Have: 5Gbps internet/gateway, need: Wi-Fi 6E mesh (3 APs)

SamS

Regular Contributor
Today I upgraded from 1Gbps AT&T Fiber, to 5Gbps AT&T Fiber (via BGW-320 gateway). This gateway has a single 5Gb (/2.5Gb/1Gb) LAN port, and three 1Gb LAN ports.

For Wi-Fi, I currently have an Orbi system consisting of RBR50 AC3000 router, two Orbi satellites, and an Orbi outdoor satellite. These are all obviously limited on the LAN ports to 1Gbps and Wi-Fi 5.

After careful consideration, I've decided to bite my lip and use the AT&T gateway for routing functions. If I were to pass the signal to a traditional/consumer Wi-Fi 6E router, I'd be limited by a 2.5Gb LAN port which is all I see on most consumer routers. Limited in the sense that my wired network/backhaul would also be capped due to pushing all traffic through a 2.5Gb router port, instead of taking full advantage of the 5Gb internet and the 10Gb ports on the handful of such switches/devices in my house.

In other words, I don't want the 2.5Gbs routing port on a Wi-Fi 6E router to be the bottleneck for both WAN and LAN.

Since I'll be using the AT&T gateway routing, what are my options for qty 3 access points? I'll keep the outdoor Orbi, and they've made a way for it to act as an extender to 3rd party APs. Besides, I don't think there are any Wi-Fi 6E outdoor APs? Also, I'll need the capability of wired backhaul @ 2.5Gbs. I've almost pulled the trigger on the Orbi 960 @$1500, but it feels like I'm overpaying since I won't use the routing function. Are there any small-biz AP options for ~$1K that would meet my needs?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
AFAIK you're venturing into a DIY setup to max the throughput. There are a few dual port 10ge cards out that are nbase-t that would pick up the 5ge from att and then pass 10ge internally.

QXG-10G2T-107
QXG-10G2TB

There is a couple of APs that have a 5ge port on them but actual throughput per client would be ~1.5gbps due to the limited antennas on the card itself. One that comes to mind is from Netgear. WAX630E $369/ea with 2.5gbps back haul. There's also a $10/yr per AP subscription to manage them. Otherwise the next 6E AP runs about $750/ea.

I guess I should quantify things with 6E / client speeds. Since you have the option in 6ghz which is the selling point you might be able to get higher than 1.5gps per client but, the limitation would still be the port itself.

I'm running a DIY setup using a 5gbps card and AP (NWA210AX) / client AX210 cards configured @ 160mhz.
 
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SamS

Regular Contributor
AFAIK you're venturing into a DIY setup to max the throughput. There are a few dual port 10ge cards out that are nbase-t that would pick up the 5ge from att and then pass 10ge internally.

QXG-10G2T-107
QXG-10G2TB

There is a couple of APs that have a 5ge port on them but actual throughput per client would be ~1.5gbps due to the limited antennas on the card itself. One that comes to mind is from Netgear. WAX630E $369/ea with 2.5gbps back haul. There's also a $10/yr per AP subscription to manage them. Otherwise the next 6E AP runs about $750/ea.

I guess I should quantify things with 6E / client speeds. Since you have the option in 6ghz which is the selling point you might be able to get higher than 1.5gps per client but, the limitation would still be the port itself.

I'm running a DIY setup using a 5gbps card and AP (NWA210AX) / client AX210 cards configured @ 160mhz.

I plan on using a TRENDnet TEG-S762 switch that will do the same thing as the Qnap card you linked - take in 5Gb and link @ 10Gb to my uplink 10Gb switch, as well as pass 2.5Gb on to the access points. This switch is out of stock on Amazon, where I need to use a fair amount of credits. Come on supply chain!! :-/

So my problem is still the access points. I definitely don't want to pay a monthly fee to manage them. I think the Zyxel APs like you have might make sense, but they don't have 6E. If I'm going to upgrade/spend money going from Wi-Fi 5, I just kinda figured I'd go all the way to 6E.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
The one I have works great for 6 but, I don't know if they're planning on releasing a 6E version at this point. I'm in the same boat with wanting the bleeding edge tech but, not paying too much for it when you know it will come down in price once there's some competition.

The Zyxel 210's I've spotted them down to ~$160/ea on Amazon recently w/ Prime shipping. There's no subscription costs with them if you manage them individually through the web GUI. There's an option to use the Nebula APP to control them but, since I only have 1 I didn't bother testing it. Also, I like to use the CLI to fine tune it and get rid of all the junk that's there from the GUI templates.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F9ZL9LY/?tag=snbforums-20 $139
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XWK4HNT/?tag=snbforums-20 $140
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0995T34KL/?tag=snbforums-20 $170

These would probably be good for the AP's and are in stock.

For the 5GE link though / routing / etc. This is where the issue is going to be for finding something off the shelf that has the proper speed unless you jump to 10GE and downshift to 5GE.

It's a bit of a waiting game if you want something you pull out of a box and setup vs making your own SFF PC as a router DIY and put in the HW you want to use. Considering the pricing on the dual port 10GE cards vs buying a SMB / Enterprise 10GE router and other functions you can roll into the PC DIY setup.

10GE Dial - $215 (WAN)
5GE Quad - $200 (AP/LAN)
SFF PC - $150
OS Linux - $0
AP's 210AX - $160/ea or Netgear $370/ea + $10/YR/device
 

SamS

Regular Contributor
The one I have works great for 6 but, I don't know if they're planning on releasing a 6E version at this point. I'm in the same boat with wanting the bleeding edge tech but, not paying too much for it when you know it will come down in price once there's some competition.

The Zyxel 210's I've spotted them down to ~$160/ea on Amazon recently w/ Prime shipping. There's no subscription costs with them if you manage them individually through the web GUI. There's an option to use the Nebula APP to control them but, since I only have 1 I didn't bother testing it. Also, I like to use the CLI to fine tune it and get rid of all the junk that's there from the GUI templates.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F9ZL9LY/?tag=snbforums-20 $139
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XWK4HNT/?tag=snbforums-20 $140
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0995T34KL/?tag=snbforums-20 $170

These would probably be good for the AP's and are in stock.

I'd prefer to have a single/small switch like this for my access points, that also supports 10GE + 5GE so I can pass that speed to both my Netgear Prosafe M5300-28G3 uplink/main switch, as well as directly to the handful of 10GE devices I have. This TRENDnet checks all those boxes, but it only pops in stock for a few minutes at a time: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09LNLMH9Y/?tag=snbforums-20

For the 5GE link though / routing / etc. This is where the issue is going to be for finding something off the shelf that has the proper speed unless you jump to 10GE and downshift to 5GE.

Right, see switch I linked above. Or even this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09M7KSZB2/?tag=snbforums-20

It's a bit of a waiting game if you want something you pull out of a box and setup vs making your own SFF PC as a router DIY and put in the HW you want to use. Considering the pricing on the dual port 10GE cards vs buying a SMB / Enterprise 10GE router and other functions you can roll into the PC DIY setup.

10GE Dial - $215 (WAN)
5GE Quad - $200 (AP/LAN)
SFF PC - $150
OS Linux - $0
AP's 210AX - $160/ea or Netgear $370/ea + $10/YR/device

I'd like to avoid the DIY route... and it seems like my AP options are just so damn limited ugh. I mean, I could wack it with a $1500 Netgear Orbi hammer, but it feels like I'm overpaying by at least $500 because I won't be using any of the routing/Orbi-specific features.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Yeah it's the chicken and egg situation. I got WiFi ax210 cards for 6E but almost 2 years into it there's still limited overpriced options to connect then to. I refuse to pay for a router to get the WiFi function as an ap. Going Zyxel though got me 1/2 way there without over paying for a router at twice the cost. With Netgear releasing the AP though I suspect others won't be far behind and bring costs inline with where they should be.

Putting in the back haul for 5ge wan is still needed for wired clients if you want to get the speed you're paying for. Wait out the 6e part and when prices become reasonable swap then into the mix. Otherwise you're just spending more than you need to.
 

SamS

Regular Contributor
Yeah it's the chicken and egg situation. I got WiFi ax210 cards for 6E but almost 2 years into it there's still limited overpriced options to connect then to. I refuse to pay for a router to get the WiFi function as an ap. Going Zyxel though got me 1/2 way there without over paying for a router at twice the cost. With Netgear releasing the AP though I suspect others won't be far behind and bring costs inline with where they should be.

Putting in the back haul for 5ge wan is still needed for wired clients if you want to get the speed you're paying for. Wait out the 6e part and when prices become reasonable swap then into the mix. Otherwise you're just spending more than you need to.
I think you nailed it.

I can add the wired uplink for ~$300 that will give me 2.5/5/10GE to all applicable wired devices that I have today.

But here we are stuck with limited 6E options at reasonable prices. It's not like anyone in my house is complaining about the Wi-Fi 5 speeds or my current 4 AP coverage, but more is always better, right :)
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Seems there is a SA mode for the Netgear....

1646935936763.png


This should negate the need for the $10/device subscription.

There's also a "save10" code for 10% off which covers taxes for most.

1646936105022.png
 

SamS

Regular Contributor
That might be the ticket right there! Wondering how much they gimp the operation by using Standalone (non-Insight) mode?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I just kinda figured I'd go all the way to 6E
but more is always better, right

Better, but not for you. For the hardware vendor.

Most common clients are 2-stream. On AC you can get about 600Mbps (866Mbps link) throughput. On AX about 800Mbps (1200Mbps link). You may or may not be able to use 160MHz wide channel (for 2400Mbps link). What are you investing $1500 into again?

How many AX clients do you have and what type?
How many of the AX clients are 160MHz capable?
How many of the AX clients are 6GHz capable?

There is a big chance $1500 later you'll figure there is a very little return of your investment, if any.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
I don't think there's much to gimp other than one pane management. If you ssh into them you have full control of everything. It's still a bit of a premium of $100-$150 but less than orbi would be. Upside would be not having to upgrade for a few years as things progress beyond to 7.
 

SamS

Regular Contributor
Better, but not for you. For the hardware vendor.

Most common clients are 2-stream. On AC you can get about 600Mbps (866Mbps link) throughput. On AX about 800Mbps (1200Mbps link). You may or may not be able to use 160MHz wide channel (for 2400Mbps link). What are you investing $1500 into again?

How many AX clients do you have and what type?
How many of the AX clients are 160MHz capable?
How many of the AX clients are 6GHz capable?

There is a big chance $1500 later you'll figure there is a very little return of your investment, if any.
All valid points. $1500 never felt 'right' to me either, based on the (correct) assumptions that you're likely making that I don't have several devices that would see an immediate benefit. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any obviously 6E solution that was significantly cheaper.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
There's also some incremental speed steps as you progress up from 5 to 6 to 6e on 2.4/5/6ghz bands. The Zyxel I have also gives corner to corner coverage in 1300sq ft. I would expect the Netgear to have about the same. $360/AP shipped isn't bad as a DIY to add just 6e right now runs about the same. Finding you don't need the subscription adds more value as well. I might keep a closer eye on price drops and pick one up as well.
 

tgl

Regular Contributor
FWIW, you might want to think less in terms of single-client bandwidth and more about aggregate bandwidth. That 5Gbps fiber is mighty cool, but which websites do you visit that will provide 5Gbps download rates? Outside of the occasional test server, I don't think that's reality. So what you've actually bought, IMO, is the ability to sustain maybe-around-100Mbps transfers for a couple dozen clients simultaneously. That should color your thinking about how to set up the wireless part of it. Given how thin 6E clients are on the ground right now, I'd not spend today's ridiculous premiums for 6E APs. If your layout and usage allow it, you might consider getting several WiFi 6 APs and letting them split the available bandwidth. I think that could be gradually upgraded to 6E as you acquire client hardware that can use it.

I recently bought a Zyxel NWA210AX access point (on the strength of the recommendations of a couple of people here) and I'm quite happy with it. Decent WiFi 6 performance and I'm not paying for routing functionality I don't need. I would've considered one of Netgear's access points if I hadn't just gotten burned so badly by their Orbi gear, which I found expensive and unreliable.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any obviously 6E solution that was significantly cheaper.

No matter how good your access points are, you are limited by client radio capabilities. Throwing money in expensive 6E APs with 2.5GbE ports won't give you speed increase. Paying for 5Gb Internet line won't give you better browsing experience, just faster downloads. Mobile devices like phones/tablets simply have nothing to do with Gigabit speeds. 10GbE internal network is good to have if you have SSD NAS capable of 10Gb speeds and multiple wired clients using this NAS. For wireless clients it doesn't matter - very few can reach Gigabit. I'm not very sure what do you want to build.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
aggregate bandwidth
I try to look at both sides including LAN & WAN when designing things.

LAN is where you can make the most of the AP's but for pure performance it's the wired side that makes the most of the bandwidth. Aggregating the WIFI though can get close to being able to hit that 5GE WAN. Typical idle packets though won't even register a blip of activity. If you're moving huge files though between clients it makes a difference. When I'm doing bulk moves / copies I have a USB 5GE I plug in and run with that for making quick work of a TB or so of data. My "NAS" on my DIY system hits 400MB/s in R10 configuration with spinners and upping it to 6 drives would put me to 600MB/s w/ overhead puts it at 5GE. You would need to hit 1250MB/s to saturate a 10GE connection and that's some serious data or number of clients using the connection.

Hitting 600MB/s would take some effort to pull off like imaging files that are GB's in size moving them between an office/home or a tor box seeding tons of files simultaneously. Even so 3 APs @ 2.5GE aggregate to 7.5GE if all in use to max capacity to max them out would take at least 2 clients per AP to peg the bandwidth at max.

The perks of the 5GE WAN though are when you need it you have it there for use. 90% of the time it won't be pegged with data but, when you need it being able to offload data 5X faster than most residential connections is nice. Even being able to take advantage of my extra bandwidth from over provisioning of a gigabit plan by bundling 2GE together for 1400mbps feels nice. I could go pro and pat 3X as much for symmetrical fiber @ 2g x 2g but it's not worth it for what I use it for.

For the client comparison though my phone will get a LR of 1200mbps and my laptop 2400mbps. Everything else is just slow by comparison when it comes to connectivity to the AP. Then again they're not high bandwidth needs for a soundbar, thermostat, Chromecast, etc. Well, the CC can be high BW but it needs a better CPU for more complex codecs to be resolved on the fly w/o transcoding on the server side.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
@SamS If your APs are all wired, you don't need a Wi-Fi mesh system, just APs. Are you using the 5 GHz backhaul radios in your current Orbis?

@Tech Junky 3 APs with 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports do NOT "aggregate" to 7.5 Gbps. IF each AP has a clear 80 MHz bandwidth, you could get at most get 1201Mbps x 3, assuming all AC/AX STAs on 5 GHz. But that would be spread among 3 APs. Max bandwidth per AP would be 1201Mbps.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@SamS If your APs are all wired, you don't need a Wi-Fi mesh system, just APs. Are you using the 5 GHz backhaul radios in your current Orbis?

@Tech Junky 3 APs with 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports do NOT "aggregate" to 7.5 Gbps. IF each AP has a clear 80 MHz bandwidth, you could get at most get 1201Mbps x 3, assuming all AC/AX STAs on 5 GHz. But that would be spread among 3 APs. Max bandwidth per AP would be 1201Mbps.
I'm talking about the PHY and then loading it with a couple of clients @160 to peg the connection.

Each AP has an Ethernet port @ 2.5GE
Switch aggregates each port = 2.5 x 3 = 7.5GE which leaves 2.5GE for other wired devices and overhead on the 10GE backplane.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I'm talking about the PHY and then loading it with a couple of clients @160 to peg the connection.

This is unlikely scenario with 4x4 AP and 2x 2-stream MU-MIMO @160MHz wide channel with clients close to the AP. 160MHz may not be available and it reduces the range. 2x 2-stream MU-MIMO may not work at all, multiple factors at play. In realistic scenario with more stable non-DFS @80MHz wide channel and common 2-stream clients you can't saturate even Gigabit LAN backhaul. With few available AX clients, some of which phones/tablets, this upgrade is simply throwing money at nothing - chasing theoretical possibilities, if they happen at some point for a short period of time. To reach your theoretical 7.5 Gigabit you have to hit the jackpot with unlikely scenario x 3.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@Tech9

There's a 100 different ways to saturate the network. If you wan to do 80mhz channel width then it just means you need more clients to peg the speeds, I run 160 and hit 1.5gbps, If I took my setup and had the 5GE WAN + 2 more AP's I could find a way to saturate the WAN. I currently have a 5GE card in my DIY setup for LAN access and route my AP through that at 2.5GE.

Some AP's have an 80+80 option that avoids DFS all together and allows for 160mhz combined throughput. 160mhz isn't something new to deal with when it comes to WIFI. It's all in how you implement it and mitigate interference that down steps the channel width. From a PC standpoint it's a quick upgrade using an AX210 card and configuring it to prefer AX and setting some options to make it perform.

The limitation on the client side being 2x2 is just something to deal with for the time being until other MFG's release AX client cards and expand upon the current limitations of Intel. I've yet to see RTL / QCA release cards even though Intel did close to 2 years ago now. I think the slowness is related to the regulatory approvals coming at a slug's pace. Now that 6ghz channels have been cleared in major markets things should ramp up a bit more with additional options. The Netgear AP being released would be a benchmark indicator of others coming to market soon. Being priced at $370 makes it palatable compared to a router w/ WIFI coming in ~$500-$600.

It would be nice to see someone like QNAP release a PCI version w/ 4 antennas like they have for AC to use as a client or server. I had one of their AC cards running as an AP and it was great to have it internalized in the DIY setup for the least chance of a bottleneck in terms of speed / throughput. Being able to have an internal card functioning as an AP also allows for using different antennas to tx/rx at greater distances or if you wanted to do something directional that's possible as well w/o having to crack the shell of an AP to modify the antenna setup.
 

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