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3 story house approx 5K sq ft with limited ethernet wiring

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neil0311

Senior Member
Hi everyone, I've looked over the other threads and while I took away bits and pieces, I wanted to ask my specific question here for a specific answer.

We are buying a home that has a finished basement, a main level, and a 2nd story. Total area for all three floors is approximately 5K sq ft. There is limited ethernet wiring. The service ingresses in the basement and I hope to have one drop each on the main and 2nd floors. I currently own a RT_AX86U and a RT-AX88U and have the 86U as my router in my current home that does not have a basement.

Plan A was to simply use those as Router in the basement and AI Mesh node on the 2nd floor, and hope that the signal from one or both is enough for the main level. I am hoping to be able to connect the 2nd floor node via ethernet backhaul, but that is not certain at this moment until the electrician lets me know cost and whether it can be done without significant mess. If I cannot use wired backhaul then wireless would have to do. A 2nd mesh node could be added on the main level if required (I would buy another RT-AX86U).

Plan B is to buy a whole new setup such as ZenWiFi AX and use it. If wired backhaul, not sure there's much benefit. If forced to use wireless backhaul, from what I've read there may be a lot of benefit from using the 2nd 5 GHz network as backhaul. Again, would try to keep to a unit in the basement at the gateway and one on the 2nd story with the main level using best signal from either, with the possibility of adding a 3rd unit.

Anyone have feedback? Anything I'm missing or assuming incorrectly? Anyone have a similar setup working well (or not)?
 
material of construction of your floors and walls ?
rough LxW for each floor
Was this a recent new build or was this a rehab of an old row house type ?
If you have coax (RG6 preferred) going to the right places, consider MOCA2.5 to extend your ethernet. If the electrician ( you want someone experienced in install and certifying CAT6 at minimum.
Ethernet run is strongly preferred for lots of reasons.

On 1500 sqr ft per floor , i had to use 2 APs per floor on reduced power to get full coverage with adequate signal level. Depends on your wall construction and layout.
 
Proceed with Plan A. If it works in acceptable for you way - all good. If it doesn't - explore other options.
Trouble with that plan is that once you've moved in, the annoyance factor for making holes in walls goes way up. So I totally understand @neil0311's desire to figure this out in advance. A possible answer is to bring the two existing routers to the empty new house, rig them up in the intended spots, and walk around the place with a wifi scanner app to see what signal strength you get in the areas you care about. I think it's possible to do this without yet having a live internet feed, though of course you'll have to trust the signal strength numbers rather than testing real throughput. (If you can spin up internet service at the new place before doing this, better testing might be worth paying for an extra month-or-whatever of service.)
 
material of construction of your floors and walls ?
rough LxW for each floor
Was this a recent new build or was this a rehab of an old row house type ?
If you have coax (RG6 preferred) going to the right places, consider MOCA2.5 to extend your ethernet. If the electrician ( you want someone experienced in install and certifying CAT6 at minimum.
Ethernet run is strongly preferred for lots of reasons.

On 1500 sqr ft per floor , i had to use 2 APs per floor on reduced power to get full coverage with adequate signal level. Depends on your wall construction and layout.

It’s relatively new, wood frame and drywall. There is coax in every bedroom, living room, etc. I hadn’t considered MOCA. How would that work?
 
It’s relatively new, wood frame and drywall. There is coax in every bedroom, living room, etc. I hadn’t considered MOCA. How would that work?
Oooh! Yes, you should seriously consider MoCA. Actual ethernet would be better, but maybe not by enough to justify the cost of pulling it. Do you intend to use the coax plant for TV, or is it just going to waste for you? Can you identify whether there are runs going from near your service ingress to where you want to place APs?
 
So I totally understand @neil0311's desire to figure this out in advance.

Good idea, but not practical. They are buying a house, the closing date is somewhere in the future. Moving time depends on it and they can't get residential services without owning the property first. Perhaps @neil0311 also doesn't want to tear down his currently working and used Internet for experiments. After the moving all the furniture and belongings will change the Wi-Fi environment once again. My advice - use what you have, worry about problems only if you have problems.
 
Good idea, but not practical. They are buying a house, the closing date is somewhere in the future. Moving time depends on it and they can't get residential services without owning the property first. Perhaps @neil0311 also doesn't want to tear down his currently working and used Internet for experiments. After the moving all the furniture and belongings will change the Wi-Fi environment once again. My advice - use what you have, worry about problems only if you have problems.
[ shrug... ] I just went through this same moving scenario six months ago. If solid internet service in your new place is critical, you'll find a way to make it happen. If you need service at both addresses during the move, maybe it's time to buy some more gear. I happened to have some spare gear (plus Verizon gave me a router I didn't really need) so I was able to have functional wifi at both addresses for a couple of months while $moving_tasks got done.

My advice is spend a bit more money now to avoid problems/regrets later. The price of a router or AP or three is negligible compared to the price of the new house, or even compared to the cost of moving your belongings. Do it right to start with, don't cheap out hoping you won't need to spend money.

Having said that, that's a valid point about furniture etc possibly affecting the wifi environment in the new place. But my take on that would be to discount wifi survey results in an empty house by a few dB, not to think that I can't get useful info at all.
 
Good idea, but not practical. They are buying a house, the closing date is somewhere in the future. Moving time depends on it and they can't get residential services without owning the property first. Perhaps @neil0311 also doesn't want to tear down his currently working and used Internet for experiments. After the moving all the furniture and belongings will change the Wi-Fi environment once again. My advice - use what you have, worry about problems only if you have problems.
Yeah, you’re correct with your assumptions.
 
If this is your Plan B - better think about Plan C. Run away from ZenWiFi series and fast.
One reason I thought about this was the reviews were good, and one of the two multiple 5 GHz networks seemed like a solid plan for backhaul. Dedicating a network for backhaul seemed like a better plan if wired isn’t an option (which is still my preference).
 
Why? Not disagreeing but rather asking because I have no idea why.
FWIW, I agree with @Tech9 that ZenWifi shouldn't be your first choice, at least not if you're able to arrange wired backhaul for all your APs. If you have to rely on wireless backhaul then the Zen series are competitive IME, but trust me: you don't want to rely on that. Wired backhaul with ethernet is good, wired backhaul with MoCA is slightly less good, wireless backhaul is several steps down from there in both performance and reliability.
 

Because the most popular XT8 is the reason of perhaps 20% of all connectivity complaints here on SNB Forums. Folks around were hunting for good working AiMesh firmware for a long time. It's underpowered (slower hardware than your routers) and overpriced for the looks. The most expensive XT12 model has no USB port and one day if you decide to run Asuswrt-Merlin with scripts you'll be limited to whatever doesn't require USB storage or swap file. Not popular around because of this and the price.
 
Extremely satisfied XT8-pair user here.

Wire the second device if at all possible for greater flexibility. For the most flexibility /and/ performance, use the (wired) second one as an AP instead of a mesh node.

Not saying there weren't complaints as stated, but they seem to be relegated to history now. Though I've never experienced such myself I was a little late to the game.
 
Yeah ... I had a pair of XT8s too, and gave up on them after 3 months. Finding a stable firmware version was difficult. It didn't help any that the default configuration tried to use DFS channels and did not cope very well when having to drop off when it heard radar. Even after I learned about DFS and decided to lock the units to non-DFS channels, it was an unpleasant experience. Roaming between the APs never did work very well, to the point where I had to "bind" my laptop to just one AP and accept the somewhat worse performance when it wasn't the nearest one. And performance was not good, even when close --- iperf3 rates were ok, but round trip times were not, leading to poor performance of heavily-interactive apps. This was all back in 2022 and maybe they have the firmware better sorted by now, but I won't be buying any more ASUS wireless gear.
 
Hi everyone, I've looked over the other threads and while I took away bits and pieces, I wanted to ask my specific question here for a specific answer.

We are buying a home that has a finished basement, a main level, and a 2nd story. Total area for all three floors is approximately 5K sq ft. There is limited ethernet wiring. The service ingresses in the basement and I hope to have one drop each on the main and 2nd floors. I currently own a RT_AX86U and a RT-AX88U and have the 86U as my router in my current home that does not have a basement.

Plan A was to simply use those as Router in the basement and AI Mesh node on the 2nd floor, and hope that the signal from one or both is enough for the main level. I am hoping to be able to connect the 2nd floor node via ethernet backhaul, but that is not certain at this moment until the electrician lets me know cost and whether it can be done without significant mess. If I cannot use wired backhaul then wireless would have to do. A 2nd mesh node could be added on the main level if required (I would buy another RT-AX86U).

Plan B is to buy a whole new setup such as ZenWiFi AX and use it. If wired backhaul, not sure there's much benefit. If forced to use wireless backhaul, from what I've read there may be a lot of benefit from using the 2nd 5 GHz network as backhaul. Again, would try to keep to a unit in the basement at the gateway and one on the 2nd story with the main level using best signal from either, with the possibility of adding a 3rd unit.

Anyone have feedback? Anything I'm missing or assuming incorrectly? Anyone have a similar setup working well (or not)?
With drywall construction installing low voltage wiring on interior walls is usually fairly simple and with an artful technician the only opening in the wall is where you want to install the junction box. Often the most skilled installers are alarm installers. Whomever you select be sure they have the specialized tools that makes low voltage cable run installation easier and neater.
 
Simplify your life, this isn't a decision you have to make immediately. Drop a MoCA on each floor coupled to a mesh forming a 2gb backhaul to your main router. You'd have an AP on every floor. Even a little RP-AX58 mesh node could suffice backhauled to the main through MoCA.
 

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