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Thread: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Currently I have BT Whole Home mesh WiFi which has been great over the last few years. However I’m now looking to upgrade to a WiFi 6 802.11ax network but I want something that works in the same way as my current system does. With the BT Wholehome system it only provides WiFi, my own routers (ASUS RT-AC 86u, self built pfSense router or Edge Router Lite) does all the networking & routing stuff and I just disabled WiFi on it and let the BT mesh system handle that.

    When I look at WiFi 6 kit most seem to have at least one node that acts as a router and in many cases this can’t be disabled. This adds unnecessary expense and in some cases may lead double natting as far as I understand things.

    So is there anything out there that’s not too expensive and will allow me to keep using my current routers and is rock solid?

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    Senior Member spacein_vader's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    Currently I have BT Whole Home mesh WiFi which has been great over the last few years. However I’m now looking to upgrade to a WiFi 6 802.11ax network but I want something that works in the same way as my current system does. With the BT Wholehome system it only provides WiFi, my own routers (ASUS RT-AC 86u, self built pfSense router or Edge Router Lite) does all the networking & routing stuff and I just disabled WiFi on it and let the BT mesh system handle that.

    When I look at WiFi 6 kit most seem to have at least one node that acts as a router and in many cases this can’t be disabled. This adds unnecessary expense and in some cases may lead double natting as far as I understand things.

    So is there anything out there that’s not too expensive and will allow me to keep using my current routers and is rock solid?
    Sounds like you need wireless access points rather than routers. If you're already using an edgerouter ubiqiuti do a wide range of them, including WiFi 6.

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by spacein_vader View Post
    Sounds like you need wireless access points rather than routers. If you're already using an edgerouter ubiqiuti do a wide range of them, including WiFi 6.
    That’s my point, most of the consumer kit is router+AP’s. The Ubiquity kit is really prosumer and I’m uncertain if it’ll function without one of their gateway routers, plus it’s pretty pricey and confusing range.

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please




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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Thanks, yeah I’d seen them albeit at higher price, & decided to look elsewhere due to cost as I’ll need at least 4 of them; which even at the current price will be over £400. I was hoping to spend somewhat less than that.

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by spacein_vader View Post
    Sounds like you need wireless access points rather than routers. If you're already using an edgerouter ubiqiuti do a wide range of them, including WiFi 6.
    I should also point out that I don’t use my different routers all at the same time in my network. I only have one router in the network at any one time, and swap them out as & when I want to play with different features and try them out such as vlans etc.

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    When I look at WiFi 6 kit most seem to have at least one node that acts as a router and in many cases this can’t be disabled. This adds unnecessary expense and in some cases may lead double natting as far as I understand things.
    I don't think any expense is added, you need a pretty fast CPU to manage those sorts of data rates and all the beam forming etc on a modern access point. Even as a simple access point it's still doing much of the filtering and forwarding packet management a router requires, just with different filters.

    When I went mesh I didn't bother with the WiFI 6 units as they were so expensive. I went for this 3 pack AC1200 for about £100: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0851D6MXY

    Now those can act as a router, but I switched mine to access point mode. One of the units is designated "master" so it knows it is plugged into the actual router, then it sort of makes them like one big ethernet switch (the units have 2 ports on them each) with roaming wifi. I backhaul with powerline units, which they automatically detect as a cabled connection so they don't have to backhaul over WiFi. I do think I overdid it though and only really needed two of those units for a 4 bedroom house with an awkward L shape.

    Looks like the price still skyrockets when you start looking at the WiFi 6 speeds though: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Nex...dp/B0041JNUAI/ https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Hom...dp/B08WHGGYBH/
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 21-11-2021 at 10:08 AM.

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I don't think any expense is added, you need a pretty fast CPU to manage those sorts of data rates and all the beam forming etc on a modern access point. Even as a simple access point it's still doing much of the filtering and forwarding packet management a router requires, just with different filters.

    When I went mesh I didn't bother with the WiFI 6 units as they were so expensive. I went for this 3 pack AC1200 for about £100: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0851D6MXY

    Now those can act as a router, but I switched mine to access point mode. One of the units is designated "master" so it knows it is plugged into the actual router, then it sort of makes them like one big ethernet switch (the units have 2 ports on them each) with roaming wifi. I backhaul with powerline units, which they automatically detect as a cabled connection so they don't have to backhaul over WiFi. I do think I overdid it though and only really needed two of those units for a 4 bedroom house with an awkward L shape.

    Looks like the price still skyrockets when you start looking at the WiFi 6 speeds though: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Nex...dp/B0041JNUAI/ https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Hom...dp/B08WHGGYBH/
    Yeah I currently backhaul mine over powerline also!

    I’m guessing I’m going to have to do some serious research on Ubiqiti’s kit & try and work out what I need as if I’m going to be spending up to £400 I may as well go down that route.

    Eero Pro stuff looks like a good alternative and is on offer atm but I’m not certain you can put the router into Access Point mode or not.

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Yep you can put the gateway Eero Pro into bridge mode & use your own router but you loose the advance features….. Balls I’d want some of them. The other option is to double NAT it but I’d rather not do that so they seem to be a busted flush.

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    So after a few hours research yesterday I think I've come to the conclusion that I have two options.

    1. Do nothing and stick with my current BT WiFi kit, their WiFi 6 kit is apparently seriously buggy and quite expensive.
    or
    2. Initially purchase 2nd hand Ubiquiti AP AC Pro access points and use them with my current EdgeRouter Lite then as funds & kit availability become available upgrade this to a Ubiquity UniFi Dream Machine router & UniFi Access Point WiFi 6 Pro AP's. It wont be cheap but it will be good & reliable and give me the flexibility and control I'm looking for.
    Last edited by jimborae; 03-12-2021 at 07:00 PM.

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    So after a few hours research yesterday I think I've come to the conclusion that I have two options.

    1. Do nothing and stick with my current BT WiFi kit, their WiFi 6 kit is apparently seriously buggy and quite expensive.
    or
    2. Initially purchase 2nd hand Ubiquiti AP AC Pro access points and use them with my current EdgeRouter Lite then as funds & kit availability become available upgrade this to a Ubiquity Unify Dream Machine router & Unify Access Point WiFi 6 Pro AP's. It wont be cheap but it will be good & reliable and give me the flexibility and control I'm looking for.
    I have a 3 pack of Deco X20's in AP mode - (i.e. what DanceswithUnix has mentioned)

    Note that if you want any of the advanced features of any mesh Wifi system, you will need to have them in router mode. I'm not 100% certain but I believe you might be able to tell the deco units log in details for your DSL/Fibre link and they will act as a bridge* and router between your cable/fibre/DSL and home network - i.e. no double NATting.


    * a bridge in the correct networking sense. A network device that splits two layer 2 domains. Whether from similar media (e.g. ethernet to ethernet) or dissimilar media (e.g. DSL to ethernet or ethernet to Wifi)
    "In a perfect world... spammers would get caught, go to jail, and share a cell with many men who have enlarged their penises, taken Viagra and are looking for a new relationship."

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Given you are already using some Asus kit, I have an XT8, and then two Mini XD4 operating in an AI mesh. This is operating with a Draytek load balancing router, so it works in access point mode no problem with the draytek doing the routing. The AX is the "parent node" of the mesh with a wired connection to the draytek, but it's not doing any routing and is purely access point.

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Thanks all for the suggestions, I’ve decided to go with option 2.

    Have already received my first access point, a Ubiquiti AP-AC Pro, have another & UniFi Dream Machine router arriving Friday. Managed to sell a phone to fund all this and it also means I can sell my EdgeRouters, Asus kit and BT Wholehome kit plus all the other various switches etc & replace with Ubiquiti kit as & when.

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    I'd be interested to hear how this goes. I'm considering a similar upgrade soon.

    Cheers...

    b0redom

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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    I'd be interested to hear how this goes. I'm considering a similar upgrade soon.

    Cheers...

    b0redom
    Will do, but from just testing one of the AP’s it’s pretty clear they’re much more powerful than either my existing router or BT WiFi AP’s. I’m getting signal in places I never did before.

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: WiFi 6 Mesh Access Points- Recommendations Please

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    I'd be interested to hear how this goes. I'm considering a similar upgrade soon.

    Cheers...

    b0redom
    So quick update, I setup the Dream Machine router, mini Flex 5 managed switch & one access point today, and so far I'm really liking it. I've still got the BT WiFI discs installed on seperate WiFi network till my remaining UniFi access points arrive and I can mount them. The UniFi management interface is taking a bit of getting used to but that's to be expected and it's fairly logical. Not set up any separeate VLANS yet just mirrored what was inplace before but will be settling up a seperate VLAN & WiFi network for all the IoT kit probably this weekend.

    So far I'm certainly not regretting my decision to go with Ubiquiti and will be looking to buy some bigger UniFi managed switches to replace the mixture of HP I have around the house. The Ubiquiti stuff I've bought so far is a mixture of new & secondhand all off eBay and to fair I scored a couple of bargains so the total cost has been pretty resonable when you consider how powerful this stuff is. Plus as said before I can recoup some of the cost by flogging my old kit.

    Eitherway I'm as happy as a pig in poop currently oh and the phone app is pretty good also.

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