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mesh wifi performance

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nhjay    17

I am in need of replacing my wifi infrastructure at home. For several years now I've successfully used 2 TPLink TL-WDR3600 to provide adequate 5 and 2.4 ghz coverage in my house. Unfortunately one of them has died, and the remaining device cannot adequately cover my home from its location. I am considering looking into one of the mesh wifi systems, as the concept intrigues me. I am questioning the performance though.

 

I have a 2600 sqft home, with a finished basement and 2 floors. The 2 TPLink routers together provided strong coverage in both frequencies. I have a family of 6, wiht many wireless devices between phones, tablets, consoles, PC's, and TV's. On average there are 25 IP's assigned at once, and any number of those devices accessing some part of the LAN at a time. I run a Plex server at home and will often have 2 1080p streams going at a time, along with other "typical" traffic such as Netflix, gaming, and my several days spent working from home with a constant vpn connection active.

I have a 150mb connection via Comcast.

 

Anyone have any experience with the mesh systems, and thoughts, good and bad?

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evacc44    16

Mesh wifi is only required when you don't have wired access to each wireless access point. Traditional repeaters cut the bandwidth in half each time they are put in place because half the bandwidth is used to receive and half is used to transmit. Mesh devices have a radio for receiving and radio for transmitting, so they don't cut the bandwidth in half each time. If you have ethernet run to each device already, I would instead recommend replacing the TP-Link devices with Unifi UAP-AC devices. It'll probably be cheaper by $100-150 and give you very good performance.

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+BudMan    3,172

^ concur... The only reason to use "mesh" would be if you can not run a wire.

 

If you can run AP and be done with... the unifi is slick and POE so makes deployment easy.

 

If you have some areas that don't have good coverage, and you can not easy get a wire there - then sure mesh or wireless uplink makes sense.  The unifi stuff can do wireless uplink so sure if you want/need to add a AP in an area for better coverage its easy to do.

 

 

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nhjay    17
18 hours ago, BudMan said:

^ concur... The only reason to use "mesh" would be if you can not run a wire.

 

If you can run AP and be done with... the unifi is slick and POE so makes deployment easy.

 

If you have some areas that don't have good coverage, and you can not easy get a wire there - then sure mesh or wireless uplink makes sense.  The unifi stuff can do wireless uplink so sure if you want/need to add a AP in an area for better coverage its easy to do.

 

 

Thank you both for your replies. Both of my existing AP's are hard wired, and any replacements would go to the same locations, so the unifi stuff makes sense. I'm going to look into their products more.

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LostCat    1,128
Posted (edited)

I've found mesh to be amazing for my current house.  The repeaters and powerline adapters I've used were too twitchy for me to want to use them...mesh is completely problem free on my end.

 

I don't really know if Google Wifi would be good for that strong an ISP connection or not, but it's been an extremely satisfying setup here.  I only needed two pucks, got a third in case I try to do more outside later on.

 

If I wanted a strong local router up front I'd probably try a setup with ASUS' AIMesh thing.

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tmorris1    91

Look into Asus routers.  You can set them up as access points as you did with the TP-Link.  They have a feature called AI-Mesh.  Haven't used it but it looks interesting.  It looks like if ethernet is available it will use that for the inter-router communication so that WIFI bandwidth isn't wasted.  I am not sure how much is gained over 2 properly setup access points on different frequencies but they claim more seamless handoff of devices when going in an out of range of each access point.  Regardless if the AI-Mesh is used or needed I think Asus routers/AP are pretty reliable.

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LostCat    1,128
2 hours ago, tmorris1 said:

It looks like if ethernet is available it will use that for the inter-router communication so that WIFI bandwidth isn't wasted.

I can't say which mesh networks do that but Google Wifi also does.

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xendrome    4,996
10 minutes ago, LostCat said:

I can't say which mesh networks do that but Google Wifi also does.

UniFi AmpliFi HD has built in channels it uses for 2.4/5ghz communication, no bandwidth lost.

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LostCat    1,128
10 minutes ago, xendrome said:

UniFi AmpliFi HD has built in channels it uses for 2.4/5ghz communication, no bandwidth lost.

I can't speak from experience, but my impression of Unifi is that they're fairly overkill and overpriced for the majority of home users.

 

I'm sure they perform well.

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shockz    4,002
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, LostCat said:

I can't speak from experience, but my impression of Unifi is that they're fairly overkill and overpriced for the majority of home users.

 

I'm sure they perform well.

You can get a 3 pack for 175 now a days, which is about the same price as a full blown ac router. They're pretty affordable in comparison.

 

And also, you get what you pay for. I have 3 ac pro unifi pods distributed though my house. 1 for upstairs, one for a first floor area that juts out from the rest of the house, and then one other one for the remaining interior of the first floor. Zero issues, strong signal, fast performance in a 3000 sq ft house. They work great.

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Dinggus    322
23 hours ago, evacc44 said:

Mesh wifi is only required when you don't have wired access to each wireless access point. Traditional repeaters cut the bandwidth in half each time they are put in place because half the bandwidth is used to receive and half is used to transmit. Mesh devices have a radio for receiving and radio for transmitting, so they don't cut the bandwidth in half each time. If you have ethernet run to each device already, I would instead recommend replacing the TP-Link devices with Unifi UAP-AC devices. It'll probably be cheaper by $100-150 and give you very good performance.

See, I was told something completely different a few months ago. My router is downstairs, so I have no way to hook my Xbox and Computer that is upstairs directly. So, I settled for an expensive WiFi/Router combo.

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xendrome    4,996
2 hours ago, LostCat said:

I can't speak from experience, but my impression of Unifi is that they're fairly overkill and overpriced for the majority of home users.

 

I'm sure they perform well.

Unifi AmpliFi HD is specifically geared toward home users, it's their Router/Mesh Point combo setup. It's not enterprise gear.

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