AC88U + AC86U/AC68U for AiMesh

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Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
I have an ADSL modem coming into a very small panel near the entrance to my home. The panel is big enough to house a 68U or maybe 86U. Inside the panel there are 3 wired ethernet connections from whatever router I put in the panel to each room in the house. What I am planning to do is shove the 68U in the small space in the panel and then use the 88U and 86U as wired AiMesh nodes. However, everything I read says that the most badass router (which would be the 88U) should be used as the main router in the AiMesh. That's not possible because that thing is a spaceship and won't fit in the panel.

A few questions:

1) Does it matter if I use the 86U or 66U in the panel? The location makes it unlikely I will be using the wireless capabilities of the router at all. If I'm only using it for the ports, the cheapest AiMesh router should work, right?

2) What will I miss out on with the best router (88U) as a node instead of the main router?

3) Any better way to set this up?

Thanks in advance for any replies, I'm a complete newb.
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
I have an ADSL modem coming into a very small panel near the entrance to my home. The panel is big enough to house a 68U or maybe 86U. Inside the panel there are 3 wired ethernet connections from whatever router I put in the panel to each room in the house. What I am planning to do is shove the 68U in the small space in the panel and then use the 88U and 86U as wired AiMesh nodes. However, everything I read says that the most badass router (which would be the 88U) should be used as the main router in the AiMesh. That's not possible because that thing is a spaceship and won't fit in the panel.

A few questions:

1) Does it matter if I use the 86U or 66U in the panel? The location makes it unlikely I will be using the wireless capabilities of the router at all. If I'm only using it for the ports, the cheapest AiMesh router should work, right?

2) What will I miss out on with the best router (88U) as a node instead of the main router?

3) Any better way to set this up?

Thanks in advance for any replies, I'm a complete newb.

Side question...

I've always had 2 SSIDs, one for 2.4 and another for 5.0. Kind of a pain in the butt. I read that I can just make them all the same SSID regardless of 2.4 or 5.0 and let the devices (or AiMesh) figure out which to use. Is this accurate?
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
I have an ADSL modem coming into a very small panel near the entrance to my home. The panel is big enough to house a 68U or maybe 86U. Inside the panel there are 3 wired ethernet connections from whatever router I put in the panel to each room in the house. What I am planning to do is shove the 68U in the small space in the panel and then use the 88U and 86U as wired AiMesh nodes. However, everything I read says that the most badass router (which would be the 88U) should be used as the main router in the AiMesh. That's not possible because that thing is a spaceship and won't fit in the panel.

A few questions:

1) Does it matter if I use the 86U or 66U in the panel? The location makes it unlikely I will be using the wireless capabilities of the router at all. If I'm only using it for the ports, the cheapest AiMesh router should work, right?

2) What will I miss out on with the best router (88U) as a node instead of the main router?

3) Any better way to set this up?

Thanks in advance for any replies, I'm a complete newb.
From what you describe none of your options are smart. Either of the routers mentioned should be in the open for cooling air to circulate. In a panel they will quickly overheat and shut down.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have an ADSL modem coming into a very small panel near the entrance to my home. The panel is big enough to house a 68U or maybe 86U. Inside the panel there are 3 wired ethernet connections from whatever router I put in the panel to each room in the house. What I am planning to do is shove the 68U in the small space in the panel and then use the 88U and 86U as wired AiMesh nodes. However, everything I read says that the most badass router (which would be the 88U) should be used as the main router in the AiMesh. That's not possible because that thing is a spaceship and won't fit in the panel.

A few questions:

1) Does it matter if I use the 86U or 66U in the panel? The location makes it unlikely I will be using the wireless capabilities of the router at all. If I'm only using it for the ports, the cheapest AiMesh router should work, right?

2) What will I miss out on with the best router (88U) as a node instead of the main router?

3) Any better way to set this up?

Thanks in advance for any replies, I'm a complete newb.

The highest spec router (AC86U) should be the network router.

The other router(s) can be remote node(s). Locate them high and in the clear for best WiFi performance.

The panel/box may not have good cooling and may thwart any AP WiFi placed there.

The AC68U does not support Smart Connect node band steering... if you use it in your AiMesh, then you should disable Smart Connect and use different SSIDs per band.

DSL service is usually not great, so it will likely be your traffic bottle neck.

Assuming a 'very large house' of average construction, two APs may be enough WiFi.

I might try something like this:

DSL modem <wire/switch> AC86U AiMesh router <wireless> AC88U AiMesh node

Place the AC86U and AC88U out in the house to provide LAN and WLAN coverage. The wired AC86U router should be preferred for wiring media center clients.

The DSL modem should be put in bridge mode if it is a full gateway/router.

If you need a switch in the panel to connect the DSL modem LAN to one of the house wires, you could disable the DHCP server and WiFi radios in the AC68U and use its LAN switch.

OE
 
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Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
The highest spec router (AC86U) should be the network router.

The other router(s) can be remote node(s). Locate them high and in the clear for best WiFi performance.

The panel/box may not have good cooling and may thwart any AP WiFi placed there.

The AC68U does not support Smart Connect node band steering... if you use it in your AiMesh, then you should disable Smart Connect and use different SSIDs per band.

DSL service is usually not great, so it will likely be your traffic bottle neck.

Assuming a 'very large house' of average construction, two APs may be enough WiFi.

I might try something like this:

DSL modem <wire/switch> AC86U AiMesh router <wireless> AC88U AiMesh node

Place the AC86U and AC88U out in the house to provide LAN and WLAN coverage. The wired AC86U router should be preferred for wiring media center clients.

The DSL modem should be put in bridge mode if it is a full gateway/router.

If you need a switch in the panel to connect the DSL modem LAN to one of the house wires, you could disable the DHCP server and WiFi radios in the AC68U and use its LAN switch.

OE

I think the challenge I have is that because the main router is in the panel and I can't even use the antennae in there, the router I put in there is basically the main mesh router that funnels wired connections to the other nodes. The one in the panel is useless for WiFi so I need 2 more nodes.

I have attached a photo of the panel. The one on the left is the ADSL Fiber modem, wired to a crappy Dlink router that is then wired to the other rooms.

As you can see, there isn't any room for my AC88U in there so I was going to put an AC86U/AC68U in there as the main router.

Then, I was going to add 2 WIRED AiMesh nodes by connecting an AC88U and AC86U/AC68U in the other rooms.

In other words, all nodes are wired back to the main router.
 

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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If you can add a small, USB fan to keep the router cool in that unforgiving 'space', then this is what I would do.

Use the RT-AC68U as your main router in that space. Turn off Wi-Fi on both bands.

Use the RT-AC86U as your 'main' AiMesh router in the 'AiMesh router in AP mode', mode.

Connect the RT-AC88U as your AiMesh node to the RT-AC86U via the GUI of the RT-AC86U.

I suggest using RMerlin 386.1 Beta 4 or later for the above routers (at least for the AiMesh units).

New M&M 2020

How to Connect an AiMesh Node

Further reading (as needed):

L&LD | SmallNetBuilder Forums

Fully Reset Router and Network
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I think the challenge I have is that because the main router is in the panel and I can't even use the antennae in there, the router I put in there is basically the main mesh router that funnels wired connections to the other nodes. The one in the panel is useless for WiFi so I need 2 more nodes.

I have attached a photo of the panel. The one on the left is the ADSL Fiber modem, wired to a crappy Dlink router that is then wired to the other rooms.

As you can see, there isn't any room for my AC88U in there so I was going to put an AC86U/AC68U in there as the main router.

Then, I was going to add 2 WIRED AiMesh nodes by connecting an AC88U and AC86U/AC68U in the other rooms.

In other words, all nodes are wired back to the main router.

I see no reason to cram a router into that panel space... put the AiMesh router out in the house at the end of one of the wires and add a wireless AiMesh node to it.

And ditch the D-Link router.

DSL modem <wire/switch> AC86U AiMesh router <wireless> AC88U AiMesh node

OE
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
If you can add a small, USB fan to keep the router cool in that unforgiving 'space', then this is what I would do.

Use the RT-AC68U as your main router in that space. Turn off Wi-Fi on both bands.

Use the RT-AC86U as your 'main' AiMesh router in the 'AiMesh router in AP mode', mode.

Connect the RT-AC88U as your AiMesh node to the RT-AC86U via the GUI of the RT-AC86U.

I suggest using RMerlin 386.1 Beta 4 or later for the above routers (at least for the AiMesh units).

New M&M 2020

How to Connect an AiMesh Node

Further reading (as needed):

L&LD | SmallNetBuilder Forums

Fully Reset Router and Network

Thanks for the suggestion. I actually haven't tried Merlin before but will look into it.
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
I see no reason to cram a router into that panel space... put the AiMesh router out in the house at the end of one of the wires and add a wireless AiMesh node to it.

And ditch the D-Link router.

DSL modem <wire/switch> AC86U AiMesh router <wireless> AC88U AiMesh node

OE

Just to make sure I'm clear...

Modem wired to AC68U (in panel) wired to AC86U (main mesh router in living room) to wireless AC88U (wireless mesh node in bedroom)

(2 nodes in the mesh with the best router as main mesh router)

Is better than...

Modem wired to AC68U (in panel as main mesh router) wired to AC86U (mesh node in living room) to wired AC88U (mesh node in bedroom)

(3 nodes, all wired, worst router as main mesh router)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Yes, correct.

But keep everything wired, since you can. :)

Modem wired to AC68U (in the panel) wired to AC86U (main mesh router in the living room) to wired AC88U (wired mesh node in the bedroom).

(2 nodes in the mesh with the best router as the main mesh router).
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Yes, correct.

But keep everything wired, since you can. :)

Okay, I was under the impression that the router that is the "source" of the internet (whatever I put in the panel) has to be the main router. But it sounds like I can pick any router on the node to be the main one? Is this a Merlin feature only?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
No, not an RMerlin feature. AiMesh v2.0 (in the latest RMerlin 386.1 Beta 4 or later).
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Just to make sure I'm clear...

Modem wired to AC68U (in panel) wired to AC86U (main mesh router in living room) to wireless AC88U (wireless mesh node in bedroom)

(2 nodes in the mesh with the best router as main mesh router)

Is better than...

Modem wired to AC68U (in panel as main mesh router) wired to AC86U (mesh node in living room) to wired AC88U (mesh node in bedroom)

(3 nodes, all wired, worst router as main mesh router)

I think we've covered your options. I favor using the AC86U as the wired AiMesh router in the living room, and the AC88U as a wireless AiMesh node wherever you want it. And don't put anything in the panel except the DSL modem wired to the AC86U in the living room.

This would minimize the equipment you have to maintain now and going forward, minimize the equipment and heat in the panel, and allow you to optimize the location of the wireless node(s). I suspect the wireless node will perform well enough for typical traffic and a DSL connection.

If you need another wireless node like out in the garage or toward an outdoor living area, add the AC68U and disable Smart Connect and use different SSIDs per band.

An AC86U can serve WiFi to a 'very large home'.

OE
 
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Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Thanks so much to both OE and LL&D for taking the time to help me out with this! I am going to try both options and will report back (might be a week or two) with my findings.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Here's some further information on how an ideal setup wired AiMesh setup would work.

If you're wired, the best placement would be as close to the following diagram as possible.

This is looking at the entire area you wish covered from a birds-eye (top) view.

AiMesh router----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------AiMesh Node



Looking at the same area coverage but from a wireless AiMesh configuration, the following works the best for my customers, in most Wi-Fi environments.

AiMesh router----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------AiMesh node--------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The takeaway of the above suggestions is that the wired AiMesh setup works best when the routers are as far apart as possible in every dimension (width, length, height/floors).

The wireless AiMesh setup seems to work best when there is a clear need to extend the range of the main router's Wi-Fi and the node is serving a unique area of its own. The stronger the signal for the AiMesh node, the greater the throughput it can provide to the client devices too.
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Here's some further information on how an ideal setup wired AiMesh setup would work.

If you're wired, the best placement would be as close to the following diagram as possible.

This is looking at the entire area you wish covered from a birds-eye (top) view.

AiMesh router----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------AiMesh Node



Looking at the same area coverage but from a wireless AiMesh configuration, the following works the best for my customers, in most Wi-Fi environments.

AiMesh router----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------AiMesh node--------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The takeaway of the above suggestions is that the wired AiMesh setup works best when the routers are as far apart as possible in every dimension (width, length, height/floors).

The wireless AiMesh setup seems to work best when there is a clear need to extend the range of the main router's Wi-Fi and the node is serving a unique area of its own. The stronger the signal for the AiMesh node, the greater the throughput it can provide to the client devices too.

This is a really bad blueprint of my home. 1 is where the panel is and also where the modem is. 2 and 3 are the wired outlets.

I just moved in and had to grab whatever I had on hand. 1 right now is a Sumitomo Electric ADSL modem/router that doesn't do PPOE so it's connected to a Dlink that dials in (both provided by ISP). The Dlink is then connected to 2 and 3. I have an RT-AC1200 on 2, which doesn't reach the master bedroom (where 3 is) so I hooked up a RT-AC51U on 3. Both are in AP mode. This works to give me coverage in both rooms right now but I get the expected issue of devices holding onto the 2 connection when 3 would be faster.

I just placed an order for an AX86U, which I will place at 2. I'm hoping just the better router will solve all my issues. If not, then I'll add other nodes.
 

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Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
This is a really bad blueprint of my home. 1 is where the panel is and also where the modem is. 2 and 3 are the wired outlets.

I just moved in and had to grab whatever I had on hand. 1 right now is a Sumitomo Electric ADSL modem/router that doesn't do PPOE so it's connected to a Dlink that dials in (both provided by ISP). The Dlink is then connected to 2 and 3. I have an RT-AC1200 on 2, which doesn't reach the master bedroom so I hooked up a RT-AC51U on 3. Both are in AP mode. This works to give me coverage in both rooms right now but I get the expected issue of devices holding onto the 2 connection when 3 would be faster.

I just placed an order for an AX86U, which I will place at 2. I'm hoping just the better router will solve all my issues. If not, then I'll add other nodes.

The drawing is very bad. There is actually more distance between 2 and 3 than shown in the diagram. 2 is not as central as I drew it. The distance from 2 to 3 is probably double the distance from 1 to 2.
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Can someone confirm 100% that in an AiMesh any router can be the main router? Or does it have to be the one that gets the internet source from the modem? In other words, if I have the crappiest router getting the internet from the modem and then 2 badass routers connected to the crappy router, can I pick one of the badass routers as the main router? Can't find any documentation...

See diagram for clarification on how the routers will be wired.

(I'm asking because I need to buy the AC68U, which is the only AiMesh router that will fit in my panel. If I can't pick one of the better routers I will probably ditch AiMesh and go with APs instead.)
 

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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Already confirmed for you in the post above.


You may be asking for trouble making an AX + AC router an AiMesh network though. The RT-AX86U is better paired with an RT-AX58U or better. That much older RT-AC88U may be a source for bottlenecks and/or other issues too when paired to an AX main router.

Your goal for either an AP or AiMesh network should be to have the same class of Wi-Fi (AC, AX, AXE, etc.) for all your wireless routers. Not only will this give the best speed, lowest latency, and hopefully the best seamless roaming for your client devices, but it should help too with getting a solid, stable, and reliable network too.
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Already confirmed for you in the post above.


You may be asking for trouble making an AX + AC router an AiMesh network though. The RT-AX86U is better paired with an RT-AX58U or better. That much older RT-AC88U may be a source for bottlenecks and/or other issues too when paired to an AX main router.

Your goal for either an AP or AiMesh network should be to have the same class of Wi-Fi (AC, AX, AXE, etc.) for all your wireless routers. Not only will this give the best speed, lowest latency, and hopefully the best seamless roaming for your client devices, but it should help too with getting a solid, stable, and reliable network too.


Okay, got it on setting the primary router.

Man, that's a bummer, I thought getting the AX86U would make my whole network faster. Does the bottleneck happen even with everything wired? Would I be better off just using one AX86U for the whole home? At the furthest point I am getting -60dBm on 2.4 and -70dBm.
 

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