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Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC In-Wall (IW) AP’s

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I live in a 3-story 3,000 sq ft house. I’ve been using Netgear R7000 (freshTomato firmware) located more or less centrally. Coverage has been great — I had internet throughout the house (other than the garage and outside). But I was only getting like 50Mbps link speed on my MacBook Pro in my office.

The house is already wired with Cat5e cables — there’s an Ethernet port on the wall in every room (which all go to the garage). I figured why not take advantage of it. So I moved my cable modem and R7000 from living room to the garage. I then put my old D-Link DIR-862L in the living room. I also moved TP-Link RE200 range extender from garage to my office and put it in AP mode.

Unfortunately, now my WiFi coverage is terrible! Dead spots everywhere.

1) Both TP-Link RE200 and D-Link DIR-862L are 802.11ac devices, just like R7000. Why is it that their range is so much worse than R7000? Is it the lack of external antennas? Less antenna transmit power? I put 30 dBm as the transmit power on DIR-862L which runs DD-WRT, but still the range is nowhere near what R7000 offered. I don’t see on SmallNetBuilder the transmit power rating for reviewed devices, so I am not sure how I’d determine which devices will provide strong signals.

2) I am thinking of buying Ubiquiti’s UniFi UAP-AC-IW (In-Wall) access points, because I already have Ethernet ports on the wall. I think it’d look really nice. Does anyone have any experience with Unifi’s In-Wall units? How do they compare to the round ones that seem to be more common? Given my terrible experience with DIR-862L and RE200 when it comes to range, I hope their range is more similar to R7000 than DIR-862L & RE200.

3) I know it’s best to put AP’s in the ceiling, but I’d like to avoid having to move the wire from the wall Ethernet jack to the ceiling. Will I be okay with the APs just sitting on the wall close to the floor? (Because that’s where the Ethernet jacks are currently located)

4) How many AP’s for my 3000 sq ft 3 level house? Does 3 x UAP-AC-IW sound reasonable? ($88 each) Or should I get 2 UAP-AC-IW’s PRO version instead? (They’re so pricy though)

5) Netgear Orbi has a pretty good review on SNB, and given the great range R7000 provides, I am thinking about Orbi, too. Netgear must know something about antenna design or something. Is Orbi a good option for me? I don’t need a mesh network — I’d rather use Ethernet backhaul since I already have Cat5e in every room. I want reliable internet, so I am a little reluctant to trust Netgear given the unreliable firmware they have been supplying for R7000.

Sorry for so many questions, and thank you so much for reading through!
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Instead of moving the wireless router that was working so well to the garage, I would have added a couple of switches to the garage and run another cable (or 4, actually) back to the router.

The switches in the garage would be used to segment the wired devices into logical groups. The additional cable runs back to the centrally located router would allow the router to directly address those network segments for their internet needs.

Are the wired speeds on an AC (wall plugged) powered computer that is directly connected to the R7000 router that is now in the garage giving the same speeds as the original location?

1) Yes. Everything factors in. There are better and worse routers, regardless of their specifications.

3) The worst choice is to have them 'floor-level' mounted. If you do go this route, it should be done properly.

4) You shouldn't need any AP's within that square footage, in-home.

I would put the router back where it was giving you great reception and run an additional cable (maybe from an adjacent room, perhaps) to give the garage and the office some wired AP goodness, at the minimum.
Unfortunately, I can’t keep the router in the living room where it was. Ethernet jack is on the opposite corner of living room as the coaxial cable jack. And I don’t want an Ethernet cable running across the living room. I could have put the cable modem in the garage and router in the living room by Ethernet jack but it’s not easy to add another cable from living room to garage — it’s far away. So my answer was to put R7000 in the garage. I suppose I could have used DIR-862L as the main router and keep it in the garage.

Is one router like R7000 really enough to cover 3000 sq ft over 3 stories? I’m just really surprised by how weak the signal is with DIR-862L compared to R7000. It’s night and day.
The following link is also included in my signature (below).


That should give you an idea of what a modern router that is properly set up should be capable of.

There are huge differences between routers. Quality/performance is not a given. Nor is more money equal to better quality, all the time!

While not ideal; but with the limitations, you're facing without spending more money, set up the DIR-862L in the garage as the main router and use the R7000 as an AP in the living room connected via the Ethernet jack. With each having their own SSIDs and using different Control channels on the bands they share.

I don't see you mention your ISP paid-for speeds, but if they are less than 100/100 Mbps or only slightly higher, you should have good throughput with this setup.

If you have significantly higher speeds provided, then a more recent router to replace the DIR-862L is required.

In either case, the final positioning and orientation of the R7000 router would be to increase its signal and throughput for your office. Consider that you may need to re-arrange your office so that the computer(s) connecting will be more likely facing the R7000 too. ;)

Forget about connecting any wifi extender. This will (more than likely) just mess up the wireless environment within your home for no appreciable overall benefit.

If you do find you need more 'main router' hardware, I would then test the newest router (I would suggest the RT-AC86U) as both the main router and in the role of AP (trading with the R7000, as needed). Only this testing will answer your question as to which is truly the best, in your home.

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