Upgrade Wifi 5 to Wifi 6 in a condo?

kevindd992002

Regular Contributor
I'll be buying a Samsung Galaxy S22+ very soon so I will have one client that can benefit from wifi 6/6E especially the batter savings. Technically, I only need a WAP to upgrade my current wifi 5 Asus RT-AC66U to either wifi 6 or wifi 6E. I live in a small condo that’s only around 55 sqm. so a single WAP is enough. Here are my questions:
  1. At this point, is 6E the way to to go or just stay at 6? 6E is just too expensive right now and I don’t even know if it’s worth it since I’m still at a sub-Gig Internet subscription.
  2. Will I get more bang for my buck if I go with a dedicated WAP or just go with the Asus RT routers and run them in AP mode (like what I’m doing now). I don’t need routing capabilities because I have pfsense for that.
  3. Any actual suggestions for a WAP or an Asus RT 6/6E router that "makes sense"?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Well it works either way. The benefits come with 6e of you have a ton of AC / AX being broadcast around you. There's still a premium of $200 more for 6e on the AP side. However going with an AP over a router will give better results. I have a single AP covering 1300 sqft just fine.

I'm using a NWA210AX which goes for about $150. There's a Netgear 6e that goes for $350.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
How many simultaneous users do you have and what are they doing (streaming, gaming, email)? What is your internet speed?

I'm in a apartment with lots of networks around me with 200/10 service and just yesterday moved from my old RT-AC68P to an RT-AX86U. I'm the only user and I see no difference in HD streaming or anything else I do.

Unless you have a problem, I see no compelling reason to upgrade.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@thiggins

Going from AC >> AX should help with the network performance due to new efficiencies in the AX spec. However, for an improvement to be noticeable in your high density situation going to 6E / 6ghz and no one else using that band around you would produce higher bandwidth if you have the clients to support it. Also, take not you need to specify your channels manually instead of letting the device pick / switch them based on competing signals. If you don't disable the auto select option you're at the mercy of swapping channels all of the time like every other router / AP around you.

By selecting a specific channel and using 160mhz you can get speeds internally over 1gbps to say your NAS.

If speed is the motivator then waiting for WIFI7 would be more ideal as the channel bandwidth is doubling to 320mhz channels which would get ~2gbps over WIFI. When 7 will be released though is up in the air as to when you'll have products to install.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If that is the 'original' RT-AC66U and not the RT-AC66U_B1, I would upgrade immediately (for the security the newer router will have with current firmware). You didn't need to acquire the S22+ first, to consider upgrading.

The AC vs. AX debate has been moot for a long time (AX is highly preferred today, even with zero AX clients). WiFi 6E isn't anything to jump on yet with sub 1Gbps ISP speeds (and they should be symmetrical, up/down, at that too).

Is Wi-Fi 6 Worth It

Wi-Fi 6 Pt 2
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@L&LD 6E has a space in this movement though when it comes to density of surrounding networks. Outside of congested airspace though it doesn't give much benefit. Speed of the ISP is one thing but, the LAN speed is important since that's where most devices / speed needs reside.
 

kevindd992002

Regular Contributor
Well it works either way. The benefits come with 6e of you have a ton of AC / AX being broadcast around you. There's still a premium of $200 more for 6e on the AP side. However going with an AP over a router will give better results. I have a single AP covering 1300 sqft just fine.

I'm using a NWA210AX which goes for about $150. There's a Netgear 6e that goes for $350.
I see. How's the NWA210AX working for you? Is Zyxel a reputable brand in the AP space?

How many simultaneous users do you have and what are they doing (streaming, gaming, email)? What is your internet speed?

I'm in a apartment with lots of networks around me with 200/10 service and just yesterday moved from my old RT-AC68P to an RT-AX86U. I'm the only user and I see no difference in HD streaming or anything else I do.

Unless you have a problem, I see no compelling reason to upgrade.
5 to 10 users on the average. Mostly work-related (so emails), Netflix/Youtube/Tiktok streaming. So in general, the load is light. I have 300Mbps/300Mbps Internet speed.

I'm kinda expecting that an upgrade would not really give me any noticeable difference but at least it can save a bit of battery with my upcoming S22, no?

If that is the 'original' RT-AC66U and not the RT-AC66U_B1, I would upgrade immediately (for the security the newer router will have with current firmware). You didn't need to acquire the S22+ first, to consider upgrading.

The AC vs. AX debate has been moot for a long time (AX is highly preferred today, even with zero AX clients). WiFi 6E isn't anything to jump on yet with sub 1Gbps ISP speeds (and they should be symmetrical, up/down, at that too).

Is Wi-Fi 6 Worth It

Wi-Fi 6 Pt 2
Ohh, that's a good point then. I have the original RT-AC66U, unfortunately. Do you have any specific recommendations for an AX AP to upgrade to?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
I see. How's the NWA210AX working for you? Is Zyxel a reputable brand in the AP space?
Zyxel is more of a prosumer / SMB vendor. They've been around for decades in the space of networking gear. the initial firmware left things to be desired but, the current / last 2 versions they have released work flawlessly.

The AP has a great signal for both bands and provides great coverage in the space.

As for a router if you're planning on an AP for wireless you might be more interested in a simple wired router instead of going with the traditional all in one devices sold to consumers off the shelf at inflated prices.

I run a DIY PC setup because the features / speed I need / desire aren't really available in a prepackaged device. With the DIY setup I can pick and choose speeds like 5GE which maxes out the speed I can get out of the NAS portion of the PC box. The NAS can push 400MB/s and then some so the 5GE speed matches that threshold without over paying for a 10GE setup.
 

kevindd992002

Regular Contributor
Zyxel is more of a prosumer / SMB vendor. They've been around for decades in the space of networking gear. the initial firmware left things to be desired but, the current / last 2 versions they have released work flawlessly.

The AP has a great signal for both bands and provides great coverage in the space.

As for a router if you're planning on an AP for wireless you might be more interested in a simple wired router instead of going with the traditional all in one devices sold to consumers off the shelf at inflated prices.

I run a DIY PC setup because the features / speed I need / desire aren't really available in a prepackaged device. With the DIY setup I can pick and choose speeds like 5GE which maxes out the speed I can get out of the NAS portion of the PC box. The NAS can push 400MB/s and then some so the 5GE speed matches that threshold without over paying for a 10GE setup.
I see. I'm also using a couple Ubiquiti wifi 5 AP's in my parent's house and they also work great. I don't know yet about their wifi 6 offerings though.

For a router, I already use a dedicated pfsense box using an PCEngines APU2C4 board since several years ago and it's working great. I'm fine with 1Gbps speeds to my Debian NAS box for now.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
When a single RT-AC66U is (stated) to be working today, it doesn't seem like the small condo is in a high-density network environment.

Today, WiFi 6E is not indicated for the OP. With WiFi 7 coming soon, it isn't the best investment today, for them.

An RT-AX68U (on sale) will offer tremendous benefits over what they currently have running as a router. And it should be good to at or just below 1Gbps speeds too, for them too.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
dedicated pfsense box
That's a good place to be when it comes to the routing side. You have some flex in what you can do with the speeds by simply swapping the NIC to something higher.

Ubiquiti offers AX AP's as well but, they're priced a bit higher.

Today, WiFi 6E is not indicated for the OP. With WiFi 7 coming soon, it isn't the best investment today, for them.
I didn't say it would be. I simply laid out the cost differences and why you would go 6E over 6.

currently have running as a router
Seems that's a moot point since they're running PFsense and just using it as an AP.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I'm kinda expecting that an upgrade would not really give me any noticeable difference but at least it can save a bit of battery with my upcoming S22, no?
If you're thinking that would be due to Target Wake Time (TWT), then no. Vendors are still trying to figure out how to configure it. Its primary use is for power savings in low bandwidth IoT devices. Smartphone already have plenty of power-conserving technology.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Good point about the PFSense (I missed that).

Still, the WiFi on Asus routers (even when used as simple APs) has been generally superior vs. dedicated 'waps', particularly when only one is in use.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Smartphone already have plenty of power-conserving technology.
Yet they don't conserve power.

Asus routers
Why buy a router though if all you need is wireless? The Zyxel is $150 vs whichever router you're recommending being $200+ .

AP is designed to do WIFI and do it well vs all in one routers that sometimes have issues doing the most basic tasks.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AX68U can be found for less than $150, on sale. And I would be shocked if the Zyxel is the superior RF model.

I haven't seen one router that was 'bad' at being an AP. But a single use-case AP is horrible at being a router when circumstances change. ;)
 

kevindd992002

Regular Contributor
If you're thinking that would be due to Target Wake Time (TWT), then no. Vendors are still trying to figure out how to configure it. Its primary use is for power savings in low bandwidth IoT devices. Smartphone already have plenty of power-conserving technology.
Oh, I didn't know that. So it's all marketing hype for TWT, at least for now. Good to know.

Why buy a router though if all you need is wireless? The Zyxel is $150 vs whichever router you're recommending being $200+ .

AP is designed to do WIFI and do it well vs all in one routers that sometimes have issues doing the most basic tasks.
He is recommending this which is at $146.5 now at Amazon. So now I'm confused which one is better in terms of wireless.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@L&LD

Well, if you're running a higher end PFS as your router it doesn't need to double as a router.

In this case an AP is preferred w/o all the extra functions a router packs into the case. The bugs you have with router FW are another aspect to consider. The Zyxel has had ~4 releases in the same time the router option has had a dozen or more to patch things as risks. The AP releases are performance minded and not related to exposures since it's not connected to the ISP directly.

In the realm of routers there tends to be a tendency to fix 1 thing and break more in the process. Bugs being introduced with fixes doesn't make for easy admin of the device. Uptime on an AP can be considerably higher for these reasons as the only time you need to reboot is if you upgrade the FW.


So now I'm confused which one is better in terms of wireless.
You can order both, try both, and return whichever doesn't perform.

From personal use though for 2 years now though which for me is staying something as I tend to upgrade far more often than your normal user when it comes to HW. It's a no fuss 4x4 AP that has great performance. The 2.5GE port on it would allow 2 clients 1.25gbps on the LAN full speed. The one linked above though is a 3x3 setup which would give a PC 2x2 and a phone 1x1 or swap bandwidth priority based on # of devices connected / using the signal.

In the higher end options you'll also see 8x8 options for more dense LAN use like in an office.

This is the Netgear option I mentioned earlier - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09S8QDB4B/?tag=snbforums-20

Now, you're still restricted by the physical lan port speed @ 2.5GE but, adhoc wifi to wifi connectivity is higher. The other Pro to an AP over a router is the heat isn't an issue because the function for wifi only doesn't generate as much heat which reduced performance like a router.

On the AP front though Zyxel is coming out with a 6E option as well that's not for sale yet the NWA220AX

The delays and inflated 6E costs should be coming down as more countries release 6ghz bands and more OEM's start producing 6E in mass scale which they've been holding back on due to the lack of approvals to use 6ghz globally. Seeing movement on the enterprise / SMB side is a good indicator of what's coming down to the consumer side.
 

kevindd992002

Regular Contributor
You can order both, try both, and return whichever doesn't perform.
Unfortunately, this is not a luxury that I have because I live in the Philippines but I'm used to order things from the US as the total cost (including logistics) of most products there is almost always significantly lower than when I buy electronics here, at the sacrifice of usually losing warranty. So I need to have an informed decision of which one to buy before pulling the trigger.

From personal use though for 2 years now though which for me is staying something as I tend to upgrade far more often than your normal user when it comes to HW. It's a no fuss 4x4 AP that has great performance. The 2.5GE port on it would allow 2 clients 1.25gbps on the LAN full speed. The one linked above though is a 3x3 setup which would give a PC 2x2 and a phone 1x1 or swap bandwidth priority based on # of devices connected / using the signal.

In the higher end options you'll also see 8x8 options for more dense LAN use like in an office.

This is the Netgear option I mentioned earlier - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09S8QDB4B/?tag=snbforums-20

Now, you're still restricted by the physical lan port speed @ 2.5GE but, adhoc wifi to wifi connectivity is higher. The other Pro to an AP over a router is the heat isn't an issue because the function for wifi only doesn't generate as much heat which reduced performance like a router.

On the AP front though Zyxel is coming out with a 6E option as well that's not for sale yet the NWA220AX

The delays and inflated 6E costs should be coming down as more countries release 6ghz bands and more OEM's start producing 6E in mass scale which they've been holding back on due to the lack of approvals to use 6ghz globally. Seeing movement on the enterprise / SMB side is a good indicator of what's coming down to the consumer side.
Good points so far. I did notice that the AX-68U is just 3x3.

Do you know if the wifi 6 AP's listed in the Extreme category in Zyxel's website are any better than the NWA220AX?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@kevindd992002

Extreme in networking usually just indicates they're better suited for office use or in exposed / harsh environments. It's not worth the extra cost if it's sitting in your home on a shelf in AC. In some instances extreme just means more clients are able to attach or a higher LAN port speed like 10GE.

The 110/210/220 models fall under performance.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
It's not doubled as a router in AP mode.

It costs less, and it has superior WiFi.

Everything the OP needs.
 

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