Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Tenesmus83
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:32 pm

Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Tenesmus83 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:21 pm

which is better. It seems Mesh systems are more expensive. Anyone have personal experiences
with google Wifi?

gtd98765
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by gtd98765 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:35 pm

I have had poor experience with wifi extenders. I wound up getting a more powerful router that got a signal to everywhere I needed it, so I did not have to go the mesh route.

travelnut11
Posts: 336
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by travelnut11 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:44 pm

We got the Google system and it works great. Solved all of our problems. There have been several recent threads about it.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowmindedness ...and many of our people need it solely on these accounts. - Mark Twain | | Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. - Helen Keller

ElJefeDelQueso
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:54 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by ElJefeDelQueso » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:58 pm

Netgear Orbi, works great. WiFi extenders generally limit bandwidth, can be flaky in my experience.

Big Worm
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:20 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Big Worm » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:07 pm

Mesh all the way.

I got amplifi and it is amazing.

User avatar
WWJBDo
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:43 am
Location: San Diego

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by WWJBDo » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:17 pm

Mesh for sure. Mesh does a much better job of ‘handing off’ if you move around in the home.

I went with Ubiquiti AMPLIFI as well. They make high end corporate mesh networks. I ended up installing 3 routers- a base unit and Ethernet to each end of the house for the other two instead of the package of a router and 2 mesh points. They call it a RAMP (Router as a Mesh Point) using a backhaul- here’s the link to the info:
https://help.amplifi.com/hc/en-us/artic ... d-Backhaul

You can buy the routers separately at Ubiquiti if you can’t find them on Amazon. That setup is blazingly fast which we need for work and it has yet to break down. It’s not the cheapest solution, but it’s quite robust.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

User avatar
FrugalInvestor
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by FrugalInvestor » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:18 pm

Mesh systems are more expensive than extenders because they are much better. Extenders slow down the signal and often cause hiccups with device connections. Mesh routers do not have these problems.

Personally I use Google Wifi and am extremely happy with it. It's very simple and effective.
If you like to tinker with your network look elsewhere.

If you just like it to work then Google is the way to go. Costco has a 4-pack for $300. 3-packs are typically around $259.
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

Millennial
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:46 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Millennial » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:19 pm

Mesh for sure. Extenders have too many compromises. I bought one and wish I didn't, as I ended up with a mesh system 2 months later.

mattshwink
Posts: 370
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:01 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by mattshwink » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:33 pm

Another vote for mesh. I got an orbi two years ago and it solved all my coverage problems.

User avatar
WestUniversity
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:27 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by WestUniversity » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:17 pm

ElJefeDelQueso wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:58 pm
Netgear Orbi, works great. WiFi extenders generally limit bandwidth, can be flaky in my experience.
Another vote for Orbi. Set ours up about a month ago. Super easy setup and the WiFi is great throughout my house.

I did NOT have good luck with extenders...
Last edited by WestUniversity on Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hug401k
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:49 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Hug401k » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:33 pm

Mesh definitely. I tried extenders, repeaters etc and I could not get a signal throughout the house. Google mesh solved the issue.

stlutz
Posts: 5465
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by stlutz » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:57 pm

+1 on Orbi. I never think about my WiFi unless there is a thread like this on Bogleheads.

IowaFarmBoy
Posts: 719
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:19 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:40 am

We bought the Google wifi mesh system a year or two ago. It is a great system. Good coverage throughout our house, fast speeds and I can move around with no issues. Previously, I had two routers in different parts of the house.

When I bought, there weren't many options for mesh so Google was the best choice and it has been great. Now there are more options so it's probably good to shop around.

User avatar
JonnyDVM
Posts: 1753
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by JonnyDVM » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:25 am

IowaFarmBoy wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:40 am
We bought the Google wifi mesh system a year or two ago. It is a great system. Good coverage throughout our house, fast speeds and I can move around with no issues.

I was hesitant because of the cost but it is worth it. The mesh network is far superior. I put google Wifi in a year ago and there’s no looking back.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

masteraleph
Posts: 614
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:45 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by masteraleph » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:20 am

Still a fan of the Orbis.

Bottom line: extenders are a headache, often have reduced bandwidth, and typically don't handle handoffs correctly (handoffs being when your device switches access points because the signal from AP#1 is low and the signal from AP#2 is good). Mesh networks are set up to do all of that out of the box, properly. I will note that I have the Orbi and am happy with it, but the fact that it is difficult (at best) to configure it to use a separate SSID for 5ghz and 2.4ghz makes me reticent to recommend it.

User avatar
queso
Posts: 748
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:52 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by queso » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:27 am

I've had both. I ditched my extenders and moved to mesh (Ubiquiti) and haven't looked back.

megabad
Posts: 2497
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by megabad » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:48 am

Is there a size of home that would lend itself more toward a fancy mesh system? Is it most useful for multiple floors? I have known people to talk about these mesh systems but I never really researched since I can literally stand at the edge of my driveway and get wifi no problem from my ancient linksys router. It works great when I mow the lawn. I have a pretty small house though (but a big yard). I suppose some of my devices have better antennas than others though, but all the iphones and ipads have near perfect reception for me pretty much anywhere. Maybe I am just lucky or my house is made of straw?

Topic Author
Tenesmus83
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:32 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Tenesmus83 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:14 pm

anyone has tried TP-Link? It seems much cheaper than it's better know counterparts

User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 3975
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:33 pm

travelnut11 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:44 pm
We got the Google system and it works great. Solved all of our problems. There have been several recent threads about it.
+1
Ditto.

gtd98765
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by gtd98765 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:39 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:14 pm
anyone has tried TP-Link? It seems much cheaper than it's better know counterparts
I replaced 2 extenders and a cheap router with a TP Link Archer c9 router, which covers the whole house and yard with no problem. Fortunately I was able to get a good location for it in the center of the house on a high shelf.

travelnut11
Posts: 336
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by travelnut11 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:10 pm

megabad wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:48 am
Is there a size of home that would lend itself more toward a fancy mesh system? Is it most useful for multiple floors? I have known people to talk about these mesh systems but I never really researched since I can literally stand at the edge of my driveway and get wifi no problem from my ancient linksys router. It works great when I mow the lawn. I have a pretty small house though (but a big yard). I suppose some of my devices have better antennas than others though, but all the iphones and ipads have near perfect reception for me pretty much anywhere. Maybe I am just lucky or my house is made of straw?
I feel like it's a lot about the layout of your house, construction materials and location of your router. Our house isn't particularly huge (about 2000 sq ft) but the router is on one side of the house in a living room that is a converted garage that sits on a slab. I feel like the slab was causing the issue somehow because even in the finished basement in the central part of the house that is nearby the signal was not great. And in the lower level guest room there was no signal at all so we needed a fix. Our old house was bigger and we used the same router but the router was centrally located on the first floor and had no slab and gave us no problems at all. We were definitely surprised at the difference in signal strength between the two locations.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowmindedness ...and many of our people need it solely on these accounts. - Mark Twain | | Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. - Helen Keller

wrongfunds
Posts: 2018
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by wrongfunds » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:23 pm

When we built our house, I had it fully pre-wired with Cat5 wiring in every room and a switch in the basement. So far last 15 years, I have been using routers, access points, repeaters, extenders to get my moneys worth out of that built-in wiring. Couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to try Orbi from Costco. Since I wanted the Orbi mesh to operate in AP mode, the setup was not exactly straightforward but once done, it has been a real pleasure. It is like night and day difference between the Netgear Mini Orbi and what I had before aka hodge podge of multiple devices.

Just get mesh network and be done with the hassles.

spooky105
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:38 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by spooky105 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:28 pm

The "Who this is for" section in the below link has a good primer on when a mesh network is appropriate as well as product recommendations. We've had great success in a long rectangular house with Eero. The previous single router would drop off at the ends of the house.

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... king-kits/

Extenders cut your bandwidth by ~50% when connected through them b/c the same comm link is being used to communicate with the router, then your device, then back to the router. The extender can't talk to the router and your device at the same time. There is also limited to no software on the router side for managing handoff as your roam around the house.

Mesh systems use multiple comm links, with a "backbone" link moving data through the network while a separate link connects to your device. As a result, you experience negligible drops in bandwidth when connected to a node that then connects to the router. Also, router-side software helps facilitate handoff as you roam around the house to maintain the best possible connection.

gpburdell
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:01 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by gpburdell » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:08 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:21 pm
which is better. It seems Mesh systems are more expensive. Anyone have personal experiences
with google Wifi?
Go with mesh over extenders. I've heard good things about Google and Netgear mesh. Though if I was going to use mesh I'd go with Amplifi as they are owned by Ubiquiti.

Your best option is having multiple wifi access points hard wired to your router. That's what I did in my new house last year. I've got multiple Ubiquiti APs wired CAT6 to my Ubiquiti router and switch. Even if I couldn't use CAT6, I'd use powerline networking to connect them. I try to avoid wifi where I can as it just isn't as reliable.

wrongfunds
Posts: 2018
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by wrongfunds » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:58 am

Even if you could have single router with enough power to cook your dinner with its radiation, that only means the clients can "see" the router from the other end of the house but can the router "see" the client back? It is two way communication and both end needs to increase the power to have greater range. With mesh, client always talks to the nearest access point or rather the access point which has the best reach-ability from that specific client.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9545
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:53 am

gpburdell wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:08 pm
Tenesmus83 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:21 pm
which is better. It seems Mesh systems are more expensive. Anyone have personal experiences
with google Wifi?
Go with mesh over extenders. I've heard good things about Google and Netgear mesh. Though if I was going to use mesh I'd go with Amplifi as they are owned by Ubiquiti.
Your best option is having multiple wifi access points hard wired to your router. That's what I did in my new house last year. I've got multiple Ubiquiti APs wired CAT6 to my Ubiquiti router and switch. Even if I couldn't use CAT6, I'd use powerline networking to connect them. I try to avoid wifi where I can as it just isn't as reliable.
A couple of points:
1. Amplifi mesh has a problem with some configurations doing a Guest network. If this is a big deal for you, as it was for me because I have many IoT (Internet of Things) clients, it is a deal breaker if your IoT devices aren't all within range of the router (not satellites).
2. If you don't have CAT5/6 available, many homes do have coax throughout the house, and MoCa (multimedia over coax) is available. With Fios, you don't even need to inject MoCa into the coax as the Fios gateway does that already, with other ISP providers, you will need a sender and receiver(s). It is really fast and reliable. It worked much better for me than Powerline (we have multiple breaker boxes).
3. Ubiquiti APs are pretty techie, although their performance is a notch above other options. They are not a low cost option if you need multiple APs.

I finally gave up (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=279372) and have gone with Netgear Orbi mesh. I will convert this weekend. I expect good results.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

gpburdell
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:01 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by gpburdell » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:27 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:53 am
A couple of points:
1. Amplifi mesh has a problem with some configurations doing a Guest network. If this is a big deal for you, as it was for me because I have many IoT (Internet of Things) clients, it is a deal breaker if your IoT devices aren't all within range of the router (not satellites).
2. If you don't have CAT5/6 available, many homes do have coax throughout the house, and MoCa (multimedia over coax) is available. With Fios, you don't even need to inject MoCa into the coax as the Fios gateway does that already, with other ISP providers, you will need a sender and receiver(s). It is really fast and reliable. It worked much better for me than Powerline (we have multiple breaker boxes).
3. Ubiquiti APs are pretty techie, although their performance is a notch above other options. They are not a low cost option if you need multiple APs.

I finally gave up (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=279372) and have gone with Netgear Orbi mesh. I will convert this weekend. I expect good results.
I know the Amplifi hardware isn't the same as their Unifi line but I imagine that their firmware/software will get better like it has in their Unifi/Edgemax product lines.

MoCa is definitely an option too, but I've never used it personally. I've used powerline networking with good success in my old townhome.

Yeah the Ubiquiti APs which are part of the Unifi line is not "consumer grade hardware". It's targeted toward small business to large corp but has become very popular in the retail market for those who are techie. Over the past couple years, they have made vast improvements to making the controller software more user friendly. True it's more expensive but you're paying for a superior product.

Also it's a different philosophy. Consumer wifi routers are 3 devices in one: router, wifi access point, network switch. If any of these 3 things fail then the whole device may be toast. Then you have one firmware that is responsible for controlling everything which could cause problems. With business class hardware like Ubiquiti Unifi, you have separate dedicated devices for those functions with their own firmware etc.

I don't know if Ubiquiti APs are faster but I will tell you my wifi network is more stable which to me is the most important. What I'm most impressed by is how rock solid everything is. In a year, I've only had to reboot my router, APs, or switch a handful of times and that was to apply firmware updates. It's gone 3-4 months without a reboot, giving me gigabit speeds with no downtime. I've had the best Netgear/Asus routers and those would need reboots weekly to keep them functioning.

ZapRowsdower
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:10 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by ZapRowsdower » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:34 pm

I've tried it both ways.

I started out with a wifi extender that was a nightmare of reboots and confused phones not knowing when to be on each network no matter how many times I tweaked things.

I finally got fed up with this and went with the Google Mesh system and couldn't be happier with it. Piece of cake to set up, has great features that I didn't have before and I've only rebooted it twice in the last 8 months when I ran into issues.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9545
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:49 pm

gpburdell wrote:I know the Amplifi hardware isn't the same as their Unifi line but I imagine that their firmware/software will get better like it has in their Unifi/Edgemax product lines.
The shocking thing, to me, was that the Guest issue had been raised in 2017 but was not officially put on the Upgrade list until 2019. That’s out of keeping with the company’s reputation, so I’m inclined to think that there is something deep in the stack that makes it difficult to remedy.

I really liked the Amplifi HD router, and intended to use 3 or more of them, but was reticent because of the Guest issue.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

flyingcows
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by flyingcows » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:54 pm

We use 4 Ubiquiti AC Pro access points all connected to a router via cat5e cable. Prior to adding the cat5e cable in our home, I was using MoCa bridges to link the access points as we don't use the Coax for anything. Due to the shape/size/building materials of our home, wireless backhaul wasn't really optimal for us.

You can use a free android app such as wifi analyzer (make sure it's the open source version), you can walk around your house while running this and view graphs in real time to find your deadzones as well as channel overlaps with your neighbors.

I do know quite a few people who have used the Google Mesh setup in their houses and they all seem to like it

gpburdell
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:01 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by gpburdell » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:13 pm

flyingcows wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:54 pm
We use 4 Ubiquiti AC Pro access points all connected to a router via cat5e cable. Prior to adding the cat5e cable in our home, I was using MoCa bridges to link the access points as we don't use the Coax for anything. Due to the shape/size/building materials of our home, wireless backhaul wasn't really optimal for us.
Wow 4 is alot for a house especially the Pro model. I have 4 APs (two per floor), but I'm using the smaller Ubiquiti in wall APs as I don't like the UFO ones on the walls and it's too much trouble to mount on the ceilings. The in wall units are pretty sleek imho.

Image

flyingcows
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by flyingcows » Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:44 am

gpburdell wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:13 pm
Wow 4 is alot for a house especially the Pro model. I have 4 APs (two per floor), but I'm using the smaller Ubiquiti in wall APs as I don't like the UFO ones on the walls and it's too much trouble to mount on the ceilings. The in wall units are pretty sleek imho.

Image
Those look nice!

Yeah, I ceiling mounted ours primarily because our house wasn't wired when we moved in, I fished cable up to the attic and mounted 3 of them on the upstairs ceiling, powered via PoE. Our house is a U shape, there is 1 AP on each tip of the U and 1 on the bottom, reason I did that was to eliminate deadzones in our finished basement which we use a lot. Certainly, 1 AP would have been adequate, but it would leave several parts of the house, especially the corners of the basement with subpar signal. I mounted the 4th one under the roof of our back deck, built a small wooden enclosure around it.

I've had the Ubiquiti's for about 4 years now and I love them, they have been great

mancich
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by mancich » Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:54 am

+1 for Google WiFi. I've had it for 18 months with zero issues. Combined with out FIOS 300mb connection, I am very happy

Capricorn51
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:26 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Capricorn51 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:07 am

We put in a two node Linksys Velop mesh a few months ago (trouble free swap from an Apple AirPort) and they're working like a charm.

Frisco Kid
Posts: 407
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:18 pm
Location: San Francisco Peninsula

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Frisco Kid » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:49 am

Mesh worked best for us as well, set up by internet provider. Not the least expensive way long term but have no worries when there are issues. Tried an extender first with poor results. Our home is small was a bit surprised extender didn't get satisfactory results.

GrowthSeeker
Posts: 712
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 10:14 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by GrowthSeeker » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:54 am

Topic: Router signal power.
Something one could try before buying a new router (Mesh or otherwise) would be to make sure your router has the latest firmware and if not, update (flash) its firmware. This might solve your connectivity problem, though it seems doubtful.

Next you could flash your router with completely different firmware, such as DD-WRT, which is open source and free, and has other features including the ability to change the transmission power of your wifi signal. Boosting this signal power might solve your problem. I have not done this myself, and one has to be extremely careful to get the correct version for their specific router. And it's possible to brick your router if something goes wrong.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

bluebolt
Posts: 992
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by bluebolt » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:58 am

wrongfunds wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:23 pm
When we built our house, I had it fully pre-wired with Cat5 wiring in every room and a switch in the basement. So far last 15 years, I have been using routers, access points, repeaters, extenders to get my moneys worth out of that built-in wiring. Couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to try Orbi from Costco. Since I wanted the Orbi mesh to operate in AP mode, the setup was not exactly straightforward but once done, it has been a real pleasure. It is like night and day difference between the Netgear Mini Orbi and what I had before aka hodge podge of multiple devices.

Just get mesh network and be done with the hassles.
Similar situation here. Had MoCA, a wireless router and a number of wireless access points connected to the network via coax. Despite multiple attempts to make it work seamlessly, handoffs were often a problem. I was hesitant to buy the mesh system because of cost, but when there was a deal on Orbi, I bought it and it has worked almost flawlessly since then (one of the updates forced me to change router settings so my iPhone wouldn't drop the connection). Wish I had done it sooner.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9545
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:17 pm

bluebolt wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:58 am
wrongfunds wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:23 pm
When we built our house, I had it fully pre-wired with Cat5 wiring in every room and a switch in the basement. So far last 15 years, I have been using routers, access points, repeaters, extenders to get my moneys worth out of that built-in wiring. Couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to try Orbi from Costco. Since I wanted the Orbi mesh to operate in AP mode, the setup was not exactly straightforward but once done, it has been a real pleasure. It is like night and day difference between the Netgear Mini Orbi and what I had before aka hodge podge of multiple devices.
Just get mesh network and be done with the hassles.
Similar situation here. Had MoCA, a wireless router and a number of wireless access points connected to the network via coax. Despite multiple attempts to make it work seamlessly, handoffs were often a problem. I was hesitant to buy the mesh system because of cost, but when there was a deal on Orbi, I bought it and it has worked almost flawlessly since then (one of the updates forced me to change router settings so my iPhone wouldn't drop the connection). Wish I had done it sooner.
I installed Orbi (router as AP, plus 2 satellites) today. It installed easily. Fast.com reports 390 Mbps on my iphone. I might not even have to install additional satellites, as the signal seems pretty strong at the out buildings. And, the guest network works like a dream.

Biggest shocker is that my fireplace room, which has 4 walls of thick fieldstone (more than 2' thick) on 4 walls, one window, and a narrow entryway has great wifi reception. This room is as close to a literal man cave as code will allow :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

S_Track
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by S_Track » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:18 pm

gpburdell wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:13 pm
flyingcows wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:54 pm
We use 4 Ubiquiti AC Pro access points all connected to a router via cat5e cable. Prior to adding the cat5e cable in our home, I was using MoCa bridges to link the access points as we don't use the Coax for anything. Due to the shape/size/building materials of our home, wireless backhaul wasn't really optimal for us.
Wow 4 is alot for a house especially the Pro model. I have 4 APs (two per floor), but I'm using the smaller Ubiquiti in wall APs as I don't like the UFO ones on the walls and it's too much trouble to mount on the ceilings. The in wall units are pretty sleek imho.

Image
The inwall units do look nice. I use 2 AC-LR's here, good coverage and reliable. Not for everyone, as noted above since it is more of a pro-consumer solution being designed for commercial installations. One problem I have experienced, along with others as noted on Ubiquiti's forum, is unwanted noise coming from the AP. Be careful if you want to install one of these in a bedroom.

Most folks I have spoken with really like the performace and ease of setup of the Goggle mesh wifi.

TheOscarGuy
Posts: 935
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Where I wanna be.

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by TheOscarGuy » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:07 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:21 pm
which is better. It seems Mesh systems are more expensive. Anyone have personal experiences
with google Wifi?
I have wifi extenders. I bought the most well reviewed one. I dislike it, it does disconnect every once in a while and all of my devices get disconnected. The only way to get it back is reset. I plan to replace it with mesh soon.

User avatar
JonnyDVM
Posts: 1753
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by JonnyDVM » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:25 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:33 pm
travelnut11 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:44 pm
We got the Google system and it works great. Solved all of our problems. There have been several recent threads about it.
+1
Ditto.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Go mesh! I gave in and got the mesh network specifically because of the advice of this forum as I was hesitant to drop $300. I should have done it long ago. It is FAR superior to an extender. Go to Costco like a good Boglehead and grab the google WiFi network. Follow the instructions closely. You HAVE to turn off the router built into your modem if that is what you’re currently working with. That is where it seems lot of people run into trouble.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

Nthomas
Posts: 161
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:46 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Nthomas » Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:27 pm

We have 4 google mesh wifi points for a three story 5300 sq ft house with gigabit internet and it is perfect. Best internet I have ever had.

audioaxes
Posts: 197
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:16 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by audioaxes » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:11 pm

I have a Orbi and its truly been one of those "how did I ever live without you?" purchases. If you have the means to I say just bite the bullet and buy one over trying to hack up some wifi extender network.

shanefairman
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:21 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by shanefairman » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:20 pm

For simplicity and performance mesh is the way to go. Unfortunately mesh gear usually isn't cheap.

I'm personally rocking out an enterprise switch with 3 enterprise Wireless Access Points (WAP). In total I only have around $250 wrapped up in my network gear not counting cabling.

Quite often most households can get by just fine with one well placed wireless router. I think a lot of WiFi issues are based on poor access point placement. WiFi signal works somewhat similar to light. The signal bounces off surfaces and travels best in the open air with unobstructed line of sight. Unlike light WiFi will travel through walls and floors but at a reduced signal strength.

Also depending on where you live there is often WiFi congestion. Our nearest neighbor is around 1/4 of a mile away. If you lived in the suburbs or more heavily populated area you may need to worry about congestion. In that case there is quite a bit of value in doing a WiFi survey of your house and seeing what channels are currently in use. There are free programs available for Windows, Mac, Android, and Apple iOS that will tell you what WiFi channels are in use.

There are two typical WiFi frequency ranges in use. They are referred to as 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi. Each frequency band has channels that covers a specific subset of the frequency band. Each channel slightly bleeds over into surrounding channels depending on the channel width. The more common range used is 2.4 GHz. The lower the frequency the farther the signal travels. 2.4 GHz only has 3 channels that can be used concurrently in the USA that don't overlap. Those channels are 1, 6, and 11. In other regions it could be as high as 4 non overlapping channels using 1,6,11 and 14(slight overlap). The 5 GHz frequency bands has up to 25 non overlapping channels depending on the channel width. This leads to much less wireless congestion for the frequency / channel. If you don't need the increased distance of 2.4 GHz this is why you should change the settings on your devices to prefer the 5 GHz frequency and they will fall back to 2.4 GHz when out of range of the 5 GHz signal.

The lower the frequency the further the signal will travel. 2.4 GHz will travel further but could be slower than 5 GHz. Most equipment has hardware for the 2.4 GHz frequency. Not all WiFi devices are able to connect to 5 GHz. By default most devices connect to 2.4 GHz even if they can connect to both. If you are in an area with a lot of wireless devices but short range you are probably better off going to a 5 GHz WiFi. Most devices default to the 2.4 band. If your device can function on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands there is value in setting the 5 GHz capable devices to prefer the 5 GHz band over the 2.4 GHz band to move the traffic from the more often used band.

In a nut shell:
1: Mesh is better than using repeaters.
2: Wireless Access Point (WAP) placement is very important.
3: Doing a site survey of the WiFi channels in use will help you configure your devices to make best use of the available signal.
4: Proper device setting on EVERY device you have control of can help with WiFi quality.
“You must not only think for yourself, you must plan for yourself, and you must plan ahead, and you must live up to these plans. You must know exactly what you want to do.” -George Carlin, Boston Rant

supalong52
Posts: 170
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by supalong52 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:19 am

We have a Linksys Maxstream router and just purchased a preowned Maxstream range extender. The range extender uses the same SSID as the router since they are compatible, and has seamless roaming. Now we have Mu-MIMO wireless using a single SSID. Not bad for $35.

User avatar
FrugalInvestor
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by FrugalInvestor » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:46 am

shanefairman wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:20 pm
In a nut shell:
1: Mesh is better than using repeaters.
2: Wireless Access Point (WAP) placement is very important.
3: Doing a site survey of the WiFi channels in use will help you configure your devices to make best use of the available signal.
4: Proper device setting on EVERY device you have control of can help with WiFi quality.
I'm sure the above is all very accurate and what I like best about Google wifi is that you don't need to worry about all of it, it just works. I've always been a "techie" but I've come to appreciate simplicity in my tech life as much as my financial life and Google's mesh system has helped me accomplish that.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

Nearly A Moose
Posts: 1015
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:28 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Nearly A Moose » Wed May 01, 2019 8:09 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:17 pm
bluebolt wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:58 am
wrongfunds wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:23 pm
When we built our house, I had it fully pre-wired with Cat5 wiring in every room and a switch in the basement. So far last 15 years, I have been using routers, access points, repeaters, extenders to get my moneys worth out of that built-in wiring. Couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to try Orbi from Costco. Since I wanted the Orbi mesh to operate in AP mode, the setup was not exactly straightforward but once done, it has been a real pleasure. It is like night and day difference between the Netgear Mini Orbi and what I had before aka hodge podge of multiple devices.
Just get mesh network and be done with the hassles.
Similar situation here. Had MoCA, a wireless router and a number of wireless access points connected to the network via coax. Despite multiple attempts to make it work seamlessly, handoffs were often a problem. I was hesitant to buy the mesh system because of cost, but when there was a deal on Orbi, I bought it and it has worked almost flawlessly since then (one of the updates forced me to change router settings so my iPhone wouldn't drop the connection). Wish I had done it sooner.
I installed Orbi (router as AP, plus 2 satellites) today. It installed easily. Fast.com reports 390 Mbps on my iphone. I might not even have to install additional satellites, as the signal seems pretty strong at the out buildings. And, the guest network works like a dream.

Biggest shocker is that my fireplace room, which has 4 walls of thick fieldstone (more than 2' thick) on 4 walls, one window, and a narrow entryway has great wifi reception. This room is as close to a literal man cave as code will allow :D
As someone who is considering this same thing, any issues getting all your IOT devices onto the OrBi guest network? Do they all play nice with each other and work as intended as far as controlling and interacting with one another? Does the OrBi guest network isolate each device from the others (ie no device on network can see any others), or does it just isolate the guest network from the primary network? For example, I think that amazon echo may need to be able to see devices on a network to discover them? Appreciate the insight.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9545
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed May 01, 2019 8:24 am

Nearly A Moose wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:09 am
As someone who is considering this same thing, any issues getting all your IOT devices onto the OrBi guest network? Do they all play nice with each other and work as intended as far as controlling and interacting with one another? Does the OrBi guest network isolate each device from the others (ie no device on network can see any others), or does it just isolate the guest network from the primary network? For example, I think that amazon echo may need to be able to see devices on a network to discover them? Appreciate the insight.
So far I only have a Hue smart bulb on IoT using Guest network. It works fine. I am moving music and video streaming over to the guest network shortly, and probably our legacy outdoor light control. Our solar production still gets reported on our old network; when I install Orbi in the garage (this weekend), I’ll switch the reporting to Guest. At that time, I’ll also move our garage air sourced heat pump to Guest.

In two weeks, we are adding Wi-Fi irrigation

Within a month or so, we are adding 3 WaterFurnace controllers (geothermal) and 5 thermostats. We will also be adding Hue bulb automation. I have no plans to add Alexa, but might reconsider.

I’ll mention any issues here.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Nearly A Moose
Posts: 1015
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:28 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by Nearly A Moose » Wed May 01, 2019 9:37 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:24 am
Nearly A Moose wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:09 am
As someone who is considering this same thing, any issues getting all your IOT devices onto the OrBi guest network? Do they all play nice with each other and work as intended as far as controlling and interacting with one another? Does the OrBi guest network isolate each device from the others (ie no device on network can see any others), or does it just isolate the guest network from the primary network? For example, I think that amazon echo may need to be able to see devices on a network to discover them? Appreciate the insight.
So far I only have a Hue smart bulb on IoT using Guest network. It works fine. I am moving music and video streaming over to the guest network shortly, and probably our legacy outdoor light control. Our solar production still gets reported on our old network; when I install Orbi in the garage (this weekend), I’ll switch the reporting to Guest. At that time, I’ll also move our garage air sourced heat pump to Guest.

In two weeks, we are adding Wi-Fi irrigation

Within a month or so, we are adding 3 WaterFurnace controllers (geothermal) and 5 thermostats. We will also be adding Hue bulb automation. I have no plans to add Alexa, but might reconsider.

I’ll mention any issues here.
Thanks, appreciate it!
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

mxs
Posts: 494
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:54 pm

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Post by mxs » Wed May 01, 2019 9:50 am

A less expensive mesh system to try is the Tenda MW6. You can get the 3 unit set for about $140 or less. I went this route and have been very happy with it.

Post Reply