Network setup for large home with FIOS

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by nitz1234, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    I need help determining how best to maximize the speed and throughput offered by FIOS and also ensure strong wireless coverage throughout the house. FIOS enters and the cable modem is situated at the west end of the basement. The footprint The home has wired Ethernet throughout. Currently, an ASUS RT-N66 wireless router is located on the first floor about 20 feet southeast of the modem location and is set as an Access Point. Sometimes the 5G signal from the router doesn't even reach 15 feet line of site or around the corner in another room.

    There are two gaming consoles in use over wireless and several wireless devices (iPhones and iPads). I would like strong wireless coverage throughout the house and also desire minimal performance degradation over the wired network. There are several wired switches in use for 3 printers, 6 computers/laptops and 2 NAS devices. I would also like to be able to stream video from network storage without issue.

    Not sure if I would need two or three access points, the house is 3,500 sq ft and basically 3 floors - there is a bedroom in the basement at the opposite end from the cable modem, and a sunroom, also wired, above the bedroom. I am not well versed in networking, so I am quite confused as to what I actually need here - a better router? What type of dual band access point will suffice as a cost effective solution? It's possible to wire one, maybe both gaming consoles, but that is the only change I could make in that regard. We also use Netflix via wired blu-ray player. Any help would be appreciated, especially specifics as to brand/model of equipment to purchase. I wouldn't be able to mount ceiling AP's. Thanks.
     
  2. criccio

    criccio Fully Equipped

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    Maybe look into the new breed of "mesh" AP's that are all the rage right now? The Ubiquity Amplifi, Eero, Google WiFi and Netgear Orbi systems are a few I can think of off the top of my head. They seem to be pretty good. Plenty of roundup reviews with all of them out there.

    They all have multiple AP's that work as a mesh system seamlessly so you can cover some large areas.
     
  3. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    Would any possible solution come in at $250 or less?
     
  4. criccio

    criccio Fully Equipped

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    Purely from a price perspective, most are closer to $400 but the Google WiFi system with 3 access points that are spec'ed to cover 4500sq/ft come in at $299.

    You'd have to read some reviews as I don't have any familiarity with these systems myself but there is a lot of buzz about them.
     
  5. Ron024

    Ron024 Limp Gawd

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    If you are using MOCA then you can use existing coax connections to extend the network and use old FIOS routers as a bridge to get wireless and wired connections.
     
  6. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    This sounds really good, but I must admit I would have no clue what most of it means. I have the cable modem in the basement and the FIOS 100/100 up and down plan. Wanted better coverage, so I put the ASUS router on the first floor, but it doesn't help much. The east third of the house cannot get 5G. I have another older router, but it's not dual band. Really looking to extend 5G coverage as that is the issue. Don't know what MOCA is, only that the house is wired and there are Ethernet connections in 10 rooms. On the first floor there really are no centrally located Ethernet ports, and the lone one on the second floor is in a bedroom. Was hoping to somehow be able to get something like three $50 routers/WAPs and be done with it.


    Also wondering what things to look out for that could compromise wired throughput. Thanks.
     
  7. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Limp Gawd

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    OP states they have wired ethernet throughout the home and wireless has trouble getting through walls. This is pretty much the opposite of the environment a mesh setup is designed for. It's possible the issue of wireless penetration is due to the router/WAP itself and not the structure, but IIRC the RT-N66 is a decent performer (though haven't used one myself).


    Again, with wired ethernet throughout there's no call for this. It's needless added cost and complexity that, relative to ethernet, will actually degrade performance for connected devices.


    My solution would be to pick up at least one wireless access point (WAP) and connect it to the existing ethernet network. FWIW, I use the Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-AC-Pro and it works quite well. There are other similar WAPs out there that would probably serve just as well. Position it somewhat at the opposite end of the home relative to the existing router/WAP, accounting for usage patterns (e.g., it may be beneficial to put it in the same room as heavy users instead of another that, on paper, seems to look better).

    It's also possible that simply replacing the existing router/WAP would solve the problem. Check some reviews on newer higher-end AC units, find one that looks good, and pick it up somewhere that has a decent return policy should it not work out.
     
  8. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    I agree with BlueLineSwinger's advice. Ubiquiti WAPs fit the $250 budget, and adding more is a piece of cake. Having a single portal improves management a bunch, too.
     
  9. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    Will one of these be enough? And what is the best placement? I only have the typical wall ports down by the floor and these look like wall or ceiling mount items. Does higher on a wall or on a ceiling provide better coverage, hence the design? Is the UAP-AC-PRO-US that is on Amazon for $129 the item referred to by BlueLine above?
     
  10. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Limp Gawd

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    Every structure is different, so it's hard to say for certain if one additional WAP will be enough. Educated guess is that a new WAP, combined with the existing router/WAP, should be fine. Worst case, I believe, is another is needed and you're just barely over budget.

    FWIW, my single UAP-AC-Pro covers a ~2000 sqft. single level plus into the yards just fine. I currently have it sitting upside down on top of a bookcase (been lazy about doing the ceiling install) in a somewhat-central location.

    I bought mine off of Amazon.
     
  11. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    Nitz, you should test before you decide or purchase.

    A wifi-analyzer phone app will help, but you can get by with a normal signal-strength meter. Move your router to a few different locations (it shouldn't need the WAN), and watch the signal as you walk around the house.

    You'll need maybe an hour for this, and the results will allow you to make an informed decision.
     
  12. Aluminum

    Aluminum Limp Gawd

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    Get the AP AC Pro, runs off PoE (injector included) so you can put it anywhere you can get a cat6 cable to. Running a low voltage drop in a ceiling or a wall is far easier and safer.

    5ghz is going to always be more limited in range which actually helps in crowded apt/condo areas, but the 2.4 on these is among the best. Highly doubt you need more than 1 with central placement even in a large house but they designed to grow, I use their stuff out on farms and in warehouses.
     
  13. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    What is a signal-strength meter? Where do I get one? And how would I walk around the house with the router, doesn't it have to be connected to the Ethernet plug? I'm just not that well versed in networks, sorry.

    And Aluminum said to run a low voltage drop in a ceiling or wall. Huh? What? I'm limited physically, so I can't go putting holes in ceilings trying to find wires and then somehow putting a mount in to connect to. Was hoping to avoid labor or labor costs altogether and just plop a couple AP's somewhere using existing Ethernet jacks, but it seems like there is a lot of work involved, and to get the most out of the recommended UAP AC PRO it appears that it should be ceiling mounted. Would hate to purchase it thinking laying it upside down on a bookshelf would work only to find I have no good location from which a strong signal will reach the whole house. The wife will put the kibosh on an unsightly placement undoubtedly. It's a little depressing to lack the knowledge in this arena, I envy you all.
     
  14. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    You already have one in your phone & laptop. Bars of service ain't the best indicator, but they're a lot better than nothing.

    Power up the router in Potential WAP Location #1. Check useful radius with signal strength on phone/laptop while you wander. Move router to Potential WAP Location #2 & repeat. Etc.

    They broadcast a hemisphere. Bracket side is the dead area, but it's not 100%. 2-3 units can provide excellent zoned coverage, but you will want to consider location & direction.
     
  15. iroc409

    iroc409 [H]ard|Gawd

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    There are phone apps you can get that will give you detailed wifi analysis, and several of them are free. I haven't tried iPhone but I have one installed on my Samsung.
     
  16. SilverSliver

    SilverSliver [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If wireless has trouble penetrating walls, you have wires to most rooms and you want wifi, then you need a higher power mesh system. The Orbi is proven and powerful but only has a two pack so you might not get complete coverage for 3 floors, the Velop is new, powerful and you can get a three pack but is unproven aside from preliminarily positive reviews. Google Wifi, Eero, etc all have weaker nodes and will likely run out of steam trying to penetrate walls on each floor to provide full coverage.
     
  17. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    The criteria I bolded make mesh a poor choice. WAPs with Ethernet to the router will work better in this scenario.

    Actually, WAPs with Ethernet to the router will work better in every scenario. Mesh offers automatic configuration & removes the need to run data wiring.
     
  18. Sp33dFr33k

    Sp33dFr33k 2[H]4U

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    I was having some issues getting a good signal to a new TV and to devices 2 floors away. Got one Unifi-AC-Lite and the issue is solved. Could probably turn off the radios on my router and still get good coverage.
     
  19. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    Hoping to revisit this since I haven't been able to upgrade my network. Now that I have time, I hope to do it. Would like to determine what would be the best solution to ensure 5G coverage throughout the home. Verizon modem is in the basement on the west side (short side) of a 60' x 40' home. There are rooms on every floor, basement, 1st and 2nd floor. Ethernet is wired throughout the home. Would like to have just one network name for 2.4G and one for 5G. Currently, 5G doesn't reach master bedroom on second floor east side, despite having an Asus RT-N66W Dual Band 3x3 N900 Router on 1st floor 15 feet in from west side wall.
     
  20. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Get 2 Unifi AP AC Pro units. Use your current Asus as a router only. Put the APs on opposite ends on the house and on different floors. Problem solved.
     
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  21. defaultluser

    defaultluser I B Dum

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    Use electrical to Ethernet adapters.

    The newest models are pretty fast - I'm getting 350Mbps from one side of a my living-room/kitchen to another. Wifi couldn't hope to do that well in the same room. I'd imagine the speed falls the further the signal has to go, but it should be much faster than Wifi through walls.

    Had good luck with TPLink. You have to give up a single top electrical plug on each end, but they're designed so you can still use the other lower jack (Ethernet plugs are pointed up).
     
  22. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    That's insane. The house is wired with ethernet. Only the 11n wifi needs help.

    Vengeance gave good advice. I'd personally go with 2x UAP lites and an Edgerouter, but that's only because I've seen old N66s get weird (and hot). If you can mount a WAP dead center, east wall on the 1st floor, you're set. Second WAP can be directly across on west wall, or shoot up from basement.
     
  23. gigatexal

    gigatexal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Eero and be done
     
  24. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    Eero appears to be significantly more expensive than the $250 I was hoping to stay at or under. And the Unifi's appear to need to be mounted on the ceiling, something I am physically unable to do due to a disability. Since I am not very well versed in this technology, I'm not sure I'm any closer to understanding exactly what I need here or which of the options noted above can solve the problem. Some have stated mounting on east wall and directly across on west wall - there is no clear shot from one end of the house to the other, and I'm sure I don't know what is meant by "shoot up from basement". Again, ethernet wired throughout. I assumed that would be important. Perhaps I am missing something. Apologize for the lack of technical expertise.
     
  25. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    UAPs can be installed on a ceiling, a wall, a piece of furniture... Or they don't have to be mounted at all. UBNT has installation PDFs, and I'm confident Youtube has video reviews.

    re: "shoot up from the basement": As I posted 2 weeks ago, the round UAP models have hemispherical coverage. IOW, if you mount one on the east wall, it's strongest axis will be due west, and you'll see little signal standing just outside the east side of the house. So, to shoot up from the basement, just flip one over, so that the dead zone is aimed at the basement floor.
     
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  26. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    And this will allow for only one network name?
     
  27. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    If your talking about SSID's yes you can 1 SSID for both 5GHZ and 2.4GHZ bands. You can also have an open Guest network who can't touch your internal networks and rate limit the guest network so people can't abuse your connection.

    Also if you have existing Ethernet drops or phone jacks that were run with cat 5e you can use these AC APs the go right into a standard Ethernet wall jack/phone. They include a POE enabled port(if the right POE injector/POE switch is used) on the AP or 2 standard gig ports. I use 2 in my house and they work perfectly.

    https://store.ubnt.com/products/inwall-ap
     
  28. Gasaraki_

    Gasaraki_ Gawd

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    WiFi Analyzer - Google Play App
     
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  29. Gasaraki_

    Gasaraki_ Gawd

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    Boggles the mind. Living in a 3500 sq ft home and can't spend $250 to fix wifi issues in the home. And ALL those devices that he owns, 6 computers, iPhones, tablets, 2x NASes, etc.
     
  30. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    a big house doesn't mean an expensive house. And I'd guess the 6 computers belong not to the OP, but the OP and family members. Sounds like he is trying to network the house for his family out of pocket, without others throwing in.
     
  31. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    Well, I didn't think it was relevant to mention the 3 thoroughbred horses I own, 2 of which are running next week in New York, or that the home in question is just the tiny guest home on my vast property.

    It wasn't my intention to boggle your mind, but you should probably stick to the "money is no object" questions as they are likely far more simple.
     
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  32. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    So yes nitz1234, this if one of those times where the Ubiquiti is an obvious score as this is exactly the situation they were designed for. The only thing noteworthy about the way the circle style APs are designed, they will have the most coverage to the sides and out the "front" of the access point. I mounted a AC Lite sideways in the ceiling of a basement, and it covers the entire basement and the floor above it just fine. Since your house is more of a box shape than a long rectangle, one AP somewhere in the center of the room should cover everything on that floor. But in your case I would definitely go for more than 1 AP. Not because of coverage, but because of density. The real reason why most APs these days don't have big antennas hanging out the sides of them, is because you need more throughput than what you could get if you were trying to operate a lot of devices out at the edge of your coverage range. In large setups, the designer will purposely turn down the power and install more APs, because that will provide more bandwidth. Rather than having clients hanging way out at the end of coverage with only 1 or 2 bars, you put up 2 APs so all of the clients have 3 or 4. More bars = more bandwidth due to the way the technology works, and more APs = more bandwidth as well.

    I've used both the PRO and the Lite. Both of them have worked well for me. The PRO has standard compatible POE including the injector it comes with, and 3 x 3 antenna configuration. The Lite comes with a proprietary 24V POE injector (Which can ONLY be used with Ubquiti APs designed for it) but does now support standard POE as well. It is a 2 x 2 configuration, so the advertised numbers aren't as magical, but in reality all of your devices are likely 2 x 2 so it's still a good fit. My suggest would probably be to pick up 2 Ubiquiti AP AC Lites and a Cloudkey. You need the Cloudkey so that the two APs know each other exists, and it will allow them to share all of the configuration settings and have a slightly more intelligent hand off. (Still don't have proper handoffs, but it's better than two separate APs)

    So you can pick them up several places, but here's links to the products:

    Unifi AP AC Lite
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0ED-0005-000V6

    Ubiquiti Cloud Key
    https://store.ubnt.com/products/unifi-cloud-key

    The APs are $80 a piece, and the cloud key is $80. That means two APs and a cloud key should be right around $240. But just for testing before you do anything else, I would just pick up a single AP AC Lite and plug it in at one of your several drop locations. You should be able to figure out what kind of coverage one AP gives you, and see if it's possible to cover with just one, or if you need 2, 3, etc. Without knowing how the house was built, you could have lead paint or something which makes it impossible to cover the house with one or even two APs.

    These are also an interesting alternative to the AC Lites.
     
  33. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    I have looked into these units and keep coming back to the issue of mounting them somewhere in a central location where they would be most effective. I simply cannot do that without running a significant amount of unsightly cabling. The main issue is no 5G signal in the master bedroom, which is on the 2nd floor, completely opposite from the ISP's router which is on the other end of the house in the basement. One AC Lite might work, but the ethernet outlet is on the interior wall of the bedroom, so wall mounting it right there would be pointing the signal out of the house. It would solve the master bedroom coverage, but it seems like a waste to not get any other signal improvement anywhere else upstairs. I suppose I could just lay these loose, facing up, just like any other router. There is no real central location to place one, the family room is in the center of the house on the first floor, but it is an open design with a 20 foot ceiling, and the ethernet plug is located toward the west end of the house, furthest away from the master bedroom, and is where the Asus RT-N66W is currently located.

    Let me ask this, could I lay one AC Lite on or near the Asus RT-N66W (which again is 15 from the west end on the first floor) and connect the Cat 5e into that, and lay one somewhere in the master bedroom (which is on the east end, 2nd floor) or on the external wall in the bedroom next to it, and attain whole house coverage of 5G, including a basement bedroom which is essentially two floors below the master bedroom?

    And could all of this be configured to appear as one network name?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  34. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yes as long as you disable the wireless on the Asus and are only using the Unfi AP's for wireless.

    BTW does your house have existing Cat 5e drops that back haul to a central location? If so look at the inwall AC AP's by Unifi.
     
  35. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    Sorry, but I have no idea what the second sentence means.
     
  36. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Is there a drop ceiling in the basement? No ceiling in the basement? Simply mounting the AP facing upwards just below the floor somewhere in the family room might be all you need to cover everything. The thing to keep in mind is that if you have one big room right in the middle of the house, you're cutting down on the amount of walls the signal needs to travel through. One little floor wooden floor will be no issue for any AP, and will provide some of the best coverage where you need it the most. I know of someone who mounted their AP Pro on the top floor of a 3 level house like yours, and the signal goes from the ceiling in the top floor all the way down to the basement. I would suspect that as long as the AP is sitting with the face pointed up, that should work well in reverse. You don't HAVE to mount it anywhere, but what you need to do is determine a location that has the least amount of obstacles between it and the locations you want it to serve. Simply flip flopping which side of the house your current AP is on might even make enough difference to get the coverage you don't have from before.

    The thing is that I'm not going to promise you anything when it comes to coverage. You can ask about scenario x, y, and z, and all of that will fly right out the window depending upon what's in the way. The ONLY way to know is to get off the pot, buy an AP, and see what happens. If it doesn't work out return it or buy another one to fill in the coverage gap. You'll spend a ton less time doing that than trying to find someone's recommendation of whether or not it will work, only to find out they were wrong anyway. I've put APs in buildings where you can practically cover a 10,000 Sq. ft building with one AP because the building is completely open. Then go to the building next door and it has solid brick walls and you can't get it to cover more than 500 sq feet, and it won't go through the ceiling to the next floor because it's made of concrete and metal. In the enterprise world you'd send someone out to do a site survey, and they would accurately map all of this using some APs and a client. You get pretty floorplans with color coded signal strength on them, and can determine the best places to mount APs. In your case that's not an option, so it's up to you to estimate the losses incurred between walls and see if you think it will work.
     
  37. nitz1234

    nitz1234 n00bie

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    There is no ceiling in the basement, so hopefully one AP in the basement will work. But the Asus RT-N66W must be a total piece of garbage because where it sits in the first floor family room, there is an open air shot to the Master Bedroom door - literally just a stair bannister in between, and 5G won't reach (about 25 feet). Are these Unifi units so powerful that they will successfully penetrate two floors better than the Asus penetrates air? Not questioning the opinions here, just hard to believe the Asus unit is that pathetic. Is this possible?
     
  38. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I would trust a properly deployed unifi AP over the Asus 100% time. I the other poster is right. I would get a single ac pro LR unit and deploy it. See if it works. You can always return it if you buy it from a vendor who is good with returns. The LR unit has the same 2x2 radio as the lite but has longer range and a bit more power output.
     
  39. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    As I posted a week ago, N66s can run hot & flaky after a few years. Yours might be ready for retirement.

    While UBNT 5G's probably not that much better thru walls, it will handle 25' & a banister. Anecdote time: I have friends with a large (guessing 7000+ sq.ft.), 100+yo house that's built like Fort Knox. We're talking about massive brick & concrete construction with steel beams which could support a 10-story building. As you can imagine, their N66 did not handle this well, so I set up a 3-UAP (old version, so only 2.4G). Not only does it provide full coverage, I had to reduce the WAPs' signal strength to reduce overlap between them. Obviously 5G would be a bit different, but the real-world difference is enormous. And they've been very happy with their UAPs.

    Regardless, we seem to be running in circles here. You've been given the same advice repeatedly: IT MUST BE TESTED IN SITU. I don't want to shout at you, but you're not going to receive significantly different advice until the situation changes. Either test your N66 in different locations, buy new hardware with a return policy, or find somebody to handle this job. Forum posts will not improve your wifi on their own.
     
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  40. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    Don't worry about physically mounting the ubnt access points--they will work fine just hanging wherever.

    But what is important is to try one out and see if it works. Get one, disable the wireless on the Asus, plug the ubnt into the Asus, configure the ubnt, and then test what you're getting in the master bedroom. If it works, test all around until you find a dead spot, then find all the dead spots. And then from there, you can plan where you can put a second ubnt, possibly moving the first as well (which you can test in advance since you already have it).

    For the record, there's two ways to truly solve this problem without much effort--throw money at hardware and hope it works, throw money at a consultant and a good design that will work. Either way, it's going to be more than the $250 you've originally budgeted (probably more like $500 all said and done), but you would have saved time and won't lose another year to bad wifi; remember, you're still paying for that 100/100 connection whether you're able to use it 100% or not, so that's money lost. I'm sure on that basis alone a $500 investment last year would have paid for itself. A little food for thought. (y)