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Decent Wifi hardware for home install - where to start?

Discussion in 'Networking, Telephony & Internet' started by akashra, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. akashra

    akashra Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2003
    Messages:
    3,992
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    The short version is I'm looking for a decent set-up to install at home with some particular requirements.

    The current set-up looks something like this:

    Border router + 2.4/5G AP on a .0/24 subnet
    Behind that, a Google WiFi mesh on a .2/24 subnet.

    It's a bloody nightmare. Google WiFi is intended to be used as the only/main router externally facing - if you want to use it as a Mesh network like I am, well... you end up with all kinds of problems, such as traffic not being able to route back correctly, DLNA/Chromecast devices that can only sometimes be discovered properly... basically, it's a dogs breakfast. Good idea in theory, unless you're a power user. I could go in to the details of how it's all configured and why it doesn't work, but I don't think it's going to yield any fixable solution - I'm in "start over" territory.

    So, what I want:

    - I want at least 2 APs to cover the house - can go to more if it's necessary, but it's not a large house and it's only me living here.
    - I want to be able to configure these via any kind of config that I can check in to a repo and push to the devices without needing a web interface. The mechanism for doing that I'm not terribly fussed about - I don't care if I use ansible, terraform, or just push them from a script in a docker container - but that's the way I want to go for this redesign.
    - WDS or any similar mesh - I want to be able to drop back to this being the only wireless network in the house, and be able to disable the APs/radios on other devices and not use them anymore. I do not want to have to say switch SSIDs/BSSIDs based on where I am in the house.
    - Nice to have would be to have two-way routing between the wireless network and other devices on the network, and that can include replacing the current border router to the NBN connection (or I can just use that as a bridge).
    - No particular requirement for AC1300/WiFi6 etc etc.
    Nice to have: PoE.

    As a separate project I've been looking at running fibre to a few locations in the house.

    But, it's been a lonnnnng time since I did any serious network config. Obviously I still know the fundamentals and vendor-agnostic stuff - but the last time I was responsible for a corporate network, we were using Cisco 1821s and Aironet 1200s. I don't think this will be a Cisco solution, but I'm seeking advice on some ideas I should start investigating. I don't know the first thing about Ubiquiti's product offerings other than that I keep hearing a lot about them over the past few years.

    It'd be nice to keep it below a $1k budget, but depending on what hardware and solutions you go with that could be either overkill or get you nothing such is the broad range of equipment out there.

    So, ideas?
     
  2. Copie

    Copie Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    14,710
    Location:
    Newcastle
    UniFi AP’s attached to a dream machine pro.
     
    dave_dave_dave, tobes and Pugs like this.
  3. Nobby6

    Nobby6 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2017
    Messages:
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    Location:
    S.E.Q
    Grandstream 7605 or 7630, and one of them can be the controller for up to 50 others, reliability excellent, coverage is as good as cambiums without their price tag, all of which leave the small soho ap's and the unifi junk that all the fanboys like to use for dead in coverage saturation, pulled so many of them out due to complaints in businesses its is actually funny. depedning on size of home and how many levels you might get away with just 1 x 7630
     
  4. leighr

    leighr Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Richmond, Melbourne
    I'm a fanboy because I'm still running the Unifi access point I got in 2014 and if asked would recommend it for it's reliability/coverage? I have no idea how it stacks up in a corporate setting, but it's been fine for home use.
     
    Elmf likes this.
  5. phreeky82

    phreeky82 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
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    9,827
    Location:
    Qld
    I run tplink 3x WAPs (eap620) with the Omada controller on my own server. Seriously impressed.

    Central config via the controller, excellent roaming abilities and dual bamd support, nice reporting, can setup separate SSIDs on different VLANs etc, POE. And the WAPs were about $150 each (AX), controller software is free (though a little annoying to setup in some instances), can use their cloud Omada controller if you choose.

    Downsides? I can't think of any. I did NOT expect this level of quality from tplink. Devices roam perfectly, laptop generally will get 300Mbps throughout the house.
     
    jhunt31 likes this.
  6. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    Apr 17, 2002
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    5,121
    Location:
    Brisbane QLD
    Been reading a few reviews on Omada for a while and it certainly looks like a serious competitor to Ubiquiti in the SOHO market. Whilst I'm too heavily invested in UnFi to change over it is good to see some competition coming in.
     
    Pugs likes this.
  7. Mr B

    Mr B Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Messages:
    48
    I'm intrigued by this - we have a Google wifi mesh with 3 access points, but it barely makes reaching our garage (detached, about 15m away from the house, and house is single level wood/plaster walls etc with tin roof). I can get wifi if sitting in a particular spot, and it drops out a fair bit. Inside, each unit is about 10m away from the other (but in separate rooms).

    I'm far from an expert, but could learn some stuff if needed for setup etc. Was considering getting another google unit or two, but they cost a little in comparison.

    Any advice on whether the Grandstream would be a solution? Dont need anything fancy, just want signal where needed. Advertised ~165m coverage would cover our house and yard with 1 Grandstream unit, but i'd be open to getting two if needed to replace the google units. The first unit would be connected to the Telstra modem/switch, and I think the other could mesh (if needed).

    Whats penetration like against advertised distance? Are they an option for a newbie? Anything else?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    akashra

    akashra Member

    Joined:
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    3,992
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    So a lil update on this. The recommendations on grandstream did cause me to do a lot of research on their products and I mostly liked what I saw, but I found it a little hard to get support or find anyone with any experience with them for troubleshooting if I ever need to go that way. I had too many recommendations for Ubiquiti Unifi APs and the ability to get them cheaply and quickly ultimately meant I went that way. The experience is already way nicer having switched/removed all the Google WiFi devices. Give it a few weeks until I get some long-term impressions.

    I ended up just going with 2x AC Lites. Next thing to do though is going to be pay someone to do two new cable runs, and buy a PoE Gigabit switch for those runs, so I can do away with the PoE injectors.
     
    Symon and Pugs like this.
  9. lavi

    lavi Member

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    4,008
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I use 3 in my house, two inside 7610 and one on the roof to cover the frond and back yard (acreage), absolutely superb devices

    there are a few networks on them, one dedicated to IoT, about 20 IoT devices, speed is insane across the network on 5G
     

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  10. lavi

    lavi Member

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    Location:
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    you sometimes have to turn yourself into a wifi signal and see what you have in obstructions, there is an app you can walk around and design the locations of where the ap's go but here are a few things that affect them:
    • Bathroom mirrors
    • cupboard mirrors
    • massive tv's
    • in wall wire mesh or copper pipe work
    • some of the specially glazed windows

    I have 2 mounted in the ceiling and one on top of the house, can go anywhere on my property and have solid wifi, it's pretty seamless really
     
    Mr B likes this.
  11. Retard3dDonk3y

    Retard3dDonk3y Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I have a TP Link Deco E4 (3-pack) which covers our whole 2-storey house no problem.

    Management is all done through the phone app and has quite a few useful features including seemles mesh capability.

    I can't recommend it enough!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
  12. lavi

    lavi Member

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    Location:
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    Can you generate time tokens to give your kids or download tokens so when e time or data is up bye bye internet ?
     
    Mr B likes this.
  13. Retard3dDonk3y

    Retard3dDonk3y Member

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    Location:
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    no tokens, but there are Parental Controls where you can set a category or website filter and even set time limits and bed times
     
  14. alexc

    alexc Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Adelaide
    I'll chuck in my 0.2c on the Parental Controls:

    • PiHole is good as an AdBlocking DNS

    • AdGuard Home I liked better
      And has a proper MacOS installer.

      If you run PiHole in Docker on Windows or MacOS,
      then it cant bridge networks properly, so does not resolve the hostnames.

    • NextDNS
      I'm currently using NextDNS on the paid tier.
      And it's really good!

      There are apps for devices and Windows/MacOS too.
      So the kids iPhones and iPads use NextDNS.

      And it has Parental Controls, time restrictions, enforce safe search, and so on.

      Downsides are there is no Kill Switch, which is something I like about PiHole.

    Obviously those are only DNS solutions, but they work pretty well :)
     

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