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Firmware and configuration for two RT-AC68U’s

Discussion in 'ASUS AC Routers & Adapters' started by Another Rob, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Another Rob

    Another Rob New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2019
    Messages:
    2
    I am moving from a 1000 sq ft apartment to a 2000 sq ft single floor house and I suspect I will need to use an additional router for Wi-Fi coverage.

    Currently, in the apartment, the room with cable has a cable modem and an Asus RT-AC68U. This provides Wi-Fi for mobile devices and a wired connection for a Kindle TV. The router has a simple configuration. I don’t have any devices that are using 2G but it is enabled, and the SSID’s for 2G and 5G are different. Guest Wi-Fi is disabled.

    I have an office that has devices that do not have Wi-Fi so the office is connected to the router using two TP-Link TL-PA9020P powerline adapters.

    I have an extra RT-AC68U and an RT-N66U that are not in use. RT-AC68U’s are old but they still work well and I’m hoping that two of them will provide adequate 5G coverage for the house. The RT-AC68U’s are running 3.0.0.4.384.45149 firmware. I am not planning to use the RT-N66U.

    In the house, I am planning to place the cable modem and one RT-AC68U in the family room and connect the RT-AC68U in the office using the powerline adapters. I’m hoping the powerline adapters will provide at least 70 mbps. (My cable connection is about 70 mbps.)

    In summary:
    SB6183 -> RT-AC68U -> TL-PA9020P -> TL-PA9020P -> RT-AC68U -> office

    The questions I have are:
    1. How should the second router be configured? AP or AiMesh?
    2. Should the SSID’s for the two routers be the same?
    3. Should I upgrade the firmware? If so, of the recent versions, which ones are stable?

    Thanks in advance,
    Rob.
     
  2. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
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    1,394
    Location:
    USA
    Me, I would go for the finish line and see how it works... I think a 2xRT-AC68U AiMesh with wireless backhaul would be a good fit in 2000 sq. ft. One 68U might suffice for WiFi, but I assume you want to extend the wired LAN into the office.

    The 68Us do not support Smart Connect node band steering, so use separate SSIDs. You can try ROB for both bands, but be prepared to change to ROB-24 for the 2.4 GHz band.

    In the future when you upgrade to Smart Connect support, you will only have to change your 2.4 GHz WLAN back to ROB to give Smart Connect a try. You can leave both guest WLANs as ROB, if you 'don't care' how guest wireless clients choose to connect (guest WLANs will only broadcast from the AiMesh router).

    I would upgrade both 68Us to the current firmware for security and AiMesh updates, reset both to factory defaults, configure the router minimally (see my notes), and add the AiMesh node with a wireless backhaul to omit the Powerline equipment to keep it simple. What will be the wireless backhaul distance... the farther the better in 2000 sq. ft.?

    (The Powerline equipment would be a new install on the house electrical network, so it could present new issues. Perhaps once the AiMesh is working, you could still setup a Powerline link to extend a single LAN connection from the router... but I would not unnecessarily run the AiMesh or an AP backhaul over it.)

    An advantage of using matched routers/nodes is that you can remotely upgrade/remove/reset the node, and then configure it to be the next router without fully tearing down your existing router/network to experiment with upgrades.

    OE
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  3. Another Rob

    Another Rob New Around Here

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    Jul 17, 2019
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    Thanks for the advice on AiMesh, the SSID, the firmware upgrade, and Powerline.

    Yes, I need a wired LAN in the office. The backhaul between the family room and the office is about 50 ft.
    Eventually I want to install Ethernet in the crawl space, but the crawl space needs to be cleaned up first, and this will be an interim configuration.

    I thought that I read on one of the SNB forums that it's better to use wired or Powerline to connect AiMesh, rather than using up Wi-Fi bandwidth for backhaul.
    With AiMesh, would the backhaul use 2.4GHz so that all of the 5GHz bandwidth is available for clients?

    Thanks, Rob.
     
  4. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Very Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    A 50' backhaul should be ok, pending any material obstacles and ambient WiFi interference.

    Wired is more certain, but a WiFi solution is not unacceptable and is more convenient. Residential mesh systems are intended to solve residential WiFi needs... with WiFi.

    A wireless AiMesh backhaul will use the best backhaul band available. My 86U 77' wireless backhaul to a detached brick garage uses ac on the 5.0 GHz band. Here are my current Wireless Log entries for my backhaul MACs... RSSI, Protocol, Tx, Rx (rates vary over time):

    2.4 GHz
    -61dBm n 216.7M 156M

    5.0 GHz
    -69dBm ac 780M 702M

    Signal power is not great here due to the path/obstacles, but the connection is plenty good and stable enough. Wiring it is not worth the trouble and is not necessary.

    Shorter 86U wireless backhauls in the clear can yield Tx/Rx rates in the 1000 to 2000 Mbps range (half-duplex). Wired Gigabit Ethernet is 1000 Mbps, full-duplex.

    You can always try a plan B Powerline backhaul next, but we know Powerline can have its own issues, so these might compound any initial network/client/WiFi setup troubleshooting.

    OE
     
  5. Grisu

    Grisu Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,203
    If there is a possibility to change powerline for LAN cable do so and setup second router as AP (or Aimesh with LAN backhaul prefered)!