Need some advice on Mesh strategy

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Jmcnyc

Occasional Visitor
I have a Asus AC3100 that is set up as a mesh network with a AC1900. I have a 3300 sq ft house and the internet drops in some areas. I was thinking of upgrading.
  • There is no gaming in the house.
  • The house is not wired, so it is all wireless
  • We stream music constantly
  • We have a 7 speaker Sonos setup
  • We stream TV to three rooms
We have Xfinity and use our own cable modem SB6190

I was thinking of adding another Asus AC1900 to have three wifi routers in a mesh network.
OR
Going with an eero setup and trashing the Asus set up.

Any thoughts or recommendations? Much appreciated!
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Eero Pro tri-band three-pack all the way, with SQM turned on. If the SB6190 (iffy Intel Puma chipset) is at all flaky, replace with a Docsis 3.1 Broadcom-based unit (SB8200 or MB8600).

If you want more router/gateway feature set, put Eero in bridge mode (effectively turning them into just wireless APs) and put your AC3100 back in service as a wired router (wifi disabled) running Merlin (for stability).
 

Jmcnyc

Occasional Visitor
Thanks. I love smart straightforward advice.
Questions
Will the modem upgrade give me a noticeable boost?

I don’t really muck with the WiFi and just really use mostly out of the box settings. A set it and forget it guy. What is the advantage of using the ASUS as a wired router as compared to the speed of the Eero? If I just care about speed over features would the straight Eero be best?

Finally is the Eero pro worth it vs the standard Eero? Eero starts to get pricey. Thanks.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
What is your internet plan download and upload speed (in Mb/s)? If download is close to 1,000Mb/s (1 Gig), you may get a slight speed boost by going to the SB8200 or MB8600, and/or potentially better QoS overall, regardless of the speed.

You might run the Asus for any unique features it has vs Eero, but considering your priorities I would run only Eero if you can (mesh is better with Eero in default router mode, and QoS won't work in bridge mode).

Pro vs standard Eero comes down to how much speed you want. Clients connected to 1-hop mesh nodes (one away from the base), will get 75 to 150Mb/s on Eero dual-band, 150 to 300 on Eero Pro. If those speeds seem low, remember Eero is an AC Wave 2 (ie. stable) product whose primary value add is all-wireless mesh that's stable and "just works". You can likely get higher static link speeds from the likes of Orbi tri-band, AmpliFi Alien, etc. but neither have the automatic connection quality preservation that Eero offers.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
This is a network you build. Please note non-hierarchically.
 

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Trip

Very Senior Member
A 3-node Eero kit setup in a backhaul triangle will automatically form a non-hierarchical, multi-point mesh, without the user having to intervene or manually build anything.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
When I grew up in the networking world many many years ago mesh was a way to have redundancy because all the lines were point to point.

With wireless are you really going to set them up in a multi-point setup or push the wireless to a hierarchical setup? If you setup the wireless in a triangle to where each unit can communicate with each other then you have a simple mesh. But as soon as 1 wireless unit cannot talk directly to the other 2 then it is not a mesh. You need to maintain the direct triangle communication between units.
 
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Trip

Very Senior Member
OK, so scale it to however many nodes are needed to preserve mesh with a failure, or two, etc. The point still remains that a basic user can have still have a non-hierarchical, multi-point mesh without having to manually build anything. I would call that a good thing, even if it isn't as perfect as something manually built. A product like Eero provides a simple, self-serviceable option for home use, which in many cases is plenty good enough.

Focusing back on the thread, presuming an all-wireless setup is still required, perhaps you could propose an alternate, manually-built setup that the OP might prefer instead? I would love to know about it, and I presume the OP would as well.
 
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Jmcnyc

Occasional Visitor
@Trip my internet speed is 300mb/s. When I use my iPhone and stand next to the WiFi router I get around 350mb/s. When I go away to other rooms in the house I get around 80mb/s. So looks like a mesh network would help significantly. I am getting the speed into the house just not being distributed. If we all used our devices in the laundry room where the router is located we would be happy.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Got it. Eero Pro will be able to give you 300-500Mb/s on 5Ghz when connected to the root base unit, 200-300Mb/s on 5Ghz when connected to a 1-hop mesh node, so a fairly good chunk of your internet speed even from the most remote locations. Coverage-wise, a fairly accurate rule of thumb is one access point per 1,000 square feet, so three placed smartly enough ought to do pretty well. If you can triangulate them well enough, they will also inter-connect all nodes (each one to the two others), making for a more resilient topology as well.

Keep in mind the limitations of consumer mesh, though. They all operate on the same backhaul (Eero to Eero) and fronthaul (Eero to devices) channels, so there's only so much bandwidth that can be had in that much airspace in any given moment. But, it's increased coverage we're going for here primarily, over just pure speed, and for your internet speed, Eero Pro ought to hit the 80/20 rule well enough I would think.
 
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Jmcnyc

Occasional Visitor
As an update. I purchased three Eero Pro's. It did improve but not as much as I expected. I then upgraded my Xfinity internet to 600 mbps.

The Xfinity upgrade came with a new router/modem XB6-A. They needed to install this for the internet phone service which is part of the package (I dont plan to use this). Three questions:
1. I want to purchase my own modem - any recommendations.
2. Should I purchase a router/modem combo for the Eero? Or do I just need a modem?
3. Should I get a 4th Eero? I have a three story house that is 3,500 sq ft. My issue is that the Eero does not generate a strong signal in the yard, I was hoping that if I get a 4th and point it in the direction of the backyard this would solve this issue.

Thanks.
 

Mark070

Regular Contributor
I think @Trip suggested (#4) a couple of modems that would work well, especially for the new speed increase. The Eero Pro is already a router (you could replace the XB6-A). I do not see a need to increase to 4 Eeros, unless you have obvious dead spots.

I am going to be blasted for this (and I maybe wrong, but this is my impression), the Eeros are really building a hierarchical repeater setup to extend WiFi throughout your floor space, without having wires. Each time you add a hop, your going to decrease speed. Best to minimize the number of Eeros and instead put them in strategic places for better coverage.

Eh, my $.02 :)

EDIT: Ok .. not a true repeater setup, considering there is a dedicated backhaul - but, as you add hops you still decrease in speed.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Wireless is wireless but it can not compete with wire or fiber. Anything you can do with wireless you can do better with wire or fiber. If there is any way to use wire for your back haul it will make your network better. The faster you go the more the wire makes a difference over wireless.
 

alba666

Occasional Visitor
I’ve got the 600 Meg Xfinity service as well. Speedtest is capping out at 700 Meg due to my DOCSIS 3.0 modem. If you don’t need the phone service, don’t pay the rental on the Xfinity box and get a modem. Payback period is a few months. You still get a phone number with voicemail but have no way to plug in a phone. Handy to use when someone insists on a valid phone number to rathole the junk calls you get when they sell their lists.
 

Jmcnyc

Occasional Visitor
So for the 600 mbps Xfinity service is the SB8200 modem still the best choice? I shouldnt get a modem/router combo and put the Eero in bridge mode? Just use the Eero direct connect to the modem?
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Why don't you check with Xfinity service and see what are recommended modems? The different cable companies do not always recommend the same modems.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
I would still recommend a discrete cable modem, connected to a separate router and wifi (either all-in-one or wired plus whole-house mesh or APs). It's probably always best to get the official list straight from the provider, but here's ApprovedModems has a nice Xfinity compatability matrix by Docsis version and channel count.

If you purchased Eero but wanted certain gateway/firewall functionality that Eero didn't offer, you could run it in bridge mode, using it essentially as an AP mesh, then pair with a wired router.
 

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