Mesh Wifi

jeremylondon

Novice Member
I am building a large house, there will be Shelly automation, and for this and general use I will need mesh wifi.

My last house had Lynksys Velop with a wired backhaul.

This was ok when it worked but was relatively unstable. Units would go RED from time to time and then either them or the whole system would need rebooting. They were concealed in the ceiling and there were 7 of them so this was a pain - and not something I am looking to repeat.

I read a while ago about ubiquity lite Ap's which on the face of it seemed a more robust solution, but that seems to need a management Consol running on a computer somewhere, and I would prefer that whatever management is needed is done by the units themselves.

This property will have I believe 10 nodes all with wired backhaul.

I wold appreciate views on a robust and reliable system

Thank you
 

captain morgan

Active Member
Budget?
What other networking requirements?
What structured cabling plans?
Any nas / home automation platforms etc?
Can you tell us more about the project as a whole & what you want to achieve.

There are a number of possible options out there but we need to know more about the whole picture rather than just focus on the ap’s
 

jeremylondon

Novice Member
Budget is variable - but £100 a station as a starting point seems fair.

The network will run Shelly over wifi and then TV / Audio wired. Nothing desperately heavy. I have previously run cat6 everywhere and used none of it so that won't happen this time.

All I wish to achieve is even wifi over the house. It is large and 3 floors / steel / concrete / foil backed insulation so wifi will need many repeaters.
 

captain morgan

Active Member
This might depend on your isp and there position on using there supplied modem/fw/router/switch/ap box as just a modem or not.

I’d say here in the U.K. there are 2-3 main players in this space, Ubiquiti Unifi, TP-Link Omada & Draytek ap’s. Amongst the other options are Cisco Meraki & Aruba instant on.

Whatever solution you choose you are likely to pair it with a switch given the number of devices, you want a poe switch which will power the access points & this also allows you to remote power cycle the ap’s should any of them go offline.

It makes sense to keep the switch & ap’s from the same manufacturer both a functionality & interoperability perspective.

If that’s accepted then the next question is do you include the routing functionality in the same stack?

With unifi & Omada you don’t have to have the controller sw running all the time, it’s only required when making changes to the configuration unless you need to run certain advanced features, that said in some configurations you get a inbuilt hw controller so it becomes a moot point.

Next you’ll need to consider if you want the latest wifi6, wifi6E or wifi5 ap’s obviously the newer the standard the greater the cost, though the older the ap’s the greater the chance of manufacturer’s stopping support. The £100 per ap can get wifi5, you’ll likely double it for 6, I’m not aware of any 6E options at the moment.

That said I personally believe that a good wifi5 install is more that sufficient for most homes.

Costs are variable at this point because I don’t know what if any other wired devices you have but I’d guesstimate

Unifi routing / 8 port poe switch comb device £490 + wifi5 lr ap’s @ £100 each.

Unifi switch 16 port, with 8 poe ports £290 + wifi5 lr ap’s @ £100 each.

Omada routing
Router, 8 port poe switch & hw controller £290 + wifi5 ap’s at £70

Subtract ~£55 if you don’t want routing.

Can’t help on Draytek costs as I’m not as familiar with its range.



Regarding ap placement I cover a 3 bed detached with a open plan gf with single story extension comfortably with a single loft mounted tp-link eap225 ap. You may find if you loft mount some ap’s you could get good coverage with less.
Also the unifi wifi5 long range ap’s have a good reputation for distance so if you go unifi use them.
Whatever you choose I would try & run a ceiling cable to the center of any room you care about wifi coverage in & 3-4 to the loft depending on the property footprint.

When you come to the second fix phase I’d put the system in temporarily and see what the coverage is like on the 2nd & 1st floors with 1-2 loft mounts and 1-2 ap’s on the gf then you could find the fallow zones and buy additional ap’s as needed.

Hope this helps a bit.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It may also be worth exploring whether you want to facilitate multiple SSID's as that will have bearing on the AP's, switches and router required.

Some people like to have a "main" (private) SSID, and "guest" SSID and some folks even like to have a separate IOT SSID. The simplest way to do so and keep the traffic separate from each other is by using a Wi-Fi solution where AP's can facilitate multiple SSID's, delivering each onto a separate VLAN, using switches that support VLAN's and a routing device that can route multiple IP Subnets/VLAN's.

Of course, that's likely to require more feature rich equipment which will cost a bit more and require a bit more "configuration" effort - certainly some (if not all) the brands Captain Morgan mentions offer this. But in the first instance, determine (holistically) whether it's something you need now or are likely to in the future.

It may sounds very complex, but it's not too difficult set up, however you do need the "right" kit.

BTW - there's nothing particularly "magic" about so-called "mesh" systems: They are generally just a fleet of managed AP's such as we've has in "big business" forever, but it's now beginning to trickle down to the SOHO marketplace, albeit that many can form "backhaul" links between themselves over Wi-Fi. However, if you are planning cabled (ethernet) backhauls for all your AP's (by far the best way to do backhauls) then availability of so called "mesh" liks is moot, so you're basically looking for a fleet of "managed" AP's with single management platform and some of the "good stuff" like AP's that can try to steer clients, pre-stage the roaming hand off and so on.

It depends on the solution you choose as to whether you have to have the management platform running all the time - there are certainly solutions available whereby you use a "app" of some sort to "create" the configuration, then push it at to all the AP's, but once they have been "configured" the AP's run autonomously (albeit that they talk to each other) and you don't need to keep the management platform running. We call this a "controller-less" solution (as opposed to some big enterprise systems which require a dedicated "controller" box somewhere.)
 
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