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Wifi router mesh for large 3 story house

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Occasional Visitor
The ISP supplied router is showing its age. Even with just 10 clients connected and most idle, it's ping spiking when low usage is happening and this is really annoying for online games. If I just have a YouTube video open it's jumping up 10-20ms sporadically.

The router in use has been a BT Smart Hub (UK ISP). It's somehow been able to almost cover a rather large 3 story house single handedly. However the top floor and bottom floor corners have been close to deadspots half the time. There is also a small extension at the side that goes from 1 bar to just no connection. The other reason for wanting an upgrade is CCTV. Outdoor Wifi cameras are being placed approx 8 feet away from the property and this is now simply too far for a single router to handle especially as it's almost dead centre of the house. It might be because the external walls are thick stone. One CCTV currently attached to the outside of the house when testing does work though (albeit 1 bar).

My only solution seems like a Mesh router system. I would like it to fulfill the following requirements:

1: Have at minimum 3 Ethernet ports. 1Gb is all that is needed. Internet speed will never be more than 500Mbps anyway. I need 1 to connect the modem obviously, 1 to directly wire my gaming PC into the router and another if I ever want to powerline another device or ethernet backhaul in the future (if allowed).

2: Have a good enough CPU/RAM or whatever that it can process packets fast enough to not ping spike even if say 15 clients are connected (most will be idle).

3: There's no way I am going to be allowed to run ethernet around the whole house right now (thanks wifey) so having a strong wireless backhaul is a must. Everywhere I read states how important tri band is for this so I guess... be tri band.

4: Looking to be around £300 max but can maybe go to £350 if it's really going to solve all problems.

5: Be available to buy from Amazon UK. With something this expensive and unpredictable in quality, I would like to be able to test the system wih a good returns policy.

It's been a massive amount of reading and research the past few days but it has brought me to the following potential ideas:

Choice 1: Asus ZenWifi XT8 (can get it JUST inside budget)

Horror stories of how bad the firmware can be and constant restarting needed. Backhaul not stable unless you have a really specific firmware version and other bugs.

Choice 2: The plethora of TP-Link Deco range that I was somehow able to narrow down to maybe getting the XE75 2 pack. However this isn't a dedicated backhaul like the XT8.

Choice 3: I've not spent much time here but I'll likely get shunned for even mentioning it... the Eero Pro 6. I bring it up because well every other choice is going to be a 2 pack at this price point and requirements. If I get a good deal I can get a 3 pack of the Pro 6 for about £310. Everytime there is such bad reviews for the units though. Likely why they are selling them off. Plus a severe lack of ethernet ports but if the wireless is really good in this 3 way system, it's not a problem to just have the gaming PC wired up and other port for the modem.

Choice 4: Netgear Orbi stuff. Just seems out of my price range. Can get the RBK753 3 pack for £400. What weirded me out though is the rather interesting "40 devices" claim. Even half the price units like the Deco X55 say they will handle 150 clients no problem. I would have expected the Netgear to be 200 like the XE75 states.

Anyway, any recommendations or help would be appreciated. Feel like I've spent way longer on choosing this than I should have.
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Part of the Furniture
I think you've spent the correct amount of time.

Now, you'll need to do the same when you're actually testing the different units in your own home.

Make no mistake, this is work.

But nobody else can do this for you and your environment.

Happy testing, and please keep good notes and update this thread when you have completed this to your satisfaction.

With your description of the project, I wouldn't be using any of those products. Nor would I give up on wired nodes either.

A diagram of the layout and important client devices would be very helpful here to give you good feedback.

Also, your budget is on the low side, for the requirements you state.


Occasional Visitor
With your description of the project, I wouldn't be using any of those products.
My assumption was if a bundled ISP router from 2012 can nearly take care of the job specs here:
but falling short say 15 feet of wifi coverage, surely 2 routers placed strategically in the house with latest wireless standards and quad core cpu made in ~2021 would solve the issue for both coverage and the latency spikes of the wired in gaming pc?

Just out of curiosity I found this. A 25,000 sq ft mansion covered by 4 Asus XT8 wireless backhaul only (timestamped link):

Granted I would only have 2 but if 4 is giving good coverage for ~25,000 sq ft surely 2 will be ok for ~5,000 sq ft in comparison?

I know this is the XT12 (and more money but can't be much better than XT8 for coverage) and this guy is at the other side of his garden and still pulling good speeds that far exceed anything needed:

It was stuff like this that made me think the budget and product choices would be adequate. I guess not. :(
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Very Senior Member
My advice is "you need some wifi access points", not "you need a new router". You've not said anything that sounds like the ISP-supplied router isn't getting the job done as a router (that is, handling NAT translation and firewall duties and so on). Most consumer wifi gear is trying to upsell you to a router whether that's what you actually need or not --- but you pay for that extra functionality in hardware cost, software complexity, and ensuing bugs. I'm here to tell you that neither the XT8 nor the Orbi gear is bug-free. I think your best advice is to turn off the ISP router's wifi, plug some access points into it, and go from there.

You can find gear that is designed to be an access point and nothing more, but it is generally SMB oriented not consumer. After bad experiences with Orbi RBK850 and then ASUS XT8, I landed on Zyxel's NWA210AX access points and have been a lot happier. I don't want to claim that the Zyxels are perfect, but the only problem I've had with them since initial configuration is that they crash-and-quickly-reboot for no apparent reason, maybe once every couple months. Other than that the service is solid. I believe Netgear also sells things that are only WAPs not routers, but I'm not familiar with their offerings in that line. Or there's Cisco/Meraki, but that's getting pricy. Maybe somebody can recommend plain APs from TP-Link?


Occasional Visitor
Hi tgl thanks for the response.

2 main reasons for wanting a new router:

1: As stated in OP it just seems like it can't handle the influx of clients that have been steadily added over the years. Tablets, phones etc leading to ping spikes. If devices get powered off then the ping spikes generally go away. Plus it's 10 years old at this point, probably close to the end of its life. I'm hoping a like quad core cpu router thats advertised to handle 100+ clients will make the ping spikes go away. Apparently the router I have now is a dual core 1 Ghz cpu.

2: It has such limited customisability. You can't even change DNS servers on it or set static IP. Granted I've never really had the need but I feel like if I am going for these more complex setups then I need to atleast be able to set the devices up better.

I've looked at my ISP and they have a "Complete Home Wi-fi" 3 disc setup that apparently has a 802.11ax backhaul. It's almost half the price of anything I talked about here (£179). Granted that doesn't sort out the bad ping spike problem but apparently a better upto date ISP Smart Hub is coming next year and that will be free when recontracting. Might spend the £179 on the 3 disc ax backhaul devices and see if that helps. If not I'll just tough it out till the improved router gets released.


Part of the Furniture
@gameinn, you can view many reviews which state how great it is at coverage, I'm talking about how it may fail at stability for you. Use the Better Search link at the top of the page to see those issues with the equipment you're considering. And again, at the end of it all, it may work perfectly fine in your environment (or not).

Is your 5000 SqFt area over the three floors? If so, note that a router doesn't count SqFt like that. A current AX class router (RT-AX86U or GT-AX6000) can easily cover that area. Even an RT-AC3100 placed in a basement corner covered 3 floors by itself in a similarly sized home (with much better coverage, greatly increased speed, and reliability than an ISP-supplied router + extender could). Building methods and construction materials also play a huge part too in how well a router will behave in a specific environment too.

But without a diagram and being able to see/test at your location, all this becomes theoretical.

Start with something (I would first try adjusting the location, orientation, and antennae of the existing router) that improves the current situation. Keep good notes. If that isn't good enough, test something new in your environment, and again, keep good notes. You will find something that works well enough in your environment without too much effort (except for the buying and returning of potential units).

Your budget may not be in line with what your situation needs. Either be prepared to adjust it, or as you said, possibly wait for your ISP to have available a better router for you at no charge (that is where I lean to right now, considering you don't want to spend a lot, nor do you want to wire up the nodes).

Any current AX Class router today will greatly improve your network experience. Two (or more, if required) will transform your network particularly if set up with a wired backhaul (and preferably with a 2.5GbE connection too).

As @tgl stated above, you may only need APs to give you a 'good-enough' experience right now.

But if you want to move your equipment and network to current WiFi standards (along with lower latency, higher throughput, and with a wired backhaul AiMesh type system, a much more consistent experience throughout your home, you will need to consider spending substantially more than what you're ready to commit to now.

RT-AC3100 Report https://www.snbforums.com/threads/s...-go-with-the-rt-ac1900p-v3.34748/#post-281391

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade over 2x RT-AC86U in wireless backhaul mode

386.1 Final 2x RT-AX86Us 2.5GbE Backhaul

Almost all L&LD Links

About L&LD

AiMesh Ideal Placement


Occasional Visitor
@L&LD Thanks for the info.

Sorry I'm really confused. You say I need to spend more but then your links seem to imply that 2 x RT-AX86U should be ok for what I need. I can get 2 of these for around the budget I talked about so am I missing something? Getting the XT8 2 Pack is basically the same price as 2 RT-AX86U. Is the AX86U much better in coverage? The Amazon page for it states 2250 sq ft so even if I added 2 that would be 4500 sq ft which is 1,000 sq ft less than what the XT advertises at 5,500. Plus the XT8 is tri band and the AX only dual band.


Part of the Furniture
I don't know the world prices for routers. For your environment, you may need 3 or more (for example).

I wouldn't put too much stock in what the advertised coverage area is. Only testing in your environment is what matters in the end.

And I'm suggesting the models above because of my direct experience with them. Two radio routers with three bands aren't what I would be buying when what you need for 1Gbps ISP speeds is a wired backhaul anyway (and specifically above 1Gbps ISP speeds too).

The most powerful and balanced router Asus has right now is the GT-AX6000. Again, not knowing how many you may need in your environment, they will easily surpass your budget, even if they give a superior experience, overall.


Very Senior Member
I must be lucky all 3 floors of my house (60ft x 50ft ) are covered , brick and ciderblock construction basement is concrete get great coverage with 1 AC 3200 , just replaced with an AXE-1100 that seems to cover just as well , in fact I am able to log into the router 150 feet down the street . Guess you have to experiment a bit

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