Looking for the best wifi mesh setup with $2000 budget

  • ATTENTION! As of November 1, 2020, you are not able to reply to threads 6 months after the thread is opened if there are more than 500 posts in the thread.
    Threads will not be locked, so posts may still be edited by their authors.
    Just start a new thread on the topic to post if you get an error message when trying to reply to a thread.

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.
 
Last edited:

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.
 
Last edited:

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 internet with over 100 devices could likely be how you have your 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.
 
Last edited:

Trip

Very Senior Member
@anezthetik -

Regarding "Wifi 6" (802.11ax) - Unless you really want bleeding-edge for the sake of it, the benefits over AC ("Wifi 5") are minimal, at best, and in many cases worse with consumer AIOs/APs (due to much younger, much less bug-fixed firmware). You're of course free to try all the AX mesh gadgetry you want, but I'm not sure you'll end up liking the results. On the flip side, you don't have to go spending $10K on a pro-level project either. A best option for now is perhaps at least some level of wired backbone combined with some basic but proven-stable SMB-grade products, or Eero.

Specific answers:

1) The 88 is dual-band and 11000 tri-band, but worrying about that is of much less importance than the fact that AiMesh, IMHO, should be avoided for an all-wireless mesh (it's still too buggy). Again, you're free to do what you want, but for x hundreds of dollars it would cost to put three or more AiMesh routers in-play, there are WAY better options available to you (per my initial reply).

2) All CBW APs are 802.11ac (Wifi 5) at this point, yes.

3) Besides the social angle on parties, from a network standpoint, fewer of them mean less worrying about accommodating heavier guest access, so one less burden there.

If Orbi appears to be working "well enough" for you, then sure, go ahead and buy a few more satellites. Maybe that will solve your issues, and I'll happily eat crow. If/when you're ready for the next level, though, at least you'll know what that is.
 
Last edited:

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
If you wanted to do it yourself, I think a cheap Cisco solution could be a Cisco RV340 router, 1 SG350-10P L3 switch, and a 3 pk of CBW240ac wireless APs. It would cost you under $1000 and would be rated for 9000 sq ft. You would need to install 3 cable drops.

This is assuming you have no wired connections except for where the switch is located.
 

anezthetik

New Around Here
I wanted to update everyone because I have been obsessed with this for the past week. Also, I was able to do some things that I did not think were possible. I appreciate everyone's input and will look to go the professional route if my current setup fails or there is huge jump in technology.

So I bought a second set of AX 4200 orbi from costco (one router and two satellites) so I have two routers and 4 satellites total (all orbi 750). The ONLY reason i went with this router is because it is the best that I could find locally, and didn't have time to deal with shipping. I also knew I could easily return both of these systems to costco if it didn't work which is PIA to do with online retailers. I had a wall snake and a 100 ft ethernet cable laying around from an old project that didnt pan out, so I decided to take the advice of people on this board and put in a wired connection going from the main router to the attic near the kids room. I did this by connecting the second router to this ethernet and setting it up as an access point. What's more, I was able to set up one of the satellites to wirelessly connect only to this access point rather than the main router. Its been about 4 days and the connection between router--->access point router---> satellite has held steady. I am now getting 200-300 mbps in the kids corner of the house, sustained, which is more than what i set out to do! While it is working, this access point and the connected satellite show up as "disconnected" in both the orbi website and app. It does show up correctly when I connect to the access point. So I can't see all my connections on one site (a welcome problem to have). Orbi also thinks my apple tv and receiver are satellites which as long as it works I am fine with. I came across a lot of threads on netgear's forum saying you can't connect two orbi routers and its better to just connect the satellites to the main router and not use the second router. It is somewhat glitchy to set up, but has not been my experience.

This left me with three satellites to slave to the primary router on the ground floor. One of the rooms was far away from the primary router, and I had quite a lot of difficulty in getting the third satellite to daisy chain to another satellite rather than try to connect to the main router. It took a lot of reboots and resets but the third satellite daisychains to the second satellite even after rebooting now. I guess it takes time (10-12 hours) for Orbi to "learn" optimal connections. Multiple reboots and resets to get it to daisy chain would not work, but somehow letting it sit for a half a day and make its own mistakes seemed to do the trick.

I don't understand why netgear doesn't offer this option of adding additional routers (in addition to satellites) to an existing setup. I am nowhere near an expert and I got it to work. I also wish there was an option to configure the network topology the way I want (which satellites should connect to which router and which satellites to daisy chain). I don't know if other vendors support this, but definitely a must have if I decide to upgrade. the orbi ax system causes low battery faults in nest thermostats, which is a weird issue that I have experienced and didnt think was related to orbi until i came across the issue on netgear forums. It is not a big deal for me as my thermostats have wired power and come back online quickly. I now have essentially a 6 unit mesh system, 2 wired and 4 wireless. I get over 100mbps in every corner of my house as well as strong wifi signal. This all cost me about $1000, so under budget too. I am very happy with the current setup, and as long it stays stable, I am good for the next couple of years.
 
Last edited:

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Well you could of spent the same money on a Cisco system and got higher traffic rates. But it is your network and you get to decide.
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top