Router advice for smart home

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raptors9211

New Around Here
Hi

as Black Friday approaches I’m looking to buy a new router (been holding off for a while)
Our current situation
  • Smart home, multiple nest products, switches, speakers, cameras etc
  • Gaming devices (PS4 and soon ps5
  • Ruckus unleashed hub with cat6 cables around the house
  • Ruckus AP upstairs and downstairs
  • Current router is netgear R7000
Issues
  • The range and speed on 2ghz is useless. I barely get 10mbps
  • I have stuff wired but when I’m playing games and someone is streaming Netflix or anything else, my speeds start to suffer really bad. Even when gaming is wired. I have as many stuff wired as I can
  • I wish the range was better on non AP band

I’ve read about Wi-Fi 6e but seems like actual technology usage is far off so not interested in that. I’ll get a Wi-Fi 6 for now
I want something to improve overall range for 2800sqft home with about 30 devices. And also something with consistent speed.
Budget is $300 and can go up if needed

Any suggestions?
Thanks for reading and suggesting!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
RT-AX88U with RMerlin firmware is my suggestion. With built-in amtm script support available, this is the most stable and most powerful router available today.
 
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OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi

as Black Friday approaches I’m looking to buy a new router (been holding off for a while)
Our current situation
  • Smart home, multiple nest products, switches, speakers, cameras etc
  • Gaming devices (PS4 and soon ps5
  • Ruckus unleashed hub with cat6 cables around the house
  • Ruckus AP upstairs and downstairs
  • Current router is netgear R7000
Issues
  • The range and speed on 2ghz is useless. I barely get 10mbps
  • I have stuff wired but when I’m playing games and someone is streaming Netflix or anything else, my speeds start to suffer really bad. Even when gaming is wired. I have as many stuff wired as I can
  • I wish the range was better on non AP band

I’ve read about Wi-Fi 6e but seems like actual technology usage is far off so not interested in that. I’ll get a Wi-Fi 6 for now
I want something to improve overall range for 2800sqft home with about 30 devices. And also something with consistent speed.
Budget is $300 and can go up if needed

Any suggestions?
Thanks for reading and suggesting!
I'm curious to know what non-AP band means, and do the wired APs broadcast the 2.4 WiFi signal... if so, it should have good range, yes(?).

OE
 

raptors9211

New Around Here
I'm curious to know what non-AP band means, and do the wired APs broadcast the 2.4 WiFi signal... if so, it should have good range, yes(?).

OE
Sorry meant regular 2.4 and 5 GHZ signals

AP does broadcast 2.4 and in that case the range on the 2.4 AP is good.
but once multiple devices starts going, it affects the overall quality
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
@raptors9211 - I take it you're in a Lennar "smart" home that includes Ruckus APs? What model? R510 by chance?
R510_Glam_Left_SH.jpg
Two R510's should handle 2800 square feet with relative ease, unless they've been very poorly placed, are running a buggy Unleashed firmware version (there were a few from 2018/2019), and/or the APs are improperly configured, and/or there really is an unavoidable coverage gap.

When you say "Ruckus hub", I presume you're referring to the home's core switch, the unit connecting to all the Cat6 cables? If it's an ICX managed switch, what model? Example: ICX7150-C12
ICX7150.jpg

Looking at wifi first, you're not going to get any better link-layer quality than Ruckus, so if you're experiencing issues, I can almost assure you it's due to issues I mentioned above. A proper site survey using one of the Ruckus APs would let you know where they might be placed most effectively, and/or where you might need to add a third (which I doubt, but it's possible). As far as other items go, I trust you've disabled the wifi on that R7000, so as to not pollute the pre-existing Ruckus wifi? If not, that should to be done, and optionally a third AP should be put in its place is you feel the extra coverage is needed. This will standardize wireless access all on one single platform, as should be the case.

Overall, you've got the creme de la creme of APs in place, and what sounds like a layer 3 enterprise switch as well. I wouldn't go neutering that capability with consumer gear, especially something that lacks VLAN support, which will allow you to properly segment all those IoT devices, as well as segregate networks for Private and Guest access, should you choose to. Instead, I'd rip and replace that R7000 for a wired router (Cisco RV340, Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 4, or similar), update the Unleashed firmware on those APs to 200.9 (I can show you how), maybe add an additional AP if needed, make sure background-scanning and/or ChannelFly is enabled for the WLAN, and you'll be good to go.
 
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raptors9211

New Around Here
@raptors9211 - I take it you're in a Lennar "smart" home that includes Ruckus APs? What model? R510 by chance?
View attachment 27309
Two R510's should handle 2800 square feet with relative ease, unless they've been very poorly placed, are running a buggy Unleashed firmware version (there were a few from 2018/2019), and/or the APs are improperly configured, and/or there really is an unavoidable coverage gap.

When you say "Ruckus hub", I presume you're referring to the home's core switch, the unit connecting to all the Cat6 cables? If it's an ICX managed switch, what model? Example: ICX7150-C12
View attachment 27308

Looking at wifi first, you're not going to get any better link-layer quality than Ruckus, so if you're experiencing issues, I can almost assure you it's due to issues I mentioned above. A proper site survey using one of the Ruckus APs would let you know where they might be placed most effectively, and/or where you might need to add a third (which I doubt, but it's possible). As far as other items go, I trust you've disabled the wifi on that R7000, so as to not pollute the pre-existing Ruckus wifi? If not, that should to be done, and optionally a third AP should be put in its place is you feel the extra coverage is needed. This will standard wireless access all on one single platform, as should be the case.

Overall, you've got the creme de la creme of APs in place, and what sounds like a layer 3 enterprise switch as well. I wouldn't go neutering that capability with consumer gear, especially something that lacks VLAN support, which will allow you to properly segment all those IoT devices, as well as private separate networks for Private and Guest access, should you choose to. Instead, I'd rip and replace that R7000 for a wired router (Cisco RV340, Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 4, or similar), update the Unleashed firmware on those APs to 200.9 (I can show you how), maybe add an additional AP if needed, make sure background-scanning and/or ChannelFly is enabled for the WLAN, and you'll be good to go.
Yes you’re right on lennar built, and ruckus stuff.
the person who setup my ruckus didn’t give me the admin log in info. I wasn’t home and my wife doesn’t remember if he gave anything.
so I might need to reset to get that info, so I can log in and update stuff (I really don’t want to reset the system).
Actually I haven’t turned off the r7000 Wi-Fi signals. Maybe I should do that!
Thanks for a very well written and thoughtful advice. I’ll review the firmware info and get back to you.

the signal on AP is solid. It’s just that once I start gaming and streaming, speed start to suffer a bit
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
the signal on AP is solid. It’s just that once I start gaming and streaming, speed start to suffer a bit
I would be willing to be that has more to do with the R7000 than it does the ICX switch or Ruckus APs.

How fast (Mb/s download and upload) and what kind of internet (cable or fiber) do you have coming into the house?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@raptors9211 here is what you need to know about RMerlin powered Asus routers, today.




and for the amtm side of things, the following are good reads too.





When flashing RMerlin firmware to a supported router, the following links are available/suggested to ensure a fast, stable, and reliable network.



I would begin with the M&M Config Guide in the above link, and ideally, also perform the Nuclear Reset steps too to get the router and network to a good/known state.

Afterward, I would use the amtm Step-by-Step Guide to set up a new USB drive properly to allow the router to have a swap file, a disk checker, and all on a properly formatted drive. At this point, you will be free to experience/experiment with the scripts amtm offers, but also many more that amtm does not currently support 'internally' too.

Just a note about the amtm Step-by-Step Guide; using RMerlin 384.15_0 or later, you will not need to 'install' amtm to the router. It is already baked into the firmware. The rest of the steps are identical and beneficial though.
 

raptors9211

New Around Here
I would be willing to be that has more to do with the R7000 than it does the ICX switch or Ruckus APs.

How fast (Mb/s download and upload) and what kind of internet (cable or fiber) do you have coming into the house?
Yea might be the r7000 for sure

cable 400/30, unfortunately the best I can get in the area I live in.
Once I start streaming something and run speed test, I drop by 30-40mbps
Without any streaming or anything else I average 150mbps on AP
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Got it. Speed testing out to the internet and back over wireless will almost always be an improper reflection of your actual WAN speed and line quality. If you can test via hard-wire from a PC or laptop, that is the best method. www.dslreports.com/speedtest will also give you a bufferbloat score, which may also be an issue, perhaps not so much on that 400Mb download, but potentially on the 30 upload. In that case, I would definitely look to swap out that R7000 with a router than can support SQM-based QoS. Best bang for the buck there would be a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 4 ($199) or for unlimited sofware-based throughput, a low-power embedded x86 firewall (like these Protectli examples) running a community firewall OS like OpenWRT, IPFire or Untangle.
 

raptors9211

New Around Here
Got it. Speed testing out to the internet and back over wireless will almost always be an improper reflection of your actual WAN speed and line quality. If you can test via hard-wire from a PC or laptop, that is the best method. www.dslreports.com/speedtest will also give you a bufferbloat score, which may also be an issue, perhaps not so much on that 400Mb download, but potentially on the 30 upload. In that case, I would definitely look to swap out that R7000 with a router than can support SQM-based QoS. Best bang for the buck there would be a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 4 ($199) or for unlimited sofware-based throughput, a low-power embedded x86 firewall (like these Protectli examples) running a community firewall OS like OpenWRT, IPFire or Untangle.
Thank you! Any other options for SQM?. Wondering if ASUS or any other has ones that has that.
I can go up in my budget if needed
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Well, first, you could try flashing the R7000 with something like FreshTomato (directory with the R7000 initial flash file), which offers fq_codel as a qdisc. That said, just because you have SQM capability offered in the firmware, does not mean the results will be as optimal as on other platforms. This is largely due to Broadcom's insistence on keeping much of their kernel driver packages closed course, and the R7000 is Broadcom-based (so are the majority of Asus routers, and the Merlin custom firmware built for them). Compare against the likes of much more open-source platforms (Qualcomm or MediaTek), and the de-bloating performance there can be and often is measurably better.

As far as consumer hardware goes, very few platforms are SQM-capable out-of-the-box; Eero and IQRouter are two such platforms that offer it, but those aren't really a form-factor that would suit your use-case. On that note, I would probably stay away from all-in-ones and anything with wireless included, as it's just something you'll want to disable anyways, so it would only be interference, presuming you'll be keeping your Ruckus APs in play (and BTW, Ruckus is all Qualcomm-based and they have SQM/AQM automatically built into their radio chip code).
 

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