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Dense city: multiple APs to address a dead zone in the house

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by briancl, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. briancl

    briancl New Around Here

    Apr 22, 2019
    Hi, I am replacing one dead NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 running DDWRT and an Asus AC68U running Merlin. The APs are located in the bottom and top floor of a 3 story house.

    I live in a city with a lot of noise (I am in a single family home surrounded by 3 and 4 flats on all sides), and mobile devices on the middle floor can get weak signal and sometimes drop entirely off the network. I also have gigabit fiber and would like to maximize the throughput of the devices if possible.

    I have ethernet runs that allow me to hard wire the 2 APs in their current locations and possibly add additional APs on the middle floor or on the opposite end of the house on the top floor (this would put APs close to the current dead zone)

    What I'd like is help selecting the right hardware and also if there are any recommendations for dealing with the noise. Can I run more APs at a lower power to reduce noise, or am I screwed because of everyone else around me running so many APs?

    I'm leaning toward Unifi. I've had an Edgerouter Lite for 5 years and have been happy with the product, but I'm not sure if their Wifi is good.
  2. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    When high-density and/or interference is a factor, there's Ruckus, and then there's everything else. Cost is a notch higher than what you've been looking at, but if you want to solve the problem once and for all, there's no better option.

    I could blabber on about ChannelFly, BeamFlex, etc. (fluffy marketing terms for underlying tech that actually works) but just know it's a superior solution to basically any consumer gear, even better than UniFi in several ways. Plus, Ruckus has a controller-less solution in Unleashed, if you don't want the extra box.

    If you're tight on budget, go with working pull N-class stuff off eBay (ZD1100 controllers are now below $100 and 7982/7372/7352 AP's are well below $50 a pop...), you could still get 80-90% of the interference mitigation, albeit without the AC speeds (superfluous in many scenarios anyways). Perhaps worth it just as a proof-of-concept if nothing else.

    If you just want to buy new and get it over with, either two R510 Unleashed APs for ~$250-275 each (Amazon) at the current locations, or 2 R310's (~$200) at the current drops, and an R510 in the middle of the house at a new drop. The radios will automatically alter power level, channel selection and beam steering to form a wifi blanket that adjusts in real-time to the RF space. Connections will be rock-solid, hand-offs are seamless, etc. etc. For setup, if you're in any way network-literate (it sounds like you are), it's usually sub-15 minutes, and they're set-and-forget. No consumer beta-ware here.

    Getting off my soap-box, but seriously, check them out. They're tailor-made for situations like this.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019