My experience setting up wired backhaul
I recently set up two amplifi routers with backhaul and while it worked well once it was set up, there were a few hitches. This is my experience, hope it helps someone.
INITIAL SETUP: Like the manual says, plug your modem into the router's Internet port and turn it all on. These things take FOREVER to boot. Just be really patient and always wait for it to make a happy sound and give you something encouraging on the little LCD display.
SETUP WITH ANDROID APP: The android app is really slick. However the initial connection to the router is a bit clunky. It connects via wifi, and it offers an SSID on boot, but DON'T CHOOSE ITS SSID with the phone wifi. That's right. Phone wifi must be enabled, but don't actually connect to the router ssid yet. Instead, let the app find the router WITHOUT connecting your phone to its wifi. Which BTW takes a LONG TIME (sensing a theme, here?). And you might get notices on the phone about "unable to connect to wifi" during the process, which you just ignore. Once connected, you'll see a ready screen in the app, and you edit the router's settings. Set the SSID name and the password and CLICK THE LITTLE CHECK MARK AT THE TOP OF THE SCREEN TO SAVE IT. Wait for happy sounds.
SSID NAME: I had a lot of trouble reusing our previous SSID from the old router. Devices would be slow or show "no internet". I suspect that the devices had some settings cached which were not compatible. Once I started over with a new SSID everything was clean. So just use a brand new SSID. I don't think this is the router's fault, it is just how it goes with a lot of devices.
SECONDARY SSIDs: I couldn't make 2.4Ghz secondary SSIDs work. The connections were buggy and slow. Turns out I don't really need it, and you probably don't need it either.
BACKHAUL SETUP: Almost the entire reason why I bought this product. This is a special thing for areas that cannot be reached by a strong wifi signal from the base station, but which miraculously have ethernet cable. Such is our house and outbuilding. In that case, you buy a second router unit instead of a mesh point. You must follow the setup instructions very precisely or things get weird. What I'm called the "base station" is the first router. Follow these steps:
-- Set up the new router "as a mesh point" in the same room as the base station, not in the remote area. Don't connect any ethernet cables yet.
-- Add the new router as a mesh point using the LCD touch screen on the original base station, not your Android app, it seems to work better.
-- Once that is done, wait for happy sounds from the routers and for your app to show both are happy-happy (once again, be patient). You might need to exit the app and re-enter to get a proper refresh.
-- Connect ethernet from a base station LAN port to the new router's Internet port.
-- In the app, choose the new router and edit it's settings. Give it a real name while you're at it. Find the "Ethernet backbone" setting and turn it ON. And then... this is VERY IMPORTANT... scroll to the top and press the little check mark! Otherwise nothing saves and you'll wonder why it didn't work.
-- Wait some more for both devices to update and make happy sounds. If they show "Connecting..." on the little LCD screens, just wait some more.
-- At this point, you must get a LAN port from the base station connected via your wired network to your remote location's ethernet jack. Hopefully you know what I mean. If not, call a friend who does.
-- If you can, use a laptop, go the the remote ethernet jack and verify that it has wired connectivity.
-- Finally, move the new device to the remote location and plug its Internet port into the ethernet jack. Wait some more for it to boot and make happy sounds. And voila! You should have wifi everywhere. (Note: some devices won't automatically move to the stronger signal, you might need to do that manually by reconnecting wifi).
-- Bonus: Your remote router has four LAN ports, which you can use for wired devices like laptops and printers.
If things get wonky and weird, use a paper clip to factory reset the routers and try again. I had to do this, because I probably didn't do the setup in the right order and probably tweaked too many things before I knew what I was doing. No shame. I'm just sayin'
'I couldn't make 2.4Ghz secondary SSIDs work. The connections were buggy and slow. Turns out I don't really need it, and you probably don't need it either.'
lots of smart home devices require 2.4Ghz for initial setup, like pretty much all the smart plugs and smart switches
I'm on my current Netgear setup I had to separate the 2.4ghz from the 5ghz SSID for the devices to initially work.
Thank you so much for this post, just what I was looking for!
Something that's not completely clear to me is : if that remote router in RAMP mode, will it then just behave as an access point (basically like the 'regular' meshpoints - but then cabled), so no router functionality? I want to avoid to have two routers distributing IP addresses. Or do you need to set it specifically into bridge mode or something?
I recently purchased an Amplifi HD set (router + 2 mesh points) and although I like it, my workshop (that has an ethernet cable to the switch that's right behind my primary Amplifi Router) still has pretty poor wifi speed since it needs to hop 2 meshpoints now.
The 2 meshpoints are only used as a 'really long cable' and now I'm thinking I probably don't even need them if I just buy a 2nd router. Am I correct?
if that remote router in RAMP mode, will it then just behave as an access point (basically like the 'regular' meshpoints - but then cabled), so no router functionality?
That is correct. As long as you add it as a mesh point to the primary router: https://help.amplifi.com/hc/en-us/articles/360016183893-Adding-AmpliFi-Standalone-Devices-as-Mesh-Points
I probably don't even need them if I just buy a 2nd router. Am I correct?
Yes, having a RAMP connected via ethernet backhaul will give you the same performance as the primary router, and eliminate the wireless hops that will degrade the signal and performance. You may still need the mesh points to truly blanket your home, but start with disconnecting them and only running the router and wired RAMP to test.