Mesh network questions (Deco M5)

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c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
Hi everyone.

After a long deliberation I finally decided to buy a Mesh system (TP-LINK Deco M5 3 pack). I do have some questions about setting it up correctly, hopefully someone would be able to help me:

1. The cable connection inside my home is a bit tricky - The Fiber-Optic cable that delivers the internet goes inside a device which has a UTP out. A UTP cable connects that device to a 4 port Switch. 2 of these ports are for a wired connection to 2 x IPTV Set Top Boxes, 1 port is connected to my router (an ASUS AC66U), the last port is free. I can either connect the main M5 node to the 4th Switch slot or the router. What is the difference, because either way I'm getting a MESH network running without issues?
2. My 3 nodes are placed on different floors (main node connected to the router on floor 2, other two nodes placed on floor 1 and floor 3 respectively). Compared to before, when I was always connected to the router directly, I'm getting far better speeds (4x) when using the mesh network on floor 1 and 3. Unfortunately the coverage of the main node (the one connected to the router on floor 1) is lower compared to the coverage of the AC66U. What would happen if I name the M5 Mesh network the same as the SSID of the AC66U - will that mean that I'll be getting the best out of the coverage of the router when I'm on floor 2, but at the same time, I'll be getting the better network speeds of the mesh network when I go to floors 1 and 3?
3. Are there any setting that I need to change on the Deco app in order to increase performance, or leave it to default? I updated the firmware already, but that's about all I did.

Thank you in advance!

P.S. This is a follow up of a previous purchase advice topic I had here (https://www.snbforums.com/threads/m...ween-asus-and-tp-link-help-appreciated.67806/). There are more in depth details of the exact positioning of the nodes (if that matters).
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi everyone.

After a long deliberation I finally decided to buy a Mesh system (TP-LINK Deco M5 3 pack). I do have some questions about setting it up correctly, hopefully someone would be able to help me:

1. The cable connection inside my home is a bit tricky - The Fiber-Optic cable that delivers the internet goes inside a device which has a UTP out. A UTP cable connects that device to a 4 port Switch. 2 of these ports are for a wired connection to 2 x IPTV Set Top Boxes, 1 port is connected to my router (an ASUS AC66U), the last port is free. I can either connect the main M5 node to the 4th Switch slot or the router. What is the difference, because either way I'm getting a MESH network running without issues?
2. My 3 nodes are placed on different floors (main node connected to the router on floor 2, other two nodes placed on floor 1 and floor 3 respectively). Compared to before, when I was always connected to the router directly, I'm getting far better speeds (4x) when using the mesh network on floor 1 and 3. Unfortunately the coverage of the main node (the one connected to the router on floor 1) is lower compared to the coverage of the AC66U. What would happen if I name the M5 Mesh network the same as the SSID of the AC66U - will that mean that I'll be getting the best out of the coverage of the router when I'm on floor 2, but at the same time, I'll be getting the better network speeds of the mesh network when I go to floors 1 and 3?
3. Are there any setting that I need to change on the Deco app in order to increase performance, or leave it to default? I updated the firmware already, but that's about all I did.

Thank you in advance!

P.S. This is a follow up of a previous purchase advice topic I had here (https://www.snbforums.com/threads/m...ween-asus-and-tp-link-help-appreciated.67806/). There are more in depth details of the exact positioning of the nodes (if that matters).
Maybe the ISP box is still routing and your router clients are double-NATted.. Do you see a difference in your wireless client IP range when connected to the ISP box vs connected to your router?

Maybe your router WiFi and the nearby connected mesh node WiFi are interfering with each other. You could switch OFF the router WiFi to see if the mesh node WiFi performance improves.

I suggest you disable WiFi on the AC66U, wire the mesh system to it in AP Mode (no routing), and use only the mesh WiFi.

Disclaimer: I've never seen the TP Link system.

OE
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
Maybe the ISP box is still routing and your router clients are double-NATted.. Do you see a difference in your wireless client IP range when connected to the ISP box vs connected to your router?
Have to check that. If there's a difference in IP range, what would that mean?

Maybe your router WiFi and the nearby connected mesh node WiFi are interfering with each other. You could switch OFF the router WiFi to see if the mesh node WiFi performance improves.
Interesting thing is that there's a wall in between the router and the node (have a cable hole in the wall where the UTP cable connecting both goes through). So I doubt they are interfering, but will check if there's no interference from the ISP box, cause the node is placed next to it atm.

I suggest you disable WiFi on the AC66U, wire the mesh system to it in AP Mode (no routing), and use only the mesh WiFi.
Will definitely try that, but may I ask how would that affect the performance?

Thanks for your help!
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Have to check that. If there's a difference in IP range, what would that mean?

Interesting thing is that there's a wall in between the router and the node (have a cable hole in the wall where the UTP cable connecting both goes through). So I doubt they are interfering, but will check if there's no interference from the ISP box, cause the node is placed next to it atm.

Will definitely try that, but may I ask how would that affect the performance?

Thanks for your help!
Multiple IP ranges would suggest multiple DHCP servers... more than one router/network in play. Your ISP box, your AC66U, and your new mesh system root node could all be running as routers unless you know what you are doing and configured them properly. Do you know what you are doing or are you just connecting network equipment together?

A simple wall will only attenuate WiFi radio signals a little bit. Two differ WLANs on the same channel transmitting near each other could interfere despite the wall.

My suggestion was to make the AC66U the router and the mesh system the WiFi network because that is a practical integration of your chosen equipment for your layout. Ideally, the ISP box should be in bridged mode but I don't know anything about it nor your TV requirements.

Having only one mesh WiFi system will simplify things... one should be enough... two is more likely to upset your wireless clients.

OE
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
Do you know what you are doing or are you just connecting network equipment together?
Frankly, I don't :)

My suggestion was to make the AC66U the router and the mesh system the WiFi network because that is a practical integration of your chosen equipment for your layout. Ideally, the ISP box should be in bridged mode but I don't know anything about it nor your TV requirements.
As mentioned in my previous topic, my main goal is to have a fast connection on floor 1 (where my office is) and less dead spots in general on each of the two floors above, also to be able to use a single SSID to connect to, so when I move between floors to not have to manually disconnect and reconnect my phone.
I don't think I'm able to do any sort of configuration on the ISP box, as that's done by the ISP itself. Via the switch a wired connection to two IPTV STBs (set top boxes) is made. They are like a separate thing and not connected to the router itself. That's how the ISP connected them.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Frankly, I don't :)

As mentioned in my previous topic, my main goal is to have a fast connection on floor 1 (where my office is) and less dead spots in general on each of the two floors above, also to be able to use a single SSID to connect to, so when I move between floors to not have to manually disconnect and reconnect my phone.
I don't think I'm able to do any sort of configuration on the ISP box, as that's done by the ISP itself. Via the switch a wired connection to two IPTV STBs (set top boxes) is made. They are like a separate thing and not connected to the router itself. That's how the ISP connected them.
I would wire a PC to the ISP switch. If the PC network connection status indicates a non-routable local IP address like 192.168.1.*, then assume the ISP box is in router mode. Browse to ShieldsUp! on grc.com to scan all service ports:

GRC | ShieldsUP! — Internet Vulnerability Profiling

If those come up stealth, then the ISP box firewall is shielding your network from the Internet.

Then I would retire the AC66U and wire the mesh system to the ISP switch. Configure it in AP Mode, if available, to avoid it being another router. Then configure the WiFi settings.

OE
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
I would wire a PC to the ISP switch. If the PC network connection status indicates a non-routable local IP address like 192.168.1.*, then assume the ISP box is in router mode. Browse to ShieldsUp! on grc.com to scan all service ports:

GRC | ShieldsUP! — Internet Vulnerability Profiling

If those come up stealth, then the ISP box firewall is shielding your network from the Internet.

Then I would retire the AC66U and wire the mesh system to the ISP switch. Configure it in AP Mode, if available, to avoid it being another router. Then configure the WiFi settings.

OE
I think it's getting more clear now. May I also ask, what is the difference in running the Mesh system in regular mode compared to AP mode? And will I be able to to use it in such mode if I wire it to the ISP box directly instead of the AC66U? And by retire I guess you mean to not use the AC66U at all any more? Isn't there any practical use for it, like somehow providing a better signal to the dead spots on that same floor?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I think it's getting more clear now. May I also ask, what is the difference in running the Mesh system in regular mode compared to AP mode? And will I be able to to use it in such mode if I wire it to the ISP box directly instead of the AC66U? And by retire I guess you mean to not use the AC66U at all any more? Isn't there any practical use for it, like somehow providing a better signal to the dead spots on that same floor?
This is your network goal:

ISP <> modem <> router/firewall <> WiFi AP(s)

If several boxes have multiple/redundant functions in them and you connect them all together, you can end up with too many functions... too many blocks doing the same functions differently and conflicting.

If your ISP box is a gateway with modem and router and WiFi AP in it and they are all enabled, then you don't need to add more to that except for more remote APs to extend coverage or a switch to add LAN ports.

You need to determine what you have and what it's doing before you add to it. Is the ISP box routing and does it have a firewall?... I suggested how to determine this. Does it have WiFi enabled?... can you see its signals? Get its model number and look it up on the Internet and read about it to get a general idea what you have.

etc.

The AC66u could be added as a wired AP, but it probably won't be needed and will only conflict with the 3-node mesh system you bought.

OE
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
This is your network goal:

ISP <> modem <> router/firewall <> WiFi AP(s)

If several boxes have multiple/redundant functions in them and you connect them all together, you can end up with too many functions... too many blocks doing the same functions differently and conflicting.

If your ISP box is a gateway with modem and router and WiFi AP in it and they are all enabled, then you don't need to add more to that except for more remote APs to extend coverage or a switch to add LAN ports.

You need to determine what you have and what it's doing before you add to it. Is the ISP box routing and does it have a firewall?... I suggested how to determine this. Does it have WiFi enabled?... can you see its signals? Get its model number and look it up on the Internet and read about it to get a general idea what you have.

etc.

The AC66u could be added as a wired AP, but it probably won't be needed and will only conflict with the 3-node mesh system you bought.

OE
Got it! Will test and report back later today!
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
@OzarkEdge

Okay, so I tried all you suggested and here are the results:

1. Hooking up a laptop to the switch directly, it gives an IP address that seems routable (77.85.xxx.xxx). Hooking the laptop to the router (which is connected to the switch), I get a 192.168.1.xxx IP address. In both cases after running the ShieldsUP. it gives a what seems to be a good results ("The equipment at the target IP address did not respond to our UPnP probes").

2. First thing I tried was to hook up the main node directly to the switch, set it up as AP, unplug the AC66U (as if I don't have a router at all) and see how it will perform as a standalone device (no other node running). The coverage I got was pretty much awful - two rooms separate and the max speed I was reaching was about 15Mbps out of the 100 (even totally disconnecting when going to the bad spots in my home that I talked about before). I tried moving it around that same room, so it's at least several meters away from all other devices (IPS box, switch etc) - no difference whatsoever. I tried setting up the node as a router - that also didn't make any difference in coverage.

3. Next thing I tried was same as what I did earlier - hooking up the main node to the router, setting it up as AP and leaving it in that same room (the one next to the hallway, where the router is). Again - no difference in coverage whatsoever. On the contrary - when I move the node and place it directly next to the router in the hallway, I get far better reception everywhere on the floor. It's even better than connecting to the router directly. Leaving it there though (even if I don't use the router any more) isn't an option, cause at the floor below with the other node connected, I don't reach the max speed I need, but just 40% of it (40Mbps out of the 100).

In all cases above, the Mesh network has its own SSID assigned to it, different from the router's one. So now most of my previous questions remain the same:

1. If there's no difference in coverage between the different connection methods, which is the best way to connect all the devices I have? My ISP told me over the phone that it's better to connect the main node to the switch instead of the router, but the explanation was "The less devices attached together, the better", so I'm not entirely sure they knew what they were talking about.
2. Based on which connection I use, how should I set up my mesh network - as a Router or AP?
3. Should I change any additional settings for the mesh network via the DECO app?
4. And my main question - What would happen if I assign the same SSID to both the router and the mesh (no matter how the mesh network is connected and set up) and then connect my devices to that network? Will I somehow get the best out of both - still get good coverage on main floor through the router, but reach my speed goal in the office on the floor below, or they would interfere with each other and I'll end up with either the same or a worse final result?
5. Last one - would it be better to return the DECO M5 Mesh System, buy an ASUS AC88U (not the AC86U, because I need to hang it on the wall) and use the AC66U in the office as an AP? In such case will I be able to reach the max speed in the office, although the AC88U would have to be placed exactly where the AC66U was (in the hallway) and would both ASUS devices correspond better compared to nodes that are placed right above each other? Last but not least, will the AC88U be able to provide the coverage needed on the top floor, so I won't have to use USB repeaters as before?

Hope the way I explain things isn't confusing... I think I know what I'm talking about, but am not 100% sure lol.

Thanks again!
 
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