Mesh System Suggestion between ASUS and TP-LINK. Help appreciated!

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c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
Hey everyone.

I've been eyeing a three-piece mesh system for quite some time now, cause using repeaters has been a pain in the a**. My budget is limited to ~$150, so was waiting for the Black Friday promotions to hit and see if one of my desired models (the TP-LINK Deco M5) will be on sale.

I'm European and the local sales start from this Friday forward. Luckily, the M5 is indeed for sale for from today for €123 (~ $145). Was going to immediately jump on it, if there wasn't an system I've never heard about before - the ASUS LYRA AC2200 3-Pack on sale as well. Seems like it's an older model and finding reviews of it online isn't easy. Price of it though looks incredibly good based on what it retailed for back in the days - just €92 ($110). So now I have this huge dilemma, which one of these models to choose. The M4 is also for sale at $110, but I don't really like the design of it. If it matters, for the last 5-6 years I've been using an ASUS RT-AC66U (no mesh capabilities) as my main router and have no plans to replace it (at least for now).

Thank you in advance!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I think you're asking for a world of hurt stepping down to the TP-Link.

I think the same for the Lyra 3-Pack too.

If a single RT-AC66U has been performing well for you and nothing else has changed, putting 3 (additional?) AP's in the same space is not a promising idea for stability and performance (yours and your neighbors too).

If you must buy a new router, the RT-AC86U will be a huge step up from the one you have now. And you'll be able to use the RT-AC66U as an AP, if necessary (or, you just want to 'play' with it more).

Additional routers you want to keep your eye on are the RT-AX88U and the RT-AX86U too, depending on the price, of course.

For better suggestions, what is the SqFt of your home? How many levels? How many client devices (wired and wireless) connected? What is your ISP speeds (up/down)? What construction are the walls and floors?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hey everyone.

I've been eyeing a three-piece mesh system for quite some time now, cause using repeaters has been a pain in the a**. My budget is limited to ~$150, so was waiting for the Black Friday promotions to hit and see if one of my desired models (the TP-LINK Deco M5) will be on sale.

I'm European and the local sales start from this Friday forward. Luckily, the M5 is indeed for sale for from today for €123 (~ $145). Was going to immediately jump on it, if there wasn't an system I've never heard about before - the ASUS LYRA AC2200 3-Pack on sale as well. Seems like it's an older model and finding reviews of it online isn't easy. Price of it though looks incredibly good based on what it retailed for back in the days - just €92 ($110). So now I have this huge dilemma, which one of these models to choose. The M4 is also for sale at $110, but I don't really like the design of it. If it matters, for the last 5-6 years I've been using an ASUS RT-AC66U (no mesh capabilities) as my main router and have no plans to replace it (at least for now).

Thank you in advance!
Lyra has not seen a firmware update since 12/2019. That is not very promising. I feel it exists for consumers concerned about how it will look.

Mesh systems generally cost more than your budget. Given the network is everything, I would make sure it serves your ISP speeds and coverage area and is supported with firmware updates to fix operational and security issues.

An RT-AC86U on sale would be a nice upgrade to the AC66U. Maybe that's all you need... hard to know from here. A 2xRT-AC86U AiMesh would likely do it, but that exceeds your budget.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the TP-Link system.

OE
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
I think you're asking for a world of hurt stepping down to the TP-Link.

I think the same for the Lyra 3-Pack too.

If a single RT-AC66U has been performing well for you and nothing else has changed, putting 3 (additional?) AP's in the same space is not a promising idea for stability and performance (yours and your neighbors too).

If you must buy a new router, the RT-AC86U will be a huge step up from the one you have now. And you'll be able to use the RT-AC66U as an AP, if necessary (or, you just want to 'play' with it more).

Additional routers you want to keep your eye on are the RT-AX88U and the RT-AX86U too, depending on the price, of course.

For better suggestions, what is the SqFt of your home? How many levels? How many client devices (wired and wireless) connected? What is your ISP speeds (up/down)? What construction are the walls and floors?
Thanks a lot for the comprehensive reply.

Its a two floor apartment with each level being around 170 square meters (1800 sq feet). There are places where there's almost no reception. I've been using some Xiaomi USB repeaters that actually improved the reception a bit, but I need to connect to them manually every time which is extremely annoying. The router is placed around the middle of the first floor.

One very important thing - my office is right below the 1st floor (around 200 sq ft) and I need to have reception there as well. It's a building made entirely from concrede and bricks, so that definitely affects the connection.

ISP speed is 100Mbps DL and 50Mbps Upload, but will be hugely increased in several months when I sign a new contract (probably to 900Mbps DL and 300 Upload).

There's absolutely no way to go wired as I cannot make way for any cables, so am counting only on wireless. For example - the PC in the office reaches 25-30Mbps for Download at most and I thought the wifi mesh would help increase that. As for clients - several phones (3-4), one laptop, one PC (wireless via a Gigabyte PCIe wifi card), one tablet.

My idea was to put one of the mesh pieces near the router on floor one, the next one right below in the office and the third one righr above on floor two.

Hope all that makes sense....
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Concrete? Oh, that's tough (for wireless).

Two RT-AC86U's (or two RT-AX88U's or two RT-AX86U's, or a combination of each AX's) should be all that is required from the description provided.

Code:
2nd Floor ---------------------------------------------Router------------------------

1st Floor -------------------Router--------------------------------------------------

Office            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Notes:

The two routers are only 1 floor apart (i.e. there is just a floor separating them, not
floors and walls between them).

The 1st Floor Router is just within the walls of the office below it,
(i.e. not directly above it, but as with the routers above, just a floor between them).

If you can get the routers aligned as suggested, there should be more than adequate coverage in the required areas.

With the higher ISP speeds, the AX routers (particularly the RT-AX86U, from reports here) are obviously superior with a faster (noticeably less latency) networking experience.

You don't (normally) want routers right above each other (or a router right above the spot where you want fast Wi-Fi) because that is where the signal is weakest.

See the following link for more information on that.

Antenna Basics: Radiation Patterns, Permittivity, Directivity, and Gain - Technical Articles (allaboutcircuits.com)
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Concrete? Oh, that's tough (for wireless).

Two RT-AC86U's (or two RT-AX88U's or two RT-AX86U's, or a combination of each AX's) should be all that is required from the description provided.

Code:
2nd Floor ---------------------------------------------Router------------------------

1st Floor -------------------Router--------------------------------------------------

Office            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Notes:

The two routers are only 1 floor apart (i.e. there is just a floor separating them, not
floors and walls between them).

The 1st Floor Router is just within the walls of the office below it,
(i.e. not directly above it, but as with the routers above, just a floor between them).

If you can get the routers aligned as suggested, there should be more than adequate coverage in the required areas.

With the higher ISP speeds, the AX routers (particularly the RT-AX86U, from reports here) are obviously superior with a faster (noticeably less latency) networking experience.

You don't (normally) want routers right above each other (or a router right above the spot where you want fast Wi-Fi) because that is where the signal is weakest.

See the following link for more information on that.

Antenna Basics: Radiation Patterns, Permittivity, Directivity, and Gain - Technical Articles (allaboutcircuits.com)
What about that $150 budget?

I'd skip AX product now to save $. If the AC66U WiFi reaches the office now, AC86U WiFi will reach it.

You could also drill a tiny hole down into that office to wire the AC66U as an AP, if you want wired LAN/WLAN connections there. Slip the cable through and terminate it.

OE
 
Last edited:

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I would go with neither. Three nodes for $150 is doing to get you cheap stuff. If you can return it, you could give the TP-Link Deco a try. It's not a cheap as the no-name three-packs on Amazon like Tenda, Meshforce, etc.
Couldn't hurt, but don't expect any updates from TP-Link

ASUS Lyra is a dead product. Has been almost since the day they introduced it then shortly after unleashed AiMesh to compete with it.

I'd look at factory refurb (or Amazon warehouse) Google WiFi. It's been around awhile and is a decent two-stream system. You won't make your $150 budget, though. Refurb 3 pack is $200 US.

Don't expect miracles with stone walls to penetrate. But it's probably better than your USB repeaters. Your proposed placement sounds right to provide the best chance of connecting.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@OzarkEdge that $150 budget is a nice goal. It won't get @c0rp1 close to his needs though. :)

Google Wi-Fi over my dead (but thoroughly data-mined) network! ;)
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
Thanks a lot for all the replies. To mention a few things again:

1. Indeed, buying 2 x AC86U is definitely out of my budget. I don't know if it would be better to just get one AC86U instead of the whole 3 pack mesh and use my AC66U as an AP, but honestly hope the mesh would work better.

2. Something important I didn't mention about the placing and the whole connection. The office is below the room on the 1st floor, which is the room NEXT to the one where the router is situated. If I try to connect the PC to the router directly via Wi-Fi, I don't get more than 10Mbps out of the 100Mbps ISP speed. That's why I plugged a Xiaomi USB repeater in the room above the office and connect to it instead. That's the only way I can achieve the 25-30Mbps. If I for example change the placement of the repeater and put it in the office instead, the connection drops again to 10Mbps. That can actually give you an idea about the exact situation I'm dealing with in terms of apartment construction. Furthermore, it's extremely annoying to disconnect and reconnect my phone each time I go to the office, because the router is still reachable, but the connection is awful, so I need to manually reconnect it to the repeater above.

3. There's physically no way for me to drill a hole through a 30cm (1ft) to get a cable through, so that's definitely a no go.

May I ask a follow up question - are updates and continuous product support that important? For example, if I connect the Lyra and get a better reception compared to the Deco M5, wouldn't that be better? I don't know how different and important the specs of each of these two mesh systems are (I'm pretty much a noob when it comes to all these networking stuff to be honest), for example the exact difference between the AC2200 and AC1300, also the included build in antennas etc.

Again, I appreciate all your help!
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
are updates and continuous product support that important?
To correct security bugs at least yes. But all depends on what you value.
Sounds like you are budget limited and set on trying the Decos. Let us know how it works out.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@c0rp1,

1. Yes, the RT-AC86U (even a single one) would be better. You don't need to use AiMesh, there is nothing wrong with using the RT-AC66U as an AP.

2. Either your description or my understanding is confusing me, could you draw a diagram and upload it for us? Label each room so we can refer to each easily.

3. There is a way, are there home renovation tool rental outlets around you?


@thiggins may be correct about what is mined from google networking products, but Google hasn't been shown to be responsible at all with what they state they do and what is done, and therefore, no trust from me (ever).
 

c0rp1

Occasional Visitor
Okay, so a bit of an update on my end... Lets start by attaching a diagram on my main floor (Floor 1).

Floor 1.jpg


Several important things to note:

1. Router position in the hallway is fixed (hanging on the wall and cannot be changed).
2. My office is exactly below Room 1.
3. All devices used on floor 2 get Wi-Fi from a Xiaomi Repeater (lets name it Repeater A) placed on that same second floor, just above the position of the AC66U router. I'm not drawing a diagram for floor 2, cause Wi-Fi is mainly used in the room where the "Repeater A" is situated in, or the room next to it, so signal is decent (reaching max speed and coverage is not that important on that floor).

As mentioned before, the connection up to this point was made as follow - PC in the office is connected to the Xiaomi Repeater in Room 1(naming it Repeater B) and is getting ~ 25Mbps from the 100Mbps possible. Every other position of the "repeater B" results in worse performance. Just for the record - connecting my PC to the router directly gives me an unstable connection with max speed of 5-10Mbps, so I'm not doing that. All other devices that I use on Floor 1 (e.g. phones, tablet, laptop) are connected to the router itself. The red circles indicate the zones I'm having unstable connection (almost no connection actually) and in general, the rooms where you see red circles in, don't have a decent Wi-Fi connection.

Yesterday I pulled the trigger and purchased the Deco M5 Mesh. Placed the main node in Room 1 near the router (there's a hole in the wall so it's easy to get a UTP cable from one device to another). The 2nd node I placed in the office below. That way my PC reaches 80-90Mbps which is insane compared to the connection till now. Haven't placed the 3rd node on floor 2, but I'm sure the result will be identical. My only problem is that if I connect all my other devices that I usually use on floor 1 to the mesh network instead of the router, the red circles become a lot bigger (almost no connection in the entire Room 5 for example). I can still leave them connected to the AC66U, so that's not that big of an issue, cause most of the devices don't move from one floor to the other, but it's annoying for my phone, cause I'll have to change the network every time I I swap floors (connection doesn't drop completely, but it's almost unusable).

One more thing I tested, was to place the main node right next to the router in the hallway. With the node in the office, I'm able to get ~ 35Mbps if I connect the PC to the mesh network, opposite to the 5-10Mbps I was getting if connected to the Router directly. The 35Mbps are almost identical to the speed I was getting with my previous connection to the Repeater B and another device on the wall looks ugly, so won't use it like that.

In summary - what I managed to achieve with the Deco M5 Mesh was to get the speed I was trying to reach in the office, which is basically the most important part. Floor 2 will also get better Wifi connection and coverage for sure with the 3rd node. What I didn't manage to achieve, was to have full coverage of floor 1. Also an issue is that I manually would have to change the Wifi network I'm connected to on my phone, which is extremely annoying.

And now some important question:

1. What would happen if I name the M5 Mesh network the same as the SSID of the AC66U I'm usually connected to on Floor 1? Will that mean that I'll be getting the best out of the coverage of the router when I'm in room 5 for example, but at the same time, I'll be getting the network speeds of the mesh network when I go to the office?
2. 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.
3. 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 the 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?
4. I'm able to get an ASUS AC88U for a decent price (AC86U is not really an option, because there's no way to hang it on the wall out of the box). Will I be able to get a better Wi-Fi connection if I take a different approach - return the Deco M5 system, get the AC88U instead and place my existing AC66U in the office as an AP?
5. Either way, am I able to still use the Xiaomi Repeaters somehow, so they can help for these bad spots on floor 1?

Please keep in mind - I'm trying to achieve a better connection overall (mainly in the office), but desperately want to be able to use a single SSID and not having to swap Wi-Fi networks all the time.

Again, thanks a lot for all your help guys!
 

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