Yet another wireless recommendation required

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Tundra

New Around Here
I was hoping people here would recommend a good router for my requirements:

Currently using a TP-link Archer C8, which has been flaky lately and randomly drops wireless clients forcing them to reconnect. My current connection is 60/10 but have plans to go to a 500/50 service. I will have a pfsense box that will be the first interface to the modem with a router running in AP mode hanging off it. There is a 4 port managed switch hanging off the pfsense box as well. The other constraints are:

  • About 7 wired and 15 wireless clients
  • The AP/router must support multiple SSID and VLAN tagging for the same
  • I dont mind having a controller to do the initial setup like Unifi but it should not be required to have it on continuously
  • Support for WPA3 is very desirable
  • I dont require Wifi6 support but MU-MIMO is a must
  • The house is ground + 1 storey with concrete outside walls
  • Cost <200
  • Support for roaming in case 2nd AP is adding and ability to control power levels. Initially only one AP, but I suppose there shouldn't be any issue in adding the old Archer C8 in AP using same SSID?

I looked at Tplink EAP but I dont think it supports WPA3. The Unifi nano HD doesnt seem to have good reviews. Ruckus is just too expensive...

Any suggestions greatly appreciated
 

Tundra

New Around Here
I also looked at Asus RT-ac86U which seems good but doesnt have WPA3 either. Looks like not a lot of routers support it yet
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
if you want to get out of the consumer gear flakiness, take a look at the CISCO RV routers and whichever level of AP. Since most existing user devices only support up to 3x3 AC, not much benefit being on the bleed edge.
Look for post by TRIPP that answer this question repeatedly with this and other SMB solutions.
 

Tundra

New Around Here
Thanks..

So going through the past posts it turns out the following seem to be the recommendations:

Cisco CBW240AC or CBW145AC
TPLink EAP245
Unifi gear.. UAP AC Pro , but people are trying to move away from it.
Ruckus is outside the budget

The Tp-link does not seem to support WPA3, but Cisco has it planned. For the Cisco does anyone know apart from the AP itself what is required? I am aware that it does require a PoE injector, but does it require any additional license or anything? The data sheet says it can be configured using a mobile app, does it require a controller to be on continuously or is it like Unifi where you can shut it off after configuration if you dont need the stats...
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Due to the VLAN requirement, only a purpose-built AP will suffice (non consumer AIO nor firmware are natively VLAN-aware, requiring messing with third-party distros, but then reliability may suffer, just best to go with something that has it out of the box).

Regarding the controller, fair enough; I would look for an embedded-controller product then, where the controller is built into the AP code itself. The choices at the SMB price point are Cisco CBW, Netgear Insight or Aruba Instant On.

Re- WPA3, it's mandatory with a Wifi 6 AP, optional on Wifi 5 APs, so on that point alone you're probably best off going Wifi 6.

Re- MU-MIMO, while it's a theoretical nice-to-have, very few clients devices (or APs for that matter) implement it properly, and even for those that do, it's been shown to be minimally effective at best in the real-world. I presume you've seen "Why You Don't Need MU-MIMO", and I don't believe much has changed in three years since. @thiggins would chime in with more insight I'm sure. That said, as long as you're looking at AC Wave 2 gear or higher, Tx MU-MIMO will be there (Rx MU-MIMO should have been there in Wifi 6, but AFAIK is not, at least not in real-world implementations, yet).

I'd go CBW240AC and wait on WPA3, or for Wifi 6 and WPA3 for a slight premium ($229), a Netgear WAX610, or Aruba Instant On AP22 for Wifi 6 and WPA on the cheap but it's only 2x2 and doesn't review all that well yet (surprisingly).
 

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