AiMesh config question with AC86U and AC68U

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ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
I'm currently using an AC68U as my primary router with several media bridges (AC66U, AC56R, Buffalo H1300) around the house connecting via AC wireless. Unfortunately due to the internet entry point, the AC68U is on one end of my long rectangular house. The farthest media bridge (AC66U) is on the far end of the house from the router and up one level. A typical connection Tx/Rx rate is reported as 234-351 Mbps.

I'm planning to add an AC86U to my home network. I originally intended to replace the 68 with the 86 as my primary router and shuffle media bridges to replace the weakest one (AC56R). But now I'm wondering if I should replace one of my mid-house media bridges with the 86 and have it provide the primary AC and N signals for everyone to connect to, while creating a dedicated/hidden AC link between the 68 and 86. My typical mid-house Tx/Rx connection rate is 877.5 Mbps. Would the backhaul AC channel on the 86 to the 68 provide an equivalent connection rate?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I'm currently using an AC68U as my primary router with several media bridges (AC66U, AC56R, Buffalo H1300) around the house connecting via AC wireless. Unfortunately due to the internet entry point, the AC68U is on one end of my long rectangular house. The farthest media bridge (AC66U) is on the far end of the house from the router and up one level. A typical connection Tx/Rx rate is reported as 234-351 Mbps.

I'm planning to add an AC86U to my home network. I originally intended to replace the 68 with the 86 as my primary router and shuffle media bridges to replace the weakest one (AC56R). But now I'm wondering if I should replace one of my mid-house media bridges with the 86 and have it provide the primary AC and N signals for everyone to connect to, while creating a dedicated/hidden AC link between the 68 and 86. My typical mid-house Tx/Rx connection rate is 877.5 Mbps. Would the backhaul AC channel on the 86 to the 68 provide an equivalent connection rate?
I thought wireless 'media bridges' only supported wired clients (?)... all of their WiFi is used for the backhaul. Perhaps you mean wireless 'repeater/extender'... their WiFi is shared with the backhaul and with wireless clients.

Have you considered using AiMesh?

The AC86U has about 20% more effective WiFI coverage than the AC68U. And would make a stronger router for the whole network.

I would first try AiMesh with the 86U as router/root node and the 68U as the remote node... with different SSIDs for each band and fixed channels.

You can inspect the Wireless Log to determine the 2.4 and 5.0 backhaul rates... expect an AC connection x 3 streams (limited by the number of 68U antennas) between the two nodes, subject to distance and path and other wireless clients.

OE
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
I thought wireless 'media bridges' only supported wired clients (?)... all of their WiFi is used for the backhaul. Perhaps you mean wireless 'repeater/extender'... their WiFi is shared with the backhaul and with wireless clients.
Yes -- I have three secondary routers set as media bridges - wireless backhaul connection to my main router and computers wired to the bridge units. Most are older computers with just N wireless, so I'm using the AC bridge connection to get a bigger pipe. All wireless clients in the house connect to the main router.


Have you considered using AiMesh?

The AC86U has about 20% more effective WiFI coverage than the AC68U. And would make a stronger router for the whole network.

I would first try AiMesh with the 86U as router/root node and the 68U as the remote node... with different SSIDs for each band and fixed channels.

You can inspect the Wireless Log to determine the 2.4 and 5.0 backhaul rates... expect an AC connection x 3 streams (limited by the number of 68U antennas) between the two nodes, subject to distance and path.

OE
Yes, was planning to start with AiMesh (86 primary, 68 node) and see if that provides any better connection rates for the remaining bridges (either connected to the stronger 86 router/root or to the closer 68 remote node). I was just curious if flipping the root and node units so that the 86 was more centralized in the house would provide a stronger overall signal for everyone.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Yes -- I have three secondary routers set as media bridges - wireless backhaul connection to my main router and computers wired to the bridge units. Most are older computers with just N wireless, so I'm using the AC bridge connection to get a bigger pipe. All wireless clients in the house connect to the main router.

Yes, was planning to start with AiMesh (86 primary, 68 node) and see if that provides any better connection rates for the remaining bridges (either connected to the stronger 86 router/root or to the closer 68 remote node). I was just curious if flipping the root and node units so that the 86 was more centralized in the house would provide a stronger overall signal for everyone.
This confirms that you mean what you say. :)

Whether an 86U-68U AiMesh, or 68U-86U AiMesh, their backhaul will remain the same and a natural goal would be to prefer connecting clients directly to the router vs. the remote node, to minimize the backhaul traffic/load. As such, AiMesh may or may not improve upon your current dedicated media bridge backhaul. With luck, it will tolerate a longer distance, allowing you to push the 68U further toward the other end of the house.

You'll have to try it, 86U-68U, and see. It may be good enough and offer other system benefits over what you have now, if not just more Wifi coverage for wireless clients.

If you consider the remote node to be a simple AP, I don't think it will make much difference to your clients whether you use the 68U or the 86U in that location. But the 86U will make the better root node.

With AiMesh broadcasting the same 2.4 SSID and 5.0 SSID from two nodes, your wireless clients should enjoy more WiFi coverage and will distribute across the two nodes, subject to their relative location to each node. So, you will no longer see all wireless clients connecting to just the router/root node.

The 86U at one end means it will cover outside that end of the house. This would be convenient if you needed that outdoor coverage.

Wiring the remote node would be nice improvement, but probably not simply done.

I look forward to hearing how the existing media bridges work out with AiMesh.

OE
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
Whether an 86U-68U AiMesh, or 68U-86U AiMesh, their backhaul will remain the same and a natural goal would be to prefer connecting clients directly to the router vs. the remote node, to minimize the backhaul traffic/load. As such, AiMesh may or may not improve upon your current dedicated media bridge backhaul. With luck, it will tolerate a longer distance, allowing you to push the 68U further toward the other end of the house.
Good point. Currently I have three separate back haul signals. Forcing those all through one probably isn't the best idea...

With AiMesh broadcasting the same 2.4 SSID and 5.0 SSID from two nodes, your wireless clients should enjoy more WiFi coverage and will distribute across the two nodes, subject to their relative location to each node. So, you will no longer see all wireless clients connecting to just the router/root node.

The 86U at one end means it will cover outside that end of the house. This would be convenient if you needed that outdoor coverage.
The outdoor signal from the 86U would help my neighbor, not so much us. But if I replace one of the upstairs bridges (AC56R) with the 68U as a node, that could give us much more consistent coverage across the backyard and deck.

Lots of things to try -- thanks for the feedback!
 

MarkyPancake

Senior Member
I think you're supposed to use the higher spec device as the router for AiMesh, so in this case the AC86U becomes the router and your AC68U becomes a node. I'm running an AC86U router and AC68U node, both on Merlin 384.19 and everything is solid.
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
I think you're supposed to use the higher spec device as the router for AiMesh, so in this case the AC86U becomes the router and your AC68U becomes a node. I'm running an AC86U router and AC68U node, both on Merlin 384.19 and everything is solid.
Sounds good - I'll be starting with that configuration and see how it goes!
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
Okay - got the new 86U set up as my primary router. With my previous setup of router+3 media bridges, I saw a modest bump up in reported signal strength and link rates to each bridge, including a full 1300 Mbps to the downstairs office bridge (Buffalo). So plenty happy about that.

I then replaced the weakest bridge (56R, upstairs, mid-house) with the 68U configured as an AiMesh node. Good news is that the AiMesh setup was super easy and after restarting everything, the other upstairs bridge (66U, farthest away from the main router) connected to the new node with a super strong 1300 Mbps link rate between the two. So far, so good.

What I can't determine is what the actual link rate between the AiMesh router (86U) and node (68U) is. The only thing I can see in the router UI is 3/4 bars on 5ghz. When I enter the node IP address in a browser, it kicks me over to the main router IP. The only possible clue is the reported client link rate of the 66U bridge in the main router (351 Mbps) -- is this actually the node link rate since I know that bridge is connecting to the node at 1300 Mbps? However, other 5ghz clients connecting through the node have higher reported link rates (500+) in the router UI.

I probably should have configured the 68U as a bridge first to see what the actual client-to-router link rate was, but didn't. Is there any other way to determine the link rate between AiMesh router and node? My only concern at this point is that 351 Mbps is lower than what the 66U reported (520 Mbps) when it was connecting directly to the main router.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Okay - got the new 86U set up as my primary router. With my previous setup of router+3 media bridges, I saw a modest bump up in reported signal strength and link rates to each bridge, including a full 1300 Mbps to the downstairs office bridge (Buffalo). So plenty happy about that.

I then replaced the weakest bridge (56R, upstairs, mid-house) with the 68U configured as an AiMesh node. Good news is that the AiMesh setup was super easy and after restarting everything, the other upstairs bridge (66U, farthest away from the main router) connected to the new node with a super strong 1300 Mbps link rate between the two. So far, so good.

What I can't determine is what the actual link rate between the AiMesh router (86U) and node (68U) is. The only thing I can see in the router UI is 3/4 bars on 5ghz. When I enter the node IP address in a browser, it kicks me over to the main router IP. The only possible clue is the reported client link rate of the 66U bridge in the main router (351 Mbps) -- is this actually the node link rate since I know that bridge is connecting to the node at 1300 Mbps? However, other 5ghz clients connecting through the node have higher reported link rates (500+) in the router UI.

I probably should have configured the 68U as a bridge first to see what the actual client-to-router link rate was, but didn't. Is there any other way to determine the link rate between AiMesh router and node? My only concern at this point is that 351 Mbps is lower than what the 66U reported (520 Mbps) when it was connecting directly to the main router.
The AiMesh 2.4 and 5.0 backhauls RSSI and Tx/Rx rates are listed in the router/root node Wireless Log against MAC addresses that are similar to your remote node MACs.

OE
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
The AiMesh 2.4 and 5.0 backhauls RSSI and Tx/Rx rates are listed in the router/root node Wireless Log against MAC addresses that are similar to your remote node MACs.

OE
Perfect - thank you. Looks like both rates are dancing around 877 Mbps, which is around the max I was getting with the 68U as the main router. That'll do.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Perfect - thank you. Looks like both rates are dancing around 877 Mbps, which is around the max I was getting with the 68U as the main router. That'll do.
If you want to know the max possible, check both the 2.4 and 5.0 backhauls with the routers about 3-5' apart.

Also, they will improve (and vary a bit) over time... so give them some time to settle in when changing locations or trying different channels. It may be worth trying different 5.0 channels to see which one 'homes in' with the strongest backhaul values.

Also notice the NSS value indicating the number of streams... unlike most clients, router-to-router uses all antennas. Two AC86Us would connect 5.0 x4 streams... there is a fourth 5.0 antenna internal to the AC86U.

OE
 
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