Mesh Vs. AP

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magic

Occasional Visitor
Hi All,

I wanted to get some real life feedback from those to have experience with Mesh and AP systems (wired of course). The feedback I wanted is mainly focused on performance and stability/reliability between the two for the home setting. We can stretch out the setting to a very small business setting, but that may equate to a large house/household setting. The basis of this curiosity for me is, as I'm reading and learning about the different systems out there, I'm hearing really good things for both. But the requirements for both are vastly different, the big one being for the AP systems is requiring cabling.

To be clear, when I say Mesh system, I'm thinking of systems like Google Wifi, Mesh Force, Eero Pro, Orbi, etc. And when I say AP systems, I'm thinking of TP-Link Omada, Cisco CBW's, Aruba, etc.

Going back to my first paragraph, so I see post of really good speed test results, even my circle of friends get their full ISP bandwidth (200/400mbps) on their Mesh systems. I see post that people can roam fine, my friend who has Google, said he's never had to reboot his system in the last year. So if the Mesh appears to performs just as well as the AP's, what's the point of the AP system?


Thank you!
 

Adooni

Senior Member
I can tell about w Mesh systems.
1. Asus AiMesh - my opinion is not stable even v2, looks liek they still working to make it better. Sometimes you need to reboot it every day, week etc as Nodes are disconnecting, wi-fi performance if going down, no connection to internet, new clients cannot connect to wi-fi etc.
2. UniFi - I never have any issue with it. As router in this situation most times I am using ER-12, sometimes ER-4 or dream machine PRO. If you need additional soft to be installed on router dream machine is not a way you want to go. For AP you would need external PoE as ER-12 provide 24V PoE and it limit what AP you can use and supply power via PoE. It is very easy to configure.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
AiMesh v2.0 in supported Asus routers is very stable and performs very well today when properly set up.

Wired backhaul is the vastly superior and recommended option (when/where possible). This is the option to consider when you have ISP speeds over 400Mbps up/down, and/or on a heavily used network with many devices in concurrent use (and you want to get as close to your ISP speeds as possible with appropriate clients).

Wireless mesh networks are no better than using repeaters in a network.

 

magic

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for your responses.

Wired backhaul is the vastly superior and recommended option (when/where possible). This is the option to consider when you have ISP speeds over 400Mbps up/down

Why, and why specific to said speed? Please expound on that.

Let me turn my original post into an example....

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I move into a 2 storey home (~2500 sq ft) with cat6 drops in every room and area that you might put a network device, but i have no idea what it is other than it looks like a bigger phone jack. I want internet so i talk to all my circle of friends and colleague on what they use and how good it is. All of them don't have ethernet wired in their homes (like the vast majority of people) so they recommend the typical consumer stuff. Wifi router, mesh system because previously their ISP wifi router wasn't sufficient. And they tell me how great it is. They can "roam", they get their ISP speeds, they have lots of people on it, kids gaming, video streaming, yada yada yada. So I go and get a Eero (as an example) and hook it up like everyone else. Where ever my modem is, the main unit is wired to it and from there, plop the other nodes where ever the signal meter tells me to place it. And it really does work well for me too.
---------------------------------------

If the wired backhaul is superior, what would I see differently if I replaced that mesh system with an AP one if the mesh was already working "well"? The mesh systems have wifi 5/6 backhauls, which is plently fast right?

Granted, all these feedback is anecdotal testimony but I believe they're working solidly for everyone (not literally of course). I had one colleague who bought a Linksys wifi 6 (forget model) mesh system and she eventually hopes to get her place wired and then will wire backhaul the nodes up. But at that point, that system becomes an "AP system" in my eyes. So I guess she would be a good real-life user to get feedback from. How did the system change/improve. I know some of you will say, the system will become more stable so does that mean in the mesh setup, it will never or rarely be stable?

Btw, I personally am not looking to buy something, I just dumped a lot of money for a Cisco CBW240 AP system and I came from a 1 RT-68U router system so this is more for my understanding and possibly ability to help others. I wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the General Wireless section so if it's the wrong area, please forgive me.


Thanks!
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
To be clear, when I say Mesh system, I'm thinking of systems like Google Wifi, Mesh Force, Eero Pro, Orbi, etc. And when I say AP systems, I'm thinking of TP-Link Omada, Cisco CBW's, Aruba, etc.

All superior to Asus attempts to sell more routers to existing customers. Go with SMB gear and forget the consumer toys. TP_Link Omada is an excellent performer at good price. You already have the wires, get a few EAP245V3 APs and run them with adjusted power to expected coverage area, one OC200 Omada controller and а PoE switch with enough ports for your needs. Matching TP-Link router is TL-R605, but you can use whatever you prefer. Look for @Trip posts around for more ideas.

Btw, I personally am not looking to buy something, , I just dumped a lot of money for a Cisco CBW240 AP system

Oh, you know the difference already.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Mesh systems can be the perfect solution for expanding Wi-Fi coverage when Ethernet connection isn't possible. It all depends on the design of the mesh system and the bandwidth you expect from it.

The basic difference is that there are many more things that can affect overall system performance in a mesh system because it uses Wi-Fi to connect nodes. Ethernet provides high (1 Gbps typically), consistent, full-duplex bandwidth between mesh nodes. Wi-Fi is half-duplex, can be affected by many RF interference sources and, in dual-band systems, require bandwidth to be shared between connecting nodes (backhaul) and connecting devices (fronthaul).

With, Wi-Fi backhaul, putting nodes too far apart can give your devices a nice strong signal, but lousy throughput because the backhaul connection has low bandwidth.

Putting nodes too close together can cause devices to not roam because signal level never falls low enough to cause the device to look for a stronger AP. This can be the case for both multi AP and mesh systems.

There are many ways to build a network. Mesh is one of the tools in the bag, so are multi-AP systems.

BTW, for the AP-is-the-only-way-to-go-crowd, how many of you run your 5 GHz nodes at 20 or 40 MHz channel B/W, like the pros do?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
BTW, for the AP-is-the-only-way-to-go-crowd, how many of you run your 5 GHz nodes at 20 or 40 MHz channel B/W, like the pros do?

It depends on how many APs and how many clients. At home with few APs and not too many clients 80MHz is acceptable. I may have to run 8x APs in one place though and it has to be 20MHz or 40MHz, depending on test results. Up to 160 wireless clients. Multiple APs is the only way to go there.
 

jasonreg

Regular Contributor
I have a three story 4,500 sq. ft house. I put three POE+ APs all wired to my main switch one top floor west side, one middle floor center ice and the last basement east side (ish). We have complete coverage and fantastic reliability. I used WAP571 APs with single point setup. Very happy with the results - I typically get 350-450Mbps download off of my WIFI to iPhones/iPads with a Gb Wired service. We probably have 50-60 wireless devices connected at any one time + another 25 or so wired devices to the Switch.
 

magic

Occasional Visitor
Hi All,

I appreciate all the response.


@jasonreg - That's a lot of house to cover and I won't even ask why so many wireless devices. That's awesome you can cover that much house with only 3 AP's. What I was curious though, is why can't you or wouldn't you go closer to your full ISP speed?

Thanks again everyone.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What I was curious though, is why can't you or wouldn't you go closer to your full ISP speed?

Cisco WAP571 is 3x3 AC/N AP or ~750Mbps throughput in ideal conditions with 3x3 client, if he has one. Most clients are 2x2, 350-450Mbps is normal. Phones/tablets don't need Gigabit anyway and there is no need to invest in much more expensive AX APs for no reason. I also use 3x AC APs at home and have no intention to upgrade any soon.
 

jasonreg

Regular Contributor
Yes - exactly. Other than i-thingies, there are a few laptops for the kids and then we are talking about TVs, lights, blinds and other various IoT all on then own VLAN. I know the WAP571 has now been replaced but for what I need the setup is rock-solid for me and was a really big upgrade from my previous setup- never even a flutter.
 

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