WiFi 6 Mesh questions

flyboynm

Occasional Visitor
I am considering replacing my Linksys Velop mesh system with a new WiFi6 system.

In your opinion, which system do you think gives you the best bang for the buck?

Next question - do you think WiFi 6 is worth the premium over AC at present?

Again, 2 opinions desired.

My house is a 2200 sq ft home - single story and spread out. We also have a 200 sq ft bungalow that is 40 ft away from the nearest part of the house where we will have a satellite. Construction is concrete.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
If you waited this long why not wait a little longer and wait for Wi-Fi 6e. IF you buy Wi-Fi 6 it will be out dated in a year.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Not concrete walls internally, correct? A single RT-AX88U should easily cover your main home, strategically placed. An RT-AX58U in wired AiMesh mode will be able to handle the 200SqFt bungalow.
 

digits n bits

Regular Contributor
I’m currently using the Asus ZenWifi XT8 and while the firmware is a work in progress the hardware is excellent and when working correctly there’s nothing better out there for the money. The Orbi systems work well but they’re not real user friendly with settings options. All WiFi6 mesh systems seem to still be a bit rough but getting much better as we go along.

That being said L&LD’s option of the RT-AX58U & RT-AX88U in Aimesh is good, I’ve used the exact same router setup with zero issues. You have lots of options.
 

flyboynm

Occasional Visitor
Not concrete walls internally, correct? A single RT-AX88U should easily cover your main home, strategically placed. An RT-AX58U in wired AiMesh mode will be able to handle the 200SqFt bungalow.
All walls are concrete.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture

Trip

Very Senior Member
@flyboynm - To answer your questions specifically:

Alternate "Mesh" Products - Presuming you really must have an all-wireless setup and absolutely cannot hard-wire any nodes, Eero is the best bang for the buck, hands down, provided, of course, 200-300 Mb/s per wifi client is enough for you (which it usually is, in the vast majority of scenarios). Why do I say that? 1) it's actual mesh (unlike all other "mesh" products in the space, laughably), 2) it uses QoS that actually works (fq_codel between nodes; CAKE on the gateway's WAN interface if internet is <500Mb), 3) it can re-purpose radios for front/backhaul duty and re-channelize all links, near-instantaneously, based on real-time traffic and RF analysis. You may be thinking "great... so what?" Well all I can tell you is that stuff actually does make a difference, and no other whole-house product I'm aware of comes anywhere close to the same amount of "it just works" factor. You can certainly find higher spatial-stream radios out there (Orbi tri-band or AmpliFi Alien come to mind), but they're effectively being run by "brain-dead" software stacks in comparison to what Eero is doing -- again, when we're talking about all-wireless deployments. So if you upgrade to anything from Velop, IMHO go Eero, or figure out a way to hard-wire and do controller-based, wire-first APs (UniFi, Omada, Cisco WAP, Ruckus, etc.).

Pre-draft AX vs AC - In the consumer "mesh" space specifically, IMHO it isn't worth the premium right now; I'm not aware of any options that are reliable enough. That may change in the near future, but I try to buy -- and suggest -- what works today, not what will hopefully work soon enough. Also, I'm pretty sure Eero will wait until 6E spec clears to release a next-gen offering. For all-in-one routers or APs, however, that's a more stable area, and really depends on how many AX clients you have, and if you do have some, how badly you want the supposed throughput gains that come with an AX/AX client/station pairing. That said, all the other AX-unique features such as OFDMA (the big one), BSS coloring, target wake timing, etc. are effectively vaporware in terms of actually being implemented and enjoyable by a user base, and will remain so for some time (many months, at least). So overall, no, pre-draft AX gear is typically not worth it for most setups right now (be they home, SMB or enterprise for that matter). That may change in the next year, but by that time, Wifi 6E spec may be closing in on draft 1, and the "gen 1" Wifi 6 stuff will just have to be ripped and replaced to support the extended 6E spectrum. So if you're faced with the choice of saving cost for largely equivalent performance (in most real-life scenarios), you might as well wait. That's my two cents at least.
 
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Paul in Seattle

New Around Here
I am considering replacing my Linksys Velop mesh system with a new WiFi6 system.

In your opinion, which system do you think gives you the best bang for the buck?

Next question - do you think WiFi 6 is worth the premium over AC at present?

Again, 2 opinions desired.

My house is a 2200 sq ft home - single story and spread out. We also have a 200 sq ft bungalow that is 40 ft away from the nearest part of the house where we will have a satellite. Construction is concrete.
I'm a fan of the AmpliFi Alien.
 

flyboynm

Occasional Visitor
A friend of mine decided to buy me the Arris Surfboard mAX Plus Mesh aX7800 system. It arrives on Monday. I will let you know how it turns out. :)
 

psychopomp1

Senior Member
I'm a fan of the AmpliFi Alien.
I'm afraid just because its made by Ubiquiti, costs $400 and looks nice, that's no guarantee that it will perform well. I tried out the Alien and it was utter garbage for the money - it didn't even allow you to change the wifi channels!! Wifi 5 performance was no better than a mid-range wifi 5 router, costing a third of the Alien. But hey its made by Ubiquiti! lol
 

psychopomp1

Senior Member
If you waited this long why not wait a little longer and wait for Wi-Fi 6e. IF you buy Wi-Fi 6 it will be out dated in a year.
And once wifi 6e is released, perhaps the OP should would for wifi 7? Actually on second thoughts, I think it would be better if the OP waits for wifi 7e or wifi 8. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.

Technology is always changing, if you wait for the next iteration, that also becomes old technology not soon after. If folks want to buy the latest gear at a price they can afford, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with that :)
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
One needs to understand there’s more to a router than just paper specs. It’s not just an AP... it’s handling your connection to the outside world. Some of the consumer stuff is really rotten to the core at the software level with outdated packages and almost no support after like 2-3 years and at times actually breaking products (by accident rather than malice) in various ways before stopping updates. So I would definitely avoid some vendors (ie TP-Link, D-Link), even if cheap unless using as an AP.

Also as for Amplifi it does allow channel change...

And as for always picking the latest, all that does is make you a beta tester and create headaches for family members. If one wants stability/reliability especially at a time where more people are working from home, best to get a product that’s at least a year old with mature firmware. I’ve used about a dozen high end devices in just 4-5 years due to testing that I do, so that’s from my own experience... Not a single one of those devices was fully stable till at least 6 months to a year after launch.

OP WiFi 6 gives about a 10-15% realworld boost on 5 GHz and a roughly 2x boost on 2.4 GHz vs AC gen routers. It’s a decent gain especially on 2.4 GHz assuming you have ax clients. As for is it worth the premium over what you have, I personally would stay with what you have unless it’s deficient in regards to your needs in some way as it’s a decent product. Of course at the same time nothing wrong in wanting something better if you can afford to either.

Let us know how the Arris goes, hoping it’s good.
 
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chadster766

Very Senior Member
The Linksys Wifi6 products are awesome but designed for novice user installation so no advanced settings.

The throughput (up/down) through a primary Velop node 5Ghz (MR9600, MX5300, MR7350) are +800mbps and through secondary nodes +600mbps.

For a concrete wall and floor location the Velop nodes would have to be daisy chained in such a way so the Velop nodes see each other at approx -70.

Below are some of my standard Velop setup recommendations:

  • 5Ghz doesn't pass through building materials very well so I wouldn't worry about a strong outside 5Ghz interference too much.
  • According to my previous Velop testing Bridge Mode will provide the most performance since the Velop won't be doing NAT and firewalling.
  • Use your sysinfo.cgi bh_report to maximize your coverage by keeping the AP\STA signal strengths to approx -70 between nodes. This will also help your wireless client roaming between nodes.
  • Disable Prioritization, Node and Client Steering.
  • Set Prioritization speeds manually to 1024mbps for both download and upload even though it's disabled
  • Have separate SSIDs for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.
  • Try to get a hub and spoke topology instead of a daisy chain.
Instructions to get the Velop sysinfo.cgi report:

  1. Linksys App => Velop Administration => Click on first node in list
  2. LAN => IP Address
  3. Use the LAN IP Address of the node in the below URL
  4. http://<your node ip address>/sysinfo.cgi
  5. Login using your Velop system password and username of "admin"
  6. The report will display in browser, search for "bh_report" to find the backhaul report section
The output should look like this:

Code:
bh_report
  Node (MAC)  NODE IP          PARENT IP        Intf.  Chan.   RSSI(AP/STA)      Speed  State Timestamp   
------------  ---------------  ---------------  -----  -----   ------------  ---------  ----- ------------
149182854304  192.168.200.107  192.168.200.131    5GH  161          -70/-59  155.89500     up 1581717301
If you have wired nodes disconnect the Ethernet cable, wait 5 minutes and re-run the report to make sure those nodes are placed properly as well.
 

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