Is Mesh the answer?

indus

Distinguished Member
Hi
I have Virgin BB and if my wifi app is to be believed I get speeds of over 800mbps when close to the router.
My house is spread over 3 floors and is over 3800 sq/ft, and has quite a few solid walls. The virgin router has to be downstairs by the front of the house because that's where the cable comes in.
I have cat5e ethernet distributed to quite a few rooms, about 6.
Wifi coverage was a big issue so I plugged a Linksys router into one of the ethernet sockets upstairs towards the back of the house.

This has provided a solution of sorts but there are still issues. There are still a few spots in the house where there is no decent signal, there are two separate networks and devices don't automatically flip from a weaker to stronger as you move through the house.
With my sonos some rooms are on one network and some on another which is a real pain.

I'm assuming that a whole house mesh system would solve all these problems and not introduce any new ones?

Or since I have wired ethernet sockets in many rooms is there a different solution that would be better?

Thank you?
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Personally I would look at Unifi Ubiquiti - Simplifying IT I've been using them for years and they have never let me down. To save money you can pickup second hand units from the bay all the time.

Thank you.
I did come across those but they seemed very expensive. Also, do they need to be mounted on ceilings or walls?
My ethernet outlets are at socket level and the house is fully decorated so I can't start chasing walls.

Thanks for your help
 

mbmapit

Well-known Member
Thank you.
I did come across those but they seemed very expensive. Also, do they need to be mounted on ceilings or walls?
My ethernet outlets are at socket level and the house is fully decorated so I can't start chasing walls.

Thanks for your help
They can be mounted or placed wherever you want. They aren't that expensive if you buy second hand or choose to go for the last generation. Just make sure that the features you want are included. The products are IMHO the best way of getting maximum coverage and speed. You could also look at Rukus but I would choose Unifi over them.

Lots available of the bay currently... unifi | eBay
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
If you already have some structured cabling that you can use i would look at cabled wireless access points as most of the work is already done for you. As @mbmapit has said, Ubiquiti are a very solid choice.

The term Mesh Wifi is bandied around a lot and used to mis-label a whole range of devices from true mesh-networking WAP's to , well other stuff.

Good wifi is not always cheap and Ubiquiti is at the higher end of the market, but it is also some of the most reliable and well thought of in the pro-sumer sphere.

You do have options besides wall or ceiling mounts but it will cost a little more £86 inc.

Ubiquiti UniFi AC In-Wall Access Point (UAP-AC-IW)

these will provide really good wifi and will still offer you a wall-jack connection.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
They can be mounted or placed wherever you want. They aren't that expensive if you buy second hand or choose to go for the last generation. Just make sure that the features you want are included. The products are IMHO the best way of getting maximum coverage and speed. You could also look at Rukus but I would choose Unifi over them.

Lots available of the bay currently... unifi | eBay

Thanks. I didn't know that they could be mounted at socket level or even placed on a table, interesting.
Is the set up and use user friendly? I'm not a computer whizz so need something fairly plug and play.

Thanks again
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Yes they are pretty easy to set up.
 

mbmapit

Well-known Member
Thanks. I didn't know that they could be mounted at socket level or even placed on a table, interesting.
Is the set up and use user friendly? I'm not a computer whizz so need something fairly plug and play.

Thanks again
Yes the software is very user friendly in my opinion and if you ever get stuck they have fantastic support or you can always ask here or PM me :)
 

indus

Distinguished Member
If you already have some structured cabling that you can use i would look at cabled wireless access points as most of the work is already done for you. As @mbmapit has said, Ubiquiti are a very solid choice.

The term Mesh Wifi is bandied around a lot and used to mis-label a whole range of devices from true mesh-networking WAP's to , well other stuff.

Good wifi is not always cheap and Ubiquiti is at the higher end of the market, but it is also some of the most reliable and well thought of in the pro-sumer sphere.

You do have options besides wall or ceiling mounts but it will cost a little more £86 inc.

Ubiquiti UniFi AC In-Wall Access Point (UAP-AC-IW)

these will provide really good wifi and will still offer you a wall-jack connection.

Thank you.
Those initially looked ideal but unfortunately my ethernet sockets are those all in one types ie, ethernet, tel line (!), Satellite etc. If I remove that faceplate and install one of these then there will be a holes/gaps showing.
As the house is fully decorated this will be a big pain.

I'll look into whether, that as mentioned by mushii, the on ceiling ones will work when sat on a table or mounted at socket level.

I'll email ubiquiti on Monday and see what they say.

Thanks very much
 

psychopomp1

Member
Good wifi is not always cheap and Ubiquiti is at the higher end of the market, but it is also some of the most reliable and well thought of in the pro-sumer sphere.
I'm afraid that just because an AP/router is made by Ubquiti and costs £100s, that's no guarantee it will be worth every penny. I bought their latest and greatest 802.11ax router - the Amplifi Alien - from the States a couple of months ago, and considering that this has a proposed UK price of £400, it was utter garbage for the money.

It performed no better than my el-cheapo £50 Phicomm router wrt wifi range in my home. The software was totally basic, it didn't let you do simple things like change wifi radio channels which is shocking for a router costing £400. On the plus side, it makes a great living room showpiece as my other half was thrilled we finally had a router which didn't look like a spaceship/spider/other monstrosity. Luckily i managed to sell the Alien for >£400 on ebay to some Ubiquiti fanboy so wasn't out of pocket (paid around $400 incl shipping to UK). They're even being sold for as much as $800 on ebay US d/t a severe shortage of them on the Amplifi US store. Sheer madness to pay that much for a home router which IMHO is worth around £100 at best.

I'm sure their enterprise kit is better but its seems their kit made for home use (eg Amplifi range) isn't that great wrt value for money & features.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I have been installing Ubiquiti APs and their routers, cloud keys, switches for years and compared to most of the stuff on the market it’s head and shoulders above it. i’ve not used Amplifi as I have never needed it, so cannot comment. UniFi and Powermax have been very good. You seldom see people on here who own Ubiquiti kit crying in their beer over it. It works and it works well. Neither have I had clients crying over it. In fact most comment that they notice how bad other people’s Wi-fi is.
I guess my question is why people spend £1000’s on Sonos for mediocre audio yet baulk at £200 - £300 for good quality Wi-fi. Totally beats me.
 

psychopomp1

Member
Well like I said I'm sure their enterprise grade kit is far better. But for Ubiquiti to charge 400 notes for a basic home router is sheer profiteering. If someone was to buy 3 amplifi alien units for a mesh setup, that would cost more than a grand. Madness to spend that kind of money on non enterprise grade kit.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Wifi coverage was a big issue so I plugged a Linksys router into one of the ethernet sockets upstairs towards the back of the house.
If you did that, you have possibly partitioned your network into multiple "sub-nets" as they are known in the jargon. The tell-tale will be to look at the client device IP addresses - most SOHO uses some variant of the 192.168.X.Y addresses - if "X" is not the same for everything, they you've split your network in two (or more) and devices in one half won't "see" devices in the other which could cause issues.

For a simple SOHO use case, it's best to have one single sub-net - a "flat network" - where everything can talk to everything else, (everything has the same "X") and to achieve that you should only have a single "router."

Be aware that in data networking a "router" and a "Wi-Fi Access Point" (AP) are very different things. The typical SOHO "get-you-on-the-Internet" onmi-box - coloquially (and inaccurately) known as as "router" - actually contains both (and a lot more besides.) To increase you Wi-Fi coverage you only need additional AP's, not more "routers."

If you already have UTP cabling about the property, then you are laughing all the way to the bank in terms of getting good Wi-Fi. As the others here have discussed thus far, you only need to deploy some additional AP's on the ends of some of your cable runs.

If you buy a "fleet" of AP's from the same vendor that can all interact ("talk") with each other to aid roaming handoff, bandwidth steering and so forth, then so much the better. Such things used o be the preserve of "enterprise" class systems, but similar functionality is now beginning to trickle down to the SOHO market, albeit in a limited and highly automated form. Such is often sold using "marketing" speak such as "whole home" and "mesh," however as Mushii says, the term "mesh" has become so abused by "marketing" that it's almost meaningless these days.

I've never used Ubiquiti myself (my Wi-Fi experience is in enterprise systems) but several of the guys that contribute regularly here, who's opinions I respect, speak highly of them.
 
Last edited:

indus

Distinguished Member
If you did that, you have possibly partitioned your network into multiple "sub-nets" as they are known in the jargon. The tell-tale will be to look at the client device IP addresses - most SOHO uses some variant of the 192.168.X.Y addresses - if "X" is not the same for everything, they you've split your network in two (or more) and devices in one half won't "see" devices in the other which could cause issues.

For a simple SOHO use case, it's best to have one single sub-net - a "flat network" - where everything can talk to everything else, (everything has the same "X") and to achieve that you should only have a single "router."

Be aware that in data networking a "router" and a "Wi-Fi Access Point" (AP) are very different things. The typical SOHO "get-you-on-the-Internet" onmi-box - coloquially (and inaccurately) known as as "router" - actually contains both (and a lot more besides.) To increase you Wi-Fi coverage you only need additional AP's, not more "routers."

If you already have UTP cabling about the property, then you are laughing all the way to the bank in terms of getting good Wi-Fi. As the others here have discussed thus far, you only need to deploy some additional AP's on the ends of some of your cable runs.

If you buy a "fleet" of AP's from the same vendor that can all interact ("talk") with each other to aid roaming handoff, bandwidth steering and so forth, then so much the better. Such things used o be the preserve of "enterprise" class systems, but similar functionality is now beginning to trickle down to the SOHO market, albeit in a limited and highly automated form. Such is often sold using "marketing" speak such as "whole home" and "mesh," however as Mushii says, the term "mesh" has become so abused by "marketing" that it's almost meaningless these days.

I've never used Ubiquiti myself (my Wi-Fi experience is in enterprise systems) but several of the guys that contribute regularly here, who's opinions I respect, speak highly of them.
Hi
I get that I don't need two routers, I need a router and multiple APs. I ended up with two routers as a quick fix solution because otherwise half the house would have had no wifi at all.
Thanks to the input here I now know what hardware I actually need. The challenge now is to find hardware
1) That has all the functions I need.
2) That is easily manageable by a non techy
3) That is aesthetically acceptable. This is going to be a major challenge. I have ethernet sockets at skirting level as opposed to ethernet cables coming out of ceilings/walls. If I had the latter then ubiquiti (or similar) would have been a perfect solution, I would have just ended up with a white disc/box showing on my ceiling or wall.
However with my ethernet sockets at skirting level these sorts of devices would leave me with ethernet and power cables trailing around/surface run which will look horrible.
Some of my ethernet sockets are hidden behind/within cabinets ie in the front lobby, open plan kitchen, master bedroom, another bedroom and cinema room.
They were installed in these places so that devices (TVs, streaming devices etc) could be wired to the sockets without cables on display.
What I really need are APs that can connect to the sockets in these locations and then sit on top of (or within) the cabinets. In this way they will get power and ethernet with no cables on display.

In this way I could get three APs on the ground floor (which has the most solid walls), two on the first floor and one on the second floor.

Thanks.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
We have put APs in cupboards before now. Not the best location but have been an acceptable alternative.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
We have put APs in cupboards before now. Not the best location but have been an acceptable alternative.
Thanks. To be honest most could go on top of cabinets/furniture so between 60 and 90cm high.
Can you mix and match the ubiquiti stuff? ie different models and generations?

Thanks
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
You can mix different makes & models of AP's, however whilst they will all "work" just fine, you won't enjoy the benefits of "a managed" where the AP's "talk" to each other to (for example) share information about which AP can "hear" which client the best so that they can try and "steer" the client to the best AP, pre-stage a bit of the "roaming" handoff (which speeds it up a tad.)

With a heterogeneous mix of equipment, you essentially end up with a group of "stand alone" hotspots, albeit that the coverage areas probably overlap.

Generally, vendors don't design their kit to "talk" to other vendors, so to get the benefits of a managed fleet, you need to source from a single supplier - sometimes even a particular "range" within the suppliers portfolio.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
You can mix different makes & models of AP's, however whilst they will all "work" just fine, you won't enjoy the benefits of "a managed" where the AP's "talk" to each other to (for example) share information about which AP can "hear" which client the best so that they can try and "steer" the client to the best AP, pre-stage a bit of the "roaming" handoff (which speeds it up a tad.)

With a heterogeneous mix of equipment, you essentially end up with a group of "stand alone" hotspots, albeit that the coverage areas probably overlap.

Generally, vendors don't design their kit to "talk" to other vendors, so to get the benefits of a managed fleet, you need to source from a single supplier - sometimes even a particular "range" within the suppliers portfolio.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I was specifically talking about Ubiquiti, and whether you can mix their APs across models and generations.

If I decide to go with that brand I'll be buying from ebay (maybe used) and may not get exactly the right amount of the exact same model.

I definitely won't be mixing brands for all the reasons you have mentioned.

Thank you
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
No worries - the other guys in this thread will probably know - failing that, maybe contact Uquiti's tech. support. Some vendors have a kind of "interoperability" matrix that lists what works with what, sometimes even down to particular firmware versions.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Yes as long as it is all unifi. Being honest the Unifi AP lites are cheap enough and more than adequate for domestic installs
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Thanks to all. The ubiquiti stuff looks interesting but for me something designed to be desktop suits better than something designed to be ceiling/wall mounted.
In addition desktops have LAN ports so I can have some devices hardwired

This isn't cheap, given I will need quite a few but hopefully wife's company will contribute.

Is there anything lacking in the specs of this device? Is there anything the ubiquiti can do that this can't?
Thank you.

 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Yes, provide much greater range of WiFi in your house. This I guarantee will not. It is unlikely to be much better than what you have now, and as far as wireless routers go, it’s pretty cheap.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Are your walls dry lined with enough depth to fit a “fast-fix” back box? If yes, then you could pull back an ethernet cable and feed it (or extend it) to a new adjacent back box to which you could fit a Ubiquiti in-wall AP. You can then power these either with POE injectors or a network switch from your patch panel. Some of the in-wall units also feature additional ethernet ports, so you don’t lose the connection point when reusing the original cable this way...
 

Mr X

Distinguished Member
Well like I said I'm sure their enterprise grade kit is far better. But for Ubiquiti to charge 400 notes for a basic home router is sheer profiteering. If someone was to buy 3 amplifi alien units for a mesh setup, that would cost more than a grand. Madness to spend that kind of money on non enterprise grade kit.
I’m surprised the Alien performed so poorly for you. I’m a big fan of Amplifi HD and have been waiting to upgrade to the Alien for Wi-fi 6 but can’t get on in the UK yet.
 

Mr X

Distinguished Member
Thanks to all. The ubiquiti stuff looks interesting but for me something designed to be desktop suits better than something designed to be ceiling/wall mounted.
In addition desktops have LAN ports so I can have some devices hardwired

This isn't cheap, given I will need quite a few but hopefully wife's company will contribute.

Is there anything lacking in the specs of this device? Is there anything the ubiquiti can do that this can't?
Thank you.

Same thought about the Ubiquiti stuff, bit complex for me as it’s their commercial offering and I didn’t want ceiling/wall mounts. Which is why I went for their domestic line the Amplifi HD.
I use three HD units wired in around the house and that also provide more Ethernet ports and one satellite unit for the garden. Has given me great coverage in a large house and garden with no issues for the last 2 years. It just works!
 

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