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Mesh wifi with USB for storage drive

Discussion in 'Routers' started by yycwrangler, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. yycwrangler

    yycwrangler New Around Here

    Dec 15, 2016
    With Black Friday coming up I would like to jump into the possibility of expanding my wifi reach in my 4000 ft home. Mesh wifi seems like the way to go but I would like to attach a USB drive to the system so the rest of the family can access documents photos etc. Doesn’t have to super high speed access. Some mesh list a USB or USBC then when you review the product it states can’t be used for storage devices. Any thoughts on current products that would work for me. I know most are going to say get a Synology unit but I believe that would be a lot more expensive. Then I guess there would be the one router route but would have to cover the sqft mentioned and be simple to setup. As you can see I’m not very savvy in this aspect. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Cheers Al
  2. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    Hi Al. Full mesh may or may not be the way to go, depending on if you can wire in some or all APs, either via ethernet or MoCa adapters over coaxial. Either method will usually be more reliable and offer more bandwidth for both backhaul and clients. Even if only some wiring is possible, it might be worth running certain nodes that way, the rest in mesh.

    If you can wire in all APs, I would look at a SOHO/SMB-class wireless product like TP-Link Omada with the OC200 controller, or Ubiqitui UniFi, or even Cisco WAPs. For a specific home mesh product, I would look at a Netgear Orbi RBK50 for a base and one satellite, or the RBK53 for a base and two satellites. For lower-bandwidth internet (like DSL or cable under 200Mb/s) I like Eero Pro better, as it has better QoS than Orbi.

    For a shared access drive, I can appreciate wanting the convenience of just hanging a USB drive off the router, but trust me, for anything more than just sporadic or temporary storage, you're going to want an actual appliance. It doesn't have to fancy or spendy, either. A used mini desktop PC or Mac Mini off eBay for cheap with an SSD in it will often be a way more stable approach, and you'll be less hogtied by the inevitable limitations the router would otherwise impose. Just something to think about there before you go limiting your router buying criteria on that feature.
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 Regular Contributor

    Sep 24, 2019
    Central Illinois
    Personally, I would just keep those items in the “Cloud” vs locally unless you are having issues with your Internet connection or Slow Download speeds. Look at how much those items like documents and photos are accessed and you may find that it outweighs having to spend on network storage that is not accessed all of the time.