orbi, huawei ax3 - wifi router advice needed

mmoalem

Novice Member
Hi all - am in the UK with broadband supplied by vodafone. Using their modem router in the ground floor of the house and upsatirs I was using an old router which lately I have replaced with the Huawei AX3 quad code wifi6 in bridge mode.

a month later I was given a set of used netgear ORBI ac3000 routers which as far as I can tell were the top of the range prior to wifi6 coming out.



Now I have to decide between selling them or replacing the huawei router and selling it instead - really not sure if the fact that its wifi6 means that its better than the ORBI? price wise a used orbi is still more than the huawei but does this means its better?

except for couple of smartphones everything else in my house doesnt support wifi6

if I do keep the ORBI should i replace the vodafone router with it completely or stay in bridge mode as extender? would that make a difference one way or the other?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Wi-Fi is facilitated by "Access Points" (AP's) not "routers." This is not just hair splitting over nomenclature, in the field of data networking an AP and a router are very different things. The "get-you-on-the-Internet" omni-box provided for SOHO use contains both, and a lot more besides. There's a block diagram of the innards of a SOHO "router" attached to the "Using Two Routers Together" FAQ pinned in this forum.

Routers sit at the "edge" of a network joining to other networks, which in the typical SOHO use case means the rest of the world via your ISP. In the typical SOHO use case, you only need one router and it should be the device that terminates your ISP line. Everything else is topologically downstream of your ISP router and should be "just" ethenet switches and Wi-Fi AP's - including the switch and AP built into your "router" (see the aforementioned diagram.) The "router" forms the boundary between "your" network and (protects it from) the rest of the world.

So for any of your kit that is running in "AP mode" or "bridge mode," even though it may have been marketed as a "router" (and is capable of being one) it is "just" functioning as an AP or and AP/switch combo (which is the best way to use it in the SOHO use case.)

If your ISP (vodaphone) router is working well enough at routing traffic to/from the Internet, then there's no good reason to replace it. Just leave it as it is. If you don't want to use it's Wi-Fi, just turn the radios off (it's rarely more than a couple of click.) Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to put a router into "modem mode" to turn off Wi-Fi - modem mode is for other purposes (which you don't need.)

So when comparing the incumbent Huawei versus Orbi, you are essentially just comparing their Wi-Fi features and deciding on which you prefer or which is most beneficial for you. That might be (for example) the protocols supports, (A/B/G/N/AC/AX etc.) the convenience of the management app, dual band (though most things are these days,) blah, blah, blah. There's certainly a good argument for having multiple hotspots, especially if your property is large, you have many client devices, or the signalling conditions are challenging, though this depends somewhat on how your establish the "backhaul" links between the AP's.

To assess whether A is "better" than B, (for anything we might want to compare,) we really first need to establish what "better" means so we have some criteria to evaluate against. For example, is a Pinot Grigio "better" than a Chardonnay..? Well I think so, but that's simply because I like former more than the latter, but other people will think differently. To in some way objectively compare the two, we first need to determine what our assessment criteria are (and make sure they are fair so we don't bias the assessment in favour of our preferred outcome.)

So I suggest a jumping off point might be to decide what you are trying to achieve with your network infrastructure, then see which kit best fits the bill.
 

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