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post #1 of 13 Old 05-15-2017, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Advanced Home Network Set-up Questions

Hi there,

I've been wanting to upgrade my home network for quite some time and now that I have access to a Gigabit network plan for a not-too-absurd amount of money, I think now is the time to finally go ahead with it. The goal here is to have a hardcore router that can handle all the network traffic without fail and a wifi network that can adequately cover the house with a 5ghz signal. There's me and 2 roommates and oftentimes there are 2 of us playing games online and 1 also streaming or surfing. I also currently use a KDLinks HD720 for 3D movie watching and recently there have been issues with stuttering when we're watching a 3D movie (though to be fair I don't know if that's a drive issue or a network issue.) Pretty much all of the most important gear in the house is situated in the living room in a cabinet, which is on the edge of the house--not the ideal spot for a wifi router, but perhaps a really strong one could handle it. The ideal spot for a router would be in the middle of the house where there is a shelf on which it can go.

And this brings me to my questions...

1) assuming I'm using the latest-and-greatest wifi router (like a Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200)--is there any reason to even get a better router, like a commercial/enterprise grade one? Frankly I don't even know what that would entail, I'm just assuming there's a higher level of performance out there. I imagine that these high-end homes with fancy automation features throughout use something more than a wifi router to keep their network running smoothly.

if "no", then

2) assuming I'm connecting my modem into the wifi router (and it is acting as the router for the whole system, assigning IP addresses and what-not) and I place the wifi router away from the rest of the gear in one of these "more ideal for WIFI coverage" spots, is it ok for me to run a single LAN cable from the wifi router to switches (well, realistically, to a set of various switches) or should I run as many LAN cables as there are outputs from the router over to the gear closet?
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-16-2017, 10:37 AM
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I am currently in the processes of 'upgrading' my network as well. I had been using a Netgear R7000 but its wifi coverage was sporadic. I made the decision to go with a more enterprise level system. Replacing my router with a Edgerouter Lite to handle routing and then running as many Unifi Access Points that I require to other parts of the house. Currently have 2 on opposite ends of the hose and my wifi coverage has improved dramatically. No dead spots whatsover and handoff between access points is seamless. I even have Wifi coverage out on my pool deck which I never had with the Netgear Router.

Drawback to access points is they require a ethernet line so had to do some attic-fu.

Setting up a Edgerouter and Unifi took a tad more effort than a traditional consumer router but its well worth it IMO. I have only setup the basics but if I so desire there is alot that can be done with the Edgerouter if I want to get into CLI commands and such. Cost for router + APS was actually cheaper than something like a x10 and having the routing/wired stuff seperate from the wifi in terms of devices just makes more sense to me. Offers way more control to ensure you get coverage in all the areas you need. Always hate putting all those eggs in one basket like we do with a single wifi router.

Basically my hookup is Modem -> Edgerouter. Then Edgerouter feeds a 16 port switch. From that switch I feed the 2 access points, a few devices (NAS file server, etc) in same room as the switch....4 lines out of the switch goto 4 other switches around the house which in turn feed various devices. All in all I have about 25 hard wired devices. All switches are gigabit.


I will never go back to a all in one consumer router.

These are parts/devices i used for setup:

https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Edge...dgerouter+lite

https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Netw...4YW8M0J5R6RJDE

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-ProSA...gigabit+switch

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-ProSA...%2Bswitch&th=1

plus a BUNCH of cat6 cabling
markrubin and javanpohl like this.

Last edited by RafaelSmith; 05-16-2017 at 10:45 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-16-2017, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelSmith View Post
Drawback to access points is they require a ethernet line so had to do some attic-fu.
"atti-fu" LOL. That wouldn't be a problem for me as I've already run ethernet to the separate ends of the house. In a previous attempt, I had at least 3 different wifi routers (with only one acting as the DNS servers and the other two outside of the assignable range with static IPs). However, while coverage was great, there were severe connectivity issues.

Anyhoo, thanks for all the info! I'll probably have more questions after I absorb all of that.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-16-2017, 11:07 AM
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^^^

keep the router you have: turn off the Wifi radios

Buy Ubiquity WAP's as suggested by RafaelSmith

that is what I did: I have an inexpensive Asus router with all wifi radios turned off: I use Ubiquity Pro series WAP's to handle wifi: 3 in the house and one outside: I get excellent wifi coverage and speed

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post #5 of 13 Old 05-16-2017, 11:24 AM
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+ 1 for the Ubiquity AP's...

I have a PFSense router with no wireless and two Ubiquity AP's for wireless service in the house... they've provided great coverage and have been flawless for several years now.

The two Ubiquity AP's replaced three consumer grade wireless routers that were constantly giving us issues and had dead spots too.

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Last edited by replayrob; 05-16-2017 at 11:35 AM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-16-2017, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent input across the board. Sounds like these Unifis are the real deal. However, I'm still inclined to upgrade my router as well. Particularly since the one @RafaelSmith referenced seems equally as impressive as the unifis AND would be the cheaper to upgrade. Besides, it's not like I was only wanting to improve the wifi side of things.

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post #7 of 13 Old 05-16-2017, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
Hi there,

1) assuming I'm using the latest-and-greatest wifi router (like a Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200)--is there any reason to even get a better router, like a commercial/enterprise grade one? Frankly I don't even know what that would entail, I'm just assuming there's a higher level of performance out there. I imagine that these high-end homes with fancy automation features throughout use something more than a wifi router to keep their network running smoothly.

if "no", then

2) assuming I'm connecting my modem into the wifi router (and it is acting as the router for the whole system, assigning IP addresses and what-not) and I place the wifi router away from the rest of the gear in one of these "more ideal for WIFI coverage" spots, is it ok for me to run a single LAN cable from the wifi router to switches (well, realistically, to a set of various switches) or should I run as many LAN cables as there are outputs from the router over to the gear closet?
Check out smallnetbuilder.com. There are a series of new wifi "mesh" systems that may offer a more cost effective solution to whole house coverage. The site has reviewed at least three in the last few months.

I'll be interested in responses to your second question. I have my wifi router mounted for best coverage and run a single cable to a 24 port Gigabit switch. My QNAP 431 has two gigabit ports and for grins I ran cables from both to the switch. Not sure what benefit it provides. In my case, I just wanted to move all my wired audio / video gear off the switch in the wifi router.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-17-2017, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
Excellent input across the board. Sounds like these Unifis are the real deal. However, I'm still inclined to upgrade my router as well. Particularly since the one @RafaelSmith referenced seems equally as impressive as the unifis AND would be the cheaper to upgrade. Besides, it's not like I was only wanting to improve the wifi side of things.
Look into building a pfSense router. All you need is a computer with two network connections (for WAN and LAN). It makes most other routers look like kids toys.

Then add wireless access points around the house all connected to a decent switch.

I have pfSense running as a VM on my ESXi box. Then I have a 16 port gigabit switch with half the ports POE. I have another 16 port switch (from before getting the POE switch) that I connect my low bandwidth devices to (home automation controller, AVR, and any legacy 100 Mbps devices). The POE ports are for my Unifi AC Pro access points and my network security cameras.

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post #9 of 13 Old 05-17-2017, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post
^^^

keep the router you have: turn off the Wifi radios

Buy Ubiquity WAP's as suggested by RafaelSmith

that is what I did: I have an inexpensive Asus router with all wifi radios turned off: I use Ubiquity Pro series WAP's to handle wifi: 3 in the house and one outside: I get excellent wifi coverage and speed
Yeah for the OP that might be a good option. I was gonna keep my router and turn of its WiFi but I was starting to experience sporadic issues with the wired connection to the router so decided to just scrap it.

For ~$100 the Edgerouter Lite is hard to beat in terms of performance and capability. I did not find it difficult to setup at all.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-17-2017, 12:28 PM
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Look into building a pfSense router. All you need is a computer with two network connections (for WAN and LAN). It makes most other routers look like kids toys.
Agreed, pfSense is head and shoulders above residential grade routers.
Love the fact that you can run the free ClamAV (which auto updates every hour) on it to add and extra layer of protection between you and the bad guys.

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post #11 of 13 Old 09-08-2017, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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So I was about to go ahead and order one or two of the Ubiquiti access points and then I noticed something: they are SLOW. Everything below the Pro tops out at 300mbps (2.4ghz only) and the Pro says it's 450mbps for the 2.4ghz bands and 300mbps for the 5ghz, so I don't know if that means the 5ghz is the combination of the two frequencies (i.e. 750mbps) or if it just has an absurdly slow 5ghz signal. Considering that the main reason I want to upgrade my wifi network was to be able to stream Plex movies at full bandwidth, I don't think the Ubiquitis are quite what I am looking for.

In looking for other wifi APs, I came across these:
TP-LINK Enterprise grade wifi APs
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That one seems to have all the features (that I'd want) the Ubiquitis have but with faster speeds (2.4 ghz 450mbps + 5 ghz 1300mbps) and a lower price ~$70 (compared to the pro at $130). I went ahead and ordered one. We'll see how it goes.
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-08-2017, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
So I was about to go ahead and order one or two of the Ubiquiti access points and then I noticed something: they are SLOW. Everything below the Pro tops out at 300mbps (2.4ghz only) and the Pro says it's 450mbps for the 2.4ghz bands and 300mbps for the 5ghz, so I don't know if that means the 5ghz is the combination of the two frequencies (i.e. 750mbps) or if it just has an absurdly slow 5ghz signal. Considering that the main reason I want to upgrade my wifi network was to be able to stream Plex movies at full bandwidth, I don't think the Ubiquitis are quite what I am looking for.

In looking for other wifi APs, I came across these:
TP-LINK Enterprise grade wifi APs
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That one seems to have all the features (that I'd want) the Ubiquitis have but with faster speeds (2.4 ghz 450mbps + 5 ghz 1300mbps) and a lower price ~$70 (compared to the pro at $130). I went ahead and ordered one. We'll see how it goes.
There are older units that are 2.4ghz only so you must have stumbled onto those. The Unifi AC access points are 5ghz (AC) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015PR20GY The ones below Pro are not compatible with the PoE switch standard and require their switch or an injector (which ships with the unit). I just have two AC Pros and my coworker has an AC-Lite which is also 2.4 and 5ghz.

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post #13 of 13 Old 09-08-2017, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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There are older units that are 2.4ghz only so you must have stumbled onto those. The Unifi AC access points are 5ghz (AC) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015PR20GY The ones below Pro are not compatible with the PoE switch standard and require their switch or an injector (which ships with the unit). I just have two AC Pros and my coworker has an AC-Lite which is also 2.4 and 5ghz.
Gah! You're right. Weird how googling ubiquiti access points brought me to the section on their website for the older APs. Still seems like that TP-LINK might be the better deal, but it's not as nearly a big discrepancy as I thought earlier.
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