Very large home network - add to existing network or start again?


  • We live in an old large solid brick house and I can’t get the wifi to work decently across the whole house despite spending a fortune on Ethernet cat5 cabling. I’m trying to figure out what AmpliFi config to use as it’s been recommended as the best home / office combo.

    Coverage is good in part of my old solid brick house with 2 routers from Telstra connected to the NBN modem via Ethernet. And no coverage downstairs and the other end of the house. So I can either:

    1. Throw out my existing 2 Telstra routers and start again but then will need potentially 4 AmpliFi HD routers as I understand the mesh points don’t have Ethernet ports.

    2. Add 2 Amplifi HD routers to the existing Telstra network - not sure that’s possible?

    3. Start again, throw out the Telstra equipment and try using one AmpliFi router with 3 mesh points and don’t use the Ethernet at all.

    I don’t understand what delivers the best performance. We are heavy users of wifi often at the same time for multiple home offices and gaming and streaming. I suspect Ethernet cables routers delivers better performance than mesh points. In past houses I’ve tried wifi through electrical sockets, extenders, multiple routers and never had a good solution. Help!!!

    K


  • Hi @Lisa-Carlin - since your house sounds very challenging for WiFi and you have invested in Ethernet I would personally recommend looking at UniFi access point solution for more flexibility and control... https://www.ui.com/wi-fi

    Any option that you add to your existing Telstra network will require separate management and won't be a true mesh network, so you may run into some roaming handoff issues as you move around the house

    I would also recommend avoiding wireless backhaul access points as much as possible since you probably have significant signal loss through walls and AmpliFi MeshPoints specifically lose significant throughput (~50%) due to utilizing a shared radio, so the performance and latency might not be sufficient for the gamers

    A more ideal solution would be to replace the Telstra routers with a UniFi gateway (https://www.ui.com/consoles) but it isn't necessary if just want to add a couple access points to cover some dead spots for testing


  • @Derek-Saville thanks v much. Based in this I will keep using my Ethernet and get rid of my Telstra devices. I looked at UniFi Dream Machine, looks fairly $$$$ in Australia and I’m not really sure what else I’ll get from it. AmpliFi with additional Anplifi routers plugged into Ethernet ports, at around $250 Aud each, looks more cost effective.

    If my ISP Telstra’s system would require 4 routers including the base unit, can yiu advise how many AmpliFi routers I’d need? I hear the reach is further.


  • Hi @Lisa-Carlin - it is very hard to predict the number of access points you might need in a large solid brick house that may cause a lot of signal loss, especially if you are looking for complete 5GHz coverage or if your needs are more modest and dropping to 2.4GHz at times is ok

    My advice for any mesh system would be to start off small with one or two access points, check the coverage, and then add to it as needed
    If you are currently using 2 Telstra devices, I would replace them with AmpliFi HD's and see how much of an difference they make
    WiFi transmit power is limited by regulation, so if your environment has a lot of interference, it may not be possible for an alternative router to make a significant improvement

    Just for your awareness and not trying to sell you on UniFi, but if you already have a router solution it is not a requirement to run a UniFi console or security gateway, like a Dream Machine or a Cloud Key, and you can easily set up an independently managed UniFi AP mesh


  • @Derek-Saville I don’t understand your last point. Can u plz explain. I did a bit of googling of Unify vs Amplifyband I don’t think I have enough tech expertise to get the Unify working and not sure the benefits will be useful to me. Love to hear your thoughts. Otherwise I’m thinking to order 3 Amplify HD routers and see if that’s enough.


  • @Lisa-Carlin I've a 2,600 sq ft home (but not brick) and I've an HD with two mesh points. I've tested with just the HD active, and I get coverage thru almost all the house. With the mesh points active I get coverage into the front and back yards as well.

    I agree with Derek, if you are not in a hurry you might start with just two HD units and do a coverage survey to see if that's sufficient. Not sure what your goals are:

    1. Connectivity between devices.
    2. Some WiFi everywhere.
    3. Max speed from WiFi everywhere.

    You didn't mention what bandwidth you're provisioned for from your ISP, or the results of an interference survey to see if you've clear channels in your home. Just idle thoughts on prep work before you move forward.


  • Hi @Lisa-Carlin - I didn't intend to make things more complicated
    As best as I can summarize it, WiFi uses different bands and there is a tradeoff between potential speed and coverage distance
    Therefor completely covering a house with the highest speeds may require a different solution than covering most of the house with high speed + moderate speed in hard to reach spots

    As @mleeds mentions, it would be helpful to understand more about your situation and what you are trying to accomplish

    From your original post it sounds like you have nearly a worst case scenario - a large home utilizing construction materials which can significantly block WiFi signals and a lot of simultaneous users requiring high reliability (home office) and high speed (gaming & streaming) internet access

    If the internal construction of your home's walls and floors are brick or of a material that does not allow WiFi signals to penetrate, then you may end up needing a lot of access points for complete highspeed coverage throughout the entire home, if that is your objective, but it is very difficult to predict

    Getting 2 or 3 HD's and seeing if its enough is a perfectly fine way to test out an AmpliFi solution and I hope it meets your needs


  • @mleeds thanks v much for your reply. I don't know what bandwidth provided by my ISP (Telstra NBN in Australia). I'm not so sophisticated a user that I know what speeds to target... some Wifi everywhere would be a great starting point, with max speed available from my study which is where the primary modem is. A friend taught me tonight how to do speed tests which is helpful as it seems like I'm only getting 259 Mbps right next to the primary modem which I understand is a bit low. It drops off when I go further away and drops away almost completely when I go past 2 double brick walls between the primary (our home office) and our living room which is where we want to watch TV and don't have any wifi. Bottom line: some wifi would be fabulous in our living room, not asking for much!!


  • @Derek-Saville you've summarised our challenge well. worse case scenario!!

    I think I will need to buy 3 HD's. Do you think it will be hard to get these set up in a LAN together? It sounds like the set up is aimed at one HD plus wireless access points. Wireless access points are not going to help my situation as I need ethernet connections to get to the hard to reach ends of the house.


  • Hi @Lisa-Carlin - it is pretty easy to setup HD routers as wired backhaul mesh points as long as all of the Ethernet cables going to the remote locations connect back to the LAN side of the primary HD router

    To start you will need to install the primary HD router connected to the modem and you can find the Quick Start Guide and User Guide under the Documentation section of the main support site...
    https://help.amplifi.com/hc/en-us

    To add additional HD routers as mesh points (referred to as a RAMP) with wired Ethernet backhaul, somewhat counterintuitively you need to first add the HD as a wireless mesh point, next enable Ethernet Backhaul for the RAMP in the app, and then plug in the Ethernet network connection

    So for an Ethernet backhaul RAMP that you might want to install on the other side of a large house you may need to power it up close to the main router in order to add it wirelessly to the mesh, then proceed to enable Ethernet backhaul, unplug it from power, move it to the desired room, and plug it back into power and connect the Ethernet cable

    You can find a descriptions of these processes here...
    https://help.amplifi.com/hc/en-us/articles/360016183893-Adding-AmpliFi-Standalone-Devices-as-Mesh-Points
    https://help.amplifi.com/hc/en-us/articles/115006826048-How-to-Enable-Ethernet-Wired-Backhaul


  • @Derek-Saville thanks that’s really helpful


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