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Home WiFi - mesh or what?

mikewazar

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PLEASE TEST - or I'll be forced to buy a mesh system myself and test -

The mesh marketing material implies they handle handover better than wifi range extenders
Deco M4 | AC1200 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System | TP-Link South Africa
The animation half way down the page is what I'm referring to

Yeah so I read this tried to pull some spec sheets for the controllers and IC used in that system and in my view TP-Link is using the same approach as Ubnt (I have used Ubnt for years, in small and medium sized applications) and that comes down to broadcasting the same SSID, on different channels so the client only sees a single SSID to connect to, but it is still up to the client device to decide when and where to connect. WiFi, despite what people think was really never designed with roaming in mind - the way "cellular" tech works and why it works so well, is that it's designed around devices moving between cell zones and is very good at managing that, both at client and base station level - WiFi was really designed to replace cabled networking, as in your printer which stays in the same spot in your house can connect wirelessly, but the actual WiFi spec is very deficient at handling devices that move around and will need to quickly connect/disconnect from one AP to another.

So I'd say the TP-Link stuff will work similarly to the Ubnt systems, which is better than having MyWiFi, MyWifi_EXT and MyWiFi_2 SSIDs all broadcasting but it's not 100% seamless and does depend on how well the client handles roaming.
 
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mikewazar

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That is what I bought yesterday from take a lot.
R1699 for the 2 set which seems reasonable considering they normally retail for around 2.5.

For the price, you're getting a good deal IMO
 

ArriBen

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For the price, you're getting a good deal IMO
That's why I bought them but TBH i don't even know what the fuck mesh means except in the strainer in my kitchen.
They look cool though and so far so good.
 

mikewazar

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That's why I bought them but TBH i don't even know what the fuck mesh means except in the strainer in my kitchen.
They look cool though and so far so good.

More marketing than anything, but it just means it will broadcast the same network SSID over a wider range using multiple broadcasting access points
 

AndyPants

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That's why I bought them but TBH i don't even know what the fuck mesh means except in the strainer in my kitchen.
They look cool though and so far so good.
Did you get the E4 or the M4 variant?
 

AndyPants

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works for me, PC is running on a gig switch.
How faster would one need to use their phone..
Point taken but becomes quite redundant to have a wifi connection that's theoretically faster than the ethernet backhaul - not really a question of how fast does one want to use your phone, but how fast do you want to use 5 phones, 2 laptops and ....
 

zedwunare

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@AndyPants and @ArriBen - I'll see what I can test sometime today/tomorrow.

I'll maybe try some speedtests while walking around - I don't think YouTube or streaming in general will be a great indicator as I'm sure there is buffering and whatnot to mitigate that.

What I can tell you is the following - even with my Airport setup, I had two distinct different SSIDs - one for 5Ghz and one for 2.4Ghz. The TP-Link animation is indeed correct in that I now only have one SSID across the whole house and in fact the Netgear Orbi app on my iPhone shows me what is connected to what radio - otherwise I wouldn't have a clue. I am also able to scroll down to "Wired" to see what devices are connected there.

Interestingly I tried to see if I could use my Airport Extreme (5th Gen) to further extend the Orbi mesh, but the Airport will only extend an existing Apple WiFi network as it uses a proprietary backhaul method.

As previously mention with the Orbi, you can connect the satellite to the main router or daisy chain the satellite so it goes "Router-Satellite-Satellite" which I liked. I haven't tested it though.

One down side to the RBK13 bundle as that while you can buy an additional satellite for $79.00 in the states, I haven't seen the individual satellites available anywhere locally which means if you want to add a 3rd satellite it may be an issue.

 

zedwunare

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Hi

Just wanted to share that I have some regrets.

Sucky things about the Netgear Orbi bundle:

  • Utilisation / reporting. It has a traffic manager thing which is similar to those "What is your download limit per month? 100GB? 500GB? We'll report on how much you have consumed" but no pretty line graphs showing you current utilisation
  • An extension of the above point - there is no view showing you what connected devices on your network are using your line - so if 9 of your 10 connected devices (i.e. phones, tablets, PCs, Apple TV, etc) are idling away but ONE device has a worm or a torrent smashing your line, there is no way of knowing
  • DHCP limitations : you cannot granularly configure DHCP. Either DHCP is on or off and if it is on, you cannot specify the name servers it will assign to devices. Either you turn on DHCP and the Orbi itself will become your name server (and thus forward requests through the ISP assigned name servers) or not. This sucks because you cannot add a device like a pihole and then tell your router to assign your network clients the IP of the pihole as a new DNS server. This sucks - you can route your router's requests through the pihole but that defeats the purpose of wanting clients to directly interrogate the pihole so you can see what requests are coming from which clients.
Otherwise it is still running well as a mesh though. I continue to enjoy the better coverage. Just thought I'd share this issue.

Regards,
Peter
 

AndyPants

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I ended up going Ubiquity Unify route and its good and terrible
It's great, range is great, granularity and insight into what's going on is great.
BUT
I get the weirdest issues where suddenly some websites can't be reached (switching to mobile data they load with no issues)

Sometimes it's no biggi, websites like hackaday or imgur...we can work around that
but other times it's whatsapp that suddenly cannot receive images as well as instagram - girlfriend is losing her shit and I'm not far behind

It happens after a power interruption or router reset, will persist for a few days, no matter what DNS setting I change and then suddenly everything is 100% again, till the next time I have to reboot the USG, then there's something new.
I've tried various (fucking all of them) dns servers - but in all honesty - why would one work one day and then suddenly not work anymore?
I can only conclude that somewhere some setting is messed up and causing this bullshit - but I'm out of ideas.
 

Qui_Illustrati

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I ended up going Ubiquity Unify route and its good and terrible
It's great, range is great, granularity and insight into what's going on is great.
BUT
I get the weirdest issues where suddenly some websites can't be reached (switching to mobile data they load with no issues)

Sometimes it's no biggi, websites like hackaday or imgur...we can work around that
but other times it's whatsapp that suddenly cannot receive images as well as instagram - girlfriend is losing her shit and I'm not far behind

It happens after a power interruption or router reset, will persist for a few days, no matter what DNS setting I change and then suddenly everything is 100% again, till the next time I have to reboot the USG, then there's something new.
I've tried various (fucking all of them) dns servers - but in all honesty - why would one work one day and then suddenly not work anymore?
I can only conclude that somewhere some setting is messed up and causing this bullshit - but I'm out of ideas.
Do you have DPI enabled?
I actually had the same issues on my Unifi setup at home. Disabled DPI and it helped for the most part. What eventually sorted my issues out was getting PiHole introduced in to my network. All DNS handled by the Pi.

Actually moved off a full blown Unifi setup on to a mesh and zero issues. Less complexity too.
Unifi is great, just needs a little more admin than my patience allows.
 

AndyPants

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Do you have DPI enabled?
I actually had the same issues on my Unifi setup at home. Disabled DPI and it helped for the most part. What eventually sorted my issues out was getting PiHole introduced in to my network. All DNS handled by the Pi.

Actually moved off a full blown Unifi setup on to a mesh and zero issues. Less complexity too.
Unifi is great, just needs a little more admin than my patience allows.
I just saw that my USG cpu has been running at max for the past 20 hours or so. I now switched threat management off and after a reboot of the USG its CPU is back to idling - now whatsapp seems better but now engadget and imgur etc are unreachable again.

EDIT:
Actually, no, switching the intrusion prevention off did NOT bring the USG CPU to idle - killing my Home Assistant VM however did.
Still imgur, engadget, hackaday, home.co.za are not accessible
 
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Qui_Illustrati

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I just saw that my USG cpu has been running at max for the past 20 hours or so. I now switched threat management off and after a reboot of the USG its CPU is back to idling - now whatsapp seems better but now engadget and imgur etc are unreachable again.

EDIT:
Actually, no, switching the intrusion prevention off did NOT bring the USG CPU to idle - killing my Home Assistant VM however did.
Still imgur, engadget, hackaday, home.co.za are not accessible
Are you getting DNS resolution from your connected client when you ping www.imgur.com or the others?
 

AndyPants

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Are you getting DNS resolution from your connected client when you ping www.imgur.com or the others?
Sorry - the other day the problem went away(frustrating) just when you sent that.

But it's back now (infuriating)
So pinging one of those sites works fine.
When I try to open one of them in a browser though I get a "waiting for imgur.com..." message and the site never opens
 

xwitblitsx

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Thought I'd add my experience here. I bought the TP link deco E4's and absolutely love them. picked up a great deal on them, a two pack for R1400 brand new sealed. The m4's have gigabit ethernet but I dont need gigabit on the deco's so the E4's work really well. Can highly recommend them. I mean unify is awesome too but price could be the decider here
 

xoxo

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Thought I'd add my experience here. I bought the TP link deco E4's and absolutely love them. picked up a great deal on them, a two pack for R1400 brand new sealed. The m4's have gigabit ethernet but I dont need gigabit on the deco's so the E4's work really well. Can highly recommend them. I mean unify is awesome too but price could be the decider here
Thanks for the feedback. What speed do you get on the first unit, and on the second?
 

stevenwiner

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I replaced my TP Link Archer AC750 with a Zyxel Multi X mesh router from Incredible Connection and Wow. What an improvement. My phone connects at 5GHz now and my Netflix doesn't hiccup even on wireless. I actually bought the 2nd unit too because I thought I needed it to replace my old range extender for the outbuildings, but I took it back because the app actually told me it was too close to the main unit and I cannot move it further away. Not cheap, but damn good. I am fortunate in that for work-from-home vibes, my company helped to pay for it.
 

dalion619

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DHCP limitations : you cannot granularly configure DHCP. Either DHCP is on or off and if it is on, you cannot specify the name servers it will assign to devices. Either you turn on DHCP and the Orbi itself will become your name server (and thus forward requests through the ISP assigned name servers) or not. This sucks because you cannot add a device like a pihole and then tell your router to assign your network clients the IP of the pihole as a new DNS server. This sucks - you can route your router's requests through the pihole but that defeats the purpose of wanting clients to directly interrogate the pihole so you can see what requests are coming from which clients.
Let the pihole handle DHCP, unless turning it off on the router breaks the mesh?

Sorry - the other day the problem went away(frustrating) just when you sent that.

But it's back now (infuriating)
So pinging one of those sites works fine.
When I try to open one of them in a browser though I get a "waiting for imgur.com..." message and the site never opens
With mostly everything going over HTTPS, is there a need for DPI?
It seems the USG keeps its own DNS cache,

I’d also suggest try doing a MTR test to your affected websites.
 

Codeman

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I have a setup of 4 Unifi Nano HD's covering the lounge, rooms and garage then I have two unifi mesh access points for outside and 2 Unifi ac lites covering the outdoor structures. I have had no issues and having them paired with a unifi switch brings everything together perfectly. I've set them up at 3 other companies ranging from 4 to 17 access points and have had no downtime or issues. That would be my recommendation. They have a range of products that should suit most budgets.
 

LouisABC

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I get the weirdest issues where suddenly some websites can't be reached (switching to mobile data they load with no issues)

Play around with the MSS clamping, by default it is on auto. A fixed value is highly likely to sort out all your issues.

Seen this issue a lot on sadv/vuma fibre with Unifi routers.
 

NemoXX7

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Ubiquiti AP devices are high quality, sometimes a bit OP for household i would argue (but thats what we want right?) and i have been buying from Uniterm in Modderfontein for a long time.


Their pricing is very good, however i believe they have started only selling to registered companies as opposed to the general public but thought it was worth a mention
 

AndyPants

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Play around with the MSS clamping, by default it is on auto. A fixed value is highly likely to sort out all your issues.

Seen this issue a lot on sadv/vuma fibre with Unifi routers.
I think I owe you a beer!
 

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