Best AiMesh setup?

Exigo

New Around Here
I have a couple of CT8 and moving to a new apartment, where I'm planning to route cables in parallel to every room from the entrance. My question is what is the best setup for this? I have 2 options:

1. ISP modem -> any random but good wired router -> both ct8 wired in parallel + cable routes to every room
I believe using this setup, I can't really use AiMesh and I'll have to use AP mode on both of them. And I'm losing some features (not sure if there are any important ones)

2. ISP modem -> first CT8 as AiMesh router -> switch -> second CT8 as AiMesh node + cable routes to every room.
As far as I know, this setup is preferable. But for me, having CT8 sitting literally in a rack doesn't make sense.

Please let me know if I'm doing it wrong and what's the best way for this.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have a couple of CT8 and moving to a new apartment, where I'm planning to route cables in parallel to every room from the entrance. My question is what is the best setup for this? I have 2 options:

1. ISP modem -> any random but good wired router -> both ct8 wired in parallel + cable routes to every room
I believe using this setup, I can't really use AiMesh and I'll have to use AP mode on both of them. And I'm losing some features (not sure if there are any important ones)

2. ISP modem -> first CT8 as AiMesh router -> switch -> second CT8 as AiMesh node + cable routes to every room.
As far as I know, this setup is preferable. But for me, having CT8 sitting literally in a rack doesn't make sense.

Please let me know if I'm doing it wrong and what's the best way for this.

It's not really "parallel" Ethernet... it's star or daisy chain topology... or a mix of both.

To restate your options:

ISP <wire> AiMesh router(AP) <wire/wireless> AiMesh node(AP)

Or,

ISP <wire> non-AiMesh router <wire> AiMesh router in AP Mode <wire/wireless> AiMesh node(AP)

AiMesh in AP Mode (second option) would allow you to use a preferred/forced non-AiMesh router, and/or to locate your nodes(APs) without being constrained by a forced router location.

Route cables for all options, if possible. Actual cable routing will depend on your physical layout and network/client layout needs... so plan ahead. Setting up a temp network with cables strewn about might help test different node(AP) locations for WiFi coverage first before fixing the cable plan.

If a switch becomes suspect in the performance of a wired backhaul (possible), you would want a way to test and/or wire the backhaul without the switch in the backhaul path... or else try another switch.

One adage is that 99.99% of all network trouble is cabling, so if you build your own cables, do it well to save yourself some grief. (The point of this adage is to troubleshoot the basics first before wasting too much time on the more complicated/mysterious stuff.)

Finally, wire whatever you can for robustness and less admin overhead. This rule may gradually erode as wireless becomes faster than wired (or fast enough) and less troublesome... perhaps with WiFi6e and beyond.

OE
 
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Exigo

New Around Here
It's not really "parallel" Ethernet... it's star or daisy chain topology... or a mix of both.

To restate your options:

ISP <wire> AiMesh router(AP) <wire/wireless> AiMesh node(AP)

Or,

ISP <wire> non-AiMesh router <wire> AiMesh router in AP Mode <wire/wireless> AiMesh node(AP)

AiMesh in AP Mode (second option) would allow you to use a preferred/forced non-AiMesh router, and/or to locate your nodes(APs) without being constrained by a forced router location.

Route cables for all options, if possible. Actual cable routing will depend on your physical layout and network/client layout needs... so plan ahead. Setting up a temp network with cables strewn about might help test different node(AP) locations for WiFi coverage first before fixing the cable plan.

If a switch becomes suspect in the performance of a wired backhaul (possible), you would want a way to test and/or wire the backhaul without the switch in the backhaul path... or else try another switch.

One adage is that 99.99% of all network trouble is cabling, so if you build your own cables, do it well to save yourself some grief. (The point of this adage is to troubleshoot the basics first before wasting too much time on the more complicated/mysterious stuff.)

Finally, wire whatever you can for robustness and less admin overhead. This rule may gradually erode as wireless becomes faster than wired (or fast enough) and less troublesome... perhaps with WiFi6e and beyond.

OE

Thanks. So if I'm choosing second option with wired connection from non-AiMesh router in a star topology to both CT8's in AP mode (they won't be connected to each other with wires, only through the non-AiMesh router), I'm not actually losing any functionality and/or features? I always thought that AiMesh node has some superior features over AP mode, like better client roaming, etc.

My main question is if AiMesh mode have any advantages over AP mode? If not, I would just do second option, will be able to cover more space without wasting one of the CT8 in the rack.

And also the same cabling would work for both options in case I'll have to change it in the future, but without putting CT8 in the rack and adding a switch to it, it will be more tidy with the second option. But with the star topology I want to do, I won't be able to make a direct backhaul between 2 CT8's without switch unfortunately.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks. So if I'm choosing second option with wired connection from non-AiMesh router in a star topology to both CT8's in AP mode (they won't be connected to each other with wires, only through the non-AiMesh router), I'm not actually losing any functionality and/or features? I always thought that AiMesh node has some superior features over AP mode, like better client roaming, etc.

I'm aware of other AiMesh connection scenarios (for example), but I have not used them. Same for AiMesh in AP Mode... I'm sure you will not have all of the router features available to you, but you should have what you would expect from an AP plus whatever AiMesh adds.

AiMesh does fix the channel and SSID across all nodes... this may or may not improve upon a traditional AP that allows you to vary the AP channel and SSID. As for improved roaming, my clients roam better with AiMesh than they did with traditional repeater/AP modes. And although some suggest that all AiMesh nodes using the same channel/SSID is not desirable, I'm glad it works here for residential use because I don't want a bunch of poorly configured neighboring AiMesh WLANs consuming/polluting all of the channels... it's bad enough now with neighbors installing more packaged mesh nodes than anyone should need in the average home. Plus it allows a wireless backhaul that requires the same channel operating at each end... many residential applications require wireless... a traditional AP must be wired.

My main question is if AiMesh mode have any advantages over AP mode? If not, I would just do second option, will be able to cover more space without wasting one of the CT8 in the rack.

I'm not qualified to break this down into pros and cons for all possible needs... but I will suggest that AiMesh in AP Mode is a subset configuration for a subset application... if you need it, try it.

I won't be able to make a direct backhaul between 2 CT8's without switch unfortunately.

A scenario that you will have to confirm works as advertised with your equipment... at this point in time... AiMesh has been a work-in-progress since ~2018.

OE
 
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