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Why AIMesh? What am I missing?

Discussion in 'ASUS AC Routers & Adapters' started by Bill Smith, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    For years I ran two WL-520gu routers running tomato. The second one was setup as an access point and using hardwire backhaul to the main router. I set them both up with the same SSID/password/security. I was able to move around my house switching seamlessly and transparently between routers.

    I just swapped out my main router with an AC1900P and left the old access point off. I now want to add a second access point again because I’m not happy with the coverage. So I have a second AC1900P on order figuring I can setup an AIMESH network.

    Then I read up on Merlin and that won’t support AIMESH. So I’m questioning what AImesh gives me that I didn’t have before (and could presumably set up again on the two AC1900P’s)?

    Can I go with Merlin in access point mode - hardwired backhaul - and not lose anything compared to AImesh?

    Thanks!
    Bill
     
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  3. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Senior Member

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    Have you read the AiMesh marketing hype? There must be some advantages evident there. Your previous seamless roaming (node steering and node band steering) with one same SSID may have been good luck.

    Note that the AC1900s may not yet support Smart Connect node band steering intended to encourage wireless clients to connect to the better band.

    OE
     
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  4. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Yes I’ve read and watched. The central management seems to be a marginal benefit. And the other thing is maybe being able to use different routers. Other than that, I already had seamless roaming between two of the same routers before. Not sure how luck plays into it but I’m all ears. :)
     
  5. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Senior Member

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    I'm not qualified to explain much about WiFi. Here's some reading that may help you to understand roaming issues and whether or not some users may be luckier than others.

    Another way to answer your concern... consumer grade WiFi manufacturers are working feverishly to put a (their) mesh WiFi system into your home. I'm comfortable trusting that a fundamental intent is improvement over past options for extending WiFi coverage. And if you can trust that they will eventually succeed... they seem to be all in on achieving a system solution to home WiFi... then past options for extending WiFi coverage will likely become obsolete no matter how lucky their user.

    At this point in time, the consumer wanting to solve his home WiFi coverage issues must put his money down somewhere. Fortunately, putting your money down on ASUS currently affords you the option of using new or old methods for extending WiFi coverage.

    Central management is not a big deal in the home, but it is a significant benefit to anyone who has better things to do with their personal time than to manage their expanding home network infrastructure, one box at a time. And there are other benefits worth considering in that marketing hype.

    OE
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
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  6. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks much for the pointer. I’ll definitely read it.

    I realize there are situations where central mgmt is a big win. Just not for me.

    With my second AC1900P on the way, I’m mainly trying to decide whether I can run Merlin (and give up AIMesh). But I will have invested in the right hardware if someday the other method won’t work.

    I’m just trying to do some homework before I have to set it up. And to learn what I might be giving up -including non obvious things like performance or reliability for example- if I went with the other old method I described.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Excellent reads. Thanks!
     
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  8. Grisu

    Grisu Very Senior Member

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    maybe one future benefit of Aimesh will be in phase 2 when they hopefully introduce guest-wifi support to nodes too.

    Main reason for mesh is to buy a second (or even more) router of same brand!
    If they really want to give customers a good feature there would be a standard over all brands.

    First step has been to dramatically reduce TXpower, so that people had and have to buy more routers where one covered a home before.
    And now sell further routers to those. With Aimesh you more tend to buy same brand and use old one as mesh node.
     
  9. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks. I will have two AC1900P. But it looks like in my case I can try adding the second as an access point in non AIMesh mode and it should work. If after some testing I don’t see any roaming problems with my devices I can replace the firmware with Merlin and run that way.
     
  10. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Consumer mesh systems enable non technical consumers to easily set up and use multi-AP Wi-Fi networks.

    If you have the networking savvy to configure multi-AP systems, whether backhaul is wireless or Ethernet, then you won't get any practical advantage from mesh.

    Any roaming improvements that come from mesh systems do not come from the mesh technology itself. They come from the APs supporting roaming assist features like 80211k and v or RSSI-based deauthentication/disassociation. But the device still always decides when and where to roam.
     
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  11. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    When you set up your new system be careful to not have too much overlap between nodes. Devices roam based on reaching a particular RSSI level (typically -70 dBm). If the signal never drops that low, they won't roam.

    You're going to see a significant range improvement moving from a G to a three-stream AC router. I would first set up one router and assess your range. You will likely find you either don't need the second AP or need to place it much farther away.
     
  12. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Good advice. Thanks! I already have gone through that (setup one). It’s in my basement near where all my Ethernet wiring lands. I’m finding that in the bedroom on the top floor (two floors above the basement) across the house I can get a decent (2/3 wedges) 2.4G signal but no 5G signal at all. I prefer to run on 5G for the speed. So it looks like I shouldn’t have to worry about too much overlap since it looks like the 5G signal attenuates enough to force a switch (hopefully band steering works and doesn’t let me bind to the 2.4G. But that’s a different network so it would seem improbable).

    I already have a central location on that second/top floor (2 above the basement) where I had setup the old AP so I plan to use that. I’m guessing once I move into or near that bedroom I should bind to that AP. It might pretty much stay bound there because the house has an open plan. But also that router is generally closer to most points on the main and second floors so I’m ok with that. I presume the guest network will still only be served from the basement. But that’s fine. They would mostly be on the main floor. Or can use 2.4G on the top floor - it does work from the basement router. Just not optimal for me.

    As an academic question, I presume I couldn’t fix problems from too much overlap by dropping transmit power on the router(s) correct? Because it’s measuring signal strength from the client?

    Thanks again for the info.

    Bill
     
  13. GuruGuy

    GuruGuy Occasional Visitor

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    Yes, actually you can drop power level (if available as an option in your settings). Dropping the tx level equals lower SSI for the client to "hear". My ac86u's don't have a tx option to adjust, not sure about the 1900p's you speak of.
     
  14. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    No. Reducing Tx power can be very helpful in controlling overlap. It's done in enterprise AP installs all the time. But the controls on consumer routers may not provide enough adjustment. No harm trying, though.

    If you want your clients to prefer 5 GHz, better check their settings to see if you can set a band preference. Since, as you point out, 5 GHz signals are always lower than 2.4 GHz from the same AP, roaming clients will see 2.4 GHz first and tend to attach to it.
     
  15. HowIFix

    HowIFix Regular Contributor

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    This good man has some good videos about AiMesh, look at them all and especially the last one (05), it has additional information about how to configure it correctly.

    01. How to Set Up ASUS AiMesh System [Whole-Home WiFi]



    02. Testing my Asus AiMesh System [Speed Test, Roaming & more]



    03. WiFi Repeater on ASUSWRT [ASUS RT-AC68U Wireless Router]



    04. AiMesh vs. Repeater vs. Access Point [ASUS RT-AC68U Operation Modes]



    05. Testing ASUS [AiMesh] [Repeater] [Access Point] Whole-home WiFi
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  16. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Do you have a “professional” tab under your wireless settings? I found it on the bottom of that.

    419C17D4-EB46-4627-A012-1F372AAB98EA.jpeg
     
  17. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks. Primarily iOS devices. I don’t know of a band preference. I suppose I could “forget” the 2.4G network and see if that works.
     
  18. GuruGuy

    GuruGuy Occasional Visitor

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    I do have the professional tab and am familiar with the setting. It does not appear on my 86u though. I've read various things about why Asus removed it, the more common being that they took the FCC power regulation a little to seriously and just totally removed the option to adjust the level. Kinda stupid if you ask me. Just hard code the maximum FCC allowed and leave the slider there so people can lower it if you wish.
     
  19. HowIFix

    HowIFix Regular Contributor

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    I update my post!
     
  20. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting those videos... they are an effective demonstration that seem to mirror my experience with using AiMesh. But if he is using AC1900s/68Us without Smart Connect support, then his roaming tests may not have demonstrated AiMesh node band steering (perhaps 86Us with Smart Connect would not have dropped a ping).

    OE
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  21. Grisu

    Grisu Very Senior Member

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    Thats why I ask to at least support Smart Connect on 68U as Aimesh-node if one got a 86U as main router as most of us got an 68U and want to expand it with a newer type router.

    I think they removed it because of auto-power adjustment. Anyway some will miss it to manually decrease transmit power and limit covered area!
     
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