Wifi extender or better router to boost signal?

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Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
I have an RT-66U_B1 running the latest ASUS firmware. The router is in the family room of my 2400 sq ft house. My son's family will be visiting soon and will have 4 simultaneous (Zoom) connections scattered throughout the house. I'm wondering if I should get a wifi extender to boost the signal to the upstairs bedrooms (I am assuming connection speeds will drop with a weaker signal) or would a better router (e.g., AC86U or AX58) be a better solution? The signals in the bedrooms, living room and basement are 15-18db lower than in the family room. Speed tests show a 30-40Mbps drop in download speed but (strangely) no drop in upload speed. From a cost standpoint, an extender is preferred but the router doesn't owe me anything so upgrading that wouldn't break my heart. (I will say this reburb 66U_B1 I got from Newegg 2 1/2 years ago has served me well.)
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
One option is to get another AC66U_B1 to have as a mesh node to "extend" WIFI coverage. My recommendation is to spend a bit more for an AC86U to use as a main router and use your AC66U_B1 as a mesh node. B&H Photo has a good price on either with free shipping and you can save the sales tax.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have an RT-66U_B1 running the latest ASUS firmware. The router is in the family room of my 2400 sq ft house. My son's family will be visiting soon and will have 4 simultaneous (Zoom) connections scattered throughout the house. I'm wondering if I should get a wifi extender to boost the signal to the upstairs bedrooms (I am assuming connection speeds will drop with a weaker signal) or would a better router (e.g., AC86U or AX58) be a better solution? The signals in the bedrooms, living room and basement are 15-18db lower than in the family room. Speed tests show a 30-40Mbps drop in download speed but (strangely) no drop in upload speed. From a cost standpoint, an extender is preferred but the router doesn't owe me anything so upgrading that wouldn't break my heart. (I will say this reburb 66U_B1 I got from Newegg 2 1/2 years ago has served me well.)

Forget about repeaters and extenders. Leverage your existing AC66U with Asus AiMesh.

I suggest an RT-AC86U as AiMesh router/root node and add your AC66U_B1 as a wireless AiMesh remote node where you need it.

Disable Smart Connect and set different SSIDs per band and fixed, non-DFS channels.

Ideally, wire your family room media center devices to the AC86U.

My install notes cover a basic configuration.

You may want to consider installing AiMesh 2.0 RC2-9 beta firmware. Later, you will have to manually install the released firmware. The AC66U_B1 runs AC68U firmware. Be sure to flash, reset, and then configure the firmware from scratch.

Consider configuring guest WLANs across the AiMesh for visitors who do not need access to your LAN and WLANs.

OE
 
Last edited:

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
I suggest an RT-AC86U as AiMesh router/root node and add your AC66U_B1 as a wireless AiMesh remote node where you need it.

Disable Smart Connect and set different SSIDs per band and fixed, non-DFS channels.

My install notes cover a basic configuration.

You may want to consider installing AiMesh 2.0 RC2-9 beta firmware. Later, you will have to manually install the released firmware. The AC66U_B1 runs AC68U firmware. Be sure to flash, reset, and then configure the firmware from scratch.

Consider configuring guest WLANs across the AiMesh for visitors who do not need access to your LAN and WLANs.
Your notes look complete but they're beyond my level of knowledge on networking, particularly the AiMesh setup. I can probably figure it out with more study.

I did just order an AC86U and also upped my Comcast speed to 200/12 from 100/5. The better router and higher speed may be enough to handle the 4 simultaneous Zoom sessions going on next week spread out in my 2400 sq ft house. I've walked around with Wifi Analyzer and there's only one spot where the signal drops below -60 dbm.

Thanks for the detailed reply.
 

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