Best Mesh Addition

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Troy

New Around Here
I currently am using a Trendnet TEW 828DRU router. For the most part have been happy with its performance. I have an extender upstairs that works most of the time but needs rebooted occasionally. I am looking to move to mesh to increase performance and handoff issues. What would you recommend that would possibly work well with my router. I also have hard wired ethernet ports upstairs that I could utilize for better performance with the mesh devices if they can support that.

I am not against buying a whole new setup if most think that is a better way to spend money. The router need only support OpenVPN. I would like a router that would allow URL redirection, as well as being able to see usage statistics on it. But neither are a requirement.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Mesh, by its very nature, needs to exchange fairly complex network intelligence between all wireless nodes/APs -- well beyond the level of traditional vanilla wireless repeaters. As such, it's basically a requirement that it be deployed as a single ecosystem from a single brand. In looking through TrendNet's offerings, I don't see any mesh-capable extenders that are specifically designed to work with any of their routers, the 828DRU included, nor any expandable router mesh functionality like Asus AiMesh, so unfortunately I think you'll have to look at a different product for wireless at the very least, if not your entire network stack altogether.

Before jumping into mesh systems, though, the key first question is wiring: is there any possibility of using ethernet or MoCa adapters over coaxial to create wired connections to at least one remote node/AP, if not all of them?

If hard-wiring is a yes, then for wifi you could do 1) a consumer mesh product with wired backhaul support (Asus AiMesh, Eero, Orbi, etc.) or 2) a wire-first, controller-based AP product like TP-Link Omada (two or three EAPs + the OC200 controller), which would offer more advanced management and traffic control (including VLAN support). In the case of AiMesh, you'd probably want to just replace the TrendNet outright with the base-unit Asus. If you did Eero or Omada, I'd leave the TrendNet in-play, wireless disabled (and Eero in bridge mode if you chose that).

If hard-wiring is a no, then I'd look only at consumer mesh product built from the ground up for that purpose -- namely Eero, either Eero dual-band or Eero Pro tri-band, which IMHO is a better choice than AiMesh or any purpose-built alternative when it comes to an all-wireless setup.

Hope that helps to illustrate your options.
 
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Val D.

Very Senior Member
What would you recommend that would possibly work well with my router.
Your router looks good as a router, has OpenVPN Server support, VLANs, QoS, etc. You may keep it as router only for now and replace the entire WiFi part with Omada WiFi Solution. It offers one of the best price/performance ratios in SMB segment, has central management, remote administration, network stats, supports 802.11k/v/r roaming technologies, it's fast and stable. If you get a PoE Switch, both EAP access points and OC200 controller are PoE powered. I have 3 home installations already with excellent results using the following components:

- TL-SG108PE 8-Port Smart Switch, 4-Port PoE (55W max)
- OC200 Omada Controller PoE (has MicroUSB port for power as well)
- EAP245V3 Access Point (2.4GHz up to 450Mbps, 5GHz up to 1300Mbps, AC1750 class), PoE

The switch is good for 1 x OC200 (5W) + 3 x EAP245V3 (12W each).

This is how the system looks from the controller, for a general idea what you get:
https://emulator.tp-link.com/oc200/index.html#statistics

Once you have good stable WiFi system setup and working, you may replace your main router with something better. My personal preference is pfSense Firewall running on x86 hardware (Qotom/Protectli router boxes are popular options). pfSense has a steep learning curve, but offers enterprise class security, stability and configuration options. Netgate documentation is pretty good and 3rd party configuration videos are readily available. Netgate offers hardware solutions as well, if your budget allows. ARM based SG-3100 is very good, x86 Intel based SG-5100 appliance is excellent.
 

Troy

New Around Here
Mesh, by its very nature, needs to exchange fairly complex network intelligence between all wireless nodes/APs -- well beyond the level of traditional vanilla wireless repeaters. As such, it's basically a requirement that it be deployed as a single ecosystem from a single brand. In looking through TrendNet's offerings, I don't see any mesh-capable extenders that are specifically designed to work with any of their routers, the 828DRU included, nor any expandable router mesh functionality like Asus AiMesh, so unfortunately I think you'll have to look at a different product for wireless at the very least, if not your entire network stack altogether.

Before jumping into mesh systems, though, the key first question is wiring: is there any possibility of using ethernet or MoCa adapters over coaxial to create wired connections to at least one remote node/AP, if not all of them?

If hard-wiring is a yes, then for wifi you could do 1) a consumer mesh product with wired backhaul support (Asus AiMesh, Eero, Orbi, etc.) or 2) a wire-first, controller-based AP product like TP-Link Omada (two or three EAPs + the OC200 controller), which would offer more advanced management and traffic control (including VLAN support). In the case of AiMesh, you'd probably want to just replace the TrendNet outright with the base-unit Asus. If you did Eero or Omada, I'd leave the TrendNet in-play, wireless disabled (and Eero in bridge mode if you chose that).

If hard-wiring is a no, then I'd look only at consumer mesh product built from the ground up for that purpose -- namely Eero, either Eero dual-band or Eero Pro tri-band, which IMHO is a better choice than AiMesh or any purpose-built alternative when it comes to an all-wireless setup.

Hope that helps to illustrate your options.
Thanks for the info!!
 

Troy

New Around Here
Thanks for the info!!
I definitely do have the ability to hardwire. So in short...
Omada OC200 - hangs off router and controls
Your router looks good as a router, has OpenVPN Server support, VLANs, QoS, etc. You may keep it as router only for now and replace the entire WiFi part with Omada WiFi Solution. It offers one of the best price/performance ratios in SMB segment, has central management, remote administration, network stats, supports 802.11k/v/r roaming technologies, it's fast and stable. If you get a PoE Switch, both EAP access points and OC200 controller are PoE powered. I have 3 home installations already with excellent results using the following components:

- TL-SG108PE 8-Port Smart Switch, 4-Port PoE (55W max)
- OC200 Omada Controller PoE (has MicroUSB port for power as well)
- EAP245V3 Access Point (2.4GHz up to 450Mbps, 5GHz up to 1300Mbps, AC1750 class), PoE

The switch is good for 1 x OC200 (5W) + 3 x EAP245V3 (12W each).

This is how the system looks from the controller, for a general idea what you get:
https://emulator.tp-link.com/oc200/index.html#statistics

Once you have good stable WiFi system setup and working, you may replace your main router with something better. My personal preference is pfSense Firewall running on x86 hardware (Qotom/Protectli router boxes are popular options). pfSense has a steep learning curve, but offers enterprise class security, stability and configuration options. Netgate documentation is pretty good and 3rd party configuration videos are readily available. Netgate offers hardware solutions as well, if your budget allows. ARM based SG-3100 is very good, x86 Intel based SG-5100 appliance is excellent.

I do have the hardwire capability, so in short...
Turn of wireless on current router
OC200 Omada controller - hangs off my current router and controls the EAP245V3 access points(do I have to connect through the cloud or can I configure and control them completely through my network?)

Place a EAP245 upstairs and downstairs and be done?
Also I have IP cameras, what POE smart switch do you recommend that has a few more ports than the TL-SG108PE?
Thanks!
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
Also I have IP cameras, what POE smart switch do you recommend that has a few more ports than the TL-SG108PE?
I recommend this switch due to the fact it has some smart functions and it's almost the same price as PoE only version switch. At some point in time you may want to experiment with VLANs separation, this is what a smart switch is usable for. Otherwise it's not needed and if you want to save some money you can plug OC200 and EAPs directly to the router or another switch. EAPs come with PoE injectors, OC200 has a USB port for power (but doesn't come with power adapter, 5V/2A phone charger works). You can use router's 4-Port switch plus a simple 8-Port dumb switch for $20 to accommodate all your wired devices, if you want. PoE makes the setup easier/better though - no extra devices, no extra power outlets and power adapters needed.

If you want to go fancy, TL-SG1016PE has 16-Ports, 8-Port PoE (up to 110W) and status LEDs on one side (instead on the ports). :)

Place a EAP245 upstairs and downstairs and be done?
In theory - yes. In practice you have to find the right spot for each one in order to maximize the coverage and minimize AP overlap. Get one EAP only first and see how it works in your environment. EAPs have their own GUI, no OC200 needed to setup individual AP. Place it upstairs, connect it to the router, fire it up, see what the results are. If you like the way it works (coverage/speed), proceed further with the project. If it's not what you expected it to be, send it back and we'll discuss other options. As I often say, there is no universal solution in WiFi. The fact something works for someone else doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you too. We all have different houses, different WiFi clients, different expectations.
 

Troy

New Around Here
I recommend this switch due to the fact it has some smart functions and it's almost the same price as PoE only version switch. At some point in time you may want to experiment with VLANs separation, this is what a smart switch is usable for. Otherwise it's not needed and if you want to save some money you can plug OC200 and EAPs directly to the router or another switch. EAPs come with PoE injectors, OC200 has a USB port for power (but doesn't come with power adapter, 5V/2A phone charger works). You can use router's 4-Port switch plus a simple 8-Port dumb switch for $20 to accommodate all your wired devices, if you want. PoE makes the setup easier/better though - no extra devices, no extra power outlets and power adapters needed.

If you want to go fancy, TL-SG1016PE has 16-Ports, 8-Port PoE (up to 110W) and status LEDs on one side (instead on the ports). :)



In theory - yes. In practice you have to find the right spot for each one in order to maximize the coverage and minimize AP overlap. Get one EAP only first and see how it works in your environment. EAPs have their own GUI, no OC200 needed to setup individual AP. Place it upstairs, connect it to the router, fire it up, see what the results are. If you like the way it works (coverage/speed), proceed further with the project. If it's not what you expected it to be, send it back and we'll discuss other options. As I often say, there is no universal solution in WiFi. The fact something works for someone else doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you too. We all have different houses, different WiFi clients, different expectations.
So is the OC200 just for cloud management then?
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
So is the OC200 just for cloud management then?
Centralized local/cloud/app management, network stats, network roaming technologies, guest network login options, etc. Without OC200 active you lose functionality like 802.11k/v/r support, login options, management options. OC200 is just an independent hardware device with 5W power draw to run the Controller Software on. You can run the same software on a PC, but it has to be 24/7 on in order to keep your roaming assistance available, at least. I was running it on a PC initially, then got the OC200 to make the system PC independent and more power efficient.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
then got the OC200 to make the system PC independent and more power efficient.
And that right there is why I usually recommend people go with the pre-built controllers. Unless you have server-class, always-on type resources (and the know-how to run them), it's usually just simplest to have a discrete hardware controller (or use an embedded controller wifi product like Aruba Instant On or Grandstream GWN -- although Omada is a bit more well-known and arguably friendly to run... it's always a trade-off between systems for various reasons).
 

Klueless

Very Senior Member
For the most part have been happy with its performance ... have an extender upstairs that works most of the time but needs rebooted occasionally ... also have hard wired ethernet ports upstairs that I could utilize for better performance with the mesh devices if they can support that.
OK. You've heard from some of the experts. I'm a novice. I'm also cheap and ... lazy. You suggest you're mostly happy. Even with an "Extender" that you have to reboot occasionally. You also mention that you have existing cabling. And you imply WiFi coverage is adequate.

Maybe just replacing the extender would do the trick? Since you have cabling go for a wired AP. Some extenders can be configured as a wired AP. (What extender do you have?) A wired AP should be a noticeable improvement.

Many times an "extender" is "misconfigured" to be a "repeater". If that was the case you will likely find a wired AP a big improvement.

Price should come in at between $100 and $150. Done.
 
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Val D.

Very Senior Member
And that right there is why I usually recommend people go with the pre-built controllers.
And YOU @Trip are responsible for the extra $75 I had to spend for my OC200.
Well, I failed to read the Manual, but this is a completely different and unrelated story... :)
 

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