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Mesh network Wi-Fi: have lots of ethernet drops (Orbi questions)

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by SamS, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. SamS

    SamS Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    39
    Hi all,

    It's been about a year since I asked a similar question, and we have lots of new Wi-Fi mesh devices available. I have read most (all?) of the reviews here, thank to Tim.

    So my network and "need" is pretty simple: I have a AT&T U-verse Pace 5268AC router, for internet/VoIP (not IPTV service). Wi-Fi on this unit is turned off and I use a Cisco WAP4410N via PoE. The WAP is in the center of my house, and I get good coverage.

    My issue is that I updated my backyard area, and now have a nice outdoor area that needs better Wi-Fi coverage than what I get now. I pulled Cat 6 out there, but I think I can get by with an in-home solution.

    Now, I have an AirPort Express that is located near the wall where my patio/outdoor is located. Using the AE as a separate access point, I get great coverage to the 25-40ft area. The problem is the handoff between access points! I'm frustrated with it, and my family is as well. So, I'm thinking that a mesh design will work best.

    I understand the Google Wifi system doesn't support pure WAP mode for the multi-mesh devices, and I understand why they don't. What about the Orbi? I don't have any issue with my Pace 5268AC, and would prefer to keep that as my router.

    Finally, I have Cat6 drops in about every location where I would want to put Orbi (or similar) devices. In other words, I'd prefer to avoid using wireless mesh/backhaul, if possible. Is the Orbi a good fit?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
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    You are talking about handoff between the Cisco WAP4410N and the Airport Express?

    Do you have single SSID on both APs and both bands? Do you have indoor and outdoor APs on different channels?

    It could be you have too much overlap between the indoor and outdoor AP.

    Distributed wireless / mesh systems are not designed to be mixed with other Wi-Fi solutions and certainly not for smooth handover to/from them.

    Orbi works fine in AP mode, but does not support wired backhaul. But its wireless backhaul is pretty impressive.

    You might consider using an outdoor AP bridge instead of relying on an indoor AP.
     
  3. SamS

    SamS Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
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    Hi Tim,

    My Cisco WAP4410N and Airport Express don't have any handoff between them, I use separate SSIDs for each. It's the devices that don't reliably handoff between the two. The AE is hardwired to the LAN, so I was strictly using it as a way to extend my network with multiple access points. Yes, they use different, non-overlapping channels. Their behavior is working as expected, it's just not user-friendly.

    Thanks for clarifying that the Orbi does not support wired backhaul. That is too bad, as I can't put all my Cat 6 drops to good use ;) The Orbi system would/could replace the WAP4410n and AE, not compliment them.

    Any recommendations for an outdoor AP bridge? If I put an Orbi inside near the wall to my backyard, I'm confident the coverage would be fine. That's where my AE is now, and the performance is good.
     
  4. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    If you aren't manually reconnecting to the desired SSID, then try one SSID for all APs and both bands. That may work more smoothly. If you have to force a reconnect, it should be as easy as turning your device radio off and on again.

    EnGenius makes a bunch of outdoor bridges. Here's one.
     
  5. SamS

    SamS Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
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    Thanks for the EnGenius link, Tim. I think I tried a single SSID in the past, but that was not family friendly. My wife would get "stuck" on the Airport Express, when she went to the front of the house. Happens the same when I used different SSIDs, but at least I know that I'm connected to the farther AP ;)

    So, I'd be looking at ~$140 for an outdoor AP, vs. $350/$450 for an Orbi solution. $200 is a big jump, but dealing with a in-home solution that reaches just fine is a bit more preferable. We're only talking 30ft and a single brick wall. If I stick an AP outside where I ran my Cat 6 drop, I'll be broadcasting out to my alley/neighbors, whereas now (aka where I'd but an Orbi), I'm just on the edge of a very usable range. Another 10 ft (edge of my property), signal naturally drops off (good thing).

    I made a quick diagram of my place.
    • Entire picture is my property/house
    • Red block is where I'd reasonably expect to have Wi-Fi coverage.
    • Green block is new patio/gazebo area
    • #1 circle is indoor location of Cisco WAP4410N - good coverage in house
    • #2 circle is indoor location of AirPort Express - good coverage to green block/backyard
    • #3 circle is where I just ran a Cat 6 drop.
    I was considering an Orbi x 2, replacing Cisco/AE (#1 & #2 circles). I'm thinking a 3-pack would be waaaaay overkill? My home is 2400 sq ft, single story.
    house Wi-Fi v2.jpg

    Are dual Orbis going to solve my handoff problem(s)?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  6. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Can't promise any product will solve all handoff problems. Clients are the determining factor. APs can try different techniques. But if devices don't want to cooperate, the only things the AP can do is let them stay connected or block them from connecting. The latter isn't a good solution because stubborn clients will just stay disconnected instead of finding another AP to connect to.

    The only reason you would need a three-pack would be to put the third one at the other end of the house. Orbi satellites link only to the router. So both #3 in your diagram can't be an Orbi Satellite. It won't connect back to the Router at position #1.
     
  7. SamS

    SamS Occasional Visitor

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    Something like an EnGenuis could go in spot #3, and keep my existing WAP/Airport Express.

    Alternately, I'd just put a Orbi router (as WAP) in spot #1, and Orbi satellite in spot #2. If I got a 3-pack, I could put the 2nd satellite in some other spot, way down the road.
     
  8. pete y testing

    pete y testing Very Senior Member

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    Location:
    victoria, australia
    that would prob be ok

    lol doesnt work that far away

    -------------------

    however tim is right and i concur , use the structured ethernet and wireless access points
     

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