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

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So my plan is to start with a RT-AX88U in the basement and create an AI Mesh with the RT-AX86U on the 2nd floor, using wired backhaul.
Cool.
If coverage isn’t satisfactory, then the contingency is to add a router mesh node on the mail floor.
Almost certainly, running that unit with MoCA backhaul would be superior to running it with wireless backhaul.
 
going through two floor systems with one certainly including sheet rock, wood, carpet or tile flooring will be an interesting challenge. Note, most wireless APs / Routers transmit a good fraction of their power horizontally with less vertically. So you may have to play with antenna or device orientation to get the maximum strength possible.

And 5Ghz bands may only get through 1 floor.
 
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going through two floor systems with one certainly including sheet rock, wood, carpet or tile flooring will be an interesting challenge. Note, most wireless APs / Routers transmit a good fraction of their power horizontally with less vertically. So you may have to play with antenna or device orientation to get the maximum strength possible.

And 5Ghz bands may only get through 1 floor.
Then I’ll put a router in the basement, and connect access points as AI Mesh nodes on the main and 2nd floors. Now that I know I will have wired cat 6, I think that removes the issues.

And MOCA is a potential backup or can be used for additional connections that can be hooked into the wired ports on the router or a switch in the basement.

Finding out the electrician was able to make those runs was good news. And I don’t even own the house yet. 😁
 
I’ll put a router in the basement, and connect access points as AI Mesh nodes on the main and 2nd floors.
If you're at all adventurous I'd like to see you try the access points as APs and A/B the system that way against as a "mesh".

Ignoring the "loss" of both a propagated VLAN "guest network" and "central management", I believe you'll appreciate the intra-network performance improvement available that way. Perhaps not, hence the "challenge."

Another theory of mine you might be willing to check is that when (especially so?) the mesh controller is in the basement (as is/would_be my case as well), try "Auto channel selection" and see how well it accomodates the (surely!) different "wifi landscape" the higher floors encounter. My thought is that unless the controlling unit (adequately, or even at all) considers the node's viewpiont(s), it may well select among its many "free" channels for use system-wide which then hinder node(/client) performance, because they have contention the controller knows nothing of. I highly suspect that scenario exists in the current implementation, and would dearly love to see either confirmation or otherwise.

Apart from that aspect the way AiMesh uses "same" channel(s) system-wide positively hinders multiple simultaneous wireless client performance, whether they're talking to each other or feeding from the Internet trough concurrently. Try APs on disparate channels and see for yourself what I'm saying...
 
Excellent news about the CAT6 runs.

Use this rule of thumb for initial placing the APs as a start - 5Ghz=one wall, 2.4 GHz=2 walls for sheetrock construction. If only one per floor, central as possible.
i have two floors at about 1600 sqr ft. i have two APs on the first floor ( open plan, 1-2 wall, opposite sides) , 2nd floor - 3 APs. ( 4 bedrooms, 2-3 walls ) . Both floors are 5 Ghz only. Some APs are wall mounted, some ceiling. Seamless roaming with wifi devices.

Desktop PCs are on wired lan connections through MOCA, as are the APs.

With CAT6, you have the best situation for high speed backhaul and lan. Make sure the terminations are tested and certified for whatever bandwidth you want up to 10Gb/s as mentioned above.
 
So here is what’s on the side of the house. It’s FTTH and there is a coax and cat 6 cable coming from the house.

Would they normally put the ONT outside?
 

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That's unbelievably shoddy workmanship! Not to mention the security risks.

Whoever did this needs to be called back and do it correctly (i.e. inside the home).
 
Normal ? Not surprising though. The RG6 and CAT6 should never be outside without proper lightning protection and earth bonding. Also rated for wet environment.
The ONT should be inside with direct uninterrupted fiber from the pole distribution box. If the tech did not have access to the inside, what he did with the fiber is probably within practice as that demarc box may also allow splicing or ONT. If the ONT is inside that box, it is using power injection on the coax or the ethernet cable.
 
Looks like it's just a rainproof fiber junction box, transferring from the outdoor/underground-spec material to something wispy through the wall behind it for indoor feed to the indoor ONT.
 
Decorative. There is a solid wall/concrete behind it.
 
Finally, in daylight my aged eyes detect in the low-res image however provided the cat-5-looking stuff as well as the RG-looking stuff disappear into the wall at their lower visible extreme. Pre-existing and nothing to do with the fiber junction box. Which itself looks like a nicely-done "workman-like" job, from here.

Can't say I'd have finished off the stone veneer at the top quite like that, which, I guess, is why I quit doing that kind of stuff. Harder to sell a "do it right" job, and not enough satisfaction otherwise.
 
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Finally, in daylight my aged eyes detect in the low-res image however provided the cat-5-looking stuff as well as the RG-looking stuff disappear into the wall at their lower visible extreme. Pre-existing and nothing to do with the fiber junction box. Which itself looks like a nicely-done "workman-like" job, from here.

Can't say I'd have finished off the stone veneer at the top quite like that, which, I guess, is why I quit doing that kind of stuff. Harder to sell a "do it right" job, and not enough satisfaction otherwise.
I don’t think there’s fiber run to the area where the patch panel is located.

So are you saying that they wouldn’t connect the cat 6 outside the house? I assumed that’s why it was sitting there.
 
Can't say what an installer would do, but running interior grade CAT6 cable outdoors would be unusual and suspect.
Most optical fiber installations will run the fiber straight to the modem location inside and either terminate in the modem (combined ONT & modem) or terminate in an ONT mounted on a wall box and then CAT6 or 5E to the modem WAN port.
It is possible also to terminate the outside optical cable in a similar box that mates to a fiber optic cable going inside the house that terminates as above. This can be more difficult to get the two fibers correctly aligned. Had a recent case of this and the solution was to remove the box and run the outdoor fiber directly to the modem/ONT. Even in that case, the outdoor cable termination was inside the house to a separate optical box.
 
I don’t think there’s fiber run to the area where the patch panel is located.

So are you saying that they wouldn’t connect the cat 6 outside the house? I assumed that’s why it was sitting there.
Looks like fiber coming up from the conduit (buried / knifed-in) and disappears into the junction box from which nothing visibly exits (likely fed through the wall in a more-protected manner). Whatever the black and blue wires are, they're draped over the meter base and disappear through the siding, sans drip loops. Follow them both along with their shadows...
 
Without a drip loop, water will follow the cable inside. Even if they squirted a little silicone in the hole, it will get in. The HardiPlank siding may eventually peal paint off around the hole and can have other issues as it still has about 30% cellulose fiber in the mix. Better installation would have a drip leg below the hole, the hole would be drilled slanting upward from outside to in, and the gap filled with 100% latex or latex/silicone mix caulk. Then painted over with latex paint.
 
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?

Go with MoCA, I'm using it to my nodes (see my sig, though I need to update those f/w versions). I'm about to add another Node and since I have five coax runs to that router area (and back to the coax central hub from the old DTV install) I don't need to use another splitter on the current run to the two current Nodes. One Node is at ~180 feet total coax run (to 2nd house on the property) - 1 Splitter (came with the kit) and 1 coupler on that run. Coax is dedicated to MoCA!

Enable Ethernet Backhaul Mode under AiMesh System Systems.

Operating without issues for a while now and happy with performance, including at the 2nd house where its internet is provided by our Main House.

I'm using:

.
 
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This is a common situation in many places. Technicians mount it outside for easier for them access.

very common around here except for newer construction starting about 5-6 years ago
 

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