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went to Orbi, considering ASUS again - have questions

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I'd really appreciate some help figuring out the right setup.

I had 2 AC68Ps (1 Router + 1 AP) which almost covered my house inside but not well enough and roaming was horrible on mobile devices no matter what setting I used. Tried AImesh about a year ago, and it was horrible so went back to Merlin.

About 3 months ago I started trying different systems...
  • First I used my AC68P and added 1, then a 2nd Unifi AC-LRs ... a single LR on teh center top floor covered most of my house but cameras would not stay connected. Adding a second LR (anywhere!) killed the whole system and it was not usable, literally. I dumped 20-30 hrs over 3 weeks trying to make it work putting the APs in different spots, etc. Gave up
  • Then I got a 3 node TP-Link Wifi 6... REALLY bad in every way.
  • Now the last month I've been on 3 node Orbi 50 series... its been a mixed bag but overall unreliable.
So now considering using my AC68P and adding another ASUS hoping I can get away with 2 nodes. What do you guys recommend I use, and where I place them in my home? Should I use AImesh?


Some experiences...
1. Orbi signal coverage inside the house has been better (3 nodes vs 2) but not 'much' better

2. ASUS throughput (client to router) is WAY BETTER than Orbi... Orbi is 1/3 to 1/2 speed at the same signal strength / same locations

3. ASUS signal carried outside my house into my front & back yard... Orbi does not at all. Again same node locations.

My Home:
... 25 wifi devices (4 tablets, 3 phones, 10 cams, Alexas, etc) and most are dual band. Cameras are 1080p dual band cams.
... 3 level house, not a perfect rectangle:
Top & middle floors = 1500sqft each, same shape (Orbi placement = middle of top floor, left side of middle floor)
Walk-out Basement = 800sqft (Orbi placement = right side)
... when I had the ASUS AC68Ps, I was in the same spots in Basement & Top Floor, nothing in middle which did cause some low signal issues on middle level
My 2x86U wireless AiMesh notes.

My house is toward a corner of a 2-acre rectangular lot, mostly lawn. I just finished driving the mower all around the 2-acres and the AiMesh while streaming CNN over TuneIn to a 2.4 Android mobile... it was flawless for 3 hours. I'm pretty satisfied with AiMesh these days.

An 86U has about 20% more range than a 68U. The 68U does not support Smart Connect node band steering, which I just started using again yesterday because the latest firmware now allows fixed channels with Smart Connect enabled. So, I'm back to using the same SSID for both bands.

Two nodes spread wide out on the main level with the router serving wired media devices and both covering perimeter and outdoor clients would be one layout. Otherwise, one up and one down.

My brick rectangular house is 1650 sq ft per level. I have the router at one end of the main level. And the node beyond the other end out in a detached brick garage 77' away. My current wireless backhaul values from the Log... power, protocol, streams, Tx, Rx:

2.4 -67dBm ac 3 216.7M 130M
5.0 -71dBm ac 4 877.5M 585M

A wireless PC on the node speed tests nominal ISP speeds of 100/10 at 115/12.

The guest WLANs still only broadcast from the main router.

@OzarkEdge thx for the info. Seems like good advice but I'm wondering if getting a newer Wifi6 router for about the same cost is better for the future.
@OzarkEdge thx for the info. Seems like good advice but I'm wondering if getting a newer Wifi6 router for about the same cost is better for the future.

I prefer to upgrade routers behind the bleeding edge... generally less time, trouble and money, and a better client/user experience... better for the present. The first crop of partially-implemented WiFi6 routers are being tested in the market, mostly with AC clients. My AC clients will be around for quite awhile. My only AX client is wired to my router... I had to pay up to get an AX network adapter for a leading edge desktop PC in Jan 2020. My only goal at the moment for AX is for a dedicated wireless AiMesh backhaul (tri-band)... when that is vetted (and has Asuswrt-Merlin support), I may upgrade my network, if I need it then.


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