Looking For Mesh Networking Suggestions

OhForPetesSake

Junior Member
Jul 9, 2018
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0
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Hi All,

I'm looking for some guidance with regard to a mesh networking solution for my current home with an eye toward future proofing.

A bit about my current situation, I currently live in a ~1700 square foot apartment which is long. I have a 100mbps fiber connection through AT&T which sits at one end of the apartment. At the other end of the apartment, the connection from their provided router tends to drop out occasionally and is slow. The building is a fairly old duplex and I suspect (although can't confirm) there is some concrete and plaster that also interferes with the connection, and there's approximately 4 walls between the main hub and where my and my wife's offices are. My first priority is stability of the wireless connection as we both often have to do work from home, with the second priority being throughput (we do a fair bit of 4k streaming, etc.) and third priority being future proofing.

First, I recognize that a powerful router would probably be an adequate solution for us, however, at some point we will be moving to a bigger home and I would like to get a solution now that would be a generally effective solution for most types of homes. I'm not a power user, but I have a strong appreciation for a fast internet connection. I'm primarily looking at at The 2nd gen eero, Orbi, and the AmplifiHD systems, but am certainly open to other suggestions.

My current thoughts on these systems are:

Eero: I love how unobtrusive the beacons and main router are. I really like that they have a dedicated backhaul channel, and I like that you are afforded a lot of control over the network via an app. I like that it is possible to improve the network in the future by purchasing additional beacons. I like that the devices can be daisychained and do not need to all connect directly to the hub. The drawbacks seem to me to be the lack of ethernet connections at the main hub (I have a smart TV, a chromecast and a blu-ray player at my main access point, all of which can connect wirelessly, but would ideally be hardwired). It also seems suboptimal that a lot of the functionality seems to be dependent on the existence of a company which could, at some point, go under. It's also the most expensive solution of the three I've listed.

Orbi: Seems to be an excellent, if more traditional, solution with great throughput and a dedicated backhaul channel. I like that both the main unit as well as the satellite have a decent number of ethernet connections. It's among the cheapest of the systems I'm looking at, and is also extendable by purchasing additional satellites, if necessary.The drawbacks seem to be that as a system, it is slightly less flexible as its base is two units, so if there are problem walls or areas, it would seem they would theoretically be tougher to get to. It seems like netgear is doing a good job of upgrading the functionality of the devices (ethernet backhaul, daisychaining, etc.) but from my reading, it sounds like every time they implement new functionality, things break temporarily, which would be a real pain. While the design is not ugly, it's certainly more conspicuous than the eero devices.

AmplifiHD: I have a crush on this system's router. I love the look, I love the LCD. The accompanying app seems to be the most powerful and flexible of the three systems. It seems that this is the cheapest solution to extend in the future, as their mesh extenders are cheaper than the eero beacons or orbi sattelites. While not in the consumer space, ubiquiti certainly has a long track record of good quality and is unlikely to go under any time soon. Although less subtle than the eero beacons, I do like that the mesh extenders plug into the wall directly. I also like that the main router has a number of ethernet connections. The main downside to this system, as far as I can tell, is the lack of a dedicated backhaul channel, and the mesh extenders are large and clunky looking.

I've looked into the Linksys Velop system which, for whatever reason, just doesn't grab my attention. I'm certainly open to being convinced. Google WiFi seems like a nice and inexpensive solution, but is less future proof than the others.

I'd love to hear people's thoughts and experiences or suggestions of other systems not mentioned here!
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,471
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How can you future proof a system that consist of Wireless devices. when there new technology coming every few years you have to ditch the hardware and buy new.

In addition Extenders do not work well even now, so what the point to future proof Extenders.

The only way to some form of partial future proofing is to nicely install Ethernet wires to few point then use switches and APs to provide solid wire and wireless connections.

Using Molding ""Technology"" One can get nice decorative wire system to places were a wire can be install trough the wall.

:cool:
 
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razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
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Agree with JackMDS. If you want to future proof, spend money on wiring up. I also would not spend too much money on wireless AC since AX and WPA3 are right around the corner. AX being released will just drop the prices of AC devices even more. WPA3 is a standard where parts of it could be patched onto AC routers, but you know most vendors will only patch those they see are financally viable.

I would 1st try to maximize what you have by centrally locating and elevating your current wifi routers where you use your wireless devices most. Treat it like a light bulb. Then wired up as many of your streaming devices as you can. That can ease the work you WiFi radios have to do.

If you still must upgrade and enjoy tinkering with WiFi settings, look into ASUS's AiMesh family. They have officially now added more models and the cheapest AC routers that support it, the RT-AC66U B1 (refurb) is ~$50 off ebay. Also don't count out Velop. Velop, GWiFi and Orbi use the same family of SOC from Qualcomm. Despite the marketing that Netgear does for Orbi. Velop, GWiFi and Orbi max out 866AC to your devices. GWiFi does require setup and a Google account via the app, but Velop and Orbi can still be configured old fashioned web way. I believe Velop and AiMesh are the only ones that don't require Internet at all.

Also my recent benches actually show GWiFi outperforming AiMesh via MESH wireless bandwidth. Asus AiMesh (GT-AC5300 to RT-AC86) was about always under 400mb/s averaging 360 but GWiFi/onHub was 577mb/s averaging 510. However I don't doubt that with more manual tweaking and more maturity AiMesh can/will catch up. Why? wireless bandwidth for both GWiFi and ASUS to my 866AC laptop was about the same 728 vs 700. So the capability is there, Google being software company just shows it's prowress.
 
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Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,095
513
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Meh I steer people away from Mesh. Run some ethernet and do the traditional infrastructure build out. I like the Ubiquiti AC pro line for home use. If one has the money go meraki.
 

aigomorla

CPU, Cases&Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
20,841
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+1 about staying away from Mesh...

Your not futuring proofing with Mesh, your more like cardboard boxing yourself in to stay with that family of products.

I am also in support of running access points with PoE switchs powering them.
Ubiquiti is an excellent product, i have 4 AC-PRO's in my house with complete coverage, all controlled by a cloud key on top.
 

OhForPetesSake

Junior Member
Jul 9, 2018
2
0
1
So anything having to do with rewiring is not a possibility, as this is a rental. Theoretically, I could run wire across the whole place, but it's a long apartment, and my access point is at one end, so that would just be a mess.

Appreciate the input, all.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
94,969
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You don't need to run the whole length, just get it to about mid point.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,471
387
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Some times not even midpoint.

Wireless is all about the enviroment there is 6 manufacturers of Wireless chipset. Evrey one buys from them box it in plastic and add some cosmetic to the Router's GUI, the rest is just a Matter of Quality control and Marketing Gimmicks.

The specific enviroment were the Wireless is used actually the crucial factor.

Many times in Long enviroment it is enough the get signal out of the Room/Corner that they are stuck into by one wire to a central open spot in the apt corridor or house open stair case and it will cover the rest of the House/Apt.

P.S. Did you notice how Apple PC/Laptop do better the Wireless using the same chipsets as other.
They are probably sifting the Chips and using just the one that fictions at the Highest level of the specs. The rest are sold to others that do not really care much about the product. So the consumer end up with lousy Wireless quality.


:cool:
 

nerp

Diamond Member
Dec 31, 2005
9,866
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Yeah, wired is best, etc, etc. I have Google Wifi and it's terrific for my needs. Even a lone google puck by itself is super powerful and gave me much, much better range and speed than the crap Chinese TP-Link I was using before.