Meshing of Alien with HDs via ethernet backbone

  • I understand that the new Alien cannot be included into an existing meshing network made up from plural AmplifiHDs since the Alien uses a Wifi6 backbone. This is understandable. However, why should this apply in case of ethernet backbone? I have a meshing network of 9 AmplifiHDs being connected via ethernet, so that it will be too expensive to replace all AmplifiHDs by a respective Alien. Even if the number of units could be reduced if Alien units are used, the costs would still be too hight. Further, such a replacement would be an overkill since the high speed wifi the Alien is offering certainly is not needed at all places. Accordingly, I think the firmware of the Alien and of the AmplifiHD should be developed further to allow mutual meshing via ethernet.

  • You can use an HD with an Alien via ethernet backbone so long as the Alien is the “primary” router. However this is not recommended because of the performance impact, it just wouldn’t be worth to. Reason is even though it’s connected through ethernet backbone, the handoff of devices/clients from meshpoint-to-meshpoint, or meshpoint-to-Alien wouldn’t be optimal due to the different technologies.

    I understand you have 9 HD’s but the benefit of Alien is that it have 2x the coverage of HD so you could replace the HD’s with half of what you have with Aliens. Nine HD’s seem overkill, if you don’t mind asking, how big is your house /sq? Or do you have solid concrete walls? Because even with a huge house 4 Aliens should be more that enough, or maybe 5.

  • @otto-wilhem Just to add clarity to this post, the AmpliFi HD's if added via ethernet cable to the AmpliFi Alien cannot be meshed normally to the network. The only workaround is discussed HERE, but not highly recommended from a support stand point.

  • Hi @ui-brett - not sure it is feasible or worth the effort, but since the Alien has the additional 5GHz radio, would AmpliFi ever consider adding a "Legacy Mesh" option to allow previous generation HD routers to be utilized as a mesh extension?

    If the HD RAMP's are actually managed by the Alien could they then "WiFi6 Steer" clients to the Alien?

    How about re-purposing HD Routers as wireless Ethernet extenders?
    So the HD router only uses its wifi for backhaul, and not as an access point

    Or allow us to disable the the radios on the HD routers to use them as Ethernet switches with fancy desk clock displays?

    Otherwise we really need Alien Beacons with Ethernet ports and wired backhaul options...

  • @tony-penev
    My primary router is a pfsense appliance offering double wan ports for fail back purposes between cable internet (primary) and DSL internet (secondary and TV). Certainly I will not replace the pfsense (no wifi) with an Alien as primary router.
    Accordingly, my AmplifiHDs are all in bridge mode. I have 2 in the cellar, 2 in the basement, 2 in the 1st floor, 2 in the 2nd floor and one in a garden house for having wifi also in the complete garden. This may be overkill but very good wifi is achieved everywhere. Since I have 1GB (1060 Mbit/s) cable internet I would like to have a higher wifi speed in our living room in the basement and at 2 other places in our house, for which a respective Alien in meshing cooperation with the remaining HDs would be fine.
    Currently I have no wifi 6 devices, so that a replacement of all HDs is an option only in a longer perspective for cost reasons. Mixed meshing of HDs and one or plural Aliens would make an upgrade to wifi 6 easier and might bring people having already an HD meshing network to buy Aliens even when this is not yet required due to lacking wifi 6 devices which could use the additional wifi bandwidth.

  • @otto-wilhem I see, well honestly your only option would be to replace all the HD’s with a fewer amount of Aliens in Bridge Mode and Meshed together to get better bandwidth. With the improved antennas that provide greater coverage and improved CPU of the Alien, it would help your network bandwidth a little. But then again you aren’t “managing” your internet connection through the Amplifi’s and with no Wi-Fi 6 devices you won’t be seeing a night and day difference, so it probably isn’t worth to upgrade.

  • @derek-saville These are all great ideas that I will pass along to the team!

  • @tony-penev
    " it probably isn’t worth to upgrade."
    This is indeed also my conclusion, unless Ubiquiti Inc. would allow a gradual upgrade as suggested, namely that an Alien being configured as primary node could cooperate via Ethernet for meshing also with HDs configured as secondary nodes.

  • @otto-wilhem I have two HD routers and 6 AmpliFi AP and it’s mainly because I do basically have concrete walls. I live in a old house with thick plaster and metal lathe and it’s extremely hard to get a signal through one wall. I would like to upgrade at some point but without the ability to try by adding one Alien and seeing if it is indeed able to better penetrate my walls I probably won’t for some time till I can upgrade everything. The other main stumbling block to my upgrade is the lack of something similar to the current AmpliFi AP design where I can just plug it in the outlet and not have to deal with a cord or finding a place to set it as some of my AP are in hallways and who wants a router sitting on the floor in hallway. They need to seriously come out with a AP for the alien. It’s probably going to be something that shifts me away from AmpliFi when I do upgrade in the future and that’s a shame as I have liked AmpliFi. I really like the ubiquity products in general but the change in design with AmpliFi will most likely move me away at upgrade though I might find a ubiquiti solution. I really like the more user friendly management of AmpliFi for my wife who isn’t in to the finer points of network management and that will most likely mean I will have to change brands when I do upgrade. They really need to come out with a similar design AP for the alien or allow the existing to work in some fashion with the alien.

  • @richard-sterling-0 Thank you for the feedback, this is very helpful and I will pass this along to our development team!

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