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Scott Merryfield

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Ruckus sounds interesting. Like @Dave Upton and @John Dirk , my background is in network engineering. We used Cisco enterprise gear across all our facilities (I was in charge of the data and voice networks for a large, multi-hospital healthcare system for 27 years), which was swapped out for Aruba when our healthcare system was bought by an even larger system. I was moved into a voice-only role at that time, though, so didn't have to deal with the Cisco to Aruba conversion (although I heard about it from the engineers who used to work for me). I was forced out during a purge of management after about 1.5 years in that role, which was the best thing that could have happened for me -- I retired.

Fortunately, I have not needed multiple access points to cover the area of our 2,500 square foot colonial (plus another 1,400 square feet for the basement). Placing a single Wi-Fi router in my first floor office gives me acceptable coverage throughout most of the house and on our deck. The only spotty area has been the 2nd floor bedroom my wife uses as an office, and I just used a pair of Netgear powerline devices to run an ethernet signal from the first floor router to that room using the house's electrical wiring. That works for her simple networking needs, and was a lot easier than trying to run ethernet cable to the room in our old house.
 

John Dirk

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Is Eero considered “crap consumer level gear”? All I know is that it is a vast improvement over my previous wifi/router and now I’ve got great coverage over all my house using only 2 of the 3 routers in the pack. A brief look at the prices for Ruckus tells me priced out of my range.
I have no direct experience with Eeru but they definitely target the consumer market. That in itself is not a problem and I didn't mean to infer otherwise. Consumer level products are a vital part of the industry and need to be reasonably simple and straightforward so that the majority of users will not have issues with setup and operation. This does, however, come at the cost of features and functionality and that's where problems can arise. Netgear in particular tends to build products that [IMO] do not offer a very good cost/performance balance but, as stated previously, I still have a couple of them in my own network. I wouldn't buy anything else from them but for now they're workable.
 

Clinton McClure

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Consumer level products are a vital part of the industry and need to be reasonably simple and straightforward so that the majority of users will not have issues with setup and operation.
That’s what I love so much about my Eero setup. I downloaded the Eero app to my iPhone, plugged the pucks into AC, and connected one of them to my internet gateway. In about 5 minutes, I had a great mesh wifi system that just works. It’s the most Apple-like non-Apple device I’ve ever used.
 

Dave Upton

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That’s what I love so much about my Eero setup. I downloaded the Eero app to my iPhone, plugged the pucks into AC, and connected one of them to my internet gateway. In about 5 minutes, I had a great mesh wifi system that just works. It’s the most Apple-like non-Apple device I’ve ever used.
I have nothing against the consumer products - but they do cost you a bit in terms of absolute performance and reliability.

My friend's Eero setup in a very similar home has real trouble when the microwave is on. My setup at home is bulletproof no matter what is going on with the microwave, bluetooth devices, cordless phones etc.

I can stream blu-ray movies off my NAS on wireless, but my buddy can't without buffering. If this doesn't matter to you - then by all means no problem. I am simply stating that the tradeoffs you make to get "easy" do cost you something in terms of performance and reliability.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I have nothing against the consumer products - but they do cost you a bit in terms of absolute performance and reliability.

My friend's Eero setup in a very similar home has real trouble when the microwave is on. My setup at home is bulletproof no matter what is going on with the microwave, bluetooth devices, cordless phones etc.

I can stream blu-ray movies off my NAS on wireless, but my buddy can't without buffering. If this doesn't matter to you - then by all means no problem. I am simply stating that the tradeoffs you make to get "easy" do cost you something in terms of performance and reliability.

I wonder... did he go for the cheaper, non-"pro" version of Eero?

I don't use Eero (or any mesh setup for that matter), but I would expect the "pro" version to do better than that (and probably wouldn't bother w/ the non-"pro" version at all)...

_Man_
 

Dave Upton

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I wonder... did he go for the cheaper, non-"pro" version of Eero?

I don't use Eero (or any mesh setup for that matter), but I would expect the "pro" version to do better than that (and probably wouldn't bother w/ the non-"pro" version at all)...

_Man_
I believe it was the pro - but it's been a couple of years now. To your point, I don't think you should ever go with the cheapest solution in these situations, as you'll pay far more in inconvenience than you will in money for the better product.
 

Clinton McClure

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Mine are the Pro versions and I’ve never had an issue with interference or network lag caused by microwaves, phones, etc… The only time the units even reboot is when Eero pushes an update to them or if the electricity goes off during a storm which has only happened a couple of times. The power went off for a few minutes Monday morning. This is the first time the Eeros have rebooted (that I’m aware of) since an update was pushed on July 18th. I wouldn’t bother with the regular Eero devices or beacons, but the pro versions are great.

This is now my typical wifi speed on my iPhone 12 just about anywhere in the house. My Apple tv 4Ks are all reporting 250-350 Mbps, depending on the room.

1B4CAF1C-30D1-4E6D-81FE-DB55ACBBEEAF.jpeg
 

John Dirk

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I think the takeaway here is "different strokes for different folks." Wifi is always a battle between a signal and the obstacles that lie between it and it's destination(s). In some environments these obstacles are minor and so standard, off the shelf offerings are just fine. Other environments present more difficult challenges and that's when you may be better served with a more robust [and usually more costly] quasi-commercial or custom approach. As the comments here indicate, you'll quickly learn which category you fall into based on the performance you experience with the standard solutions out there and, yes, there are also performance tiers within these product families.

My problem with most of the consumer-level products is their insistence on making outrageous marketing claims suggesting their solutions can handle large, multi-story homes of up to 7000 sq ft, etc, when I have not seen a single product that actually can in real-world conditions. In most cases, if you read the mice type, they will admit as much but it's still intended to mislead.
 
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DaveF

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I want to upgrade my wifi maybe this Winter. I am more confused than ever after reading this thread. What I’ve got is:

1) Buy commercial gear
2) ???
3) Great WiFi!

I still can’t figure out how I’d configurate this pro gear, what router I have to buy, how to maintain the network, does it “just work” or does “network engineering” have to become my new full time hobby…?

I think this thread reinforces why us normal people want an Eero or such ilk: Plug in, turn on, done.
 

John Dirk

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I want to upgrade my wifi maybe this Winter. I am more confused than ever after reading this thread. What I’ve got is:

1) Buy commercial gear
2) ???
3) Great WiFi!

I still can’t figure out how I’d configurate this pro gear, what router I have to buy, how to maintain the network, does it “just work” or does “network engineering” have to become my new full time hobby…?

I think this thread reinforces why us normal people want an Eero or such ilk: Plug in, turn on, done.
I think your confusion may stem from the fact that there is simply no "one size fits all" solution, at least not where cost is a factor. A few questions...

  1. What do you have now?
  2. What are your issues with the current setup?
  3. Approximate sq ft of your home.
  4. How many levels including basement?
 

Clinton McClure

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I remain utterly confused by the advice to “Skip the consumer products. Great home WiFi simply requires some cheap off-the-shelf commercial gear and 30 years professional experience as a network engineer for a Fortune 500 company.”:laugh:
Yeah you now have to make a trip back to Walmart and buy a network engineer degree. They’re over with the routers, between the game consoles and the Red Bull display. But don’t go cheap. Buy at least a 20-year experience version. It’ll make all the difference. And since it’s just for home use, don’t bother getting the Cisco expansion pack. Waste of money.
 

Dave Upton

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I want to upgrade my wifi maybe this Winter. I am more confused than ever after reading this thread. What I’ve got is:

1) Buy commercial gear
2) ???
3) Great WiFi!

I still can’t figure out how I’d configurate this pro gear, what router I have to buy, how to maintain the network, does it “just work” or does “network engineering” have to become my new full time hobby…?

I think this thread reinforces why us normal people want an Eero or such ilk: Plug in, turn on, done.
Dave - I totally get your point, but have to ask: did you bother to watch the youtube video I linked above?

Here's a more brief one:



If you can install an iPhone/Android app, and follow a wizard, no part of the process requires network engineering skill.

Step 1) Buy unleashed Ruckus AP
Step 2) Open the box, plug into your router/switch with a network cable, and connect power adapter.
Step 3) Install Ruckus Unleashed App
Step 4) Connect to the open wifi network called Configure.meXXXXX (XXXXX is usually a string of letters and numbers based on the access point's MAC address)
Step 5) Open unleashed app, tap "Typical Install". Follow Prompts.
Step 6) Profit!
 

DaveF

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Dave - I totally get your point, but have to ask: did you bother to watch the youtube video I linked above?
I never get to long YouTube videos. I've got a threshold of about 10 minutes. So thanks for the 5 min summary, that I watched. :)

I still have a bunch of basic questions from the quick overview, but it's good to know that it can be easy for the cases in which it's easy -- I'm just unclear what the requirements and boundaries for "easy" are.
 

DaveF

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This is my home's floor plan. Each floor is about 1000 sq ft; finished space is about 2800 sq ft. The "home run" is in the basement Utility room just behind the closet, in front of the WH and HVAC. My main wifi / router is literally in rafters on top of the utility wall, just behind dry wall of that closet*. The Opt Rec Room is now the Home Theater. Router is 5th Gen (2011) 802.11n Apple Airport Extreme Base Station.

I have an Apple Airport Express in wired bridged connection in the second floor Bonus Room, in the corner by the windows. Adding it substantially improved wifi to the rear bedrooms and maybe the Master Bedroom.

House is wired with cat5e and I've tested all the rooms to 900+ Mbps. Everything that can be on ethernet is, including all fixed streaming boxes, using a handful of cheap switches in key rooms. Wifi is used by our mobile devices, HomeKit automation stuff, and misc tech that's wifi only (not ethernet port). See my network diagram for a little more detail.

Wifi is good. But it could be better. I've got gigabit Fios. Wifi ranges from 20 Mbps to 300 Mbps. This morning in the master bedroom I tested 200 / 140 Mbps. The living room and kitchen are as a rule very good, being directly above the main router. I need to check the theater: it's solid but maybe could be faster.

Everything works. Wifi is solid. Minor, infrequent hiccups. So I've not been in a rush to upgrade. With wifi 6 a thing and our mobile devices now 2020 iPad Airs and 2021 iPhone 13s, I'm interested in upgrading wifi to hopefully get faster everywhere and better performance in the guest rooms for when family visits.

(*For future upgrade, I'm thinking of putting a shelf in the close and bringing the main router into the closet to remove a layer of dry wall between it and most of the house for a minor improvement in overall signal path.)
 

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DaveF

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The idea I've had kicking around in my head for about three years now is to get a 3-pack mesh system. Main / 1st unit would be in the basement homerun replaceing the current AEBS. 2nd unit would be in bonus room where AX is. 3rd unit would in theater or in master bedroom (if in MB, then 2nd unit might get moved back into spare room to better serve that space. I could possibly add a fourth unit to be: Homerun, Theater, Guest Bed, Master.


Eero Pro 6 is my current choice. But I'm not fixed to that. I just want easy and good value.

Everytime I've looked at "cheap" commercial stuff, it prices up actually really expensive and requires an associate's degree in IT.

I don't want network engineering as a new hobby. I don't want to maintain my wifi. ("HTPC" gets my "tech that's more effort that it's worth" spare brain cycles and wifi maintenace is not replacing it)

But I am happy to learn enough to buy and setup new routers and AP's and spend a Saturday making it work, if it's then "never think about it again" and costs same or less than an Eero, or doesn't require any subscription costs that consumer mesh system might need. :)
 

Al.Anderson

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I just poked my nose into the thread, so don't know if this was covered already, but I'm using a Unifi setup and am loving it - no dropouts, great coverage. Even good metrics data for when I'm really bored. I have two nodes, one upstairs and one downstairs and that covers my roughly 2500 sq house, including outside on the deck. Coverage further out by the pool is spotty.
I see that some posters are in the field, so I'm curious how they think Unifi compares.
 

Dave Upton

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The idea I've had kicking around in my head for about three years now is to get a 3-pack mesh system. Main / 1st unit would be in the basement homerun replaceing the current AEBS. 2nd unit would be in bonus room where AX is. 3rd unit would in theater or in master bedroom (if in MB, then 2nd unit might get moved back into spare room to better serve that space. I could possibly add a fourth unit to be: Homerun, Theater, Guest Bed, Master.


Eero Pro 6 is my current choice. But I'm not fixed to that. I just want easy and good value.

Everytime I've looked at "cheap" commercial stuff, it prices up actually really expensive and requires an associate's degree in IT.

I don't want network engineering as a new hobby. I don't want to maintain my wifi. ("HTPC" gets my "tech that's more effort that it's worth" spare brain cycles and wifi maintenace is not replacing it)

But I am happy to learn enough to buy and setup new routers and AP's and spend a Saturday making it work, if it's then "never think about it again" and costs same or less than an Eero, or doesn't require any subscription costs that consumer mesh system might need. :)
There's no question that consumer stuff is cheaper. It's just unavoidable given the cost to build a really good access point. If you need WiFi 6 - it costs more. Keep in mind that 802.11ac wave 2 devices can already hit gigabit speeds so it's not necessarily a requirement to go wifi6 unless you really do want to go beyond gigabit in your home network.

It's also worth mentioning that if you do go with commercial AP's, it is best to mount them on the ceiling for the most optimal coverage, though you can get away with shelf mounting also.

In a home of your size, you could likely get away with 2 ruckus APs, and likely put them on the main and 3rd floors. Hardwired would be better than Mesh for performance. If you wanted to have wifi6 performance everywhere, AP density is important.

If I'm following the orientation of your home correctly, you could put one AP on the main floor and another on the 3rd floor for optimal performance.

I did a little simulation of coverage using a free wifi planner tool and here's what I get. You'd get best performance on the main floor by putting a R320 in the dining room area somewhere. This would also likely give you solid coverage in the theater and solve for the basement. Note I drew in your walls to account for their attenuation of signal.

1633273539775.png


On the top floor, it's a little more complex. If you want truly great speeds everywhere, I'd put 2 APs up there on either end like below. This is true for eero or Ruckus - given the walls you have to penetrate and speeds you want to maintain

1633273993778.png


If you do a single AP updstairs, I'd put it somewhere near Bedroom 4 or the hall which gives you fairly solid coverage, but you won't see max speeds:

1633274098806.png
 

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