The whole-house coverage of our two Airport Extremes (in ‘extend the network mode’) is leaving a bit to be desired in a few corners of the home, and given that I’ve owned them for many years, they don’t owe me anything. So thinking of improving things. Recommendations?
The good thing is that both my ND555 and Qute2 are wired to the network.
Google WI-Fi? Linksys Velop? What say you, home wifi gurus??
The home is tall (4 levels).
I went through this exercise a few months ago. I got rid of my Apple abandonware and switched to Linksys Velop Mesh wifi. I bought the two node tri-band version, and connected it to my AT&T fiber router. It was easy-peasy to setup and configure and I’m perfectly happy with it.
I had an Airport Extreme and a Time Capsule. The former is only fit for electronics recycling, but I was able to repurpose the Time Capsule as a network backup-only device, so I still use it for network backup of my wife’s laptop and and my Mac Mini.
I’m in a similar situation, having used an AirPort Extreme and one or two A. Express for years. Until recently I used these to avoid the rubbish WiFi from ISP supplied routers, but when Sky gave me a new 802.11ac model, I thought I’d try it, still with one Express wired in to cover the far end of the house. This works just as well as the all-Apple LAN, so I’ve left it like that. With a pathetically slow ADSL service, I’m not sure I need anything better, so I’m in no great rush to upgrade.
I’d be inclined to hold off a few months until some of the new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) access points start becoming available. Netgear have an update to their Orbi range for example and there will be products coming out from Netgear, Cisco, Ubiquiti, Ruckus and so forth.
Easymesh is another useful feature in some of those new products (it’s a Wi-Fi Alliance spec) which aims to solve some of the problems with mesh/multiple access point implementations from previous Wi-Fi generations and puts some smarts in to the network.
I’ve personally used Orbi, Ubiquiti and Ruckus and found them to perform well in a larger space or with challenging building materials. I live in an 1840’s house with thicker walls across 3 floors by comparison.
Ubiquiti unifi here. Good stuff.
Rather than extend a network I have my two Airport Extremes, two Time Capsules and three Airport Express (in addition to non-ISP FTTC modem/router) all set to “Create a wireless network”, but give all of them the same SSID and password. Works seamlessly for me.
Agree - its what i use - no fuss and it just works with no consumer whiter than white kludges.
If in the UK the recent BT wifi mesh systems are good too… good capability underneath the covers.
I would go for a brand like BT, Ubiquiti, Ruckus etc as opposed to a consumer mass market brand like Netgear/Linksys/Belkin type product…
I replaced my home network early this year (a mixture of Netgear switches and Aruba wireless) with Ubiquiti.
I’ve found that Ubiquiti (for both wired and wireless) has worked really well, with sound quality being maintained. I really should try shifting my NAS so that it’s on the same switch as the Uniti Core (I’ve got the core running diskless because I couldn’t get a large enough SSD to store all my music), and see if there is any difference in SQ. But I do wonder if any potential improvements will be offset by getting and to hear the disks spinning in the NAS.
Ubiquiti sells a LOT of different hardware. Which pieces would be good for use as wifi access points in the home?
I would go for wifi mesh, google wifi is good, but I think the Netgear Orbi AC3000 has a wider range. I have both in both of my houses. I think I prefer the netgear one, but the google wifi is more user friendly, and you can control it remotely (i.e. away from home) from your mobile devices (iPhone/iPad, etc.)
One additional benefit of the Netgear Orbi is that it includes VPN support using OpenVPN if this is important to you.
Sounds good to replace my ‘creaking’ Apple products.
What specific models could you suggest to cover all levels of a 3 storey house … timber framed, plasterboard and weatherboard here in New Zealand, so no thick breeze block, stone to worry about
Presumably an access point on each floor level?
It’s a 100mb Vodafone Fibre broadband… which doesn’t support poE
Ubiquity unifi range for me, works well all managed from one app. I’ve got their router, switch and two aps.
I have heard a lot of good things about Eero mesh to but I believe thats US only.
You can add one of their switches to feed the Aps with power and LAN uplink , but some come with a PoE adaptor that you can use to send power to the unit. You just plug your switch or router as normal into the adaptor and then run off from the adaptor to the ap and it will power and provide uplink.
Just to add to other responses, I’ve abandoned a whole home Apple WiFi approach and have started using a Tenda Nova MW3 mesh system. Three units cover the whole house and much of the garden. Quality is good, handover between APs is good and price is excellent. I think the three unit MW3 setup is going for c £70 on Amazon at present. And I can confirm it works perfectly happily with a Naim Uniti Star.
I’ve been using the mesh Nova MW3 too for about a year and a half. Cheap and surprisingly stable. Has a nice feature that you schedule it to restart now and again - a good old restart in the middle of the night never does any harm! All three units have a cabled LAN connection too that I connect straight into my Superuniti. It’s all controlled by a half decent phone app.
Great signal in the house, garden and in the car across the road!
Our place (in Wellington) is 2 storey - upstairs living, and self contained flat (now configured as workshop for the mountain bikes) downstairs. Concrete lower level, wooden upper.
I’ve put one AP-Pro downstairs (which also covers the lounge above it, where the stereo is), and another AP-Pro in the wardrobe/comms closet of the spare bedroom upstairs (which covers the rest of the house). I’m running 2 switches (the 8 port PoE switches, which also power the APs) - one in the comms closet, and the second next to the stereo (where it feeds the SuperUniti, Uniti Core, and the myriad of other TV/media streaming devices that we’ve accumulated), with both of the switches connected over gigabit copper. 100Mb/s fibre broadband fed directly from the termination point into the firewall in the comms closet.
As a reformed network designer, the thing that I like about the Unifi stuff is that it just works, it’s easy to extend, the management toolset is really good. But mostly because it just works. And it’s not too expensive (plus PB Tech stock a pretty good range of options)
Just replaced my Apple Time Capsule and Airport Express with a single BT Home Hub (6), all good in most of the house but I have a flaky area in our kitchen. Does anybody know if it is possible to use the Airport Express as a mesh with the BT hub to fill in this area. Otherwise was considering the BT discs, all Hifi and Tv’s etc are wired via network cabling, only using the WiFi for iPad etc access.
I don’t know about the Airport Express, but the Time Capsule can be used to extend a WiFi network. That’s exactly how I used it prior to replacing everything with the Velop Mesh nodes.
You should be able to do this. How you set it up will depend on whether or not you run an Ethernet cable to it.
I would be inclined to put an access point on each floor placed in the hall or landing assuming these are fairly central… connect each access point back to a switch on your LAN.
Use the Unifi AC Pro or AC Lite models. The Pro is for a higher user density setup.
You can also wirelessly connect an additional AP if you have a hard to reach spot, or you want to reach the garden and it’s otherwise poor coverage.
The APs can be powered over Ethernet if you have the right power injectors or better a PoE enabled switch. This allows for neater implementations and no need for additional unsightly wall wart power supplies
Anyway wired up this way, the job’s a good’en.
BTW wired back haul will almost always outperform a mesh, so try and limit the amount of APs that are wireless only… and if needed try and only use them for coverage in fill… probably not a problem in a timber framed building however.