[SOLVED] New access point advice

Sep 6, 2020
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Hi everyone,
My house is pretty big (4200 sq ft including finished basement, three total floors) and getting good WiFi coverage has been challenging. For a while, I was using a good ASUS router in my ground floor office but nothing I tried would get a decent signal to my son's room which is only about 15 linear feet from the router, but it's above our garage and I think the metal and insulation was always too much to get a signal through. Tried a signal extender right outside his room but it was still terrible. Finally picked up an Orbi set with an RBR50 router and an RBS50 satellite almost directly above it. That signal is the best we've gotten, usually pretty good. Since that only covers about 2/3 of the house, I've had an older Netgear N wireless router connected by ethernet as an access point on the other side of the house. Now that I have need of an ethernet router in my basement, I'm thinking of moving the older one down there and buying a newer up-to-date wireless router as the new access point.
After that long story, I'm hoping to get some input regarding this access point router I want to add. Is there any point in buying another (expensive) Orbi if I'm just using it as an access point or does it make more sense to just buy something like the Netgear WAC505 which looks like it's just an AP? Obviously, I'd like a good strong AC signal, but I'd also prefer not to break the bank since there are already two other wireless routers. Also, I do need the access point to have a few ethernet outputs.
Thanks for your advice!
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Thanks. I still want at least 3 ethernet outputs. I guess my real question here is: is there any benefit to buying a product designated as an Access Point (which mostly seem marketed toward business use) or should I just find any inexpensive wireless router and use it as an AP?
The primary benefit is a single management point for all UniFI hardware. You want a SSID on a VLAN? You can create one with a few clicks. If you want that with a router acting as an AP? First thing is probably a firmware change to enable VLANs.
"Real" APs have features like multiple SSIDs.
I have done both approaches. I used Asus RT-AC68U routers as access points. Now I have Ubiquiti UniFI. I will stick with Ubiquiti -- even though it cost a lot more.
 
Reactions: IthacaMD
If you want actual AP I would look at ubiquiti. The orbi stuff is all marketing it still uses all the same radio chips as other wifi equipment.

The cheapest way to do this is many times to use a router as a AP. People seem to think routers with big numbers or high prices somehow have better coverage. The distance the signal goes is purely a function of radio transmit power and other than some battery powered hotspots almost every router transmits very near the legal limit. So even a inexpensive router the signal will go the same distance.

In most cases coverage issues are the end clients. Those many times have small antenna and low power transmitters to save on battery.

I would look for a inexpensive router with say a 1200-1750 number on it. This will match the data encoding on most end devices. Buying a larger number will not do much if the end device for example does not also have 4 antenna and can do 4x4 mimo.

Many routers now have AP mode but you can use any router as a AP by cabling, just search how to use a router as a AP.
 
Reactions: IthacaMD
Sep 6, 2020
4
0
10
0
If you want actual AP I would look at ubiquiti. The orbi stuff is all marketing it still uses all the same radio chips as other wifi equipment.

The cheapest way to do this is many times to use a router as a AP. People seem to think routers with big numbers or high prices somehow have better coverage. The distance the signal goes is purely a function of radio transmit power and other than some battery powered hotspots almost every router transmits very near the legal limit. So even a inexpensive router the signal will go the same distance.

In most cases coverage issues are the end clients. Those many times have small antenna and low power transmitters to save on battery.

I would look for a inexpensive router with say a 1200-1750 number on it. This will match the data encoding on most end devices. Buying a larger number will not do much if the end device for example does not also have 4 antenna and can do 4x4 mimo.

Many routers now have AP mode but you can use any router as a AP by cabling, just search how to use a router as a AP.
Thanks for the info.

The Ubiquiti I've looked at look more tailored to business use since they are often meant to mount to the ceiling and have no ethernet output, which I need. They all do get great ratings though.
I've used a router for my AP for years, but I was mainly considering an actual AP (not router) only since I thought perhaps they would be a little cheaper while doing the same function. Looking at the Netgear WAC124 and WAC510, they're fairly inexpensive but seem to have good numbers (1200-2000).
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Thanks for the info.

The Ubiquiti I've looked at look more tailored to business use since they are often meant to mount to the ceiling and have no ethernet output, which I need. They all do get great ratings though.
I've used a router for my AP for years, but I was mainly considering an actual AP (not router) only since I thought perhaps they would be a little cheaper while doing the same function. Looking at the Netgear WAC124 and WAC510, they're fairly inexpensive but seem to have good numbers (1200-2000).
Most Ubiquiti APs are designed for ceiling mount. BUT you can put them on a table upside down (as I have). Some of them have a pass through ethernet port -- for example the AC-PRO. The flexHD is designed for multiple types of mounting and you can always put a switch in the room before the AP to distribute wired. You benefit from a POE switch with the AP anyway.
 
Reactions: IthacaMD
Sep 6, 2020
4
0
10
0
Most Ubiquiti APs are designed for ceiling mount. BUT you can put them on a table upside down (as I have). Some of them have a pass through ethernet port -- for example the AC-PRO. The flexHD is designed for multiple types of mounting and you can always put a switch in the room before the AP to distribute wired. You benefit from a POE switch with the AP anyway.
Thanks. I still want at least 3 ethernet outputs. I guess my real question here is: is there any benefit to buying a product designated as an Access Point (which mostly seem marketed toward business use) or should I just find any inexpensive wireless router and use it as an AP?
 
Sep 6, 2020
4
0
10
0
The primary benefit is a single management point for all UniFI hardware. You want a SSID on a VLAN? You can create one with a few clicks. If you want that with a router acting as an AP? First thing is probably a firmware change to enable VLANs.
"Real" APs have features like multiple SSIDs.
I have done both approaches. I used Asus RT-AC68U routers as access points. Now I have Ubiquiti UniFI. I will stick with Ubiquiti -- even though it cost a lot more.
That makes sense. Since this is just a home network with no business stuff, I don't think I have any need for multiple SSIDs or a VLAN. I'm thinking perhaps the big benefits of these dedicated APs are really things I don't need...
 

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