Mesh WiFi recommendations

Mike_SE

Standard Member
I am moving to a house which is a lot older (200 years!) than my current one, and the walls are extremely thick. I'm going to get a mesh system to make sure I can send the WiFi round the house properly as 2 of us will be working from home and I will also be using internet for gaming on a PC and ps5. There is so many mesh systems out there, tri-band, WiFi6, etc etc, are these things going to be needed for a 70mbps connection or am I fine with a dual band option?

Can anyone give me some personal recommendations about models they use and recommend, as I've read loads but would like some opinions. Many thanks
 

rs6mra

Active Member
My advice would be to try and get as many devices as possible wired and that would make life a lot easier for you.
I know phones and tablets require wifi to function; so you might then want to determine where the dead spots are in the property and try out whatever recommendations that follow my post.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Mesh doesn't magically transmit any better through thick walls. It's better at managing AP and can potentially make back haul easier.

As mentioned above, get as many devices on ethernet especially those needing high speed reliable access.

After that see where you need the most coverage and focus on getting AP there. Brand wise, the usual big brands should all be fine and have a look at Google Nest Mesh.
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member

This is good offer currently.

You can get some futher money off here
and
 

jerryjal

Well-known Member
Do you know if you can have more than two ASUS ZenWiFi XT8's? I would like to use 3 or possibly 4 but can't seem to be able to find the answer via google.
 

Pavey

Well-known Member
I have a Tenda set up with 6 nodes currently, and it works flawlessly. The app is really well set out and easy to use, but what swung it for me was the price. It’s not the cheapest but you can pay double what I did to achieve the same result.
 

Mike_SE

Standard Member
I have a Tenda set up with 6 nodes currently, and it works flawlessly. The app is really well set out and easy to use, but what swung it for me was the price. It’s not the cheapest but you can pay double what I did to achieve the same result.
I was looking at these earlier as they do seem well priced, which model did you get? What speed are you getting from your ISP?
 

Pavey

Well-known Member
I have a Talk Talk 150 fibre service, but have never got anywhere near that. For reference though I get the same Wi-Fi speed from the mesh (anywhere in the house) as I get from standing next to the router (on that SSID).

I have the MW5 kits (three double packs).
 

gangzoom

Well-known Member
I have the MW5 kits (three double packs).

We've had the Tenda MW5 3 node kit since the end of last year. Its really good value and works well enough for me to hardwire my Chromecast Ultra into one of the nodes to allow Stadia to run flawlessly.

Before connecting the Chromecast into the ethernet port on the node the connection was very unpredictable, where as now its a solid connection pulling close the max speed our ISP offers.

Just to confirm the node that the Chromecast is plugged into isn't hardwired to the modem/main node, but I am using it to provide a hardwire connection for the Chromecast and it delivers a lag free 60Mbps connection essentially through the mesh network.

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oneman

Well-known Member
Do you know if you can have more than two ASUS ZenWiFi XT8's? I would like to use 3 or possibly 4 but can't seem to be able to find the answer via google.
Asus recommend 5 nodes if using WiFi backhaul. However the limit is higher if using ethernet. There isn't any actual limit.
 

jerryjal

Well-known Member
Asus recommend 5 nodes if using WiFi backhaul. However the limit is higher if using ethernet. There isn't any actual limit.
Ok, if you can use more than just the two then that would be great. I asked as I saw this on a review.

Don’t buy it if…​

You’re on a budget
The ZenWiFi AX is a top-of-the-range Wi-Fi mesh system that runs far faster than most home broadband services. There are plenty of less expensive mesh systems that can still handle streaming video and gaming with no trouble at all.
You live in a palace
Most mesh systems are available with either two or three routers in order to accommodate homes of different sizes. Somewhat oddly, the expensive ZenWiFi AX is only available with two routers that cover up to 4400 sq.ft, with no three-router option for even larger homes.
You don’t like jargon

The Asus Router app is full of useful features and parental controls. However, its set-up process is a little long-winded and it tends to throw quite a bit of jargon around, so it could be a bit daunting for newcomers to mesh technology.

This gave me the impression that more than two could not be used at the same time but if it is just a case of buying more than one twin pack and they then work with each other then that is fine.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Ok, if you can use more than just the two then that would be great. I asked as I saw this on a review.

Don’t buy it if…​

You’re on a budget
The ZenWiFi AX is a top-of-the-range Wi-Fi mesh system that runs far faster than most home broadband services. There are plenty of less expensive mesh systems that can still handle streaming video and gaming with no trouble at all.
You live in a palace
Most mesh systems are available with either two or three routers in order to accommodate homes of different sizes. Somewhat oddly, the expensive ZenWiFi AX is only available with two routers that cover up to 4400 sq.ft, with no three-router option for even larger homes.
You don’t like jargon

The Asus Router app is full of useful features and parental controls. However, its set-up process is a little long-winded and it tends to throw quite a bit of jargon around, so it could be a bit daunting for newcomers to mesh technology.

This gave me the impression that more than two could not be used at the same time but if it is just a case of buying more than one twin pack and they then work with each other then that is fine.
Odd, the Asus website says 5 for wireless or more on Ethernet.
 

jerryjal

Well-known Member
Odd, the Asus website says 5 for wireless or more on Ethernet.
Ok, thanks for that. I will have a look and maybe try and contact support. I also found this... At the bottom it also says that it is limited to two.


2. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)​

Wi-Fi 6 meets mesh routers​

SPECIFICATIONS​

Speed: 802.11ax 4804Mbps down
Connectivity: 2.5 Gigabit Wan, 3 x Gigabit LAN, Gigabit Wan, USB 3.1
Included mesh nodes: 2
Features: MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro
TODAY'S BEST DEALS


£228.49
VIEW AT AMAZON

£289.99
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£399.99
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REASONS TO BUY​

+Great Wi-Fi performance+Good security features

REASONS TO AVOID​

-Expensive-Limited to two routers
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member

Don’t buy it if…​

...Most mesh systems are available with either two or three routers...

I am a little nervous of anyone opining about Wi-Fi infrastructure that makes the schoolboy error of thinking Wi-Fi is availed by "routers" and not "Access Points." This is not just hair splitting over nomenclature - in the field of data networking a "router" and and "AP" are very different things. To expand Wi-Fi infrastructure, (add hotspots,) one needs additional AP's not more "routers." With appropriate kit and configuration options, SOHO "routers" can be made to perform as AP's but you'd be paying for a lot of functionality you don't use or need (router/firewall/NAT etc.) This may just be a case of some lazy use of language, but for me it raises a bit of a warning flag.
 

jerryjal

Well-known Member
I am a little nervous of anyone opining about Wi-Fi infrastructure that makes the schoolboy error of thinking Wi-Fi is availed by "routers" and not "Access Points." This is not just hair splitting over nomenclature - in the field of data networking a "router" and and "AP" are very different things. To expand Wi-Fi infrastructure, (add hotspots,) one needs additional AP's not more "routers." With appropriate kit and configuration options, SOHO "routers" can be made to perform as AP's but you'd be paying for a lot of functionality you don't use or need (router/firewall/NAT etc.) This may just be a case of some lazy use of language, but for me it raises a bit of a warning flag.
Think you may be right, I have just spoken to someone at Asus who has told me that I can use more than two of the XT8's at one time. Thanks again for your help and assistance, much appreciated.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
As other have already said, if you're moving into a new house and I assume doing some renovation / decorating work as part of that, then run wired access points back to your router.

You don't need to install an AP in each room, one on each landing and one at the back of the house for the garden is probably enough, which may make the wiring/retrofit easier. Most access points are powered via PoE (via a PoE switch or a PoE injector at the router end) so you only need to run a single ethernet cable to each AP — no need to run separate power cables.

Mesh networks aren't a magic cure and in some buildings / environments will present their own challenges. The best will have their own dedicated channel(s) for your wireless backhaul. But the mesh points will still need to find a (RF) path back to another mesh point (and each hop will introduce latency).

Additionaly if you're in an area with lots of wifi networks you may find you don't have the spectrum to run a decent wireless backhaul in addition to the channels needed by the access points themselves.

That said I installed a Ubiquiti Amplifi HD with 2 mesh points at my parents earlier in the year and so far it's been working fine for them in a largish house and garden. The app/interface/UI is fairly basic but well designed and does everything they need. I didn't replace another mesh system so hard to make any comparisons, all I can say is it's been trouble free for them since and provides decent bandwidth around the house. Had it been my house and/or they had been using it for work reasons I'd have hardwired in some access points, but they have fairly light internet needs and so far it's covered them for that.

At the end of the day all (well designed) mesh systems (with dedicated wireless backhauls) are working to set RF limits and protocols. Some will have better software in terms of ensuring the mesh points connect to the best upstream node/use the least congested RF channels/reduce db power output as appropriate, along with better UIs for configuration/monitoring the network. But, other than software and implementing a dedicated channel for the wireless backhaul, there is no 'magically' better system in terms of RF hardware (assuming the same 802 protocol/aerial configuration) that is going to get you a vastly superior mesh setup — simply in terms of coverage. They are all constrained by the same RF regulations and physical limitations. A mesh package that may get glowing reviews from one user when used in their environment, may offer a terrible experience when used by another user in their environment.

If you want the most stable setup, wire some access points back to your router. If you're looking for recommendations of good, prosumer APs with decent software then you probably can't go far wrong with Ubiquiti Unifi APs. The best model for you will depend on your needs, bigger isn't necessarily better. The AP WiFi 6 Lite is problay a good entry point for home use, or the HD Flex which may be easier to mount.

You can use Unifi's wired access points with any 3rd party router (using the Unifi Mobile App to configure them) or with one of UniFi's own routers for a better end-to-end 'single pane' experience.
 
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oneman

Well-known Member
I am a little nervous of anyone opining about Wi-Fi infrastructure that makes the schoolboy error of thinking Wi-Fi is availed by "routers" and not "Access Points." This is not just hair splitting over nomenclature - in the field of data networking a "router" and and "AP" are very different things. To expand Wi-Fi infrastructure, (add hotspots,) one needs additional AP's not more "routers." With appropriate kit and configuration options, SOHO "routers" can be made to perform as AP's but you'd be paying for a lot of functionality you don't use or need (router/firewall/NAT etc.) This may just be a case of some lazy use of language, but for me it raises a bit of a warning flag.
It gets a bit tricky when the vendors don't sell separate AP and have confusing branding (yes, you Asus) where ZenMesh is basically AI mesh and you can mix WiFi 6 and non-WiFi 6 devices.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It gets a bit tricky when the vendors don't sell separate AP and have confusing branding (yes, you Asus) where ZenMesh is basically AI mesh and you can mix WiFi 6 and non-WiFi 6 devices.

It occurs to me that for a lot of equipment aimed at the SOHO market, the hardware could be pretty much the same for both a router and a stand alone AP, so there's perhaps a bit of cost saving to be made by shipping one set of hardware and then equipping it with software that can simply allow the consumer (or the automation) to flip between "router" and "AP" mode operation.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
It occurs to me that for a lot of equipment aimed at the SOHO market, the hardware could be pretty much the same for both a router and a stand alone AP, so there's perhaps a bit of cost saving to be made by shipping one set of hardware and then equipping it with software that can simply allow the consumer (or the automation) to flip between "router" and "AP" mode operation.
I was thinking about when writing the post. How much hardware difference is there between a router and a AP, especially when most 'routing' is done in software anyway.
 

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