Question: worth it just for access points?

NoncarbonatedClack

Occasional Visitor
I'm currently running two XT8's for WiFi and the lack of stable firmware from ASUS above 42095 is pretty annoying, especially given the cost of those devices.

Does anyone think it's better to run a couple of AX routers flashed to Merlin, just as wireless access points? I'm really considering selling off the XT8's and doing this.
The WiFi is great on the XT8's, but Id like some better updates and more features out of them, so it seems Merlin is the way to go.

I run cable to everything I can, but I do get upwards of 20 client devices sometimes on WiFi. 3 story home (4 including the basement), and the home is more vertical than anything else.

Thoughts?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
The WiFi is great on the XT8's, but Id like some better updates and more features out of them, so it seems Merlin is the way to go.
If you're going to be running them "just as wireless access points" there's not a lot of features available that you don't already have. What "features" were you thinking of?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Why not get actual AP's instead of using old tech. Sell the old devices to make up for the costs and get better performance at the same time. sure, it's going to cost a bit more p front but, you likely won't have to refresh everything again in a couple of years like you might with what you're thinking about doing.

If you're "vertical" as you say then probably 2 AP's would cover everything. I use a NWA210AX and it covers 1300+ sq ft corner to corner. They've been ranging from $160-$225 on Amazon recently. If you want a bigger leap and less need to replace down the road there's a new Netgear 6E AP out but, those are ~$350 w/ coupon.

It also makes a difference to know what kind of data needs from the ISP side to the LAN devices / NAS / TV / streaming / gaming.
 

NoncarbonatedClack

Occasional Visitor
If you're going to be running them "just as wireless access points" there's not a lot of features available that you don't already have. What "features" were you thinking of?

oh, well.. I work with enterprise gear for a living, but I don't want that cloud licensing BS. and don't like anything from ubiquiti.
SSID mapping to VLAN's (don't know what that's actually called, haven't worked with that yet), being able to ingest data for monitoring via SNMP would be nice for starters. Really that's what I'm looking for I suppose. More flexibility for tweaking would be nice (albeit, the XT8 can do a lot of that already)

I'll check the merlin feature list again, seemed like there was more..

Why not get actual AP's instead of using old tech. Sell the old devices to make up for the costs and get better performance at the same time. sure, it's going to cost a bit more p front but, you likely won't have to refresh everything again in a couple of years like you might with what you're thinking about doing.

If you're "vertical" as you say then probably 2 AP's would cover everything. I use a NWA210AX and it covers 1300+ sq ft corner to corner. They've been ranging from $160-$225 on Amazon recently. If you want a bigger leap and less need to replace down the road there's a new Netgear 6E AP out but, those are ~$350 w/ coupon.

It also makes a difference to know what kind of data needs from the ISP side to the LAN devices / NAS / TV / streaming / gaming.

How is anything AX old tech?
Anything new is going to require the same WiFi version on the client side, so I don't really care to jump to the bleeding edge, I'm fine with 802.11ax honestly. We just upgraded mobile devices and laptops, and those all have AX now, so we're set for a while. Don't care about 6E, and I know we're not pushing a ton of data to get even close to the theoretical bandwidth that 6/6E is capable of.

1 gig symmetrical WAN. I do have a NAS, but that won't be accessed by most wireless clients, except 2 laptops for backup purposes.
Servers are all wired.
Anything gaming is wired, so no issue there.

I will be expanding into smart home stuff, so capacity for potentially a bunch of devices would be great.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
SSID mapping to VLAN's (don't know what that's actually called, haven't worked with that yet), being able to ingest data for monitoring via SNMP would be nice for starters. Really that's what I'm looking for I suppose. More flexibility for tweaking would be nice (albeit, the XT8 can do a lot of that already)
Asus routers don't support VLANs (other than for IPTV). They do have guest WiFi networks but that's not the same and isn't interoperable with other manufactures' products. I haven't personally tried using SNMP but I think there's only basic MIB support.
 

NoncarbonatedClack

Occasional Visitor
Asus router's don't support VLANs (other than for IPTV). They do have guest WiFi networks but that's not the same and isn't interoperable with other manufactures' products. I haven't personally tried using SNMP but I think there's only basic MIB support.

Not even with Merlin eh? damn. well, there goes that plan I suppose.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Not even with Merlin eh? damn.
Nope. Well, technically you can do it by writing a bunch of hackish scripts if you're prepared put in the work. But there's no built-in support. Personally I'd choose another product that supported VLANs out of the box.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
How is anything AX old tech?
I'm not saying it's old but, AXE is finally making some headway into the market whereas the client side adapters have been out for a year or more at this point w/ nothing to connect to other than overpriced routers.

If you want to do network segregation with VL's then something more along the lines of the AP's is going to be needed. Along with this you'll need something more than most of the off the shelf options for a router. For the switch though you can find some used deals that will be able to handle gig traffic easily.
 

NoncarbonatedClack

Occasional Visitor
Nope. Well, technically you can do it by writing a bunch of hackish scripts if you're prepared put in the work. But there's no built-in support. Personally I'd choose another product that supported VLANs out of the box.

Alright, I was looking at some TP-Link's but.. unsure about that, I'll keep looking around.

I'm not saying it's old but, AXE is finally making some headway into the market whereas the client side adapters have been out for a year or more at this point w/ nothing to connect to other than overpriced routers.

If you want to do network segregation with VL's then something more along the lines of the AP's is going to be needed. Along with this you'll need something more than most of the off the shelf options for a router. For the switch though you can find some used deals that will be able to handle gig traffic easily.

Definitely already have the rest of my network healthily over-engineered. See my signature lol.
Firewall has a quad core xeon and 16GB RAM :D and I'm in the process of running a port channel (only 2x 1Gbit, no 10Gbit yet) up to my office via fiber
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
I'm currently running two XT8's for WiFi and the lack of stable firmware from ASUS above 42095 is pretty annoying, especially given the cost of those devices.

Does anyone think it's better to run a couple of AX routers flashed to Merlin, just as wireless access points? I'm really considering selling off the XT8's and doing this.
The WiFi is great on the XT8's, but Id like some better updates and more features out of them, so it seems Merlin is the way to go.

I run cable to everything I can, but I do get upwards of 20 client devices sometimes on WiFi. 3 story home (4 including the basement), and the home is more vertical than anything else.

Thoughts?
for WAP placement/numbers, building construction is the biggest obstacle.
its easy to divide 1300sqft into 4 to get 325, then divide by pi and then find the square root of that to determine "radius of central column" - in this case it's less than 10'/3m
if there isn't a lot of steel or concrete/brick/stone, I'd give one AX router a shot, and work hard to find the best central location - I'd wager you may be surprised.
 

NoncarbonatedClack

Occasional Visitor
for WAP placement/numbers, building construction is the biggest obstacle.
its easy to divide 1300sqft into 4 to get 325, then divide by pi and then find the square root of that to determine "radius of central column" - in this case it's less than 10'/3m
if there isn't a lot of steel or concrete/brick/stone, I'd give one AX router a shot, and work hard to find the best central location - I'd wager you may be surprised.

Indeed. In fact, the verizon router, when I was using it, gave decent signal from all the way in the basement... while I was on the top floor. They do go pretty far.

Part of the reason I'm looking at options is that.. honestly, the way this house is built (wall layout in particular) and with all the stuff IN the walls (lots of wiring, AC ducting, etc) pulling wiring to a central location is going to be, frankly, a pain in the ass. That's before we talk about mounting an AP on the ceiling where it should be.

Mesh was ideal because of this. I'm debating having an electrician come through and run some conduit so the difficult part isn't a me problem lol.

I was looking at TP-Link Omada AP's but I'm not sure how I feel about the controller. more research to be done.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Alright, I was looking at some TP-Link's but.. unsure about that, I'll keep looking around.



Definitely already have the rest of my network healthily over-engineered. See my signature lol.
Firewall has a quad core xeon and 16GB RAM :D and I'm in the process of running a port channel (only 2x 1Gbit, no 10Gbit yet) up to my office via fiber
I would expand your capabilities on that box and turn it into your router as well. This freeing up needing one and allowing to spend on APs instead.
 

Jack Yaz

Part of the Furniture
Nope. Well, technically you can do it by writing a bunch of hackish scripts if you're prepared put in the work. But there's no built-in support. Personally I'd choose another product that supported VLANs out of the box.
Precisely what I'm doing for my migration to pfsense. My asus routers are going to be for development and largely retired for actual use.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Precisely what I'm doing for my migration to pfsense. My asus routers are going to be for development and largely retired for actual use.
Any thoughts yet on what you might use for access points with your pfsense router?
 

Jack Yaz

Part of the Furniture

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I was looking at TP-Link Omada AP's but I'm not sure how I feel about the controller. more research to be done.

Excellent price/performance ratio product. Similar to UniFi (or better) for less. Here is a demo of Omada SDN Controller 5.1:

 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture

Jack Yaz

Part of the Furniture
You can go much cheaper with off-lease HP Elite or Dell OptiPlex computer. I use quite a bit for my business. Never had a failed unit for many years. Liook for Intel i5 CPU (different gen available) and 8GB RAM. More than enough processing power for whatever you need on a home network.
I could go cheaper but I have (had) the money to purchase it. It runs like a dream and is silent that it's currently sat in my living room with 0 complaints from the family. I have just acquired an old Optiplex as well, but that's becoming a Blue Iris server
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Ah, you have it running already? Congratulations! :)
 

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