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Is what I'm using overkill or just set up improperly?

Edtek

New Around Here
Hello everyone, I'm in a bit of a pickle with my home network that is used for a home based business. This is the hardware I've been trying to get working but I have issues:

ASUS AX-56U WIFI6 Router
TP-Link AC1750 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Ceiling Mount Access Point (EAP245 V3)
TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch (TL-SG1008D)
Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Router (AP Mode)
D-LINK Powerline DHP-601AV

Here's how I currently have it setup:

Most of the setup is in my office on the main floor of the house:

IPS Modem in bypass mode -> ASUS RT-AX56U AX1800 Dual Band WiFi 6 Router (Router Mode) -> TP-Link AC1750 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Ceiling Mount Access Point EAP245 V3 (wall mounted) -> DLINK Powerline DHP-601AV (Link to upstairs bedroom)

Upstairs bedroom:
DLINK Powerline DHP-601AV -> Netgear Nighthawk R7000 (AP Mode)

And I have an extra switch. (TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | (TL-SG1008D)

The Omada controller for the EAP245 is being run off my main system.

My house isn't that big, but wireless is an issue in two bedrooms, thus the reason for the Nighthawk upstairs networked via the DLINK powerline internet kit I purchased.

The internet upstairs is used for Netflix and what not on my nVidia Shield, ROKU TV, and my bedroom work station. Also the kids use wireless in their rooms with their devices.

Here are my questions:

Can I make this setup easier? Is there something I'm using that I should drop, or am I not using something I should be? Should all three access points be using the same wireless network and credentials? Or was I right to setup different zones with different levels of the house? Am I using a certain piece of hardware in the wrong spot?

I get perfect wireless in the basement where the family room is located, so that's no longer an issue. If I had the ability to run cables from upstairs down, I would, but fire code here says we can't (condo rules).

I want this to run as efficient as possible, and I'm not sure my setup is best. Can anyone do better?
 

eibgrad

Senior Member
AFAIC, this doesn't appear to me to be anything all that extreme, at least for someone w/ the technical expertise to solve specific problems. And for the most part, what complexity exists seems to be justified for the sake of making wireless available where it's needed. The only thing that might improve matters is perhaps using MoCA as your wireless backhaul rather than powerline. But that's being a bit nit-picky, esp. if you're satisfied w/ the latter.

The most common mistake I see ppl make is placing their primary AP (usually on the primary router) someplace other than the center of the home. Esp. w/ newer homes where the "open concept" reigns these days, makes it even more appealing. But when thrown into some corner of the house (granted, sometimes out of necessity), that's when you see all kinds of schemes to compensate for it w/ repeaters. But if that's what you need to do, so be it.
 

Edtek

New Around Here
AFAIC, this doesn't appear to me to be anything all that extreme, at least for someone w/ the technical expertise to solve specific problems. And for the most part, what complexity exists seems to be justified for the sake of making wireless available where it's needed. The only thing that might improve matters is perhaps using MoCA as your wireless backhaul rather than powerline. But that's being a bit nit-picky, esp. if you're satisfied w/ the latter.

The most common mistake I see ppl make is placing their primary AP (usually on the primary router) someplace other than the center of the home. Esp. w/ newer homes where the "open concept" reigns these days, makes it even more appealing. But when thrown into some corner of the house (granted, sometimes out of necessity), that's when you see all kinds of schemes to compensate for it w/ repeaters. But if that's what you need to do, so be it.
My office is a centrally located room in the home; that's why the base networking gear is there. It's also there so it's semi hidden from view.

I will certainly look at using MoCA instead of power line. In fact I was hoping someone would have said to get rid of it and simply use wireless or something else. MoCA is something else so I will look into it today.

Thank you.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Hi @Edtek. Here's the layout I gather from your description:

SNB_Edtek.png

As @eibgrad said, your setup isn't necessarily "wrong" in any glaring way, but if you did want to optimize, here is what I would look at (easiest first):

Remove Bottleneck/Failure Point (Free or Minimal Cost) - If the current EAP245 (AP1) is wired to both R1 and BR1, then you have an unnecessary, cascading single point of failure, plus a bandwidth bottleneck. I would fix this by wiring AP1 and BR1 each separately to R1 with their own ethernet cable, if possible (see the next diagram for what that looks like).

MoCa Backbone ($120-180) - If the powerline adapters are working well-enough, then I suppose they can be left alone, but I would much rather see you substitute them out for MoCa (explainer by ActionTec), provided you have TV coaxial cable running to each floor. In general, MoCa is much more reliable, higher real-world bandwidth and lower latency. If MoCa is a possibility, I'd recommend GoCoax MoCa 2.5 adapters (model WF-803M). You'd also need MoCa-compatible splitters in place of any normal ones not supporting the extended frequency range required.

Wifi Standardization ($120-400) - Since you already have one Omada AP and the controller running, IMHO it would serve you best to standardize your entire wireless access layer on it. The benefits are numerous: more efficient airspace usage (including the likelihood of less channel pollution and/or AP-to-AP co-interference), uniform support for 802.11r/k/v (for more seamless client roaming), identical Qualcomm radio chips all handling clients the same way, centralized management of all APs, and more efficient traffic flow overall.

To do the upgrade, you'd need at least two more EAPs, plus at least one additional powerline (or better yet, MoCa) adapter. You would start the upgrade by disabling wifi on the AX56U (effectively turning it into a "wired" router only). You would ceiling mount the existing EAP245, so it broadcasts across the first floor. Upstairs, you'd swap out the R7000 (eBay it?) for a ceiling-mounted EAP (225v3 or 245). In the basement, you'd install a new, ceiling-mounted EAP225v3 or 245, connected to the additional powerline (or MoCa) adapter.

There is one potential con here: all APs would be dependent on availability of the single Omada controller instance (a combined single point of failure), but the potential benefits are worth it, provided you can ensure controller uptime. If necessary, you may want to just buy the OC200 dedicated controller hardware (~$90) and migrate your Omada configuration to it, to liberate it from the failure domain of your PC.

A note on the upstairs layout: since you'd be replacing a highly-amplified all-in-one (the R7000) with a much lower-amplification AP, you may find you need an additional AP ("AP4" below) to cover the same amount of range. In that case, you'd wire your TP-Link 8-port switch (SW1) to BR2, then wire the two EAPs to the switch, placing one EAP at each end of the floor. Contrary to what you may be thinking, a potential 1-for-2 swap isn't necessarily a bad thing; in fact, quite the opposite: you'd be offering up more total fronthaul and potentially stronger average RSSI across the entire floor, which is especially good for 5Ghz.

Here are all the proposed changes together, with optional items dimmed -- note: bridge units ("BR#") are either all-MoCa or all-powerline, not mixed, nor run in-parallel:

SNB_Edtek_2.png

Hope all of that helps to guide you. Feel free to ask any questions.
 
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