Need access point for home wifi

VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
edited April 2017 in Help / Advice Forum
Here in Vancouver I have Shaw for my ISP. They gave us a Hitron CGNM-2250 modem which has had good enough WiFi strength for the most part but we want to add an AP. Can anyone suggest one with a reasonable price that we could invest in?

We live in a 3 story townhouse, the modem comes in on the top floor and has hardwired Cat5e between it and the bottom floor where the home theater room is located. We get great signal strength on the center floor in the main living space/kitchen/dining. The basement gets weak signal, but all primary devices like TV/Computers/NAS are hardwired. We find we want to be able to use our phones/laptops when down there and would prefer seamless handoff if available.

I have plenty of available ethernet ports either in the server closet (out of sight but close enough that it shouldn't impact signal too much), at the computer desk, or near the TV. I could mount an AP at any of these locations, we are only looking to improve the signal in the basement and not concerned about improving the rest of the house.

Anything in the $100-$150 pricerange that would serve the purpose? Any of these seem appropriate? We don't need maximum performance out of it and at most it will be used for streaming or browsing the web while the desktop handles anything severe duty. We also do not use the 5ghz band as I've always had issues when trying to run off it.

http://www.ncix.com/detail/ubiquiti-unifi-ap-ac-lite-802-11ac-2-4ghz-35-115450.htm
http://www.ncix.com/detail/ubiquiti-unifi-ap-802-11n-300mbps-c2-95997.htm

3clipse wrote: »
TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
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  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    I use Airport Expresses to extend my network, they can be configured as either repeaters (wireless) or bridges (wired). I don't know how well they play with a non-Apple router but a little google suggested that they work.

    Also they're cheap and super inconspicuous.

  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    I don't know if you can get them in Canada, but Google's WiFi doodad seems good, plus you can get more than one for more coverage.

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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    For just one floor id just get a tplink ac1200 for about $50. No need to spend more for anything too fancy.

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    Varinn
  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    +1 for the AC1200. We use one at home and it works quite well.

    I'm not sure you have an old router kicking around, but most of them can be configured as bridges or access points with a little tweaking. Also, depending on the model and age, you can flash Tomato or DD-WRT for more direct control of the features.

    FeralVarinn
  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    I like Eero's mesh network, and it is easy to scale if it turns out you need 2 or 3 to get the coverage you want.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    I cannot recommend the Ubiquiti products enough (people in the Sysadmin thread would probably call me a UBNT-homer).

    I have the older AP (your second link) and it has served me well, but I would suggest you purchase the AC version (your first link), if it doesn't break your budget.

    If you can afford it, I would suggest the AP-AC-PRO. In addition to it supporting standard 802.3af/at power, it has a 2nd ethernet port if you wanted to daisy chain another ethernet device (like a switch), and has 3x3 MIMO vs the 2x2 the AC-lite has.

    Regarding seamless handoff, that's mostly on the client (i.e. your phone/tablet/etc) to negotiate.

  • ZxerolZxerol HOW MANY POUNDS IS CAT POOP Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    I have an AC Pro UAP (because my roommate got an Ubiquiti EdgeRouter to futz around with and I thought fuck it), and it's solid. Also gross overkill for a 2-bedroom apartment. But I get hella signal bars so A+ would wifi again.

    These are enterprise-lite sort of devices (we often install them for clients at work), so while you're not going to quite get the same thing as the pricey big-boy stuff from Cisco, Aruba, et al., the Unifi stuff punches the shit out of most consumer gear.

    Zxerol on
  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    I was looking into the stuff linked earlier and thought mainly of the TP Link AC1200 unit but one thing lead to another and I ended up grabbing an AC1750 (Also called a TP-Link Archer C7???) from Amazon.ca for a bit under 100 Canuckbucks.

    It took some figuring out to learn how to set it up as an access point and getting it to really work at all. Initially I struggled to even browse to it via ethernet, took using WiFi to log in and change the settings to match my network. 2.4ghz performance on it is pretty weak at 15/10mbps down/up when sitting 5 feet from it. But unlike our Hitron modem the 5ghz band puts through 75/15mbps to our mid floor and over 100 down in the basement which is a HUGE improvement all around. As Zxerol says, "hella signal bars so A+ would wifi again."

    I tried matching SSID's but found that my phone and at times the laptop would stay connected to the modem on the top floor when we move to the basement, splitting them off into different SSID's has cluttered our network list even more than it already was but performance and ease of use is much better.

    Did some WiFi analyzing too and got the channels/bandwidths optimized so we aren't totally overlapping the neighbor's or our own devices. I'm really happy with the setup now.

    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
    Zilla360
  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2017
    Actually on second testing just now the 5G seems great all around but with a bit of wifi hopping I found something...

    5ghz
    New router pulls 150mbps down and 18mbps up in basement and most of the middle floor.
    Old modem gets 85mbps down and 16mbps up on main floor and top floor.

    2.4ghz
    New router gets 5mbps down and 15mbps up in basement. 1mbps down and 2mbps up on the main floor on my first run of each.
    Old modem got 77mbps down and 16mbps up on the main floor and about the same on the top.

    So I've obviously got an issue with the 2.4ghz performance from the new router, a big issue. I'm not sure quite what it is though... I re-ran each test in each spot multiple times and the only one with any real variation is the TPlink 2.4ghz performance; sometimes barely above 1mbps and sometimes hits 30-40. Similar results when using a Macbook Air, Pixel XL, and my work iPhone 6S.

    Varinn on
    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    2.4 is problematic since you can get interference from everything around. Neighbors have wifi? Do they have a cordless phone? Do you? Anyone have a soundbar with a wireless sub? Nearby baby monitors? That's one of the biggest benefits to a good router with 5GHz.

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    You may also want to contact TPLink and tell them what you're seeing. It's a long shot, but it's possible you have a bad/fried/loose/adjective transceiver on the router. Also, double check all the screw-in antennas are tight.

  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2017
    Interference is a very real possibility. We don't have much beyond our wifi network and devices with majority of things hardwired for everything else. We live in a townhouse complex but our units tend to be a bit wider and spread further apart from the neighbors. On one side the nearest neighbor is 20+ft away from exterior wall to exterior wall, on the other we are joined but it's again about 25ft from the router to our shared inner wall which is apparently a double for fire code reasons.

    At the moment the low 2.4ghz performance on the TP router isn't much of a hassle, we've had great results with the 5G band and even I've hit upwards of 180/20 when testing again in the last couple of days (far exceeding our ISP's 150 down rated speed). The only problem with the 5G is I find very rarely it will just cease working suddenly and come back on a minute or two later. It does this with both our modem and the router and regardless of if I'm sitting a foot from it or across the house.

    Otherwise coverage has been great, phones/laptops are switching networks when signal strength drops off on one or the other and we're getting solid performance on the 5G band anywhere we decide to park our asses to browse.

    Varinn on
    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
  • dacount97dacount97 Registered User regular
    Hey @SeñorAmor or @Zxerol, for those Ubiquity APs, do you need any of the other Ubiquity equipment to start? Like the CloudKey or PoE routers / switches? Or can you just get the AP by itself and add on later?

  • ZxerolZxerol HOW MANY POUNDS IS CAT POOP Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    dacount97 wrote: »
    Hey SeñorAmor or Zxerol, for those Ubiquity APs, do you need any of the other Ubiquity equipment to start? Like the CloudKey or PoE routers / switches? Or can you just get the AP by itself and add on later?

    The UAPs don't require any Unifi or other specific equipment to run. You do need a Unifi controller to set them up, and normally you'd put it on some server somewhere (Ubiquiti offers the CloudKey for this purpose). But, you can just install on any PC and go from there. It doesn't even have to be necessarily on all the time after setup.

    Heck, if you want, you can setup a VPS somewhere and use layer-3 adoption to bind the APs to it (there's a KB for installing a Unifi controller on AWS, in fact).

    Neat little thing is then you can install the Unifi app on your phone and manage your network from it, from anywhere, as long as it can reach the controller. It's p fly.

    Zxerol on
  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    Zxerol wrote: »
    dacount97 wrote: »
    Hey SeñorAmor or Zxerol, for those Ubiquity APs, do you need any of the other Ubiquity equipment to start? Like the CloudKey or PoE routers / switches? Or can you just get the AP by itself and add on later?

    The UAPs don't require any Unifi or other specific equipment to run. You do need a Unifi controller to set them up, and normally you'd put it on some server somewhere (Ubiquiti offers the CloudKey for this purpose). But, you can just install on any PC and go from there. It doesn't even have to be necessarily on all the time after setup.

    Heck, if you want, you can setup a VPS somewhere and use layer-3 adoption to bind the APs to it (there's a KB for installing a Unifi controller on AWS, in fact).

    Neat little thing is then you can install the Unifi app on your phone and manage your network from it, from anywhere, as long as it can reach the controller. It's p fly.

    This is all correct.

    I run the UniFi controller on my home pc for my AP. I run it on my servers here at work (for my AP and switches) and on Cloud Keys for clients.

    Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't leave the controller running on my PC, but I use the mobile app, and it's nice to be able to demo switching between work and home for potential clients.

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