1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice

Welcome To SNBForums

SNBForums is a community for anyone who wants to learn about or discuss the latest in wireless routers, network storage and the ins and outs of building and maintaining a small network.

If you'd like to post a question, simply register and have at it!

While you're at it, please check out SmallNetBuilder for product reviews and our famous Router Charts, Ranker and plenty more!

Advice for Brand New Fully Wired Home

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by rdb4141, May 27, 2020.

  1. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Hi all,

    I have a new home that is almost completed I will be moving into the next few weeks and was hoping to get some crowdsourced advice from all the gurus here. I feel like I've read every forum thread, online article, and review site out there and now suffer from paralysis by analysis.

    The house is 3400sf and is fully wired with cat6 cables in almost every room. For reference, you can check out the floor plan with networking locations and some approx. distances at the following link or I've attached it down at the end: https://imgur.com/a/LK4bKtn

    In case it is hard to read, the blue and green boxes are the cat6 and tv hookups. The HUB is located in the closet as per the usual.

    I'm going with spectrum 400Mbps as I don't really have the need for gigabit at the moment. From what I have read, I plan on getting Netgear CM1100 Modem from Costco as that seems to be a solid choice. Regarding the router situation, I'm open to either a single powerful router that will provide full coverage of the house or a mesh setup. I would prefer to err on the side of max coverage and speed uniformity (as much as reasonably feasible anyway) as opposed to gambling on coverage with perfect speed at close range.

    I'm not opposed to spending 400-500 dollars on a powerful wifi6 router as I think it will hold up for a while. I'm also not anticipating having a ton of wifi6e capable devices after it arrives so that isn't a huge deal.

    Or I could go the mesh route where I'm going to have a wired backhaul.

    Either way is fine with me, I'm not stubborn. So I choose to defer to the experts as I have no problem taking advice from those that know far more than I do.

    Thanks in advance! Let me know if I need to clarify anything or offer more information.

    Networking.png
     
  2. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    2,753
    Location:
    USA
    Where will the ISP coax come out inside?

    I assume TV means coax.

    Are all of the TV and C6 points one TV cable/jack, one C6 cable/jack?

    Buy something like a Klein cable tester at the hardware store to check each cable you use.

    OE
     
    rdb4141 likes this.
  3. Tech Focus

    Tech Focus Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2019
    Messages:
    66
    @rdb4141

    Welcome to the forum.

    3400 sqft is a quite bit to cover with a single router unit. In fact, I personally found out many of rating by manufactures are more or so in an ideal condition than practical condition. So if you are the one looking for optimal coverage (more than just adequate coverage with 2.4 GHz) without a dead spot then I think you have to go with mesh. Since you have the luxury, go for wired "mesh".

    One thing you may already know but I myself fell in a trap is if you search for mesh system (wired or not), you will come across consumer mesh products on google. They are decent especially for wireless connection and they do indeed often have wired connection option, but you are missing entire half of the world of products, Access points system. Basically, I spent 3 years with 4 rounds of replacing entire home coverage network system but I kept searching with a term mesh network, mesh system etc. During the most recent/the last round, I finally found my personal ideal product line but they are not so called "mesh" network system (though they do work as mesh system. So my advise if you haven't already, don't forget to search Access Points because WIRED mesh you are talking about is really that, and they are usually better than consumer mesh in a wired setting so long as you are not looking for the simplest setup with minimum customization.

    For example my personal plan with current set up is that as I build more Wi-Fi 6 device library, I'd buy one Wi-Fi 6 AP. Then do the same as 6E comes out. Basically, I can add or swap one AP at a time.

    If you have spare time and nothing better to do, I've written a little article about this exact topic, but not much to add from what I've already said.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    rdb4141 likes this.
  4. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Yeah, all the TV markings are coax. And also yes. They are all one coax and one C6 port.

    Thanks for advice on the Klein cable tester.

    Thanks! That was a very informative reply. I also read your entire article which was a very good write-up. The analogies you used made things very easy to understand.
     
    Tech Focus likes this.
  5. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    14,425
    Since you have Ethernet, you can use a router + access points. One per floor, each centrally located should do it.

    But that can get involved to set up. If your needs are simple, a low cost mesh system, with nodes connected via Ethernet should work and be simple to set up.

    Since you are using Ethernet for "backhaul", i.e. connection between mesh nodes/APs, you don't need to spend $$$ on tri-band solutions like Orbi, eero Pro and others. Google Wi-Fi and the less expensive dual-band eero would be fine.

    Three-packs currently run under $90/node. But you may need only two mesh points. More is not necessarily better because they will have too much overlap and devices may not switch (roam) to the best node.
     
    rdb4141 and OzarkEdge like this.
  6. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Thanks thiggins! This is very similar to the decision I came to last night after stumbling across a similar thread on here. I had been leaning toward the Asus Lyra Trio after reading most all of DongKnows' articles. But then upon digging into it after wondering why I never saw him mention Google, Eero, etc, I found that he shies away from those due to his concerns over the devices collecting information and "if their server goes down, you lose access to your router since you have to connect with the vendor first before you can access your network settings." Once I saw that I begin to look into these other alternatives as I'm not one to fret too much over those issues.

    With everything I've read re: the eero units, it does seem like they provide solid coverage and speed while also switching between units fairly seamlessly (which is a big deal for me.) So for now I'm thinking about scooping 2 of the dual band eeros and testing, then adding a third if need be.

    I noticed while reading on here their is a proper way to set up the mesh distances to insure optimal wifi signal and roaming. I believe it was mentioned that you use a wifi analyzer and when you walk around to test, their is a certain dB threshold that will help determine the optimal locations. Could anyone elaborate on this please? Thanks!
     
  7. Tech Focus

    Tech Focus Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2019
    Messages:
    66
    I like DongKnows article and I went off by and got into Asus, but it was not my best experience. Two things: his tests are good trying to measure theoretical max speed and in a clever way. Issue I had from practical side is I will never reach those speed. Second at least from what I read of few of his and so is CNET and other sites, they just do not talk about Access Point options. Eero was good (I had Eero Pro x 3). Asus AiMesh Wi-Fi 6 set up was not bad. Orbi AC was terrible for me. UniFi set up is the best for me, but this last one I didn't even know its existence until I searched with "access point". So If I were you I strongly recommend if not already to check out Access Point systems (does not have to be UniFi) and compare that to Consumer Mesh systems. They are just whole another world Google won't tell you. Then you can decide the best system. Just don't fall in trap I did, which took me 3 years and 4 iterations to arrive to where I am. :)
     
    rdb4141 likes this.
  8. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    14,425
    ASUS' mesh products have not tested well. ASUS has put most of its effort in its AiMesh technology, which lets you use most of their routers in (expensive) mesh networks.

    This is a risk with any product that relies on a vendor's cloud. This is true of most mesh systems, which rely on apps and a relay server to let you log into your network from anywhere. At one point eero relied on its cloud to tune the network. I don't know if they still do. Even though they are owned by Amazon, there is always a chance Amazon gets bored being a product vendor and kills the product. Same goes for Google.

    Most mesh system vendors have some sort of placement advisory built into their apps. Some are good, some bad.

    You'll have to experiment. Since you have Ethernet backhaul start with one mesh node placed as centrally to the areas you want to cover, one per floor. And try not to stack the nodes directly on top of each other.
     
    rdb4141 likes this.
  9. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Great additional info. Thanks thiggins!
     
  10. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,527
    @rdb4141 - For 3400 sf, I'd run distributed wifi via proper access points, plus the cable modem, a wired router and either a PoE switch or PoE injectors in the closet hub. Your network will run more like an appliance and less like a toy. For $500, here's what I would do:

    Modem - Broadcom-based for sure. For 400/20, a 24x8 unit would suffice, like a CM600 ($69).

    Router - I'd run a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 4 ($180). It will route gigabit internet (should you upgrade) but in the meantime will run SQM at 420Mb aggregate to eliminate bufferbloat. Plenty of YouTube guides on how to setup the ER-4.

    Switch - Netgear GS116LP ($135). Unmanaged, 16 ports, all PoE (77W budget). Uplink to the ER-4 and plug in all Cat6 runs, or patch into the hub's patch panel if there is one. You can upgrade to a managed switch and/or more ports later if needed.

    Wireless - Skip the consumer "mesh" products altogether; even hard-wired, they force all APs to use the same channel in both bands (capping capacity, regardless of number of nodes). Plus, most of those products are too flaky in general. Instead, go with controller-based, wire-first APs. No channel limitations (much higher capacity), more seamless client roaming, more reliable overall. A good rule of thumb is one AP per 1,000 sf, so at least three, possibly four (two per floor).

    With minimal budget to work with, I'd suggest either TP-Link Omada or embedded-controller enterprise APs, working-pull off eBay (better value, but more setup skill required). With Omada, three EAP225v3's ($60 each, $180 total) plus the OC200 controller ($95). Or three Ruckus R500's for $53 each ($160 total), with the latest Unleashed firmware (register a free Ruckus account to download). Unleashed embeds the controller into each AP, which means no discrete box or software install needed, plus you get auto-healing as a bonus (presuming you have two or more APs running, if the "master" AP goes down, one of the slaves is auto-promoted as master and your wifi continues to run, unimpeded). Also, if you go Ruckus, you may be able to get away with just two APs (you'd have to test and confirm).

    I've attached a markup of possible best AP locations. Red highlights are where you might place a single AP per floor; purple if you'd have to use two, either on one floor or both.
    SNB_2floorAPs.png
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
    Tech Focus and rdb4141 like this.
  11. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Dude...that may be the single most well thought out, in depth, worked through reply I have ever received on any forum post ever. I am equal parts amazed and thankful you took the time do and link all of that. If you lived near me I would actually offer to pay you to come do all of this as I feel like it is now your perfectly proposed project hahaha.

    But hell, I was all "good I can stop researching now, going to buy a couple Eeros and be done with it." Now I'm like, "MUST RESEARCH EVERYTHING TRIP JUST POSTED TO MAKE SURE I DO IT PERFECTLY!!!"

    All of that being said, if there were an easier way to pull this off by spending more money, what would that be? My 400-500 range was more self-imposed as I thought that would be good to get me where I needed. I LOVE this idea. Your "Wireless" paragraph really jumped out at me as I was actually reading earlier that a lot of the consumer mesh products still have trouble seamlessly roaming as the clients stay connected to one node for prolonged periods of time.

    I'm not a complete networking novice and I have an engineering background with enough knowhow I'm confident I can get this up and running. But if I could throw a few more bucks at this to make it simpler I'm all for it. I have no problem paying for convenience and time savings.

    Thanks again man!
     
    Trip likes this.
  12. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,814
    Location:
    texas
    You really need to answer how fast do you want in the bedrooms with wireless. If you want to go fast you will need 5 GHz in the bedrooms which will dictate more than 2 Aps. What about the back yard?

    If you plan to use Ethernet wire mainly then you may be able to get by with slow wireless.
     
    rdb4141 and Trip like this.
  13. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,527
    @rb4141 - You're welcome. Roger that on budget. If you're comfortable investing as much for this as you might for a mattress or a good refrigerator (low thousands), then a full Ubiquiti UniFi stack would likely make things easier, as you get a single control panel for the gateway, switch(es) and APs. You pay a bit of a premium for the privilege, but it makes self-service a bit more manageable (example: create/change an SSID/VLAN combo across your entire network in just a few clicks, versus having to independently administrate separate control UIs on an independent (non-integrated) gateway, managed switch and wireless controller). It's why a lot of MSPs love the stuff and run it for their customers.

    Router - UniFi Dream Machine ("UDM") in the network closet, either a regular UDM ($299), which includes a built-in AP and the UniFi controller, or if you just want to keep the closet wired-only, a UDM Pro ($379), which, minus the AP, has a 10Gb port, an 8-port switch (not enough ports alone for your setup, though), plus UniFi controller and UniFi Protect security camera hub. Either will route multi-gigabit easily, plus run SQM-based QoS at right at 1Gig+.

    Switch - USW-24-PoE Gen2 ($379), plugging in your Cat6 runs to the 16 PoE ports (or patching them into the hub's patch panel if there is one), per my guide in the first post with the Netgear switch.

    Wireless - Per @coxhaus's post, if lower speed/capacity wifi would suffice, you may be able to get away with two UAP-AC-LR's ($109 ea. - $220 total), mounted in the red highlighted positions in my graphic. Otherwise, if you'd like higher 5Ghz speeds, for instance, you may want to up that to four AC-LITE's ($89 ea. - $360 total), mounted in the purple locations. Additionally, there are a lot of form factors to choose from, and you can mix/match them all under a single controller. For instance, they have the In-Wall if you wanted to recycle wall ports, or the FlexHD for desktop placement (if wall/ceiling wasn't an option). For outdoor coverage, you may also want to mount a UAP-AC-M-PRO ($199) to the back outside wall of your house, facing the deck and backyard, for coverage there.

    TL;DR - If you were to hire a high-end residential IT/AV outfit to come in and handle this for you, going by the guys I refer residential work to, total job cost would probably be $3-5K (labor usually 1x to 1.5x materials). Not sure if that's something you'd consider, but depending on where you are, there may be outfits in your area to call up and at least get quotes from.

    TL;DR 2 - An important thing to remember with all of this is just buying this gear on its own and throwing a few APs randomly around the house may not (likely won't) be good enough on its own. Multi-AP wifi takes some tending do, and at minimum a good on-site survey with at least one (ideally several) of the APs you plan on using, to ensure signal levels and overall network behavior are up to spec.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
    rdb4141 likes this.
  14. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Thanks Trip. Solid elaborations. I'm seriously contemplating this route. Couple of follow up questions:

    1: Did you recommend the USW-24-PoE Gen2 for expansion purposes in the future if need be? Because it seems like I could get away with the UniFi Switch 16 PoE and save $70.

    2: The one thing nagging in the back of my mind when I think about getting this set up and running smooth is the fact that Wifi6 is already out and 6e will be coming later. Assuming this setup works as well as it seems like it will I figure it will suffice for a while. I'm just wondering when you and most on here think the times and tech will necessitate the switch over to the new standard?
     
  15. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,527
    1. I did so primarily because the -16-POE Gen2 only has eight PoE+ auto-sensing ports, which may mean a bit more port invetory and/or labeling headache for the nine Cat6 drops you already have around the house. The -24-POE Gen2 would give you 16 auto-sensing PoE+ ports (covering those 9 with ease), then the other 8 for in-closet gear, plus a few left-over PoE ports to power any in-rack small items. For $70? Out of, say, $1,000+ total spend? I say worth it.

    2. This somewhat comes down to perspective, but regardless of where we may stand, you'll tend to find that business-grade gear like this (and higher-level enterprise stuff as well), usually lags a solid half-generation behind the bleeding edge, and usually with good reason. You can certainly find AX options at the very top end of certain lines, but it's not where the best bang for your buck usually is. One of the primary aims in this space -- which is why I and so many others pursue it -- is stability, and staying back on solid, well-developed drivers and chipsets allows that be achieved in a massive way. Also, if you think the consumer AX stuff is spendy, for essentially being betaware, take a look at emerging AX enterprise class gear. Hope you're sitting down... Long story short, I wouldn't feel bad in the slightest sitting for a while on AC Wave 2 (or even Wave 1 stuff... as even MU-MIMO is hardly implemented well enough, or at all, in most clients).

    TL;DR - Proper engineering with current-gen wifi almost always outperforms average engineering with supposed "next-gen" stuff, so I'd say focus on maximizing your topology with what's available now, according to your goals. And besides, any Wifi 6 stuff bought today will ultimately have to be ripped and replaced with new hardware that supports the 6E spectrum anyways. So IMHO, no harm, but only benefit in waiting, and paying less while you do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    rdb4141 likes this.
  16. rdb4141

    rdb4141 New Around Here

    Joined:
    May 27, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    That's kind of what I thought regarding point 1. And I totally get, and agree with, point 2 wholeheartedly. I just wanted to see if there was an angle I wasn't considering.
     
  17. tallytr

    tallytr Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    223
    We have a similar sized home, a bit larger, 3 floors.
    What solved all our coverage issues was relocating the cable modem (coax) and router from the basement to the upstairs floor and also upgrading to Asus RT-AC86U router. Amazing coverage even at 5Ghz...
    I then ran a couple switches and CAT 6 cable to the basement cabinet where all phone wires (Cat 5e cable) come together...
    Then converted all our old phone outlets to CAT5e connectors (using phone over IP so no need for "phone cable")... and that allows me to simply plug in cheap Access Points should I ever see the need for it throughout the house...