The Airport Extreme router performed better in this regard.

Testing with the WiFi Sweet Spots app revealed that range is very good in all areas of my house with the BlueCurve Gateway and Pods.

Interestingly the Samsung TV was able to connect with the BlueCurve dual band network(with and without pods). This wasn’t possible with the AirPort Extreme without setting up discrete 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Shaw requires the dual band network configuration with the pods. This to take advantage of the slower 2.4GHz band for penetration and range and the speed of the 5GHz band. This made for simple connection of all my devices which include, Bose wifi speakers, Wemo timers, Gemstone exterior lights, Apple TVs and a Samsung smart TV. Bringing back a little symmetry that was lost with the discrete bands required using the Airport Extreme and Samsung TV.

Sadly I have repurposed my AirPort Extreme to work as a wired back up drive because Apple decided to,get out of the router business.

All in all I am pretty happy with the Blue Curve set up procedure. Using all Shaw gear going forward should allow for smoother upgrades. I am happy not to be outlaying money for after market modem / routers down the road.

I would like to see faster Gateway performance on my 600 internet connection, hopefully this will improve as the pods get better synchronized over the next week or so.

I notice with speed testing, the results show a gradual revving up of the progress bars rather than a fast max speed as seen with my old AirPort Extreme. This might be in part to the pods figuring out the best routing. This is pure speculation on my part however.

Talking with a Shaw tech during all of this setup, I was advised the BlueCurve gear will serve as a foundation for future enhancements such as faster internet and IPTV capability, thanks to Docsis 3.1. All of which sounds pretty interesting.

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Re: BlueCurve Gateway and Pods

rickatk
Grasshopper

UPDATE:

Sadly after a few days with a BlueCurve / Pods setup I have decided to take the gear down and return the pods.

Over the course of the past week I have found my network reception and speed to be unstable and relatively slow for a 600 Mbps system. My Bose SoundTouch gear was unhappy and my overall network speed was much slower. I don’t believe I was getting any further improvement in throughput with the pods and in fact they may have been dragging the network down. This might have been a case of too much of a good thing as far as range extenders go. 

I had to decided what is more important than good integration with the Shaw gear is better, faster more stable performance with the Shaw modem bridged to an Apple Airport Extreme wifi router. Pulling the pods, bridging the Shaw modem and bringing the AirPort Extreme WiFi router back on line has brought my previously stable network back. All be it discrete, I had to switch back to 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to keep the Samsung TV happy. 

My Samsung TV is getting 250 Mbps when connected to the AirPort Extreme at 5GHz v 60 - 70 Mbps when connected to BlueCurve. Which is ok when compared to 6 Mbps when connected Airport Dual band.

My Bose SoundTouch gear has also settled right down when connected to AirPort Extreme, holding signals on all four speakers consistently .

One problem may be interference with electrical sources. I had the routers situated in the middle of the house sitting next to a SoundTouch radio. I had to connect the Airport router via Ethernet to address unstable signal. I did the same when running the BlueCurve router / modem. Unfortunately the SoundTouch network became unstable event when connecting the speaker to the BlueCurve router using Ethernet .  My placement options are limited if I am to keep the router, any router in the middle of the house. The Airport router performed much better in this regard.

I really can’t justify additional rent for pods that may or may not be doing anything as far as improved range. I have concluded that while the Shaw gear is nicely implemented and easy to setup it just doesn’t perform as well as aftermarket products such as Airport at this time. I don’t wish to discourage others from giving the Shaw gear a try, as I say it is nicely implemented. Others may have different results.

Imac 642 Mbps

iPad Pro 450 Mbps

AppleTV v4 250 Mbps

iPhone Se 250 Mbps

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Re: BlueCurve Gateway and Pods

Moderator
Moderator

Hey rickatk 

Thanks so much for taking the time to share this feedback! We're sorry to hear that the BlueCurve Pods didn't work out for you. We are going to forward this off to our Product Development team so they can take a look and see what opportunities are here for us to improve the experience for our customers. Let us know if you have any questions or if you have anything else you want to add  

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Re: BlueCurve Gateway and Pods

rickatk
Grasshopper

Further Update

I was contacted by the VP of Shaw services and tech support after posting my experiences with the Blue Curve Gateway and pods. We discussed the challenges I encountered and agreed to further investigation by an on-site Shaw Tech.

I received additional pods (total of six) as part of my original plan and commenced to setup the gateway again and initialized the pods as I had done before. The three additional pods required a little extra coaxing but they eventually all came on line. This a few days prior to the tech’s arrival.

With the assistance of phone and text tech support I changed the channel and bandwith on the Gateway,  something I hadn’t done before, thinking this might have been the source of interference causing problems with my SoundTouch speakers. I learned later this was not a good idea as the pods and Gateway decide on the best channels and are continually changing.

I had a visit by two Shaw techs who seemed very interested in what I had to say and making my system work. They scanned the house for reception dead spots and concluded overall there were very few weak spots. Some minor wiring / splitter changes were also made. Probably the most important change was the replacement of the original Arris XB6 Gateway with a new Technicolour Gateway. This change would prove to be a good move.

The six pods appeared to be jumping on each other and the Gateway, so the techs started from scratch based on the testing they did. The new Gateway was initialized and only three pods were placed. After four hours the techs were on their way with a promise to check back.

I allowed the pods to settle in for a week, testing reception and speed along the way. I noticed the channel bands and channel bandwidth changing in the days following. This I understand is the normal pod learning process.

With time however I concluded that maybe the pods weren’t even needed. I took them down and configured the Gateway in the same fashion as I had done with the AirPort Extreme.

Channels: Auto

2.4GHz Bandwith: 20

5GHz Bandwith: 20/40/80

This was done automatically during the setup. I should add that apparently when pods are registered to the account the system takes over and configures the Gateway. Http:// 10.0.0.1 produced little functionality while the pods were on my account. Even if they were removed from the local setup.

I was able to set discrete bands 2.4 GHz and 5GHz respectively through the new app,  to keep the Samsung TV happy.

I am pleased to report that the addition of the Technicolour version of the Gateway really did the trick. I am getting very good speed results throughout the house, the same as when I had the AirPort Extreme running and bridged to the Arris modem.

Imac 642 Mbps

iPad Pro 450 Mbps

AppleTV v4 250 Mbps

iPhone Se 250 Mbps

Samsung TV (5GHz) 100 - 160 Mbps

The Bose wifi speaker connections, which tend to be fussy, throughout the house are showing consistently “good” or “great.”

I will be returning the pods, not because they don’t work, but because in my setting they just weren’t required.

Thanks to Shaw tech support for taking a real interest in making my setup work. Overall the results with the BlueCurve router and pods has been very good. Setup was very easy. The new app works well and is certainly consumer friendly. The setup option using the camera and QR code on the device is quite clever.

Conclusion:

Shaw has taken great steps to make a consumer friendly app and setup features.

When the pods are attached to the account some of the configuring is done automatically as part of the pod learning process. 

Turns out in my situation; new home, rancher design, I didn’t require the pods.

The Technicolour gateway was an improvement to the older Arris Gateway.

I found the Samsung TV would connect at 20Mbps in dual band with or without pods which was better than the Airpot Extreme and considerably faster in discrete(without pods) consistent with the AirPort Extreme.

Shaw tech support services worked very hard at making sure my system was working optimally for which which I am very grateful!

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Re: BlueCurve Gateway and Pods

Moderator
Moderator

Hi  

We really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us on this whole process and for working with our technicians to test the network out! Even if the pods ended up not being needed in your case, hopefully this is helpful to other customers who are thinking about adding them. Feel free to follow up here if there is anything else you want to add. Thanks again!  

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I see you're having some issues with speeds through your...

RichardH
Grasshopper

I see you're having some issues with speeds through your pods  ... the pods are definitely meant to address issues with poor signal strength and dead zones within the home and aren't able to support our top speed services. Generally when connecting through one pod to the modem we'd expect speeds to be in the 50-75mbps.

 

 

This is the response I got for 10mbps on a

 

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Highlighted

I see you're having some issues with speeds through your...

RichardH
Grasshopper

I see you're having some issues with speeds through your pods  ... the pods are definitely meant to address issues with poor signal strength and dead zones within the home and aren't able to support our top speed services. Generally when connecting through one pod to the modem we'd expect speeds to be in the 50-75mbps

This is the response I got for 10mbps on a internet 600.  They also.stated 

The customer facing page I've found doesn't specify the speeds we expect to see, but does indicate the pods are meant to address coverage and dead zones within the home and not improve speeds or provide the maximum speed of your service.  This page is at https://support.shaw.ca/t5/internet-articles/bluecurve-pods-overview/ta-p/5036

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Blu Curve

Freddie1
Grasshopper

Hi

I am glad you are happy, but just reading this overwhelmed me.  I cannot go this way because I could never do what you just explained that you did.  I want Shaw to do everything.  Since they do not, I cannot take the chance.

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Hello Freddie1: Apologies for my overly complicated and d...

rickatk
Grasshopper

@Freddie1 wrote:

Hi

I am glad you are happy, but just reading this overwhelmed me.  I cannot go this way because I could never do what you just explained that you did.  I want Shaw to do everything.  Since they do not, I cannot take the chance.


Hello Freddie1:

Apologies for my overly complicated and detailed reviews of the BlueCurve gear. I am not an engineer, technician or Shaw employee, just an enthusiast. I actually found the BlueCurve gear pretty easy to set up after much experimentation and orientation. Accordingly I chose to share my experience great detail. In the end, I found router bar code technology and the BlueCurve app really makes the self help installation process a reality. Further, I don’t recall hearing from Shaw, at anytime, that they will not provide support with the BlueCurve setup process. 

Since I took down my older cable modem and Apple AirPort Extreme and implemented the BlueCurve gear, my internet and wifi has worked very well and has been very stable. As such I have no hesitation recommending the BlueCurve product. 

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