Is it better to have a modem and one router for internet or does a mesh or AP system work ok too if you need it for a larger house ?

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Depends on the devices used, how they're used and if wired backhaul (or wireless backhaul) is used.

A single router well placed to cover the areas needed will always be superior.

But having an additional router in AiMesh (wired backhaul mode) can also be a great experience too if the routers are located properly and the use/devices of the network coincide with those devices' abilities (namely, how well they roam if you use them while walking around your home).
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
How seamless is a mesh or AP system compared to just having a single router?

One router/AP has no seams, but less network coverage; multiple APs has seams that you may or may not notice, depending on numerous variables.

Prefer one AP unless you need more coverage.

OE
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
How seamless is a mesh or AP system

Between UniFi, Cisco, Ruckus and Omada the fastest roaming I've seen is Omada with 3-4 sec. AiMesh may take 8-10 sec, Orbi and Eero are a little faster at 6-8 sec. There is no "seamless" transition though. Only in consumer products advertisement.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Between UniFi, Cisco, Ruckus and Omada the fastest roaming I've seen is Omada with 3-4 sec. AiMesh may take 8-10 sec, Orbi and Eero are a little faster at 6-8 sec. There is no "seamless" transition though. Only in consumer products advertisement.

How are you testing this behavior?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
A highly scientific method by using the same mobile devices on different multi-AP networks. This is what most people will be interested in anyway. I had UniFi network before, currently Cisco at my business places, Ruckus at home, Asus routers for AiMesh and Orbi in my routers collection. Omada was a test and I may be coming back to it based on impressive results compared to the equipment price. Eero Pro 3-pack was a borrowed set. Deco M4 2-pack is pretty good too, especially for $100 on sale.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
A highly scientific method by using the same mobile devices on different multi-AP networks. This is what most people will be interested in anyway.

Could you be a bit more specific?

Would be good to share, and would help out the community.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Mesh is a gimmick to sell overpriced and underpowered "pods" to people.

In the sense that when you have 2+ AP's they're a mesh and operate on different channels to facilitate hand off to the stronger signal to the client.

For up to ~2K sq ft a single decent AP should cover it easily. If we're talking 5K sq ft then 2-3.

I would be looking for 4x4:4 setups though for a beefier device for the long term. One preferably with a 2.5GE port or higher / POE is a plus but most come with AC adapters as well.

Since you didn't give any details about your environment though it's hard to pin point what would work best. Of course budget tends to play a big factor as well for some people. Starting out though for a "router" + AP should be in the neighborhood of ~$400.
 

tgl

Regular Contributor
For up to ~2K sq ft a single decent AP should cover it easily. If we're talking 5K sq ft then 2-3.
This depends a whole lot on what your interior walls/floors are like. I might buy the above numbers for a single-floor dwelling with modern (cheap) interior walls; but if you've got anything more substantial that the signal has to punch through, you'll have to either get more APs or settle for less-than-stellar WiFi in some parts of the house.

By the same token, wireless backhaul only works well if you've got very solid signal from base to repeater(s). Which is a shame, because the cases where it doesn't work well are pretty nearly the same ones where you really would rather not run a cable. Reality bites. If you do have a place big enough, old enough, etc that multiple APs are needed, the best single WiFi investment you can make is to run ethernet cables for the backhaul. Hire an electrician if that seems too daunting to do yourself.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Could you be a bit more specific?

Walking with my personal devices around different networks. This is the highly scientific method.

If you are asking what equipment, then here it is:

- 4x UniFi UAP-AC-PRO network, used for business, removed
- 4x and 8x Cisco WAP571 networks, business, in use
- 4x Ruckus R610 network, at home, in use
- 2x TP-Link EAP245v3, 2x TP-Link EAP225, tested at home, returned
- AiMesh with 3x RT-AC86U or RT-AX88U + AX58U, tested at home, from available routers
- Netgear Orbi RBK50 router + satellite, tested at home, from available routers
- 2x TP-Link Deco M4 router + satellite, installed in friend's house and cottage, in use
- Eero Pro 6 3-pack, purchased for another person, tested at home, in use

From my experience Eero is perhaps the best home "mesh" system, but expensive. Reading how it works, the closest to mesh. Deco is perhaps the best price/performance system, no frills cheap setup and works. Available Orbi is older model, very solid and with excellent range, but a bit expensive for what it is (like everything Netgear). AiMesh is like hope for the best system, not guaranteed to work well. Works well with wired backhaul and same model routers. Nothing consumer beats wired multi-AP low-power ceiling mounted system in both roaming and performance to multiple clients.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
From my experience Eero is perhaps the best home "mesh" system, but expensive.

Qualcomm actually did a fair amount of work on these at the BSP level (QSDK)... and they work well enough.

Plume is another that performs quite well - that being said, they're more focused on the operator CPE model, rather than retail to the end-user.

take away with Mesh is that it's sensitive to the node locations relative to each other...

Over on the main site, there's more than a few articles regarding mesh tech, here's a good one to start with.

 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Hmmm... so random walking about then.

Yes, shows what system does the job better in real life. Everyone can test doing a VoIP/Video call and walking around. No special equipment needed.
 

tgl

Regular Contributor
Yes, shows what system does the job better in real life. Everyone can test doing a VoIP/Video call and walking around. No special equipment needed.
... other than the APs you want to test, so unfortunately this is an expensive way to learn what does or doesn't work for you. Personally I've dropped over $1K more than I would have liked on gear that doesn't work for me. I can pass on my own experience on this point --- bear in mind that this is just one person's experience, and almost all of my WiFi clients are Apple gear:

* Netgear Orbi RBK850: I do not recall any roaming problems when I was using these units. There were other things not to like about them, but they seemed to handle clients roaming from one to the other OK. Unfortunately my usage pattern doesn't stress quick roaming, because my laptop is usually closed when I carry it from point A to point B, so I can't say just how many seconds it took to reconnect.

* ASUS XT8: the roaming experience with these totally sucked: they seemed to take literally minutes to update routing information. I eventually resorted to binding my laptop to just one of the nodes, which isn't roaming at all, but it worked sort of acceptably.

* Zyxel NWA210AX: roaming seems to work fine. I did a quick test just now carrying my laptop from one zone to another, while running an every-second "ping" to a local wired machine. I saw one dropped ping while walking in one direction, and no drops when coming back. I'm not sure what that would translate to in terms of video-call stutter or the like, but it sure beats the heck out of what I was seeing with the ASUS units.

YMMV.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
so unfortunately this is an expensive way to learn what does or doesn't work for you.

There is no other way. If you read the advertisements, all products are "best in class" with "seamless roaming".
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I can tell you my Cisco WAP581 APs clients roam much better for me than my old Cisco WAP371 APs clients. My very old Cisco WAP321APs are too slow to be used any more even though they still work.
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I have no roaming APs on any of my networks. Only roaming clients. :)
 

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