Best mesh network? (1 Viewer)

rockymtnhigh

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I recently upgraded to gigabit fiber, and spread over the 3,000 sq ft of my house, the multiple Airport Extremes I have is a bit frustrating. If I run the 5Ghz network SSID, I can get as high as 500MB downloads, but if I have my three access points all pushing out the same SSID, I end up getting disconnects, particularly with my wife's MB Air. So, right now I have 3 different networks in the house, basement, main floor, second floor.

But I want to go to a mesh network, and get full bandwidth and just have ONE SSID. I know this is a $400-500 investment, but I am looking for recommendations on best system. Network is fiber comes into the house in basement, which is where the fiber-equivalent-of-a-modem is, and where the five or so ethernet connections go, plus Dish Broadband connector.

Goals: maximize bandwidth to take advantage of my 1GBdown/250 up connection, and to eliminate having so many SSIDs, while covering the 3,000 sq ft over 3 floors.
 

rad

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Could it be a DHCP issue where your AP's are acting as their own server so addresses are changing?

I'm using two Netgear Nighthawk routers , one is the router and the DHCP server, the second is in AP mode. Both have the same SSID's and our devices stay connected going between nodes.


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Scott Greczkowski

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I dont know the answer but I do not like the Google Mesh units I have. (3 units for total house coverage).

My Internet is 300 MB/s But on the Google Mesh I only get around 80. On my old ASUS router I use to have no problem getting 300 mb/s but it did not cover the entire house.

In addition there are times where the internet goes down for no reason for 2 - 3 minutes and then its back up again. Never had this issue on my old ASUS Router.
 

cpalmer2k

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I've literally researched every one of these gizmos over the past few weeks and several of them have their strong and weak points. One big determining factor in success is how strong the signal is where you place the "satellite" or mini stations that these systems use. They're really just specialized WiFi repeaters, so they can only magnify the signal they receive. The farther away from the main box they are the less signal you're going to have. Most of them use the 5ghz band to "sync" with each other, which reduces the signal on that band. One, the Linksys Velop added a third set of antennas for the communication between the main router and the satellite stations. You can eliminate this problem by wiring the units together, but only a few of the current systems allow that. The Velop will allow you to connect the units via Ethernet, but you have to set them up linked as wireless first. When you plug them into the Ethernet
network they "Find" each other and will send the signal from the satellites over the Ethernet connection. The new TP LInk Deco M5 also supports that feature, but I'm not aware of any others that do?

I'm in a similar situation to the OP. When we bought our house we discovered the contractor had wired all the phone jacks with Cat 5E cable. I immediately converted them all to Ethernet jacks, so I have about 12 drops throughout the house. Right now I use an Asus router with 4 LAN ports and a 16 port switch with two smaller switches in rooms with many appliances in need of wired connection. Lately because of the huge # of access points around us (we live in a subdivision where everybody of course has internet) the 2ghz band has become unbearable on Apple devices because of interference. The 5ghz signal doesn't carry well in our house, so I've been looking at mesh systems to expand both networks. I've also considered adding a backup connection (either satellite or LTE for some time now). My current plan is to pick up a 14 port Cisco small business router to place where all of my Ethernet drops terminate. That will replace the switch and router I use now, and it has dual wan fail-over capability. It supports USB LTE devices, so I can add one from Verizon to provide a backup.

My problem lies in choosing a MESH system that supports bridging mode to allow the Cisco to handle all the IP addressing, etc. The Linksys system seems to have the best reviews, but is the most expensive. It doesn't officially support "bridge" mode, but they have instructions on their forums as to how you can enable it. The TPLink system doesn't support bridging at all, so if I go that route then I'll have to make it my primary router and keep the 16 port switch I'm using now.

In your situation since you're just using the Google box as a modem you could easily go with any of the systems. If you could connect the "mini" devices in the mesh system to the main one via Ethernet I think you would be happy with the performance.
 

fhipper

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I've had the Amplify HD with two mesh point system in place for about a month. It replaced a AirPort Extreme and one airport express extender. Overall much better wifi coverage now in 2,000 sf home plus outside pool/yard areas. Airport has a stronger wifi signal close to it but Amplifi much better wifi signal over entire home and yard areas. Amplifi system has been very stable. No regrets so far.


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rockymtnhigh

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My two "access points" are connected via gigabit ethernet. And it is in bridge mode, so the DHCP issue shouldn't be an issue. The funny thing is I had the whole house setup with one SSID for a long time and had no problems, but last summer it started creating disconnects when you would get to specific spots in the house, where it seemed like the system did not know which ap to connect to. Happened more with my wife's 2015 MB Air, but also happened with my MBP. It got to the point where she was constantly complaining about connectivity.

I am not trying to get a full gigabit out of wifi; I know that isn't likely, but I can easily get 400MB downloads with the 5GHz-only setup. But the 2.4Ghz network on Apple AirPort Extreme gives me no more than 100. Again, I used to have just one dual-band setup. I need to keep doing research, and watch that video and look to see what the best solution is.
 

klang

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I wonder if this mesh equipment is mature enough to have a best solution yet? I too have been watching the reviews as I have an Airport Extreme that now has dubious support going forward. I also want to use an Ethernet connection between the nodes and most want to do wireless.
 
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rockymtnhigh

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I wonder if this mesh equipment is mature enough to have a best solution yet? I too have been watching the reviews as I have an Airport Extreme that now has dubious support going forward. I also want to use an Ethernet connection between the nodes and most want to do wireless.

It is a good question, and I am hesitant to spend $400-500 on a system that isn't there yet. Much more research to do.
 

EarDemon

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My current plan is to pick up a 14 port Cisco small business router to place where all of my Ethernet drops terminate. That will replace the switch and router I use now, and it has dual wan fail-over capability. It supports USB LTE devices, so I can add one from Verizon to provide a backup.

My problem lies in choosing a MESH system that supports bridging mode to allow the Cisco to handle all the IP addressing, etc. The Linksys system seems to have the best reviews, but is the most expensive. It doesn't officially support "bridge" mode, but they have instructions on their forums as to how you can enable it. The TPLink system doesn't support bridging at all, so if I go that route then I'll have to make it my primary router and keep the 16 port switch I'm using now.

In your situation since you're just using the Google box as a modem you could easily go with any of the systems. If you could connect the "mini" devices in the mesh system to the main one via Ethernet I think you would be happy with the performance.

The 16 port RV325?


If so, I have its baby brother, the 4 port RV320, which is basically the same thing, but 4 ports instead of 16 and love it! Can’t recommend it enough. I have no need for a patch panel at home, so I like the rear facing Ethernet ports on the 320 as opposed to the front facing on the 325. Port 1 goes to my main computer, ports two and three each go to 8 port managed switches located in different parts of the house that feed other computers and home entertainment components and port four goes to my WAP.

I’ve had it for a little over two years now, and it’s been rock solid. I was worried looking at some of the reviews, but most of the reviews at the time I got mine were older, and firmware updates have fixed many of the issues people have complained about. The most recent one came out this past December, so it’s still being actively supported.

It has a TON of features for the money. I don’t allow social media access on my network, and was able to completely and more efficiently block Facebook, Twitter and a few others using the content filtering. It is much more effective than using similar features on more consumer level routers.

I have two site to site tunnels configured, one to a SonicWall security appliance at my real job, and one to a TP Link at my off the books gig and VPN performance has been flawless. VNC and RDP are very responsive, accessing remote network shares is also snappy. And unlike using VPN software, my internet speeds don’t drop by 2/3s. I had and still occasionally have a ton of issues using our $3000+ SonicWall in conjunction with $2000+ CheckPoint appliances at our satellite offices. Took me 3 minutes if that to set up the tunnel between the SonicWall my $200 Cisco and it never goes down. Having direct access to my NAS at home from work makes doing off site backup so much easier.


I’m also utilizing dual WAN feature in a failover capacity. WAN 1 is 120 x 12 cable (fastest I can get in my area) from Spectrum, WAN 2 is HughesNet Gen 4, at was is supposed to be 10 x 1. I’ve only had HughesNet since Thanksgiving and have not had a cable outage in the time I’ve had it, but when I pull the plug on the cable modem, or disable WAN 1 manually in the GUI, it takes the snap of the finger to switch to the satellite modem, it’s not as fast reverting back to the cable modem though. Not a real long time, maybe 5 seconds. I also have a USB mobile hot spot from Sprint, but the last time I checked it did not work with the router for USB failover


There’s a lot of features I don’t use. I don’t do anything with IPv6, I have no access rules set. Never touched anything related to QOS, with only two people in the house not many of my devices are using the internet simultaneously, I have no need to toy with it. I have Remote Management disabled most of the time, but enable it when I go on trips. No virtual LANs either.


Use the same access point at home, as the 10 I have at work. A Cisco 371, which at the time was the best unit from them before you got into the Aironet line. Not a fan of wifi at all. In my opinion it’s a mediocre technology at best, and is great for convenience but not so when it comes to reliability, stability and speed and I don’t have the will or time to dick around it. I want nothing to do with it. I live and work in rural areas, with no immediate neighbors, so there’s not much in the way of interference. At home the only devices that connect to my wifi are my printer, Google Home and Nest Protect. That’s it. I’ve owned and wasted a lot of money on three higher end tablets over the years that I used for a few weeks and never touched again. I don’t get cell phone reception in my house very often, but there’s nothing on my phone I’d want to do when I can do it easier and better on a real computer and I have unlimited data, so I don’t care about putting my phone on wifi. When I bring laptops from work to home to work on them I snap them into a docking station with Ethernet and a real monitor, mouse and keyboard.


At work, seven of the ten WAPs only exist to provide network access to our wifi time clocks that the factory employees use to punch in/out of that communicate the our Labor, Time & Attendance module for our erp. Without looking it up, I honestly do not even know what wifi mesh even means or why I would want it. But at work, I don’t hear many complains about our wifi. I have the 10 APs set up with 2.4 enabled/5 disabled. SSIDs are all the same, WPA2 passphrases all the same, each broadcasting on one channel higher than the next going in a clockwise direction. No wifi cluster controller in use, all independent APs, plugged into the closest switch. Employees with laptops can roam from one AP to other with no issue. Whether there is a momentary drop out as the leave the range of one, and enter the range of another, I have no idea.


At my off the books job, it’s a very small operation, they got a Ubiquiti cloud (I hate that word) based access point from their real IT guy and asked me to configure it. It was some hockey puck meets smoke detector looking thing. After two hours I gave up. I cannot even begin to comprehend why you would want something like that, and download some custom software, register an account and then it didn’t even work because of some Java issue. What’s wrong with assigning a static IP to a computer, using the default factory IP to access the GUI and either program it, or upload a config file and be done with it.


Sorry for the length, rant, and sort of hijacking of the thread.
 

cpalmer2k

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The 16 port RV325?

I'm about to order one of these- I might be picking your brain to help set up some of the features you describe on it. Eventually I hope to do the same thing- continue to use my Charter as my primary connection, but use satellite as a backup method.

Also back to the mesh networks I decided on "Portal WiFi". My major requirement was that the router I choose offer the ability to "bridge" to either the RV325, or my existing router at the least since none of these mesh router setups seem to offer the type of complete feature set I needed. I also wanted a solution that offered wired backhaul so the units could connect directly via ethernet. I bought two units from Amazon with a promo code a few weeks ago and set them up yesterday.

Using their app it was a breeze to configure the first "portal" into bridge mode and connect it to my existing router. Once that was done it upgraded the software, let me set the SSID name and was up and going. After that you hook the second portal to the first, click the "plus" icon in the app to add a second portal. It finds it, does the same firmware, and enables mesh on the units. While I have just done test runs so far I have been very pleased with the benefits. My router/modem hookups are on the far end of my house in the laundry/utility room. The first "portal" is there, and covers that side of the house perfect. The second portal is in the master bedroom which is the other farthest extreme of the house. Running speed tests on my iPad I'm getting the same 100mb download speed I get through my LAN connection over the Portal's WiFi with the units connected via ethernet. One interesting feature this setup has is that you have the option to use a single SSID and then it "decides" based on the device connecting whether to use 2.4ghz or 5ghz. So far that seems to be working fine with my Apple devices as well, but you can enable both SSID's separately if you want to.
 

EarDemon

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Awesome, you should love it! Sure, I'll be glad to help in any way, but you probably won't need it, it's very easy to set up and configure. :)

Two things

1) Update the firmware immediately, if it doesn't come with the latest, then do the 30-30-30 reset procedure before you configure it for real

The latest firmware can be found here. It takes no more then two minutes to flash it.

Cisco Systems

Why You Should Care About the 30-30-30 Hard Reset Rule for Routers

2) While I can't speak for the router, I've had bad luck configuring Cisco Small Business products in Chrome in general, maybe it's just me. Unable to progress past certain points, settings not saving or being applied and other annoyances. So now I use MS Edge to do the initial configuration. So if you're a chrome user, try something else first

I've been pounding the hell out of this router and my internet connection this month, to see what it's capable of. I had all 17 of my internet enabled devices in use simultaneously for hours on end, multiple times, streaming HD video, high quality audio, large file transfers, etc trying to see if I could bring this router to it's knees, and I can't.
 

rockymtnhigh

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bumping this... back to the process of researching systems.

Looking at Eero Second Generation, 3 pack, all actual Eero's with internet back-hauled by ethernet. Not the Eero and Eero beacon, which just extends the signal. It appears that of the big sellers, Eero, Netgear's Orbit, Velop, Google, Eero is the only one that allows ethernet back-haul.

Also looking at the Portal Gigabit wifi system (can get 2 of the devices for $300), which can also back-haul.
But reviews on this are spotty.

Anyone running the Eero 2nd generation? Or the Portal?

I'm still leery of spending $478, when I have a lot invested in the Airport Extremes I own, but I am also ready for one reliable SSID throughout the house. (The two airports are backhauled, but if they are set to the same SSID and channel, numerous devices (most importantly my wife's MacBook) loses connection and won't automatically re-connect when she moves from room to room. AND I can't have that. As a result, I have her on one SSID on the main floor, and have a second SSID on the second floor, but its still a pain.
 

rockymtnhigh

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bought one Portal Wifi router for $148 on Amazon.

Connected it in bridge mode on the main floor of the house. Took a few minutes to setup, but it is doing an excellent job, so far. Dual band. 400-500mb downloads/250 up in the same room. 20 ft away in the living room, pulling down 325/250 up. Upstairs, in the bedroom, opposite end of the house pulling 150-200mb down/150 up. In the bathroom, far reach of the house, about the same. Not bad.

Haven't tested in the basement. Pretty clear that if I want to eliminate everything else, I will need to put a portal in the basement next to the Fiber modem (or whatever it is called) and have a second upstairs. Might do that eventually. Suspect I'm losing a little bit by having the DNS services go through the Metronet provided router, but at the same time, my speeds are about what it is rated for, and what I got before. 900MB on ethernet from the portal.

Until I get a second one for upstairs, I will leave the AirPort Extreme in my home office, and use that solely for providing internet to my 4k roku tv in the bedroom, although I could probably just feed it from this one router. I can see this eventually being a three portal setup, but it isn't necessary.

Only downside of the Portal that I see is that the box is quite large, low profile (not a tower like the Velop or Orbi or AE) but like a big white stone. Still, if it provides fast internet. I'm good.
 

rockymtnhigh

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Just ran the Speedtest app from Apple TV (in living room, about 20 ft away), pulled 437 down/255 up. Yeah, this works!!
 

rockymtnhigh

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Decided to go mesh and picked up a second Portal. Put it upstairs. The two main floors are blanketed with about 400mb download wifi. Working like a charm. I ran Wifi Analzyzer, and this thing puts out all sorts of hidden 2.4ghz networks which is must use for the mesh network and the handoffs.

Still have the original Xyzel router in the basement handling DHCP, and maybe eventually I'll replace it, but since the only room in the basement that needs wifi is right below the main floor Portal, and it is getting 300-400mb downloads, not seeing the rush. Performance seems rock solid. Still a $300 investment, but these two routers both have 5 ethernet ports, USB storage capabilities, and the mesh network has a wired backhaul. 9 antennas built in. I'm pleased. At least for now. :)
 

rockymtnhigh

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A month later, and Portal, with 2 devices has been perfect. One main floor, one upstairs, and the bulk of the house pulls 500mb downloads, and no hiccups jumping from one portal to another. The mesh works flawlessly.
 

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