Question Mesh Network

dargo72

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Looking for suggestions for a mesh network. Currently have an Asus RT-AC3200 in the basement and have occasional drops and dead spots in the house. Was originally thinking of the AmpliFi HD WiFi, but there are so many other options that it is difficult to choose. I also saw that Asus has their own AiMesh. My current router is not compatible with its mesh, but I'm not adverse to getting a new one that's compatible and placing a 2nd one upstairs (I may even be able to hardwire it to the router in the basement). Lastly, I am not adverse to getting numerous units that simply plug into wall sockets. If possible, I was thinking to get a system that each unit can communicate with each other, not just back and forth to the main unit, but I am open to suggestions.

Regarding Asus, would it make sense to get the fastest router as the main one and use less expensive (compatible) Asus routers for the satellites? This might allow me to have perhaps 2 or 3 satellites upstairs instead of just one more expensive satellite. Would these satellites communicate with each other, or just back to the main?

Thank you.
 
The best option is not to use so called "mesh". This is just a fancy marketing name for things that not much different than the wifi extender/repeaters they have been selling for years.

The best solution is to use ethernet cables from your basement to each room and place a AP or a router running as a AP in the rooms. This is the method large enterprise customers use. If mesh was so great they would have been using it for years.

If you do not have ethernet cables you can use powerline units to connect to the remote rooms using your electrical wires. The design is similar just using the etheretnet outlets. You do not want to use more than you absolutely have to because the bandwidth is split between all the powerline units.

The other wired option is to use MOCA but you need tv coax running to the rooms.

Your problem with using any form of repeater/mesh is the signal must be able to be transmitted from your basement to the location the mesh unit is located and still be able to transmit new signal to the room that is having the issue. This sometime is not possible because the floor/ceiling tend to block a lot of signals. You also have multiple wifi signals that your neighbors wifi device can interfere with. Using any form of wifi repeater should be your last choice when you can not do other options.
 
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dargo72

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Thank you for the reply. I tried having an access point in a centrally located room a number of years ago. I attempted to have the same name/password, but still had to manually switch networks from the basement router to the AP. Has this issue been solved, where say a cell phone will automatically switch from one to the other?
 
nope and mesh does not fix that. It is a problem with the end units. The end device not the network control when it switches. They tend to stay with a connection until it gets below a certain level before they even attempt to change. They only have 1 radio so they do not know there are other signals even available while they are using the radio to talk to the current wifi connection.

Some advanced AP networks will try to artificially force a disconnect but it only somewhat works. It is all depends if the other AP can determine where the end station is. Ubiquiti gives away their controller software but enterprise type systems cost many thousands of dollars and still have issue.

You are not going to fix the roaming until they come out with a new wifi standard and the end device implement it. Things like cell phone towers were designed from the start for roaming. Wifi roaming especially in a home environment was never even considered. Mostly the need in homes is because too many people are putting systems in like this it just makes the problem worse and worse. A very weak wifi signal will work fine if there is little interference. The problem is the massive amounts of interference because now every apartment has multiple wifi transmitters rather than just 1.
 

dargo72

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I am intrigued by the powerline adapters. So in theory, I plug on of these into a power outlet near the main router (basement) and then plug another anywhere in the house, then plug another Ethernet cable into it and run to a computer or another wifi router, correct. Do these adapters need to be on the same circuit or just within the same home electrical system?
 
New mesh packages are pretty decent if your internet is <100Mbs. They are much better than older wireless repeaters. If you can't get the base in a good location it won't work that well. If you have higher then paying to get a few cables run for wired access points will be worth it.

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/33125-wi-fi-system-roundup?showall=&start=4

powerlines are a bit of a gamble. it might not work well or consistently. if throughput is good it won't matter for TCP. UDP for gaming or VOIP might suck. I'd buy one and test each location first.
 
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You have two choices. G.hn or HomePlug AV2. For HomePlug AV2 I believe there are 2 primary chipsets...Broadcomm and QualComm. I used the D-Link units which had the Broadcomm chip in them. They seemed to work pretty well. I will say that the Comtrend G.hn units get pretty good reviews and have more advanced features like IGMP snooping and VLAN tagging.
 
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dargo72

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Thanks for all the great replies.

I'm thinking of 2 scenarios.....

1. Keep my current router (Asus RT-AC3200) in the basement, which provides good coverage for most of the house. Then purchase something like the Asus PL-AC56 Kit and place it wifi transmitter in or near the room with limited wifi coverage. The Asus website says this unit "clones" the router settings. Would this mean I could set it up to connect to the transmitter automatically when in the room with poor coverage from the router in the basement?

2. The more expensive option..... I could get 2 Asus mesh routers (my current Asus router does not support mesh) and place one in the basement and the other in a centrally located room on the main floor. I can use an ethernet cable to wire the 2 routers together in this scenario.

Thoughts?

 
The end device controls what it connects to not the network. It "should" when the signal is weak switch connections. Problem is sometime it will stay connected to the poor signal because it is not bad enough for it to drop and switch. You can always drop it manually and it will reconnect. The mesh systems have the same issue since it is a end device problem. There is no real solution to this issue until they get a different wifi standard. Seems there is something in the works but it will be years before we see end devices that have support.

In general it does not really affect people that much. This is one of those I can see the idiot watching his youtube videos while he falls down the steps. There really is no need for true roaming. We used to use it years ago to run VoIP on corporate networks so people could use their phone to talk as they walked down the hall. It required very expensive central wifi controllers and special drivers loaded on the end devices. Now that the cell companies have gone to unlimited minute and you can get micro cells for in building coverage you don't really even need roaming in corporate.
 

dargo72

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Thank you. I do recall needing to manually disconnect, then reconnect, in the past.

I was hoping that the mesh networks would automatically optimize the cutoff from one router to the other. Based upon their advertising, isn't this what they are supposed to do (understanding nothing is perfect mind you....)?
 
Some claim that but there are so many systems that claim they are "mesh" with major difference. Like most advertising you can't always trust what they say. Just like the magic speed numbers nobody gets. What the systems attempt to do is force a disconnect from AP side and hope the end station will connect to a better AP. Problem is what the AP thinks the signal levels are is not necessarily what the end device does.

Again if mesh was a magic solution to the roaming issue it would be used by the large enterprise installation. There is much more money selling thousands of AP to the enterpeise customers and you do not see mesh being offered by say cisco or avaya you only see this in the consumer market.

It is always a trade off. Mesh would work great in a world that you had all the radio bandwidth to yourself. Problem is all your neighbors are thinking the same thing. It used to be you could find radio channels nobody else was using now you have people putting in these mesh systems so everyone is trying to claim the entire wifi radio available and they stomp on each other even more. As the signals get worse people put in more and more mesh units to compensate.

I would never use mesh if you have any other option. This is especially true if you are running online games or live stream video over it.
 
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