I have two RT-AC68Ps, one is getting flaky - what replacement?

don_chuwish

New Around Here
These were bought cheap as T-Mobile TM-AC1900 and then flashed to current ASUS FW (now 3.0.0.4.385_20490-g57b06ea). They are set up as Primary and Access Point.
The Primary is in the 1st floor TV room at the far SE side of the house and serves several wired TV room devices as well as providing WiFi. The Access Point is upstairs in my office, about 30 lateral feet and a few walls away to the NW - connected by Cat5e. It also serves several wired devices (work PC, printers, NAS) and WiFi coverage for upstairs bedrooms and that end of the house.
The Primary has been getting flaky lately, requiring reboots too often.
When setting these up I played with AiMesh but settled on AP mode instead. Both nodes are serving 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz. Sometimes I feel like mobile devices don't always switch nodes when they should.

After reading the reviews on SNB I'm considering two options (but willing to consider others!)
a. Get a new RT-AC86U as Primary and either keep the Office 68P as AP or play with AiMesh again (wired backhaul)
b. Get a NETGEAR R7800 as Primary and see if it covers the whole house, use the 68U as AP if not

I'm torn between staying in the ASUS family for multi-node compatibility/convenience, or jumping over to the NETGEAR for better performance, range, and hopefully single node simplicity.

If I went with the NETGEAR and needed to use the office 68P as an AP would they work well together?
If I stick with ASUS, should AiMesh mode improve roaming handoffs for mobile devices?
Other ideas in the <$200 range?

Thanks!
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
First, not a good idea to discuss the T-Mobile flashed with firmware other than T-Mobile firmware.

I like and recommend the RT-AC86U. Asus and Merlin firmware both work well on it! Should have longer support than a Netgear router and if you do not have any AX clients the AC is for you.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
If stability is what you're after, I'd move on from the consumer stuff, at least for wifi, if not altogether, and run purpose-built gear. And no, it doesn't have to be expensive or all that complex.

For your use-case and budget, I'd eBay the fully-functional 68P and keep the flaky unit to use just as a wired router (disable wifi on it). Then add a pair of controller-based wireless APs, like two TP-Link EAP225v3's ($60 each, $120 total) plus an OC200 controller ($90). A setup like that will be way more reliable that a disparate combo of consumer all-in-ones, plus you'll have a single control panel for easier management of both APs, high-quality Qualcomm wireless and likely better seamless roaming, all for around or under your budget (once you sell the second 68P).

If/when the 68P you've kept ever falls short, you can swap it discretely with a rock-solid wired router, like a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter, Cisco RV, pfSense box, etc.
 

don_chuwish

New Around Here
First, not a good idea to discuss the T-Mobile flashed with firmware other than T-Mobile firmware.

I like and recommend the RT-AC86U. Asus and Merlin firmware both work well on it! Should have longer support than a Netgear router and if you do not have any AX clients the AC is for you.
Thanks for the input! I'm tempted to try having just one router in my office since it is 2nd floor and more centrally located. But silly me didn't have the electrician run two ethernet cables up there, just one. So WiFi would have to be solid for everything in the downstairs TV Room.
 

don_chuwish

New Around Here
If stability is what you're after, I'd move on from the consumer stuff, at least for wifi, if not altogether, and run purpose-built gear. And no, it doesn't have to be expensive or all that complex.

For your use-case and budget, I'd eBay the fully-functional 68P and keep the flaky unit to use just as a wired router (disable wifi on it). Then add a pair of controller-based wireless APs, like two TP-Link EAP225v3's ($60 each, $120 total) plus an OC200 controller ($90). A setup like that will be way more reliable that a disparate combo of consumer all-in-ones, plus you'll have a single control panel for easier management of both APs, high-quality Qualcomm wireless and likely better seamless roaming, all for around or under your budget (once you sell the second 68P).

If/when the 68P you've kept ever falls short, you can swap it discretely with a rock-solid wired router, like a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter, Cisco RV, pfSense box, etc.
Thanks! I'll have to do some research on those, a quick glance has my interest piqued.
 

don_chuwish

New Around Here
Very welcome - best of luck. Happy to expand on guidance if/where required.
Thanks again! So is the OC200 really required or just a convenience over their Centralized Software Controller desktop application?
And does the OC200 require a PoE switch? The diagrams & instructions I'm finding all indicate one. Sleek install isn't really critical for me, so I don't mind using PoE adapters if I can save $50 not buying a TL-SG1005P for example.
 
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Trip

Very Senior Member
You can certainly run the Omada controller on an always-on PC, Raspberry Pi, VM, etc. but I find having a dedicated appliance is nice for most average folks, and just in general so you're not relying on combined points of failure (if the PC goes off, so too does your wifi controller, etc.), and in the Omada ecosystem the controller is required for 802.11r, k and v to facilitate seamless roaming, as well as provide things like guest portal, etc. Regarding powering the OC200, it will take 802.3af/at, but it will also take Micro USB 5V power as well (neither adapter is included, but 5V USB is so common that most of us have a spare lying around, or you can just run it from a spare port off a router, etc). And you don't necessarily need a PoE switch if you don't want one, as you can power the APs via PoE injectors, which are included with the EAPs -- a nice cost savings there.
 

don_chuwish

New Around Here
Oh I see, hadn't realized the desktop software would have to be 'always on'. Good tip on the USB power source, indeed plenty of those lying around the house.
I think I've figured out how to make it work in terms of physical connections. It's a little tricky since I only have one ethernet cable running up to the office. That'll go to an 8 port TP-Link switch I already have. Then EAP and other wired devices can go on the switch. Downstairs in the TV Room is simple enough.

Thanks again!
 

don_chuwish

New Around Here
So just to bring this to a close, I now have exactly what @Trip suggested - 2 x EAP225 + an OC200. I feel like the EAP225s don't quite have the range that my RT-AC68Ps did, but it is good enough. Plus they pack so many other great features in that I'm happy with this setup.
I'm tempted to get a TP-Link router as well now, just for the complete integration picture in Omada Controller.
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
So just to bring this to a close, I now have exactly what @Trip suggested - 2 x EAP225 + an OC200.
I also use TL-SG108EP, 2 x EAP245v3, OC200. Keep in mind EAPs are APs, not AIO. They work best with overlapping range. You may have noticed already, but the throughput is excellent even at lower signal strength. Get an Edgerouter, Netgate, x86 appliance for the router part. My choice is Netgate SG-5100.
 

don_chuwish

New Around Here
The Netgate stuff looks interesting, thanks. That 5100 is a bit too rich for me though! Maybe the SG-1100 at most. But really the only reason I'd switch from my RT-AC68P is if the Omada Controller can integrate with it - currently it only knows about the EAPs:
OCC.png

It'd be nice to know how the ISP and Gateway are doing...
 

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