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Looking for the best wifi mesh setup with $2000 budget

anezthetik

New Around Here
I have a 9000 sq ft home. Somehow, got decent usage from a netgear ar700 and two extenders. Have about 100 connected devices and me and the kids having zoom meetings all day the poor thing couldnt handle the load. Updating to the latest firmware totally killed the poor thing.

i got the orbi ax4200 from costco as a band aid, and its a slight improvement over what i had.

My main dilemma is deciding between the new orbi pro wifi 6 that just came out this month versus getting the same number of asus ax11000 and using aimesh. Think four to five units of either would be best. The asus has the 160 mhz band but the orbi is newer and shinier. I plan on daisychaining, so i think the orbi pro might be better on that though not entirely sure.

last thing is i could wait till the wife 6e ax11000e comes out in decemberish, but im worried that the 6ghz channel means that those routers will have to be placed closer together or the routers willl use the single 5hz channel as the backhaul leaving everything else to the 2.4 channel. If asus had announced it as a quad band, i would have waited a few months.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I think you need to hire someone. You are going to need around 10 APs for a house with normal walls.

You will need high densities in the larger living rooms maybe patios, so when you have parties with lots of people your wireless does not make your house look bad. With that many devices you need to make sure you do not have choke points in your network and it flows well.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Your budget is not sufficient for the size of your home and the level of performance you seem to want. 10 AP's are too much too but depending on how many parties you throw and how many people get invited, it may be necessary.

The link below is where I would start with a few AP's (RT-AX88U's is what I would suggest) and only deploy them where and if, needed.

 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I just looked at the new specs on the new Cisco CBW240 wireless APs. They support 200 users per radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz for 400 users and 1000 in system can be connected. They cover 3000 sq ft. I have not seen Cisco lie about specs so I think you can cover your home with less APs.

I also ordered a 3 pk of these wireless Cisco CBW240 APs. I want to see for myself.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
@anezthetik - Welcome. Here's your answer, ordered most optimal to least:

First off, I realize you wouldn't be here if you went the following route straight away, but the first and best option would likely be hiring a residential AV/IT shop to build this out for you. You'd give them your performance requirements and they'd take it from there, including cabling (the best shops can snake category copper almost anywhere, and their finish work makes it look like it was there from when the house was built), gear selection, installation, setup and possibly even management/monitoring. For your use-case, I would guess it'd be $5,000-15,000, with the range based on market location, gear chosen, etc. If that is even in the realm of consideration, I would look at it as a quality-of-life investment, akin to a good quality mattress or a daily utility (HVAC system, etc.). There's also a chance you may be able to write most or all of it off as business expense and/or capital improvement (please don't take my word for that, and confirm with a financial/accounting professional).

If that doesn't fly for whatever reason, and/or you must DIY, the next best option would be to setup as much of a hard-wired backbone as you can, either via in-wall or on-wall ethernet or MoCa over TV coaxial (specifically MoCa 2.5). I would also avoid powerline adapters, as electrical wire, despite the illusion of being usable as a networking medium, is a poor choice for a long-term, reliable solution, regardless of whether it works now or not. If you can get enough "wire" drops dispersed to enough prospective access point locations, then I would again skip over the consumer products (mesh, all-in-ones, or otherwise) and install SMB-grade, wired access points, a managed switch (with PoE if you can run ethernet) and a wired router. Something like a Ubiquiti UniFi stack: Dream Machine Pro gateway, USW-24-POE Gen2 switch plus an initial order of three or more UniFi APs, comprising of perhaps a couple different models with which to site-survey, then a final order of another three or more APs, model and amount complementary to your test results. You could also do the same with Cisco Small-Business gear (RV340 router, SG/CBS switch and CBW access points), for similar overall investment.

If you can't hard-wire any backbone at all (I would still urge you to double-back and truly confirm that you cannot), it's likely that your only option then would be a multi-layer mesh, which, if you're going to DIY, ultimately leads to Eero -- specifically two Eero Pro 3-packs (for starters anyways). It's the only whole-house consumer product worth looking at because 1) it's actual mesh, 2) it has QoS that's actually effective and 3) auto-adjusts it radio roles and channel usage for changing traffic needs and airspace conditions. In layman's terms, more "it just works" factor than anything else by a noticeable margin, including AmpliFi, Orbi, AiMesh, Deco, etc. -- for a mostly/all-wireless setup, those products are effectively brain-dead in comparison to Eero, especially when multi-point/multi-level mesh is required (and it definitely would be in your case).

All of that said, I would try extremely hard to get some kind of hard-wired solution in place, even if it's only partial. And Eero, for as slick as it is, is still bound by the limitations of consumer mesh (capped fronthaul capacity and increased co-interference as you scale the number of nodes, etc.), so the more hard-wired and the more business-grade you can make your network, the higher performing and more reliable it will be -- aka more like an appliance and less like a toy.

So there you have it. Any questions, feel free.
 
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anezthetik

New Around Here
Thank you everyone for your replies. So helpful.

1)rt ax88 is dual band? Wouldnt an aimesh system of the ax11000 be better?

2) cbw240 is wifi 5, correct?

3) i dont plan on having large parties or many people over. Just not in that phase of life anymore.

i have had this mid range orbi system for a week now, and it is somehow getting better by the day. In the darkest corner of my house i am somehow getting 40mbps!! Maybe my walls are made out of feathers, but it is working much better than i thought. I am seriously considering just getting another set of these just to see if i can daisychain the satellites and get closer to 100 mbps in the corners.

Then maybe i splurge 15k for a super system in a few years when/if there is a huge jump in technology?

One other food for thought is that i have crappy xfinity internet. The most i have ever gotten is 500 mbps and that is on a good day. Arguing with them about getting the gig i pay for is just time wasted imho. If i had gig of fiber, i would be more obsessed with getting that gig to every corner. I just know xfinity is what it is and asking for more than 100 mbps sustained is asking too much. Its also about as much speed as i need.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Having variable speed with over 100 devices could likely be how you have you network setup and not reaching the gig speed you pay for. I doubt it would cost 15K maybe 8K and that really depends on how much cabling needs to be done. With 9000 sq ft you still won't go over copper limits and have to resort to fiber backbones.
 

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