Advice for wired backhaul Mesh System

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freemanator

New Around Here
Hi Guys,

With my current one router setup, we struggle with Wi-Fi coverage the other side of the house, both up and downstairs. Though the house isn't large 6x8m, it is old and we have solid brick walls, and there is no WiFi coverage extending out into the garden.

When we were renovating I hard wired in a couple of ethernet cables from where the internet enters the house up into our loft, and I'd like to use that for a wired backhaul for a mesh system, with one router on the ground floor in one corner of the house, and the other in the opposite corner in the loft. This I'm hoping will give substantial coverage for the garden too, which I want.

Trying to work out the best way to go about it, while future proofing for WiFi 6. Usage is a mixture of streaming and Zoom Calls in the house, lots of IoT devices and wanting WiFi connectivity for things like wireless thermometers for the BBQ in the garden

Have been looking at the Asus Zen WiFi XT8 (currently (£440), but wondering if this is more than I will need. Any thoughts on connecting up a ASUS RT-AX86U (currently £184 and paid for by my work) downstairs, with an Asus RT-AX58U (currently £124) in the loft to help strengthen coverage in the house and provide range in the garden?

Or a better approach?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi Guys,

With my current one router setup, we struggle with Wi-Fi coverage the other side of the house, both up and downstairs. Though the house isn't large 6x8m, it is old and we have solid brick walls, and there is no WiFi coverage extending out into the garden.

When we were renovating I hard wired in a couple of ethernet cables from where the internet enters the house up into our loft, and I'd like to use that for a wired backhaul for a mesh system, with one router on the ground floor in one corner of the house, and the other in the opposite corner in the loft. This I'm hoping will give substantial coverage for the garden too, which I want.

Trying to work out the best way to go about it, while future proofing for WiFi 6. Usage is a mixture of streaming and Zoom Calls in the house, lots of IoT devices and wanting WiFi connectivity for things like wireless thermometers for the BBQ in the garden

Have been looking at the Asus Zen WiFi XT8 (currently (£440), but wondering if this is more than I will need. Any thoughts on connecting up a ASUS RT-AX86U (currently £184 and paid for by my work) downstairs, with an Asus RT-AX58U (currently £124) in the loft to help strengthen coverage in the house and provide range in the garden?

Or a better approach?
Two nodes in a wired mesh seems reasonable. If you like Asus consumer gear, try AiMesh. If you try Aimesh, you could start with just one router. If you add a matching second router/remote node, you will simplify administration a bit and have a hot spare for troubleshooting and quicker disaster recovery. If you stick with AC for now, consider the RT-AC86U. If you invest in AX now, know that WiFi AX 6e is just starting to arrive and is not 'mature' yet.

OE
 

jay613

Occasional Visitor
I have the same situation as you. Lots of brick walls and very poor coverage inside and out. With the whole family now working and schooling from home and spending more time in the yard I had to solve this. I looked at Eero and Amplifi and Google and a few other mesh providers. They are all very expensive and very light on features and mostly don't provide ethernet ports at the nodes. For my situation (brick walls etc) I'd spend a TON covering my house. My solution was to buy a bunch of used RT-AC68Us on eBay. If you're patient you can get them for really cheap. I ended up buying 5 of them for less than $300. All but one are on wired backhaul using existing home wiring. They are much more powerful and versatile than any pure Mesh product, full of great features and only a third the price. Because each one has 4 ethernet ports I easily put my Xbox, Sonos, and other things on ethernet with no new cabling or planning. Performance is AMAZING. If I find a weak spot I can fix it now for $60 and no cabling (new nodes are always in good range of existing ones). No I'm not ready for Wifi6 but given the great results and low spend for this solution I'd rather hang on to my money for a couple of years and then determine what I really want to get out of Wifi6 and start again.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have the same situation as you. Lots of brick walls and very poor coverage inside and out. With the whole family now working and schooling from home and spending more time in the yard I had to solve this. I looked at Eero and Amplifi and Google and a few other mesh providers. They are all very expensive and very light on features and mostly don't provide ethernet ports at the nodes. For my situation (brick walls etc) I'd spend a TON covering my house. My solution was to buy a bunch of used RT-AC68Us on eBay. If you're patient you can get them for really cheap. I ended up buying 5 of them for less than $300. All but one are on wired backhaul using existing home wiring. They are much more powerful and versatile than any pure Mesh product, full of great features and only a third the price. Because each one has 4 ethernet ports I easily put my Xbox, Sonos, and other things on ethernet with no new cabling or planning. Performance is AMAZING. If I find a weak spot I can fix it now for $60 and no cabling (new nodes are always in good range of existing ones). No I'm not ready for Wifi6 but given the great results and low spend for this solution I'd rather hang on to my money for a couple of years and then determine what I really want to get out of Wifi6 and start again.
When you say backhauls are on existing home wiring, do you mean Ethernet cables or Ethernet over PowerLine?

OE
 

jay613

Occasional Visitor
@OzarkEdge oh I see "existing home wiring". No I didn't mean power lines. Long before Mesh existed I strung three ethernet cables: to the attic, a closet, and two corners of the basement to address specific needs at the time. Those places are not ideal for Node placement but they work well enough. I have the ethernet cables, I have power sockets in each of the locations. So my router goes in one of them, and nodes at the other three. Any additional nodes (currently only one) are true wireless mesh.
 

freemanator

New Around Here
If you add a matching second router/remote node, you will simplify administration a bit and have a hot spare for troubleshooting and quicker disaster recovery.

OE
Thanks OE. Can you elaborate a bit here please? What would some of the administration headaches be with using a mispaired router set from the Asus Ai Mesh stable?

Really helpful to consider whether I just buy two of the same, given I can get work to pay for one as a work expense, I can justify spending more on the second one too.

Thanks
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks OE. Can you elaborate a bit here please? What would some of the administration headaches be with using a mispaired router set from the Asus Ai Mesh stable?

Really helpful to consider whether I just buy two of the same, given I can get work to pay for one as a work expense, I can justify spending more on the second one too.

Thanks
I said "simplify administration a bit". Same one firmware, same router settings makes working with them interchangeably the same. And you never worry about different hardware/firmware being a factor in any troubleshooting. If the router/root node dies, you can have your network mostly running again as before in a few minutes. For a first buy of a two node AiMesh, it's a natural consideration.

But feel free to buy any two routers and proceed to integrate them into your AiMesh system.

OE
 

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