Dedicated backhaul…. Opinions?
Hey everyone… Brand new here.. I was trying to decide between the Amplifi Alien(s) and the ASUS AX11000… I have both currently and tbh the speeds I’m getting from the Alien are “out of this world” lol… (i had too lol)… but seriously the speeds are great on both but just amazing on the Alien… Can someone break down why there’s no dedicated backhaul on the Alien? Is that good? Is there only a wired option for backhaul? Just trying to make the right decision… Thanks in advance.
newfubq last edited by newfubq
@ImInHere You can choose a band to be dedicated but wired is always better with any mesh system. Not always possible but always more reliable. That Asus is no slouch. I'm surprised there is such a difference.
@newfubq I know… the ASUS is a besst… but I like the AMPLIFI. With that being said … I decided to keep the aliens but… I’ve been having disconnect issues…my iPhones keep disconnecting and I’m not sure what to do… I’ve been around my yard and house and my phone will just disconnect from Wi-Fi … do you have an idea what’s happening or what I can do?
@ImInHere Are you on firmware version 3.6.1? iOS devices disconnecting is a known issue for some with 3.6.1. I had this issue on 3.6.1 and downgraded back to 3.6.0 and have had no issues with disconnecting. 3.6.2 has since been released and is currently rolling out. I will wait to upgrade to 3.6.2 until folks are reporting that this has been fixed.
@ImInHere The Alien does have a dedicated, wired (ethernet) backhaul solution that works great - so if you have the capability to do that, your user facing radios are open to clients only (and individual channels will adjust so as to avoid overlap).
Wireless dedicated backhaul is nice if you can't wire, and certainly gives you more control than the Alien currently does. FYI, even the new 6E Orbi uses only 5Ghz backhaul (leaving the 6Ghz band to clients only) so there are always tradeoffs.
@Daniel-Osers excellent…. Ok so how do I do a wireless backhaul? Is it worth it? Am I going to mess anything up? Sorry for all the questions… I’m a noob but I love this router…
@ImInHere On the Alien you can't actually do a dedicated wireless backhaul. That is, the backhaul will the the fronthaul on the 5Ghz (or both 5Ghz, if you have both the Wifi 5 and 6 radios enabled) band, but you can't dedicate one radio to it like the Orbi.
That has some advantages, but does mean that the router to router communication is less consistent (as it can vary depending on the client communication).
In short, if you can do a wired backhaul, do it, but otherwise there is not to configure for wireless.
Thanks for the response… so out of curiosity what’s the benefit of not have in a dedicated backhaul? With the orbi and routers like it does there backhaul scenario make it difficult for router/mesh communications?
@ImInHere Generally speaking consensus is that a dedicated backhaul is always better than one shared with clients, even with multiple radios. That keeps the mesh connection consistent and stable (assuming no interference on it's own channels) and leaves the other radio client-facing only.
I would say - my opinion - for people without a wired backhaul option (ethernet throughout the house) an option like Orbi that uses one radio dedicated (though again, even the new 6E (6Ghz) relegates that backhaul to the 5Ghz+DFS only) is 'better'. Then again, one could argue that by sharing all radios for front- and backhaul, there is more flexibility as to how traffic flows.
Most mesh sets support wired backhaul btw and it's always the best option if you can do it.
@harryks as a matter of fact I did update to the 3.6.2…. I didn’t know about the common issues… how do you disgrace to earlier firmware? Ty for your reply.. Also have you heard about any issues with distance/coverage? I have a large backyard is why I’m asking…
@Daniel-Osers wow… so with that being said (and I hate to ask this here, but…) compared to the ASUS ax11000 how do you rank the AMPLIFI ? Why choose the over other routers?
I can't really give you authoritative advice - PERSONALLY speaking, I like Asus but had so many SW issues with them (firmware, tons of exposed features not well explained etc.). Asus IMO is for folks that understand chip and networking features well and want to tinker. I am also not sure if Asus supports dedicated wireless backhaul.
Orbi is more alike to Alien, as it exposes less features (but has them) and is easy to configure (again, not ideal if you want to tinker). I found Alien and Orbi more reliable and consistent (I had both, but switched to Alien because of the radios - more streams for example, and I knew I could do wired backhaul - on Orbi with wired backhaul it basically turns off one of the radios). Even on Alien I only use the Wifi 6 radios (2 band vs 3).
TLDR, a lot of this is how much you like design, software/app etc. I read a lot of reviews but it comes down to some personal preference.
FYI, I have 3 Alien Routers (all in wired backhaul) on 3 levels in the house.
@ImInHere You can downgrade to previous firmware versions using the information here: https://community.amplifi.com/topic/4557/amplifi-alien-previous-stable-firmware-versions
I’m not aware of coverage issues. I have two Aliens, one on my main floor and one in my finished basement acting as the mesh unit. I use a wireless backhaul. I’m still on 3.6.0 since it works perfectly. I plan to update to 3.6.2 assuming I don’t read about any connection issues in this forum.
Derek Saville last edited by
Just my opinions...
Regardless of the number of radios and MIMO antennas an access point has they are regulated to a finite amount of total emitted radiation at any moment in time
That total emitted radiation will equate to a certain amount of data throughput to a given set of targets in a given area at any given moment
Dedicated backhaul radios, along with the necessary antennas and processing, adds cost while allowing for some simultaneous forwarding, reduced latency and higher aggregate mesh throughput potential (from what I understand 802.11ac did not officially allow for MU-MIMO on backhaul links although some vendors may have implemented propriety mesh solutions)
The Alien was an early adopter of 802.11ax and implemented what I believe is a fairly uncommon 8x8 WiFi-6 5GHz radio with a 12 polarity antenna, with 4x4 2.4GHz and an optional 4x4 WiFi-5 radio depending on region
802.11ax implemented OFDMA, which is inherently multi-user by dividing up spectrum into sub-channels
802.11ax launched with downlink DL-ODFMA and added uplink UL-OFDMA later
The Alien supports OFDMA, but I do not know if they have ever officially stated they implemented UL-OFDMA and the Alien stubbornly refuses to become Wi-Fi 6 Certified, possibly because of the lack of WPA3 although common now on UniFi APs
For WiFi most mobile clients are still 2x2 MIMO with some 4x4 MIMO
I personally believe the Alien was envisioned having the full 8x8 802.11ax 5GHz radio with UL/DL OFDMA to negate or a least offset the need for a dedicated backhaul radio in a consumer device limited to 1GbE ports since a 4x4 wireless backhaul link, even using 80MHz channel widths, has the potential to match or exceed 1Gbps at range
So if your site were using 802.11ax clients exclusively you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a dedicated backhaul radio and a fully capable (working) 8x8 OFDMA execution...in theory anyways
And I personally believe the Additional Wi-Fi 5 radio was a potential fallback plan to a dedicated backhaul radio, as well as being there "for compatibility reasons", if needed (it's a shame they didn't utilize this radio to all backward mesh compatibility with the HD series)
The EN Alien dropped the Additional Wi-Fi 5 radio
UniFi U6 AP's, including the new UniFi Dream Router are 4x4 802.11ax
In my opinion the Alien was experimental with a lot of potential that has taken a while to mature
You can do a lot with those extra antenna pols, including duplicate transmission to a target for better SNR at longer range and the same total power output (great for mesh point communication), improved beam forming (although I believe the size of the Alien limits this), etc.
We don't actually know the full potential of the Alien, how it works, or what is actually implemented in practice
And unfortunately there isn't a UniFi analog to draw upon, so there may not be the development resources available to fully realize the Aliens true potential
That's my take on why consider an Alien versus other consumer router solutions...
@harryks thank you so much… how do you like using a wireless backhaul? Do you still have access to all your networks out is it just the 2.4 and the one 5ghz ? Or can you just add more? How do you set up the wireless backhaul? Why use it?
@ImInHere Since the wireless backhaul works great, I didn’t see a need to go through the hassle of running a wired backhaul. The distance between my two Aliens is about 32 feet and the signal must pass through the floor from the main floor to the basement. My iPhone and iPad using the Speedtest app measure the same whether they’re connected to the main or the mesh unit. My Apple TV connects to the mesh unit and streams 4K video just fine. The backhaul uses the Wi-Fi 6 radio and the Amplifi app shows my iPhone and iPad are also connected via Wi-Fi 6. You set up the wireless backhaul for the mesh unit in the Amplifi app.
@Derek-Saville wow! Thank you for this… seems the is an compared to other routers…
Frank Broughton last edited by
"And I personally believe the Additional Wi-Fi 5 radio was a potential fallback plan to a dedicated backhaul radio, as well as being there "for compatibility reasons", if needed (it's a shame they didn't utilize this radio to all backward mesh compatibility with the HD series)"
Indeed it would have been great to have backwards mesh capability with the HD Series. Sad enough the "HD set units" do not work together,