Using two R7800 in AP mode causing dropped connections

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adahm

Occasional Visitor
Been a lurker for a while, joined to ask for advice/help. There's a lot of

Over the years I've been committing my old routers to AP duties as I have move into larger homes. Recently after changing one of my APs I started seeing having dropped connections in the overlap region (both APs -65 to -80db range measured using wifi analyzer app on phone). Incidentally this area is the den.

My Setup:

Space 4,600 sq ft
FIber connection 1GB up/down
Main router - Edgerouter X - 2nd story
Approx 40 clients - 10 wired, approx 10 IOT, rest are phones, PCs, TVs etc, client count easily goes up to 60+ when friends and family visit.
1st AP - Netgear R7800 - Voxel - wired connection to ER-X - 2nd story next to ER-X
Switch - Trendnet 8 Port unmanaged switch in network closet 1st story
2nd AP - Netgear R7800 - Voxel - (Used tobe Asus RT-N66) - 1st story in the master bedroom, wired connection to switch
3rd WIfi Bridge - Asus RT-N16 - Stock - At my fish tank serving as a wifi adapter to aquarium controller (located in the overlap range of APs)
Same SSIds, 5 ghz and 2.4 separate, 40/80Mhz channels, APs set for different channels on both 2.4 & 5Ghz bands.

The only change that's happened is the RT-N66 has been replaced by another R7800 (2nd AP). The RT-N66 primarily was used to serve wifi in the master bedroom and I had it set to drop connections at -65 db, there is no such setting in the Netgear r7800. I have reduced the transmit power to 75% for the 2nd R7800, but did not improve the situation.

As for speeds, I happy enough with 150-400 Mbps down/up to the wireless clients. although I do regularly get about 650 Mbps down/500 up from the R7800s up to -65db Signal range.

Appreciate some advice to try and tweak settings/locations of APs to prevent dropped connection in the overlap space. Is there any way to set minimum signal strength for clients using CLI in the R7800?
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
So many pieces to comment on here. I'll start with wireless at layer 1. Even for 150Mb/s, let alone up to 400, you need more evenly-spread 5Ghz fronthaul, with dedicated backhaul to match. Hopefully that means you have more ethernet ports, or call pull more ethernet, or you have TV coaxial for MoCa, in/around the first floor Foyer, and possibly second floor Bedroom 2. You could probably solve the most glaring coverage issues starting with just the one additional AP in the Foyer.

Going a step further -- if it were me, I'd cease the patchwork of consumer AIOs and endless trial-and-error troubleshooting often associated with them, and simply replace with proven, controller-based wifi and VLAN-capable switching. The benefits are nearly endless: night-and-day difference in reliability, fewer control planes to manage, higher performance from the sum of the parts, etc. Also, on such a setup, I often find it isn't necessary to create separate SSID's for 2.4 and 5Ghz. Just set one SSID (and VLAN) for your private, IoT and guest networks, and let the system present a unified network name, allowing the device to decide on its own which band is best. Usually less management headache and better performance that way.

So that's my take. I know that probably means a $300+ investment in hardware (potentially offset-able by eBay'ing some of that consumer gear?) and perhaps more elbow grease than you were envisioning, but ultimately it's the right solution here if you want a network that runs more like an appliance and less like a toy.

If that sounds good, I can get to specific recommendations.
 
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ddaenen1

Senior Member
Not sure you need controller-based AP's. Some Rukus or Cisco WAP AP's would also do the trick. What i have learned out of experienced is that no consumer router as AP, can match industry-grade AP's in terms of stability and reliability. I used to have an Asus router, 2 Netgear routers and somewhere in between, a linksys router functioning as AP and very frequent, i had drops, roaming issues or even AP freezes requiring a reboot to get them to work again. All that went away when i replaced them with 3 Cisco WAP571 AP's. Since then, i haven't even done as much as looking at them. They "just work".
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Not sure you need controller-based AP's.
By "controller", I meant anything of the sort, irrespective of it it's discrete/external (UniFi, Omada) or embedded (Cisco CBW, Ruckus Unleashed, Aruba Instant or Instant On, etc.).
 

adahm

Occasional Visitor
I was thinking about getting a couple of unbiquity uap but didn't. These devices do require a bit configuration, POE runs and cloud based software. I basically chickened out.

I'm unclear as to what benefit these may have over AIOs or mesh systems. I also see lots of people swear by the r7800s as well, I was getting excellent speed and reliability before I added the second r7800.

I do have ethernet connections in each bedroom and in the game and family rooms as well on the walls adjacent to the powder and bath2.


I am open to going down the commercial ap path. Will I have to change the edgerouter as well?
 

adahm

Occasional Visitor
To me the $300 range sounds OK, as I could probably unload the r7800s on ebay for around half of that or more.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
I was thinking about getting a couple of unbiquity uap but didn't. These devices do require a bit configuration, POE runs and cloud based software. I basically chickened out.
1) Most any purpose-built AP product will require at least some level of config and site-survey before install.
2) PoE can be delivered via injector, although it's nicer to control all PoE from a central source (switch).
3) UniFi does not need to be setup cloud-based; initial setup can be controller-less from the smartphone app, at least to get a bare-bones network online, and the controller can be installed locally, on an always-on PC, Raspberry Pi, server or VM/Docker.
I'm unclear as to what benefit these may have over AIOs or mesh systems. I also see lots of people swear by the r7800s as well, I was getting excellent speed and reliability before I added the second r7800.
Centralized management, better radio/channel optimization, usually better roaming, VLANs, and versus consumer "mesh" in particular: no limit on fronthaul capacity (due to APs not have to all use the same channel in both bands).
I do have ethernet connections in each bedroom and in the game and family rooms as well on the walls adjacent to the powder and bath2.
Congrats, the battle is 60% won right there. Now you just have to wire in the right type of wifi gear on top.
I am open to going down the commercial ap path. Will I have to change the edgerouter as well?
No, yo won't have to change the EdgeRouter, at least not immediately. That said, the ER-X is limited to gigabit half-duplex (1Gb/s total), due to a lane limitation on its board. If you wanted to utilize all of your internet connection at once (upload and download), you'd need a router that could NAT gigabit full-duplex (2Gb/s). Examples: EdgeRouter 4/6/12/12P, Mikrotik HeX/RB3K/RB4K/CCR, Cisco RV34_ series, any x86 box.
 
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adahm

Occasional Visitor
3) UniFi does not need to be setup cloud-based; initial setup can be controller-less from the smartphone app, at least to get a bare-bones network online, and the controller can be installed locally, on an always-on PC, Raspberry Pi, server or VM/Docker.
No problem with Dockers, I have two always-on servers running, well three if I count home assistant nuc

Centralized management, better radio/channel optimization, usually better roaming, VLANs, and versus consumer "mesh" in particular: no limit on fronthaul capacity (due to APs not have to all use the same channel in both bands).
Interesting, so adding so multiple APs on different channels actually increase throughput? i.e. two 1350 X 2 AP = 2700?

That said, the ER-X is limited to gigabit half-duplex (1Gb/s total), due to a lane limitation on its board. If you wanted to utilize all of your internet connection at once (upload and download), you'd need a router that could NAT gigabit full-duplex (2Gb/s). Examples: EdgeRouter 4/6/12/12P, Mikrotik HeX/RB3K/RB4K/CCR, Cisco RV34_ series, any x86 box.
I didn't realize this, thanks for highlighting. Defnitely down the line. I don't think I am hitting anywhere close to the 1G limit right now. Also noticed my ethernet wiring is all CAT 5e.

So I've been looking through some APs as well as reading through the forums, and saw recommendations for the TP-Link Omada EAP225 and EAP245 on Amazona and amazed at the price (of the 225), I can run the software locally as well. What kind of WLAN speeds can I realistically expect with the 225?
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Interesting, so adding so multiple APs on different channels actually increase throughput? i.e. two 1350 X 2 AP = 2700?
If you mean increases total available throughput, yes, but not to a single client, rather via the max number of clients simultaneous pushing maximum bandwidth through both APs at the same time.

What kind of WLAN speeds can I realistically expect with the 225?
The 225 is 2x2 in both bands, so the highest theoretical max speed one could expect from a typical 2x2 client (most laptops, tablets and medium or high-end phones) is 300Mb/s in 2.4Ghz or 900Mb/s in 5Ghz, but real-world maximums are typically 1/2 to 2/3 of that due to tansport overhead, so more like 150-175Mb/s and 450-550Mb/s max, in the best of conditions. Even if you were to bump up to an EAP245, which is a 3x3 AP, you'd need a 3x3 client for any higher throughput, and other than desktop-only PCI adapters and a rare few laptop cards, mostly all handheld wifi clients are 2x2 these days, so you're max speeds will be the same because link speed is limited to the lowest spatial stream device (although you might be able to get slightly higher bandwidth over range with the 245, due to the slightly extra receive gain of 3x3 vs 2x2 spatial streams).

For more information on the way that wifi works, please read this excellent Duckware article.
 

adahm

Occasional Visitor
I am actually trying to map out where I would place the APs and how many, I've attached an updated floorplan with all the ethernet locations and dimensions. What the floor plan does not show is another room on the third floor right above the family room and almost the same size used as the media room. I have an ethernet port in there as well but right now not using it I can get an excellent 5G signal good enough for streaming. Would certainly appreciate your help with identifying placement. It seems to me that all the locations are not ideal, as in, make the AP point to a limited area and not inward to the house from an outside wall.

I take it the APs would have to be mounted high on the walls near the ceilings and my ethernet ports are about 1-2 ft off the floor at each location. I can probably fish some wire in the walls from the ethernet wall plates. Unfortunately, as the house is wired, I don't have ceiling access, and don't plan to navigate the attic at a 22' drop below (in the open areas, nor have reasonable access to far beyond those areas.

Assuming I get a POE switch placed in the master closet, I can get power at the wall jacks, can I use just regular switches at these locations (master/game room/data area) i.e. how to do split the ethernet cable to the AP and also service the wired devices?

I would have to size the switch to supply enough power so I need to decide on how many APs also. I see one TL-SG1008P providing 4 POE ports and I have one on the ER-X (in the 2nd story data area). Not sure if this one can pass through VLAN tags as well. Would I have to upgrade any local switches at the above three locations to be able to provide Vlan support?

So I need to decide on how many APs to start with (maybe 2), readjust locations/add 1 or 2 more based on performance. Based on this assumption work back and decide on a switch. I am using a dumb 8 port switch at the moment, so have not delved into vlans for IOT devices.
 

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Trip

Very Senior Member
Although most APs are designed as "saucers" to be ceiling-mounted, certain brands offer alternate form factors. I'm thinking specifically of UniFi's FlexHD and In-Wall / In-Wall HD models, the Flex being medium-power, omni-directional (spanning a couple rooms); the In-Wall being lower-amplification, directional, for covering the room in which it's installed and not much more. Other brands have in-wall models, some of which can be adapted for desktop use, although nothing quite like the FlexHD. So you do have non-ceiling options, especially with UniFi.

As for AP placement and density, remember, purpose-built APs are specifically designed to broadcast at lower power than your typical over-amplified all-in-one. When converting to to this type of gear, this means we need to think more like wifi engineers and less like consumers; ie. spec'ing more radio locations, each running at low to medium amplification, plus a proper non-overlapping channel plan. That is how you deliver quality wireless with this type of gear. Yes, it very often will mean more hardware, but the end benefit is more simultaneous fronthaul capacity and cleaner, faster connections everywhere, especially in 5Ghz.

With that in mind, I would spec four total APs (for starters): two on the first floor and two on the second. Specifically, an AP in the 1) Family Room, 2) Master Bedroom, 3) Game Room or Bedroom 2 and 4) Data Area or Bedroom 4. Optionally, you may find it necessary to stick another AP in the third floor room and/or Bedroom 3 nook above the garage, as well as an AP (or two) on the outside of the house if you desire quality coverage out there (something like a directional UAP-AC-M-PRO or omni-directional UAP-AC-M).

If you do UniFi for wireless, then using their switching makes a lot of sense, too, for the single control UI over both. I would run a USW-16-POE for 8 PoE+ ports and enough extra room for expansion.

All that said, going all-UniFi will run about $1,000. On the cheap, you could probably get away with TP-Link EAP225's, placed upside-down on top of armoires, tall book shelves, or ceiling mounted with the up-wall runs hidden inside some discrete raceway, plus a cheaper PoE switch -- all for potentially under $350 or so. I would suggest, however, a managed switch, even if you run it effectively unmanaged for now (so you can seamlessly delve into VLAN'ing your network into proper segments in the future).
 
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adahm

Occasional Visitor
Thank you Trip for your truly helpful responses!

TP link does look a lot more affordable than the Ubiquity kit albeit with 2x2 or 3x3 APs. I noticed some HD APs from TP coming soon. I'll probably wait till the BF deals come through. to make a move.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Very welcome.

With TP-Link Omada, yes, they do have some newly-arriving APs, like the EAP235-Wall and EAP265 HD (I see the 265 at ProVantage right now for ~$135, which is a pretty good price).

Best of luck with the build-out. Any further questions, don't hesitate.
 

adahm

Occasional Visitor
Ordered Omada two 225 and two 235-Wall last week. Just set up the controller on a docker. Have not set up the APs yet. One 225 in Family room and one in Data area. the 233-wall will go in the master bedroom and bedroom 2 or game room.
 

adahm

Occasional Visitor
Set up one of the 225 APs in the family room, this is pretty much the center of the house. All I can say is WOW! the signal strength is bettert than -65db in all of the first story except for the farthest ends when it drops to around -68db -71db on 5G 2.4G is disabled.

speeds are raging from 250 - 450 on my phone.
 
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Trip

Very Senior Member
@adahm - Your results are perfectly in-line with the maximum throughput numbers I mentioned earlier. If adding any more APs, I would be careful to not over-saturate your layout. Sounds like you're on the verge of calling this "solved" though. Well done.
 

adahm

Occasional Visitor
Are you saying that it would be counter productive to add more APs to, say for example, get a signal strength profile better than -60dB across a desired area in order to get better link rates and therefore attain higher dl/ul speeds? I.e. near the 450 end of the range.
 
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sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Are you saying that it would be counter productive to add more APs to, say for example, get a signal strength profile better than -60dB across a desired area in order to get better link rates and therefore attain higher dl/ul speeds? I.e. near the 450 end of the range.
More AP's are not a solution...

It's more about placing the AP's where folks are using them.

Use 2.4 as the footprint of last resort, as coverage there is typically good.
 

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