Senior HTF Member
- Mar 4, 2001
- Catfisch Cinema
- Real Name
Agreed that the actual best, highest-tech solution is wired ethernet with wifi mesh/AP/extenders connected there.For that money [actually much less] you could easily pay a professional to extend wired Ethernet anywhere in your home and then install cheap Ethernet switches and AP's where needed. The thing to remember here is that no piece of hardware can overcome the limits inherent in the protocols that it relies upon. Even at its very best, wifi is a compromise to wired Ethernet. The various protocols [wifi 5, wifi 6, MIMO] attempt to mitigate the compromise through various means and with very inconsistent results depending on a myriad of factors typical of real-world environments. Meanwhile manufacturers either create perfect laboratory environments for their testing or just fudge their numbers entirely. That's why the claims and numbers they post are more or less meaningless.
Ron. I love and share your passion for all things tech. I took a look at some of Ubiquiti's products myself before redesigning my own network but, as @DaveF pointed out, the reviews are a mixed bag at best and I ultimately decided their solutions would be more trouble than they were worth for my needs.
I hope you don't mind me speaking frankly and it is certainly not my intent to be condescending in any way but a good design should always start with a needs assessment. "What are you trying to achieve." The solution that addresses your actual needs with the lowest number of tradeoffs and at the best price is your ideal solution. Products like the Alien router arouse my suspicion because they promise outstanding results for everyone, regardless of their actual physical environment or needs. Even if the Alien router did provide perfect performance in your situation, it would not be an ideal solution unless it did so at the lowest available price point.
For the best possible results, connect any device that has an Ethernet port via an Ethernet cable and switch connected back to your main router. For devices without Ethernet ports, place an access point [wired back to the main router] as close to the device as possible and preferably with clear line of sight. Obviously, this will not always be possible and good wifi is a godsend in such cases.
I quibble with the recommendation to "then install cheap Ethernet switches and AP's where needed." from the non-expert side of:
- When I shopping for mesh in 2019, a new "cheap AP" system using Ubiquiti was more expensive than buying an Eero kit (with ethernet backhaul)
- Going the self-configurated approach seemed to require "home wifi LAN management" become a new hobby rather than "plug in auto configurating consumer electronics and forget about it". And I don't want a new hobby of network management