Why is Mesh better than wifi extenders?

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  • GlenBo84GlenBo84 Member, Beta Tester Posts: 31
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    Pooh said:
    Gidster said:
    GlenBo84 said:

    i currently use the Linksys Velop system. It’s a tri band system and have 4 nodes around the house.

    What's "tri-band"? As I understand it, there's 2.4ghz and 5ghz? Maybe Powerline too?
    1 x 2.4Ghz, 2 * ~5Ghz channels.
    the second Tri Band is used as a Back Haul between all the nodes so not to tie up the other channels....
    VioletChepil
  • GlenBo84GlenBo84 Member, Beta Tester Posts: 31
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    Ive just added the following in another category BUT to repeat again .... as worth mentioning ...

    I currently use Linksys VELOP Mesh Wi-Fi and i would say its been ok ... BUT as of the other day they rolled out a new firmware which i must say so far has been impressive. 
    The nodes now have better control over what node a device uses. Also now has better self healing and strongest signal route.

    Even throughput seems to have improved.... Fingers crossed this a great and stable update !
    HronosVioletChepil
  • JackJack Member Posts: 53
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    I have setup my home using UniFi to hardwire everything that is static and has an ethernet port and then use multiple hardwired UniFi AP-AC-Pro access points for mobile devices and everything else. 
  • pwmeekpwmeek Member, Beta Tester Posts: 137
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    When I had a large house, I had a Luxul system where the APs were all hard-wired via GbEthernet (which is unlike mesh networks or extenders as I understand them). All Access Points (all on the same WiFi channel) are controlled by a central Luxul controller, and devices are automatically connected to whichever AP gives the strongest connection. Moving devices are handed off to other APs, as their location changes, much like the cellphone network does.  The APs use "Beamforming" (which I assume means some sort of electronically-steerable-array antennas) to direct power and sensitivity to where it is needed. (It also switches devices between 2.4 and 5 to give the best connection.)
    I took all the Luxul equipment with me when we moved. When we finally move from our temporary small apartment (where we are just using the ISP's built in WiFi), I expect I will set it up again.
    --Pete
    Bon Vivant and Raconteur
    Hronos
  • TheCustomCaveTheCustomCave Member, Beta Tester Posts: 48
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    @pwmeek that's very simliar to the Ruckus system I use at work. The central controller manage all of the APs on the network for both setup and handoff of traffic.
    kltaylor
  • JackJack Member Posts: 53
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    @pwmeek this is exactly the same as UniFi too but without the fees of Ruckus @TheCustomCave
  • RichCreedyRichCreedy Member, Beta Tester Posts: 38
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    Hronos said:
    I'm in the retail IT Trade, we currently serve our customers wifi mesh requirements using Tenda Nova MW6 or MW3 depending on size of property.
    I am thinking of replacing my own network with Ubiquity equipment. but I need to play with some first.
    Hi @RichCreedy
    I have a Tenda Router and it works pretty well, much more reliable than the one the ISP bring (hehehe), it have dual band and all of that.
    My doubt is, this router is replace by the Nova MW6/3 or it is still needed to use the Novas?
    Ubiquity looks great but Tenda is not bat and it is affordable. (Ubiquity is kinnda out of my budget ='( )
    that depends on your setup. is your broadband adsl/vdsl or cable(isp cable) based
    if adsl/vdsl you would need a modem, you may be able to set your tenda to modem only mode.
    if cable just plug straight into cable modem, again it may need to be switched to modem only mode.

  • JackJack Member Posts: 53
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    UniFi is great and can be got at a good price.

    kltaylor
  • SimoneSpinozziSimoneSpinozzi Member, Beta Tester Posts: 88
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    Can confirm that mesh is a mess, had a mesh setup, switched back to a series of APs connected via ethernet to the main router. It just does not work, especially if it has to jump a couple of stories via Wi-Fi bridges alone like in my case. And thick walls are not that different.

    Wireless technology is often portrayed as "the solution to everything" and "be free of wires"... and that might be true between you and the nearest AP, but between an AP and your router it's always better to have a good and solid ethernet line, otherwise you would be:
    1) halving the signal speed (and the more "jumps" the more "halving" it sustains)
    2) messing with the reliability (the packet loss was astounding)
    3) having a horrible delay before even getting to your ISP internet connection
    4) anything that would require a non-constant stream (that is... let's say... opening a folder of bookmarks at once instead of opening a video streaming service) would positively be killed by wi-fi bridges, especially non-direct ones.

    Honestly i still don't understand why would anybody do it, unless they had constraints (like being unable to pass wires)
  • JoeJoe Member, Beta Tester Posts: 54
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    @SimoneSpinozzi, what mesh system did you use? I’ll remember not to get one. The only advantage of mesh I can see is handoff between nodes if moving about. It doesn’t really matter if the device being used is relatively static.
  • JackJack Member Posts: 53
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    @Joe With wired ap’s like UniFi you still get the handoff benefits with the hardwired stability.

    kltaylor
  • JackJack Member Posts: 53
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    & I’m sure there are also other solutions out there with options to have hardwired ap’s that produce a single SSID and handle handoff etc. I just that I have used UniFi and it works well for me.

    Hronoskltaylor
  • kltaylorkltaylor Moderator, Beta Tester Posts: 1,231
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    Jack said:

    @Joe With wired ap’s like UniFi you still get the handoff benefits with the hardwired stability.

    A Mesh network is when you do not have the capability or resources to hard-wire your network, which is almost always the best plan on approach.  Having an Ethernet-connected UniFi AP is just smart, there's no need for a Mesh environment.
    With that said, Mesh is ideal for consumer networks and has some usefulness in small business environments.  As an example, I installed a Mesh network in a Yoga studio where the building was built in the '60s and '70s.  It wasn't your typical 'brick and mortar' building, walls were quite thick and there was no room for cable fishing.
    Mesh is going to be better in situations like the samples above, but when you can route your wireless through a dedicated AP connected via Ethernet, that's always going to win.
    "There's a fine line between audacity and idiocy."
    -Warden Anastasia Luccio, Captain
    Gidster
  • SimoneSpinozziSimoneSpinozzi Member, Beta Tester Posts: 88
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    @Joe
    TP-Link Deco
    Netgear Orbi
    Asus Lyra
    I have a 3 story house, the router was at the topmost floor, since i live in the country and need a radio bridge to get any decent speed.
    I tried several configurations to not wire the 3 floors i bought 3 triplets of access points to send the signal each down one floor, aimed their antennas and everything.
    It... just does not work. I suppose 1 repeater and then straight to the router might work, but the moment a repeater has to link to another repeater without any chance of getting a direct signal to the router, it's... yeah, it does not work at all.
    Luckily i told the guys selling me those systems that i was going to have that stuff on a trial. So i got my money back.
    In the end i now have all 3 floors wired straight to the router which... did cost a bit, but i saved a lot of money tanks to the MicroTik APs i ended up using which are crazy cheap and much more stable than the stuff i was using before.
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    @Joe
    In the end i now have all 3 floors wired straight to the router which... did cost a bit, but i saved a lot of money tanks to the MicroTik APs i ended up using which are crazy cheap and much more stable than the stuff i was using before.
    I wonder if you could have used powerline to link APs on each floor to the router?
    Head of Product at Fing
  • SimoneSpinozziSimoneSpinozzi Member, Beta Tester Posts: 88
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    Gidster said:
    @Joe
    In the end i now have all 3 floors wired straight to the router which... did cost a bit, but i saved a lot of money tanks to the MicroTik APs i ended up using which are crazy cheap and much more stable than the stuff i was using before.
    I wonder if you could have used powerline to link APs on each floor to the router?
    Honestly... i tried power line linking in the past, it's way below Wi-Fi both in transfer rate and reliability, this is because the power line hubs are extremely sensible to noise and in italy the power company already uses the power lines to transfer data needed by the power company itself. Which... on one side it means that you could "listen in" on them (given enough will to break the encryption, which i am not planning to do in the least) on the other side it means that the power lines are extremely "dirty" and thus very poor at transmitting even more signals than they are already doing.
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    SimoneSpinozzi said:
    Honestly... i tried power line linking in the past, it's way below Wi-Fi both in transfer rate and reliability, this is because the power line hubs are extremely sensible to noise and in italy the power company already uses the power lines to transfer data needed by the power company itself. Which... on one side it means that you could "listen in" on them (given enough will to break the encryption, which i am not planning to do in the least) on the other side it means that the power lines are extremely "dirty" and thus very poor at transmitting even more signals than they are already doing.
     After a number of misfires, I had some luck with TP-Link 1200mbps AV2 powerline to get internet to the top of my house, 2 floors up from the router. Struggled with wifi extenders and earlier powerline models. I understand this generation (and later) use MIMO to deal with noise issues. Of course I get nothing like 1200mbps (is that bits or bytes for Powerline?) but I typically get 10mbps+ which is plenty for work and HDTV.
    Head of Product at Fing
  • DarfNaderDarfNader Member Posts: 3
    Photogenic First Comment
    edited September 2019
    The key to having good mesh or extenders is to have the APs connected to your network by Ethernet. Also, I found that powerline adaptors - even the 1Gbps ones - don't seem to perform as well as a simple Ethernet link. (This is purely anecdotal but has been my experience.) Using over-the-air repeaters crowds the airways with at best twice as much traffic as needed and if you’re in a noisy area like an apartment building performance is going to stink regardless. There are just so many channels in 2.4 or 5 GHz available even with automatic channel selection.
    That said, I have an ASUS RT-AC88U as my primary wifi/router/firewall/toaster-oven and had been using my older ASUS RT-AC66U as a wired secondary AP which worked okay except getting the closer AP to take over when I moved throughout my house was problematic. The only way to make it work was to reduce the power output of devices to reduce the signal overlap which of course reduced range on the edges of my airspace that didn’t overlap.
    This is where ASUS “AI-Mesh” really helped. (I have no idea what the “AI” means or if it’s any different that standard mesh but I am sure it has great marketing materials.) The improvements I saw right away was that mesh was able to better detect which of the two APs were closer and switch more dynamically where before I would literally have to turn WiFi off and on for my device to get it to connect to whichever device had the stronger signal.
    FYI: the only way you can really validate this is by using a tool that allows you to see the MAC ID of the AP you’re connecting to because (at least with ASUS) once you’re in mesh mode you can’t manage mesh remotes individually anymore- everything is done via the main device and you can’t tell which client is connected to which AP. However, using the network map you can IS the MAC ID of either device and tools like NetAnalyzer will tell you the ID of the AP you’re currently on. Furthermore, my wireless speeds now are well over 300 Mbps (according to the iOS Fing app) around the secondary AP which is a vast improvement over the 60 Mbps I was usually seeing before.
    Hronos
  • RomulusRomulus Member, Beta Tester Posts: 35
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    @DarfNader My experience is similar to yours. I had a some cheap Asus routers as extenders with wired back-haul and the roaming clients would never move to the better nodes in a timely manner. Now using Asus mesh, RT-AC86U main and two RT-AC68U's as satellite, again with wired back haul and it's great.
    DarfNader
  • HronosHronos Member, Beta Tester Posts: 289
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    @DarfNader never better put... xD
    Keep looking up!
  • DarfNaderDarfNader Member Posts: 3
    Photogenic First Comment
    Honestly i still don't understand why would anybody do it, unless they had constraints (like being unable to pass wires)
    I would definitely agree with you regarding OTA repeaters for the reasons you state, however for cases where you simply cannot run ethernet to your remote APs, I found that the Ubiquiti Amplifi home mesh system worked a lot better than I could have possibly expected. Latency was actually comparable to a 1200AC wired wifi AP. While you're never going to get the data rates or latency times that the specs state, this is actually not a terrible way to go if you simply do no have the option to hard wire your access points. In fact, I was able to get it to perform better than using a secondary (non-mesh) AP over a 1 Bbps powerline adaptor which really surprised me. (Then again, I have found powerline adaptor performance to be by and large disappointing, but that's just my anecdotal experience.) I admit this might have had more to do with the location as I recall there not being a lot of competition for airspace, but even so, at it's heart it is much much better than your run-of-the-mill BestBuy wireless repeater which will generally give you terrible performance.
    Obviously, use a straight ethernet link for remote APs whenever possible, but if you simply cannot, give the Amplifi a try, but make sure you can return it if you don't get good test results.
  • JohnJohn Member Posts: 110
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    edited September 2019
    I am using bt whole home mesh but all hard wired?  Is that defeating the purpose?  Should I go to Ubiquiti APs?
    Gidster
  • JackJack Member Posts: 53
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    Never used them personally but I believe it’s the same thing. Each one should have the same SSID and your device should roam to the AP with the best signal.

  • PoohPooh Member, Beta Tester Posts: 674
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    John said:
    I am using bt whole home mesh but all hard wired?  Is that defeating the purpose?  Should I go to Ubiquiti APs?
    However they're connected, a Mesh is a mesh. For example I have three Eero Pros. Two have a hardwired backhaul, the third used a wireless backhaul. Still a mesh.
    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
  • JohnJohn Member Posts: 110
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    I guess the question is is there any advantage of mesh over roaming via APs?

    Gidsterkltaylor
  • Systops5Systops5 Member Posts: 33
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    While I have not gone through and read all of the replies, I wanted to give me opinions as to why Mesh is better then Extenders from my Home Network / Business Network Point of view.
    For 1. if you have a large house, adding additional "nodes" to extend your WIFI coverage is a very simple process. Users do not have to worry about having to figure out which WiFi Network will be the best one for them to connect to, and users can roam throughout the cocerage area with out disconnecting and reconnecting based on their physical location. The Mesh System will handle all of that for you. On Tri-Band Systems, the 3rd band can be configured as the dedicated back-haul for interconnected devices, this allows for increased speeds and less congestion on standard Wifi Networks where the back-haul is usually shared with the users connected.  There are many more technical reasons, but from and end user point of view, those are the reasons I choose a Mesh Network, and we have never looked back. It's been one of the best things we did for everyone on the Wifi!
    GidsterVioletChepilkltaylor
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    Worth alerting UK members to some mesh bargains on ebay right now, as little as £80 for a 3 pack system and just £200 for Google Wifi 3 pack
    https://community.fing.com/discussion/827/quick-tp-link-m5-mesh-3-pack-down-from-170-to-136#latest
    Head of Product at Fing
    kltaylor
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