Question What mesh wifi?

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by WildeKarde, Jul 15, 2018.

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  1. WildeKarde

    WildeKarde
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    Currently running using homeplugs in the house but sometimes they aren't always the best to use as the electrical cabling isn't that new. Cat6 cabling the house isn't an option as the floors are concrete and the brick solid brick.

    So I had tried an old route as AP but it's not been good.

    Decided to have a look at a mesh system and was considering maybe the google or the netgear orbi.

    Anyone got any recommendation for either?
     
  2. heskethbang

    heskethbang
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    If you're in the UK, I recommend BT Whole Home. I've had it here for about a week and it's fantastic. I use the ethernet network for the backhaul which helps get the best out of it, although it works very well wirelessly too.
    Before, I had the Virgin Hub 3.0 and a couple of Time Capsules doing the wifi - it was a mess.

    Now I have one single SSID which gives coverage everywhere, even at the bottom of the garden. The BT app works brilliantly too - very simple to use and logical.

    It even gets a Which? Best Buy recommendation.
     
  3. cjed

    cjed
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    Another vote for the BT Whole Home system. It's not got the performance of the tri-band mesh systems, but it handles the hand-over of devices between the APs well and the two installations I know of don't seem to have had any problems. It's pretty straightforward to install as well.
     
  4. Bwlmog

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    Hi, how is the BT Whole Home working at the moment as I’ve read horror stories regarding firmware updates which affected stability of the network.

    I was leaning towards Google WiFi based on these issues but happy to reconsider. Also, do you have to disable the existing router WiFi to use these as I’m concerned about this with my Synology and all it’s port forwarding etc that I’ve set up within my net hear router.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. cjed

    cjed
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    The installations of BT Whole Home I know of haven't suffered any problems. There's no need to disable an existing router's WiFi, but bear in mind that it won't perform hand-over of WiFi connected devices to the BT APs. The installations I know of have given the BT system a different SSID so you can decide which AP(s) to connect to.
     
  6. Bwlmog

    Bwlmog
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    Thanks Cjed, if I used the BT WiFi only, how would I connect a synology for WAN access?

    Also, have you undertaken any Google installs and if so which would you regard as the better system?

    Thanks in advance
     
  7. cjed

    cjed
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    Ideally you'd have it connected via wired ethernet. How is it currently connected ?

    No, the BT system is the only one I have actual experience with.
     
  8. Bwlmog

    Bwlmog
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    Just bought and installed the BT system. Works very well with excellent speeds everywhere. Only challenge I’m having is with my synology which I can’t seem to connect to and I have no idea why.
     
  9. springtide

    springtide
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    A vote for Google WiFi here.

    Not much to say about the WiFi apart from it just works. Not has to touch it since installing 18 months ago

    The parental controls are a very nice feature if you have kids, as are the real time data stats etc.
     
  10. Toon Army

    Toon Army
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    Thinking about buying the BT Whole Home. Are you still happy with the system?
     
  11. cjed

    cjed
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    Yes, no problems that I'm aware of.
     
  12. Toon Army

    Toon Army
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    Thanks, will purchase three units in the " Boxing Day " sales. Amazon seems to be the best price at the moment.
     
  13. sidewayslee

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    Another thumbs up here for BT Whole Home, easy to install, seamless switching and the parental controls are a doddle.

    No issues with firmware updates either.

    Mine have been in just over a year.
     
  14. Toon Army

    Toon Army
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    Amazon now down to £149 for three discs! Wonder if they are releasing a new model?
     
  15. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    I went for the Tenda MW3, 5 nodes for £126....It has been rock solid and very good...
     
  16. Toon Army

    Toon Army
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    Ordered the BT Whole Home 3 disc set and will endeavour to run cat 6 cables from the router to two of the discs.
     
  17. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    In that case what is the point of going for a mesh network? You may as well get cheap access points.
     
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  18. Toon Army

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    I have a Develo dLan powerline system and it does not cope well with our mains wiring. We live in a large 1920s built house that has been extended a number of occasions over three floors, resulting in various MCBs for those extensions.
     
  19. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    Which is fair enough but that has nothing to do with it ;) Why get a mesh system when you actually aren't going to use it as a mesh but a hub and spoke instead. To me that doesn't make any sense at all, as any wireless access point can do that for much less money.
     
  20. mickevh

    mickevh
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    I completely understand the sentiment of your comment and agree that wired backhauls is always going to be superior to ("mesh") Wi-Fi links.

    However, as I understand it, some of the so called "mesh" and "whole home" type systems being punted at the SOHO marketplace presently are introducing "other" things into the SOHO realm that used to be the preserve of enterprise systems such as some collaboration between the AP's in the fleet to try an "steer" clients to the "best" (however one might define that) AP, improve roaming handoff performance and avail a single management platform (e.g. a phone app.) etc.

    Thusly, even when "doing it properly" with wired backhaul links, these newer "mesh" and "whole home" system may still offer some advantage to the SOHO users over a heterogeneous network of stand alone AP's, even when they aren't using radio for the backhaul links. As ever with Wi-Fi, it's way more complicated that many realise and the buyer should check the spec of their prospective purchase carefully to see what it can and cannot do.

    I fear that as it's gotten into the public zeitgeist, the term "mesh" is getting overloaded and implied to mean many different things to different people (in the same way "Wi-Fi" means "Internet" to most people when of course Wi-Fi per se actually has nothing to do with "Internet;" "Hoover" means "vacuum cleaner;" etc.)
     
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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  21. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    LOL Mesh definitely means mesh to me :)

    The problem comes, as undoubtedly you are familiar with, is that when you run on those consumer mesh units a wired backhaul you are effectively turning the access points (nodes) into bridged mode. When you do that, you are loosing all the benefits of the mesh network, and can safe yourself a lot of money by going to standard wireless access points. Then you can run them on the same SSID.

    A mesh can be good, I've got 5 nodes in my home in order to provide the coverage required. If they are that far apart that you require a cable for a hub and spoke model then it will highly likely have dead spots anyway.
     
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  22. Toon Army

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    Thanks for the above views folks. I had not really considered APs, let alone researched them on Google. Reviews are positive, I can control the kids' wifi access and at £50/dish, reasonably priced. I also want the freedom to link two of the units wirelessly should I encounter wiring obstacles and difficulties. I'm no expert in these matters and more a jack of all trades. Next job is to see if i can upgrade the Di2 setup on my bike to syncho' shifting and then wire up the atmos speakers for my 5.1.2 AVR setup.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  23. Bluedug

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    Hope it’s ok to add onto this thread, currently using an access point but due to handover issues and further dead spots thinking of also moving onto a mesh network. Is it only the orbi system that offers an outdoor node?
     
  24. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    Ubiquity do one as well. Unless you have a specific need I wouldn’t limit myself to those who do.
     
  25. mickevh

    mickevh
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    For the avoidance of doubt, so called "mesh" systems are Access Points - it's just that they have the ability to use Wi-Fi for the "backhaul" links between the AP's instead of or as well as (superior) wired links. Incidentally, none of this is particularly new, enterprise class kit has been able to do this more or less forever; it is just beginning to filter down to the SOHO market place and "mesh" seems to be the (latest) term the marketeers and domestic users have seized upon to sell it.

    Some of the mesh systems, it seems, also offer a few things to optimise the radio usage (such a "tri band") and provide an integrated management platform. To do these sorts of things the AP's need to be able to "talk" to each other (and the management platform) which doesn't happen with a heterogeneous mix of AP's, hence the mesh/whole home system needs to be procured as a single "fleet" of compatible kit (like enterprise systems) either as a single "package" of kit or by ensuring any subsequent additions are compatible with any existing fleet. Again, just like enterprise systems.
     
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  26. sep8001

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    Hi

    Happy New Year to all. OP, I hope you don't mind me posting on your thread.

    I am in the same boat, using my old netgear router as a wifi extender, having installed the Ring floodlight cams, I am still not happy with my wifi connection.

    I have tried all the usual bits with the main router but no joy. So leaving in a 3 bed semi would I be better with the BT mesh system, or I am thinking of getting a Ubiquity AP, and plugging it into a plug in the attic. I do not have a ethernet run, so I am thinking of a home plug (don't want to drill holes to run the cable) to get the ethernet to the attic from the router and then connecting the AP to that.

    The other option is installing the wifi plugs like these:

    https://www.screwfix.com/p/british-general-2g-13a-sp-switched-wi-fi-extender-socket-white/7706v

    Thank you
     
  27. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    WiFi extenders are only as good as the connection back. If the signal was bad there in the first place then it will still be bad. Also they operate a hub<->spoke model, so regardless of how many you put in, each individual one needs to talk to the hub.

    Yes you can run home plug 'cables' back to the hub (main router), and that can work very well if your electric is good and clean. The challenge is that you will likely still have dead spots then as the overlap didn't work the first time, however it may be good enough for what you require.

    Those wifi extender sockets have a problem that;
    a. They are wifi extenders, so each one is always needing to talk to the hub (main router), so in affect they aren't extended much at all.
    b. They don't have a backhaul using the power cables, so only work within limits of range of the main router.

    I find them rather pointless...
     
  28. sep8001

    sep8001
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    Thank you for your response.

    The electric wiring in the house are about 15 years old, so should be okay (I hope), I presume the best option would then be a ubiquity AP with a cat 5 cable to from the router?
     
  29. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Yes - whatever AP you select (and there's plenty of options to choose from) realising the backhaul link using ethernet over UTP ("cat") cabling is the best option for performance and reliability.

    Ironically when professionals are installing Wi-Fi on big sites (where dozens if not hundreds of AP's are required) often we have to install quite a lot of "new" cabling (not to mention switches, UPS's, etc.) as the ideal locations for then AP's rarely have cabling infrastructure in situ - it can really add to the costs which sometimes leaves the client looking puzzled if they had thought that "Wi-Fi means networks without (the cost of) wires!"
     
  30. sep8001

    sep8001
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    Thank you, please may I ask what others AP are worth looking at, especially if they are cheaper then the Ubi ones?
     

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