1 or multiple routers for best wireless performance

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BostonDan

Regular Contributor
Would better wireless performance be achieved by having two routers side by side, with one setup as an WAP and then split the wireless clients between them or by having all clients connect to a single router? In my household I have up to 10 clients streaming audio/video (Zoom, Netflix, Hulu, Teams, Google Classroom, xBox, etc.) at the same time wirelessly and probably another 8 low bandwidth wireless clients. I’m not looking to expand range, just improve throughput performance.

Appreciate any advice or experiences that can be shared.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
1 router. Less Wi-Fi is more.

If throughput is what you're looking for, an RT-AX86U is what you need.
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
Throughput for a device is dependent 1) the device radio spec, 2) wireless router or AP spec, 3) distance and object interference, and 4) wireless interference from other radios. Between 1& 2, the slower or weaker radio controls - usually the device’s.

that being said, you can have the fastest throughput between the AP and the device possible, but if the AP or router cannot keep up due to all of the devices with high bandwidth needs trying at the same time, then all suffer. QOS may help, but a faster AP or wireless router is often needed. Sometimes your throughput goes up by choosing a lower speed standard e.g going from 80 MHz wide band to 20 MHz wide band.

Then there is the connection to the ISP. What is your down/up ISP bandwidth ?

what wireless router are you using now ?

what issues are you seeing or is this theoretical ?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
A few tips for Wi-Fi bandwidth optimization.

If you set up multiple access points/routers, it's important that they be set to different channels. In 5 GHz, with the usual 80 MHz bandwidth setting, four channels will be used. The channel you set in the AP UI is the control channel, where all management traffic is. When data is sent, the four adjacent channels will be used.

So set one AP to a channel in the low (36-48) band and one in the high band (149-161).

The exception to this is if the APs are far apart enough that they don't detect the other's traffic. Then you can re-use channels.

The other important thing is your devices. Both Wi-Fi 5 (11ac) and Wi-Fi 6 (11ax) APs/routers are much better than Wi-Fi 4 (11n) at not letting slower devices eat up bandwidth. That said, devices farther away from an AP, no matter what Wi-Fi type they are, will use more airtime (bandwidth) than devices closer to the AP. Also, if you DO have 11n devices, I suggest replacing them with Wi-Fi 5 or 6.

The most bandwidth intensive applications are video conferencing or any other "live" service where content isn't already stored. Content streaming (Netflix, et al) are actually very good at minimizing bandwidth use. Contrary to the term, these services do not continuously "stream". They intermittently download chunks of content that are buffered locally.
 

Mario64

Occasional Visitor
A few tips for Wi-Fi bandwidth optimization.

If you set up multiple access points/routers, it's important that they be set to different channels. In 5 GHz, with the usual 80 MHz bandwidth setting, four channels will be used. The channel you set in the AP UI is the control channel, where all management traffic is. When data is sent, the four adjacent channels will be used.

So set one AP to a channel in the low (36-48) band and one in the high band (149-161).

The exception to this is if the APs are far apart enough that they don't detect the other's traffic. Then you can re-use channels.

The other important thing is your devices. Both Wi-Fi 5 (11ac) and Wi-Fi 6 (11ax) APs/routers are much better than Wi-Fi 4 (11n) at not letting slower devices eat up bandwidth. That said, devices farther away from an AP, no matter what Wi-Fi type they are, will use more airtime (bandwidth) than devices closer to the AP. Also, if you DO have 11n devices, I suggest replacing them with Wi-Fi 5 or 6.

The most bandwidth intensive applications are video conferencing or any other "live" service where content isn't already stored. Content streaming (Netflix, et al) are actually very good at minimizing bandwidth use. Contrary to the term, these services do not continuously "stream". They intermittently download chunks of content that are buffered locally.
Would this mean that Asus AI Mesh is a poor choice then since it forces both Router and AP to use the same channels?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
ANY mesh system that has only two radios (2.4 and 5 GHz) must share the radios between client support and backhaul (mesh node connection).

You must use Ethernet (or some other non-Wi-Fi method, i.e. powerline or MoCA) to connect mesh nodes/APs if you want maximum bandwidth for Wi-Fi.
 

Mario64

Occasional Visitor
ANY mesh system that has only two radios (2.4 and 5 GHz) must share the radios between client support and backhaul (mesh node connection).

You must use Ethernet (or some other non-Wi-Fi method, i.e. powerline or MoCA) to connect mesh nodes/APs if you want maximum bandwidth for Wi-Fi.
I do have ethernet backhaul. I'm wondering if I should break the AI Mesh and use a Router / AP config instead so I can control the channels
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Only testing in your specific Wi-Fi environment and mix of client devices will be able to answer that question correctly (for you).
 

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