Recommendation for Router + Node (hard-wired)

binarydad

Regular Contributor
I have an Asus RT-68U and while it covers the house great, it's not so great out toward the back yard. The house has aluminum siding (which I suspect sure isn't helping coverage into the back yard) and I am able to hard-wire a 2nd node on the back screened-in porch. I'm looking for a recommendation on a router + node setup, preferably with the ability to distinguish 2.4 and 5ghz bands, disable DHCP/DNS (I run my own), is stable, and performant. The main router/WAP also needs to have a couple extra gigabit ports (4 preferably), while the node does not, however. I have no Wifi 6 devices, so no need for that yet. Thank you.

Edit: currently looking at this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K4CZOBS/?tag=snbforums-20. Thoughts?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If you're ready to spend that much, consider an RT-AX88U instead. You may not even need to use the RT-AC68U in AiMesh mode at all too. :)

You don't need an AX capable client to enjoy the benefits that the RT-AX88Ucan offer.
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
I had the RB50/RBS50 that someone donated to a not-for-profit where I volunteer. I tried the Orbi through several firmware updates and finally decided to stick with Asus as the Orbi was not flexible enough for my needs. I now have an RT-AC86U which works very well on Asus or Merlin firmware. I have no AX clients so decided to stick with AC. You will also get longer firmware support with Asus.
 

Klueless

Very Senior Member
I have an Asus RT-68U and while it covers the house great, it's not so great out toward the back yard. The house has aluminum siding ... and I am able to hard-wire a 2nd node on the back screened-in porch
I'm cheap. Why not keep the 68U (you said it's actually pretty good) and simply grab a dual-band wireless range extender for the back porch? Many (e.g., Netgear for example) come with an Ethernet port and can be hard wired and configured as a (wireless) AP. About $100 and done.

Other vendors have similar, some are even designed to live outside.
 
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Trip

Very Senior Member
Why not [...] simply grab a dual-band wireless range extender for the back porch?
Because you'd be buying a product which, while it could potentially do the job standalone at layer 2, wouldn't be as well-integrated as another AiMesh router, like an AC66U_B1 for similar cost. Either that, or hardware-disable wifi on the 68U and purchase two working-pull Ruckus R500's off eBay for $50-55 each and run them Unleashed. Either way, you're giving your endpoints a way more uniform link-layer experience off of either AP, plus a single control plane, both of which will give you better seamless roaming and easier management. And not much more, if any more, money spent.
 

Klueless

Very Senior Member
Because you'd be buying a product which, while it could potentially do the job standalone at layer 2, wouldn't be as well-integrated as another AiMesh router, like an AC66U_B1 for similar cost. Either that, or hardware-disable wifi on the 68U and purchase two working-pull Ruckus R500's off eBay for $50-55 each and run them Unleashed. Either way, you're giving your endpoints a way more uniform link-layer experience off of either AP, plus a single control plane, both of which will give you better seamless roaming and easier management. And not much more, if any more, money spent.
True. I've only a few sites so my experience is very limited. I'm also a novice so I lean towards presenting a view with the novice (me) in mind.

Even though there are standards and vendors do try to adhere to the standards there's always room for error so, you're right, there's always the possibility of interoperability issues between multiple vendors.

But, on the flip side, you can take a great router yet when you dumb it down to be an access point it might not be so great. Same with AImesh, I'm sure in the near future it will full fill the dream but, for now, many report it's not quite there yet.

I've heard great things about Eero mesh (vs. Orbi) and even the Google mesh Wifi as long as the OP is looking at mesh anyway but, myself, if I'm only looking to add strength in one (versus many) areas I simply add an AP.

I've extended two of my sites with Netgear 6150 range extenders. One is hardwired. The other is wireless, I used "fast lane" so one radio acts as a dedicated backhaul to the router and the 2nd is dedicated to our clients. So they're both "layer 2-ish" and they've both been running great for a few years now. I do not seem to be having any interoperability problems between vendors.

At another site I've two Ruckus APs connected to an Asus RT-86U. (You're smarter than me, I had to pay a few hundred each for mine.) They are great APs. Reportedly the easiest PRO device to configure but, that said, there is still a bit of a learning curve. My favorite feature is I can easily isolate "guests" from my private LAN. I did, however, leave my Asus acting as a 3rd wireless access point. Again, no apparent interoperability problems.

I've walked all three sites over and over and, as yet, have had no problems with hand offs. Although we do use VoIP we have no portable VoIP devices so I can not speak for how well those types of hand offs might fare.

Anywho, for backyard use, maybe an outdoor theater, most any AP should meet the OPs needs.

There are many good choices out there, hopefully it will be difficult to make a "wrong mistake".
 
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Trip

Very Senior Member
Indeed, @Klueless -- sorry, came off a little dry there. Many ways to skin this cat, for sure.

Interesting observation on AiMesh. I thought it was more or less "there", at least for an all-wired setup; guess it still has deal-breaker bugs even in that mode? Shame...

Regarding, Eero, it's far superior to most any other whole-house product, mainly for three reasons: 1) unlike all the others (laughably) it's actual mesh, 2) it uses QoS that actually works (aka SQM: fq_codel between nodes, and CAKE on the gateway's WAN interface, provided internet is <500Mb), and 3) can re-purpose fronthaul/backhaul radio roles and re-channelize all links, near-instantaneously, to optimize traffic flow in real-time, all the time. No other consumer whole-house code base I'm aware of comes even close. There is certainly nicer hardware (Orbi 4x4 or AmpliFi Alien 8x8 backhaul radios come to mind), but they're effectively being run by "brain-dead" software stacks in comparison to what Eero is doing. Probably one of the reasons Bezos realized they were actually worth buying... lol.

Regarding Ruckus, you definitely don't need to convince me. Their stuff is so good I basically don't have the patience for anything else any more. I don't even care how I source it, either. Brand new from the channel, "new" Amazon gray market, working-pull off eBay, even EOL or "N"-class plus used ZD1100 controllers -- it all just works, and their antenna tech is just sickeningly good with mobiles and/or interference.
 

Klueless

Very Senior Member
Fans of AiMesh love to point out that an AiMesh node can be redeployed as a router should the main router fail. Myself, I've saved a couple of my old N66Us for backup. (Or, better, a failure gives me an excuse to buy something shinny new fun : -)
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Fans of AiMesh love to point out that an AiMesh node can be redeployed as a router should the main router fail. Myself, I've saved a couple of my old N66Us for backup. (Or, better, a failure gives me an excuse to buy something shinny new fun : -)
Nobody wants to go back to old tech. New is much more fun.

It is probably a good time to break away from the dual router mode and buy wireless APs. Some of these routers are getting so expensive it would make much more sense in switching.

Of course I feel good with the Cisco WAP581 wireless APs but they are an older solid design. When the time is right I am sure Cisco will come out with 6e wireless. I would prefer when all the bugs are worked out. I hate having to think about my equipment. I just want it to work.
 

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