Optimizing AC3200 and AC1900 (AP)

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Sam843

Occasional Visitor
We've got an AC3200 as the primary router with an AC68U as an access point on the 2nd floor. They're connected over ethernet. About 1800sf on each floor. There's probably 25-30' of horizontal separation between the two units. It's possible we could get a bit more horizontal separation but face limitations based on ethernet availability. The AC3200 is essentially located in one corner of the space on the first floor. The AC68U is located in the approx middle of the second floor. The antennas on both units are configured as illustrated in the manual...

Searching thru the archives I couldn't find a definitive post laying out best practices for configuring this combination to optimize client connections regardless of where you are in the house.

All AC clients are Apple (iphones, ipad, macs) which lack sophisticated client side settings. We currently have the 2.4 radios sharing a single SSID. The three 5 radios are each on different SSIDs.

As AC clients move thru the house they tend to eventually latch onto a 2.4 radio and stay there... it takes a manual override to shift them back to a 5 radio. The goal is a seamless transfer to whichever 5 radio would provide the strongest signal... realize this may not be possible but looking for whatever setup would get us closest to that goal.

Open to any suggestions... and the more specific about settings, the better. We are running the latest Merlin firmware on the 3200, latest stock firmware on the AC68U.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What happens when you just 'forget' the 2.4GHz band on those devices you want on 5GHz?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
We've got an AC3200 as the primary router with an AC68U as an access point on the 2nd floor. They're connected over ethernet. About 1800sf on each floor. There's probably 25-30' of horizontal separation between the two units. It's possible we could get a bit more horizontal separation but face limitations based on ethernet availability. The AC3200 is essentially located in one corner of the space on the first floor. The AC68U is located in the approx middle of the second floor. The antennas on both units are configured as illustrated in the manual...

Searching thru the archives I couldn't find a definitive post laying out best practices for configuring this combination to optimize client connections regardless of where you are in the house.

All AC clients are Apple (iphones, ipad, macs) which lack sophisticated client side settings. We currently have the 2.4 radios sharing a single SSID. The three 5 radios are each on different SSIDs.

As AC clients move thru the house they tend to eventually latch onto a 2.4 radio and stay there... it takes a manual override to shift them back to a 5 radio. The goal is a seamless transfer to whichever 5 radio would provide the strongest signal... realize this may not be possible but looking for whatever setup would get us closest to that goal.

Open to any suggestions... and the more specific about settings, the better. We are running the latest Merlin firmware on the 3200, latest stock firmware on the AC68U.

Tilting the antenna throws its donut pattern more up and down; vertical would more serve one level.

Do AC clients need an auto connection defined for the 2.4 WLANs?

OE
 

Sam843

Occasional Visitor
Tilting the antenna throws its donut pattern more up and down; vertical would more serve one level.

Do AC clients need an auto connection defined for the 2.4 WLANs?

OE
Makes sense then to orient 1st floor antennas more vertically... maybe tilt second floor to get coverage in areas past range of 1st floor. Have not experimented with deleting 2.4 connections on the AC clients.
 

Grisu

Part of the Furniture
Are you able to position your 3200 somewhere in the middle too?
Would be better to have them one above the other as the radio donut is mostly limited vertically and so least interferences between them. And each of them can cover its floor to all rooms. All antennas vertically standing up.
 

Sam843

Occasional Visitor
Are you able to position your 3200 somewhere in the middle too?
Would be better to have them one above the other as the radio donut is mostly limited vertically and so least interferences between them. And each of them can cover its floor to all rooms. All antennas vertically standing up.

Can't really line them up any closer due to interior walls and ethernet runs.
 

Sam843

Occasional Visitor
Did try removing the 2.4 SSID from an iPhone and iPad. It was OK until moving out onto back porch... then lost the 5Ghz connection. I think there's just too many walls between the first floor router and that area of the house. Am considering pulling out our old AC-56U and putting it on the back porch with an ethernet backhaul to the Ac3200... that would give us a router and two AP's to cover the whole property. With that setup it might be possible to disable the 2.4 WLAN from everything except the IoTs.

Right now we've got all the radios on AUTO for freq and width. Best to leave them there or should we explore manual assignments?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Right now we've got all the radios on AUTO for freq and width. Best to leave them there or should we explore manual assignments?

My preference with AiMesh:
o disable Smart Connect (use separate SSIDs and fixed channels for stable/predictable WiFi);
o set 2.4 GHz WLAN to OE-24, n-only, 20 MHz, ch 1,6,11 or 1,5,9,13 (non-overlapping, least congested);
o set 5.0 GHz WLAN to OE, n/ac mixed, 80 MHz, ch 149 or above (US, non-radar, highest Tx power);
- do not hide SSIDs (to speed client connection).

You may want to adjust for your AP mode usage... AiMesh propagates the same settings to all nodes.

I found that Auto channels scan and move around too much, which can disrupt clients.

AC1900/AC68/AC66 B1 do not support Smart Connect (same SSIDs for each band). So, use separate SSIDs.

Restricting 2.4 GHz to 20 MHz bandwidth is a courtesy since the signal can travel far and interfere with neighboring WiFi.

OE
 

Sam843

Occasional Visitor
My preference with AiMesh:
o disable Smart Connect (use separate SSIDs and fixed channels for stable/predictable WiFi);
o set 2.4 GHz WLAN to OE-24, n-only, 20 MHz, ch 1,6,11 or 1,5,9,13 (non-overlapping, least congested);
o set 5.0 GHz WLAN to OE, n/ac mixed, 80 MHz, ch 149 or above (US, non-radar, highest Tx power);
- do not hide SSIDs (to speed client connection).

You may want to adjust for your AP mode usage... AiMesh propagates the same settings to all nodes.

I found that Auto channels scan and move around too much, which can disrupt clients.

AC1900/AC68/AC66 B1 do not support Smart Connect (same SSIDs for each band). So, use separate SSIDs.

Restricting 2.4 GHz to 20 MHz bandwidth is a courtesy since the signal can travel far and interfere with neighboring WiFi.

OE

Thanks much. The AC3200 doesn't support AiMesh so we're setting the router and AP independently. I have them both using the same SSID for each freq (one for 2.4 and another for 5). That doesn't appear to be causing any issues. Should we try SmartConnect? Currently disabled.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks much. The AC3200 doesn't support AiMesh so we're setting the router and AP independently. I have them both using the same SSID for each freq (one for 2.4 and another for 5). That doesn't appear to be causing any issues. Should we try SmartConnect? Currently disabled.

No, since SC is not supported on your AP. Also, you are [already] using separate SSIDs per band, so you can band steer 'manually' by restricting the SSID/band connections you define on each client.

Smart Connect is "node band steering"... the router/AP/node 'encourages' the client to connect to the 'better' band when the same SSID is used for more than one band. Don't ask me what 'encourage' and 'better' mean... just assume you know! :)

Roaming Assistant is 'node steering'... the router 'encourages' the client to connect to the 'better' node.

These functions should mean something in a system sense as they relate to an AiMesh or mesh system. They may mean less when it comes to AP mode; otherwise, why develop AiMesh? I believe most users are reporting better roaming with AiMesh vs AP mode, although the terrain maybe evolving for both with the recent introduction of roaming protocol support.

I have no experience with AP mode. Repeater/Extender mode was not very glamorous, by my limited experience.

OE
 
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