Question Improving signal with multiple WAPs for home network

mooch91

Distinguished
Jan 25, 2013
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All,

I have the fortune of having a 3200 sq ft home wired with ethernet cable in most rooms. Home is two levels plus a basement with center foyer. The house is probably about 60' north to south, and each floor is about 10 - 12' high.

A couple of years ago, I reconfigured my wireless connection as follows:
  • Cable modem connected to coax on second floor south side; ethernet output from the cable modem to my ethernet switch; wireless turned OFF on cable modem.
  • Wireless access point (WAP2) on second floor north side connected to PoE port on ethernet switch.
  • Wireless access point (WAP1) on first floor south side connected to PoE port on ethernet switch.
I figured this would give me the widest range with the two access points I purchased (TP-LINK EAP225). Both access points are set to the same SSID/password for 2.4 and 5 GHz networks, as well as each other. I wanted automatic switchover from 2.4 to 5 GHz, as well as from one WAP to the other. Channel selection is set to automatic (though I did have it fixed for a while at 1 and 11, for example).

I still have some difficulty with signal in my garage, basement, and dead center of the first floor of the house which is where I've temporarily set up my home office. I'm having a hard time telling if it's a result of a poor signal or channel interference. I'm willing to add one more WAP in the room I'm using as an office, but I don't want to potentially make the problem worse.

Using the Airport Utility, I read signal in the dead center of the first floor as follows:
WAP 1: -60/-74 dBm (2.4/5 GHz)
WAP 2: -72/-73

Can you provide any suggestions?
  • Add another WAP dead center of first floor? $60 is not all that expensive if it helps but doesn't hurt.
  • Switch from automatic channels to manual?
  • Any other settings on the TP-LINK WAPs that might help? I enabled Band Steering for the first time last night, but I've noticed there are settings for Airtime Fairness, Load Balance, among others. Also updated the firmware on the WAP last night; hadn't been updated since purchase in 2018.
Thanks!
 

RealBeast

Titan
Moderator
Yeah, adding wireless access points is a great way to get a good whole house coverage.
Don't really expect great roaming though.

Most consumer level products don't support 802.11k, v, and r -- required for proper handoffs. Most phones already have it, just not the wireless consumer infrastructure components.

And definitely pay attention to setting the channels of nearby radios so that you get minimal interference. For 2.4GHz you have 1, 6, and 11. 5GHz is a little easier because its range is more limited by the walls and floors. You just need to do a little trial and error, and sometimes the answer is to reduce the signal on some of the APs if there is interference that is troublesome.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Leaving settings on "auto" is not the best answer when you have multiple APs. YOU are much smarter than "auto'. Set everything manually. Channel, channel width, and transmit power. Set the 2.4Ghz transmit power lower than 5Ghz -- this will encourage devices to use 5Ghz.
-70 is usually the signal level that you would want to ADD an AP. If that is measured at your device, then the signal going back to the AP is probably lower.
If you have the ethernet cabling, there is no significant downside to adding APs. I have 3 Ubiquiti APs in my 1900 sqft ranch house. If you start getting interference in the 2.4Ghz range, DISABLE that radio on some APs.
 

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