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Can I add two APs wired backhaul in a mesh config to an existing router?

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by Prodeje79, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. Prodeje79

    Prodeje79 Occasional Visitor

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    I'd like to add two wired backhauled APs that are in a mesh configuration.

    For now my ASUS rt-ac68u is running strictly as a router (no wifi) in the basement. I have wired ports in my living room and family room via cat 5e. My netgear X4s has been serving well as just an AP for the whole house, but my 2.4 radio died.

    What mesh wired backhualed APs should I consider? assuming i am not required to use it's router functionality to use true mesh?

    Maybe this isn't even possible....
    I was debating to see if I could buy the new WiFi 6 Netgear Nighthawk MK62 but just run them as mesh APs.... not sure if that's possible? I don't really need wifi 6....

    Hope I am making sense! I want to add to wired APs as mesh, but retain my existing router....

    Otherwise, what is my best bet to add two APs like this?
     
  2. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

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    Take a look at TP-Link Omada solution, if it fits the budget:

    1 x TL-SG108PE Smart Switch, PoE
    2 x EAP245 AC1750 Access Points, PoE
    1 x OC200 Omada Cloud Controller, PoE

    This offers one of the best price/performance ratios in small business gear. APs are PoE powered from the Switch, Cloud controller (also PoE powered) is for centralized APs setup, network monitoring and roaming technologies 802.11k/v/r, Smart Switch allows VLANs setup (for isolating your IoT devices, for instance). The WiFi throughput, simultaneous number of clients support and roaming between APs is better than consumer products, similar to Ubiquiti UniFi systems. Requires some learning to setup properly, but not that difficult. You can use your current router now and upgrade it later, if needed. You can add later another AP for extra coverage, if needed.
     
    Prodeje79 likes this.
  3. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    What is the Mesh you are talking about? I know what a mesh system is in the Cisco world but in the wireless world it seems to be a marketing term. There is no real mesh. It just seems to be a wireless connection between a router and wireless AP?
     
    Val D. likes this.
  4. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

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    Two wired APs? I'm not seeing the need for "mesh". I think the bigger question is do you need "guest" (as in guests have no access to your internal network) for your extended WiFi network? If not it could be a simple as a couple of dual-band Netgear 6150's (or the Linksys equivalents) for about $75 each.
     
  5. Prodeje79

    Prodeje79 Occasional Visitor

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    Appreciate the responses!

    Val, never heard of this. Started Reading up, I may try it out! Tempted to see how much their Wifi6 will cost. Seems it will be available soon. "Omada High Performance Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Band Ceiling Mount Access Points EAP660 HD (1148 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 2400 Mbps (5GHz)) and EAP620 HD (574 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1200 Mbps (5GHz)) are expected to ship in the first quarter of 2020."
    I wish I could run their cloud software on my synology NAS like you can UniFi software.

    Fair enough on the mesh callout. Two things come to mind that I want for no good reason.
    1. IEEE 802.11r-2008 or fast BSS transition (FT)
    2. Not seeing multiple APs with the same name. I think with most "mesh setups" you only see one? Well maybe see a 2.4 and 5?

    On another note, I have a few nest cams (inside and out )and the door bell. I'm sick of them dropping connection. Indeed two APs would fix this without them being gimmicky mesh.

    Since I need to buy something now, I figured I'd give a unifi setup or maybe this omada a try.....
     
  6. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

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    You got me on that. I'm going to have to do some reading to catch up with you : -)
    "Same name"? Do you mean the same SSID? Both 2.4 and 5 GHz radios can be set up to use the same SSID names/passwords and multiple APs can all be set to use the same SSID names/passwords.

    IMO a "mesh" is nothing more than a collection of APs. The difference is configuration and setup is all kind of "auto-magic" and if something breaks it's all kind of "self healing".
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  7. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

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    It was just an example. It gives you similar to UniFi system performance with UAP-AC-PRO access points, but on a lower price. Ubiquiti software is nicer, but Omada configuration is probably easier. You can't go wrong with either, both work fast and reliable. On your questions, Omada supports 802.11k/v/r, UniFi 802.11k/r (verify, may support 802.11v also now). You can play with SSIDs, bands and channels as you like, whatever works best for you. Both systems are fully configurable, not like consumer "mesh" products with limited options. You can chose other options from Cisco, Aruba, Ruckus, etc., but the price is going up.

    You can go with UniFi Dream Machine + APs, if you prefer Ubiquiti. Dream Machine is 4-in-1 device including gateway, switch, controller and access point. You can start with it, use it and learn how it works, then add APs as needed. The new APs become integral part of the whole WiFi system. You just need PoE adapters for APs, but most UniFi come with one. This is also a good way to go and comes cheaper than separate components. If you prefer consumer routers in "mesh" whatever configuration, that's also fine. They offer the easiest configuration, but with average performance. Good enough for home use. Disposable though, when you need to upgrade something.
     
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  8. Prodeje79

    Prodeje79 Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks great info!

    To save money, could I just get the two APs, run power with injectors, and then install the software on Synology NAS?
    I indeed see a docker image omada controller.
     
  9. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

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    Yes. The TL-SG108PE switch provides extra LAN ports, convenience with PoE and some VLAN configurations for future options. Why smart switch in my example? Because the ones with PoE only are almost the same price. Smart switch is not really full control switch, it's something in between unmanaged and managed. You can use the router's ports to connect the APs with the PoE injectors provided. Get one AP from Amazon, for example, see how it works for you. If you like the results - get a second one, if not - send it back. EAP245 (AC1750 class, up to 1300Mbps link speeds) can broadcast isolated Guest Network, by the way. You can't set it through the AP page, but you can through the controller. There is a cheaper version called EAP225 with 2x2 AC radios (AC1200 class, up to 866Mbps link speeds), in case you don't have any 3x3 devices. And EAP245 has a bit stronger signal, as I remember correctly.

    What I don't like much is the look of EAP2xx APs and the bright green LED. It can be disabled though. I like the performance, it's definitely better than the "gaming" ASUS router I had before. Everything in my system is temporary there, so may change in any moment. The example above is what I use at the moment, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the best for everyone. It's just a relatively easy to setup alternative to consumer routers on OK-ish price. I found it good for the price and testing one piece at a time ended up with a full set. It may go tomorrow though, depending on my mood. Oh, forgot... look for EAP245 V3, this is the latest model, the one with the wavy cover.

    I don't know. I used to run it on a Windows PC, then got the hardware controller to make the system more independent.
     
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  10. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

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    There is a SNB review on EAP225 V3 access points:
    https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wir...o-gigabit-ceiling-mount-access-point-reviewed
    EAP245 V3 is similar or slightly better performance version with 3x3 AC radios.

    This is where my idea to test came from, by the way. If you need more ideas for different access points and SMB equipment, the respected user @Trip may literally overload you with detailed information. He is the local Wikipedia of networking options. :)
     
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  11. Prodeje79

    Prodeje79 Occasional Visitor

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    Ok I got my EAP245 v3 and and running!
    Debating do for a second one and remove my netgear x4s all together....

    I have a silly question, hopefully ok to ask here.

    In my family room it has network jack. I have an unmanaged d-link gigabit switch there so I have my TV, receiver, nvidia shield, and current AP running off of it. Will this cause issues?

    So just to clarify, here's the whole flow. Modem to router to unmanaged tp-link gigabit switch to d-link gigabit unmanaged switch to the AP. Obviously the PoE won't work in this scenario, what other concerns? Would the smart switch still be useful in this configuration? I'd probably just put it in place of the current tp-link unmanaged switch that's connected to the router....

    Edit: I was able to get the Omada Docker container running on my NAS, although I need to figure out how to connect to it lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  12. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

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    Should be OK, you just need to connect the PoE injector before the AP to power it. You already did that, probably.

    Smart only if you plan some VLANs configurations on it. PoE switch before APs will allow removing of injectors. Again, in my example above TL-SG108PE is Smart + PoE just because Dumb + PoE is almost the same price. If you already have switches, use what you have, test how it works. Leave the improvements for later, after you know those APs are good to cover your WiFi needs.
     
    Prodeje79 likes this.