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Access point options for home network

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alekdavis

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I have a 1-story, 1,890 square foot home with the TP-Link Archer C9 router in the middle of the house (in the laundry room). What do I need to do to improve wireless signals in the most remote rooms? All rooms in the house have 1GB ethernet ports, so I assume the best option would be to connect access points to the Ethernet ports, but I can't figure out which ones to look for. I started checking TP-LINK access points, but the descriptions say that they are powered via PoE, and I'm not quite sure how this works. Can I connect a PoE access point to an Ethernet port in the wall? Would it support 1GB speed?
 
PoE supplies power to a device through its Ethernet cable. This can be done via a PoE switch or an injector.

Any router can be used as an AP. Some have an AP mode built in, For those that don't, disable its DHCP server, assign an IP address somewhere outside the range of your main router's DHCP server and connect to a LAN port.
 
PoE supplies power to a device through its Ethernet cable. This can be done via a PoE switch or an injector.

Any router can be used as an AP. Some have an AP mode built in, For those that don't, disable its DHCP server, assign an IP address somewhere outside the range of your main router's DHCP server and connect to a LAN port.
Thank you. Good idea about the router. I have an old TP-Link N600 laying around somewhere. May try to utilize it. I also think I figured out the PoE part. Just not sure if the PoE injector must be plugged into the wall port or into the switch, i.e. modem-router-switch-PoE injector-wall port-AP or modem-router-switch-wall port-PoE injector-AP.
 
You put the injector in the Ethernet line between the device and an Ethernet port. The injector output port must connect to the device you are powering.

An N600 router will be a step back in performance from both streams 3 > 2 and standard for 5 GHz devices (AC >N). 2.4 GHz devices use N in AC routers anyway.
 
You put the injector in the Ethernet line between the device and an Ethernet port. The injector output port must connect to the device you are powering.

An N600 router will be a step back in performance from both streams 3 > 2 and standard for 5 GHz devices (AC >N). 2.4 GHz devices use N in AC routers anyway.
Gotcha. Thanks again for the info. So looks like best option would be to buy a more modern AP device and PoE injector.
 
@thiggins - Thanks Tim.

@alekdavis - Here's a less-than 2 minute video explaining PoE in simple terms (FYI, higher-power PoE standards have been released since that video was made, but it's OK to ignore that for the purpose of just understanding the basics). It's important to note PoE can carry power usually up to the maximum distance of a copper ethernet link (100m), provided the cabling is low-enough gauge and high-enough quality. This means you could inject power into the ethernet cable at your wiring closet, then send power+data all the way to the wall jack, and through to the AP over a piece of patch cable -- instead of having to locally power the AP with the injector or AC adapter plugged into the wall nearby.

As for access points, the TP-Link Omada (EAP) series are one option, good for the price, and each comes with a PoE injector included (many APs do not). An EAP225v3 or EAP245 would provide "good enough" connectivity in conjunction with your wireless router, provided you made the SSID(s) and password(s) the same on both AP and router.

That said, purpose built APs are often most beneficial when they're allowed to handle wifi exclusively (in your case, with wifi disabled on your router, and replaced by another like-model AP). The main reason to do this would be the likelihood of more reliable 2.4 and 5Ghz in general, plus a higher chance of seamless client roaming between APs (provided the client(s) supported it). You'd also get centralized management and more advanced features (VLANs, etc.). If such a setup was of interest, extra cost not withstanding, you'd want to select APs that were controller-based (controlled by a single software "brain"). TP-Link Omada is one such option, but the controller is discrete, meaning it must run separately from the APs, installed either as software on a server or always-on PC, or as a hardware appliance (the OC200, ~$80). An even easier option would be an embedded-controller product, where the controller is simply built into each AP's code, such as Cisco CBW. A CBW140AC is about $100-110 each (versus $60 for an Omada EAP225v3), but way simpler to setup and run two or more APs. CBW APs don't come with PoE injectors, though, so you'd have to buy one for each AP (~$20 each), or just get a 5 or 8-port PoE switch ($50-60). All in all, about 1.5 to 2x more costly than Omada, but on the flip side, about that much easier to setup, as well.

Hope you found some of that extra info of use, in case you wanted to go beyond just a standalone AP plus your router for wifi.
 
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@thiggins - Thanks Tim.

@alekdavis - Here's a less-than 2 minute video explaining PoE in simple terms (FYI, higher-power PoE standards have been released since that video was made, but it's OK to ignore that for the purpose of just understanding the basics). It's important to note PoE can carry power usually up to the maximum distance of a copper ethernet link (100m), provided the cabling is low-enough gauge and high-enough quality. This means you could inject power into the ethernet cable at your wiring closet, then send power+data all the way to the wall jack, and through to the AP over a piece of patch cable -- instead of having to locally power the AP with the injector or AC adapter plugged into the wall nearby.

As for access points, the TP-Link Omada (EAP) series are one option, good for the price, and each comes with a PoE injector included (many APs do not). An EAP225v3 or EAP245 would provide "good enough" connectivity in conjunction with your wireless router, provided you made the SSID(s) and password(s) the same on both AP and router.

That said, purpose built APs are often most beneficial when they're allowed to handle wifi exclusively (in your case, with wifi disabled on your router, and replaced by another like-model AP). The main reason to do this would be the likelihood of more reliable 2.4 and 5Ghz in general, plus a higher chance of seamless client roaming between APs (provided the client(s) supported it). You'd also get centralized management and more advanced features (VLANs, etc.). If such a setup was of interest, extra cost not withstanding, you'd want to select APs that were controller-based (controlled by a single software "brain"). TP-Link Omada is one such option, but the controller is discrete, meaning it must run separately from the APs, installed either as software on a server or always-on PC, or as a hardware appliance (the OC200, ~$80). An even easier option would be an embedded-controller product, where the controller is simply built into each AP's code, such as Cisco CBW. A CBW140AC is about $100-110 each (versus $60 for an Omada EAP225v3), but way simpler to setup and run two or more APs. CBW APs don't come with PoE injectors, though, so you'd have to buy one for each AP (~$20 each), or just get a 5 or 8-port PoE switch ($50-60). All in all, about 1.5 to 2x more costly than Omada, but on the flip side, about that much easier to setup, as well.

Hope you found some of that extra info of use, in case you wanted to go beyond just a standalone AP plus your router for wifi.
@Trip What do you think about unifi ubiquity access point? Is quite the same as Cisco CBW?
Thanks
 
@docdam - UniFi is good, especially for the price. Nice hardware diversity (FlexHD, etc.). Nice software GUI. The chief value-add is the single control panel for WLAN, LAN and WAN. That's why prosumers love it so much, as well as MSPs -- least amount of effort for the biggest "bang". That said, the "controller" is actually just a management server that collects usage data and pushes configs, as opposed to a true tunneled control plane like you get with CBW, Ruckus Unleashed, etc. which often do a better job with management layer integrity and real-time optimization (of AP radios, routes, backhaul paths, etc). Not that big a deal for smaller networks, although I personally like CBW a bit better, not only for that reason but also the controller is embedded into the APs, no discrete instance or appliance required, so it's just easier to setup and go, and you get multi-master fail-over. Additionally, CBW is more or less trimmed-down Mobility Express, which means a 15+ year-old code underneath from day 1 (similar to how Aruba based Instant On off of Instant).

Hope that helps!
 
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