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Home Mesh Wi-Fi Coming This Summer From eero

stevech

Part of the Furniture
My problem with Apple and Apple WiFi is that it is so dumbed-down that a geek like me can't figure out how to use it. I remember well how long I spent trying to tell an Apple WiFi thing, in the era of WEP, what my hexadecimal password was. As the family guru, I was trying to help a relative get his "really simple" Apple WiFi configured. I tried to turn off my brain, read the crib sheet literally. I never got it to work.

Then there was the conversation I had in the Apple store with a "genius". On how to use a printer with Apple computers. He said Apple doesn't make printers so you're on your own - about face, he walked away.
 

danchapman

New Around Here
Great to be part of this and thanks for helping with my question. From reading around in here it seems that the better range extenders also now have two radios and backhaul so the advantage of Eero system is in: 1) ease of setup; 2) you mention superior backhaul management; 3) ability to do multi-hops.

In the case of 1 and 3 i can see that advantage clearly, but, as i am only likely to buy 2 of these, I am unclear how i am going to benefit from the superior backhaul management/what Eero is doing to make that backhaul management better compared to a router and one of the new, dual band, range extenders?

Thanks.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
There are two key things eero has that simultaneous dual-band extenders don't, two 5 GHz radios and active management.

The two 5 GHz radios provide more alternatives for backhaul traffic. Active management means the system monitors the RF environment and traffic and adapts.

eero is still a work in progress. For example band steering and load balancing among eeros is not yet implemented. Both are key for device management
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
They picked the right chip vendor to work with - Atheros always did a decent job with radio resource management, probably the key reason why they're the biggest player in the enterprise AP space - lots of options that typically aren't exposed at the consumer level...
 

danchapman

New Around Here
Thanks Tim and sfx2000. Very interesting and helpful. Would a range extender be able to also add the active management and 5 GHz radios?

I guess i am trying to understand the practical use of the term mesh also. Is there something to the mesh setup/architecture that means it can achieve things that the router/range extender can never? Or it is simply just a marketing term being used to add mystique when the reality is that eero is simply under the hood just implementing superior/enterprise features like active management into the consumer space?

Thanks.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
"Mesh" really starts when you have more than two devices. Mesh networks route traffic among all nodes and are able to adapt if a node drops offline or performance degrades.

Extenders are getting smarter, with many now intelligently switching backhaul between radios as needed. But they can't form mesh networks.

Don't over analyze. If you are curious, buy and try and return the product if it doesn't work out for you.

Although mesh is old, it's new in the consumer networking space. So it has a lot of growing up to do. eero hasn't said much since it started shipping product. The only announcement has been the discounted two-pack.
 

headcase

Occasional Visitor
Well... the wandering around talking thing - this is a priority eh?

FWIW - Airports do support 11r/11k, and in a roaming config, they just flat out work as access points - provided of course that you daisy chain them... let one be the parent, and the children, like processes, attach to them...

My setup at present...

Broadband Cloud - pfSense (as ingress router/firewall) - Airport1 (WAN as bridged and as local AP), Airport2 (as remote AP) attached to LAN1 of Airport1 -

everything wired/managed via Airport utility.. DHCP/DNS/Routing all handled by pfSense...

Airport1 LAN2 is out to an 8 port switch for the rest of the LAN - including Homeplugs to the entertainment center...

Airport Expreme AC's are probably past their prime as routers, but they still make for darn fine AP's... and they work well together... my only complaint is that the AC versions don't have a good SNMP solution..
Wow -- I didn't know that Airports supported 11r and 11k. The only documentation I could find on Apple's site refers to iOS devices supporting 802.11r, 11k, and 11v. If I have Ethernet and Powerline running backhaul where I need it, and then Airport Express units on each connection of that wired backhaul behind a decent router, sounds like this would be the ideal solution for fast and efficient roaming on my family's iOS mobile devices running WiFi voice and video. And much cheaper than installing new eero units... especially when I have some Airport Express units already lying around.

But to your comment on another part of this thread, don't I want Airports running adjacent to each other operating on different channels? Or at least leave them on auto channel selection? I always have them on the same SSID but alternating channels...
 
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danchapman

New Around Here
"Mesh" really starts when you have more than two devices. Mesh networks route traffic among all nodes and are able to adapt if a node drops offline or performance degrades.

Extenders are getting smarter, with many now intelligently switching backhaul between radios as needed. But they can't form mesh networks.

Don't over analyze. If you are curious, buy and try and return the product if it doesn't work out for you.

Although mesh is old, it's new in the consumer networking space. So it has a lot of growing up to do. eero hasn't said much since it started shipping product. The only announcement has been the discounted two-pack.
Thanks. I will give it a try.
 

headcase

Occasional Visitor
Wow -- I didn't know that Airports supported 11r and 11k. The only documentation I could find on Apple's site refers to iOS devices supporting 802.11r, 11k, and 11v. If I have Ethernet and Powerline running backhaul where I need it, and then Airport Express units on each connection of that wired backhaul behind a decent router, sounds like this would be the ideal solution for fast and efficient roaming on my family's iOS mobile devices running WiFi voice and video. And much cheaper than installing new eero units... especially when I have some Airport Express units already lying around.

But to your comment on another part of this thread, don't I want Airports running adjacent to each other operating on different channels? Or at least leave them on auto channel selection? I always have them on the same SSID but alternating channels...
sfx2000 - Can you reply back on this with your thoughts?
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Should work - backhaul over ethernet is always preferred - powerline will work, but thruput and latency will reduce performance...
 

headcase

Occasional Visitor
Should work - backhaul over ethernet is always preferred - powerline will work, but thruput and latency will reduce performance...
Understood. What about Airport Express vs. Airport Extreme for fast roaming support? Or does 802.11r and k require 802.11AC?
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
One last question for you: do you recommend leaving all of the Airports on the same channel or not?
On 2.4, I keep them on the same channel to be neighbor friendly... 5GHz, they run on their own individual channels...
 

bernard038

Regular Contributor
Hi All,

The Eero seems a nice way to finally get decent WiFi coverage in my older, thick-walled European house on the other hand, Ubiquiti's new Amplifi system may be somewhat cheaper. Dealmaker might be the bridge mode, i do not know whether the Amplifi supports this.

And i was wondering: Every Eero has two Ethernet ports, can i use these ports to connect my wired only printer in the study? Or is only the one Ethernet port left on the "primary" Eero (the one connected to my cablemodem)?

Cheers!

b.
 

pete y testing

Very Senior Member
just on the QT am hearing noise that most of the main manufactures are looking at similar to the eero within the next coming months

will be interesting to see how the playing field comes out when we have some competition
 

headcase

Occasional Visitor
Hey sfx2000 and Tim - so I've been testing various solutions to try to remedy a sticky client issue with my Macs running 10.11.5. So far, I've experimented with the following AC access points to try to get seamless / fast roaming in place in my large home, all behind my existing router:

- Ubiquiti (I like their controller, but very buggy code on their AC devices for current iPhones, and they have yet to implement 802.11r and 802..11k in their production firmware until they work out all the ongoing bugs on their AC products)
- Edimax (absolutely terrible controller to configure and get the APs running properly)
- eero (plug and play, but the OS X 10.11.5 client was WAY too sticky even with supposed fast roaming support, to the point of even needing to disconnect and reconnect to get a closer AP)
- latest Airport Extremes (plug and play as always, with fast association on my iDevices, but... my 10.11.5 OS X Macbook would not hop over to the next AP quickly enough on WPA2 Personal, and the result consistently is 1-2 seconds of no VoIP inbound or outbound between hops).

All this makes me wonder how well OS X 10.9 or later *really* supports fast roaming protocols. After reading this excellent post, I'm almost to the point of going with Meraki or Cisco just for home use! Ugh.
http://wifinigel.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-are-sticky-clients.html
 
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sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Normally what causes the behavior you note is that the trigger point is never reached - either the AP's are too close together, or the power on the AP's is too high...

Apple device behave pretty similar across iOS and MacOS - -70 dBm is the trigger point for idle state (e.g. no traffic) and -60 dBm is the trigger for active traffic - if you do not get to that level, the trigger is never pulled, and the client has no reason to move, as the current AP is more than sufficient.

If one uses Wireshark (free) along with Airtool (also free), you'll see the Probe Request Messages from the client when that trigger is hit - it does this as all AP's in the BSS/ESS will respond to that message with a Probe Response, and the client can then make the decision to jump or not, depending on the relative RSSI values observed in the Probe Response.

One other caveat - and this isn't Apple specific - different SSID's imply that there are different networks, so common SSID, implies that the AP's are sharing a common back-end - if the SSID's are different, most clients will indeed camp on the same AP until it's lost and then go into network search and selection after that.

hth...
 

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