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I have a 4 storey house with CAT5 Ethernet points in most rooms, connected via a switch next to the hub, which I think is a combined modem / ethernet and WiFi router, located on level 1.  WiFi is good on level 1, average on level 0 and 2 and crap on level 3 and roof terrace.

 

I am looking for a solution - mesh, access points or whatever, with no ongoing fee and no tracking from Google etc, so that we can use devices between different areas.

 

I have just taken delivery of a Linksys Velop which would not set up, so have returned it.

 

Any ideas?

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+1 for UniFi.

Done two installs of UnIfi AC Lite's recently and very impressed with the outcome in each case. Rock solid.

 

EDIT: By the way, if you do go down this route, feel free to ask for advice. As a product often used for commercial installations, the plethora of options can be a little dauting. A basic install for home use is much simpler than it may at first seem.

Edited by Dreadnaught
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You can also get plug-in range extenders, like those made by Edimax, for a simple to set up way to extend WiFi coverage.  I've not tried them, but my neighbour has one and reckons it works OK: http://www.edimax.co.uk/edimax/merchandise/merchandise_detail/data/edimax/uk/wi-fi_range_extenders_n600_dual-band/ew-7238rpd/

 

IIRC, they retail for around £25, and seem to be easy enough to set up and use from what I've heard.

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3 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

You can also get plug-in range extenders

 

I have one and it works fine. Wifi upstairs was pretty poor but with the plug-in range extender it's fine (well as fine as sloooow wifi ever gets). 

 

 

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We set up an old spare BT home hub to be a dumb wired wifi point for the static caravan as that was out of reliable range of the house wifi. Some devices will switch seamlessly as one goes into or out of range, others most notably the W10 laptop need to be told to switch to the other one. It was just a simple no cost option at the time.

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I would fully endorse ubiquiti also, done a few installs for businesses and conference facilities.  Will be using them in my house also if I ever get to a finished stage.  Feel free to ask for any help/advice as @Dreadnaught says.

 

Plug in range extenders (like those mentioned above) quite often reduce the speed and bandwidth of the connection they provide.

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I have a wi-fi router with 4 antennae. I have oriented these from vertical to horizontal, progressively, as well as placed it as centrral in the house as I can. This gives me coverage all through my 3-level house though weak in a couple of spots. I am toying with a 9dBi antenna, not pulled the trigger on this yet.

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I had two BT Home Hub 3's. My own and a second from a mate who'd gone with Sky. Simple to set the second up as a wireless access point giving better coverage. On a Home Hub 4 now and it's better than the two 3's combined tbh. 

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It all depends on your budget, and what performance you require!!

 

Simple plug in Wi-Fi boosters will give you coverage as the cost of performance because to get signal from your router to the booster you are eating up performance for the router Wi-Fi and every additional (from router) and subsequent (from previous booster) will also sap performance but it is simple.

 

Next is to utilise an old/spare router as an access point (and switch) it will take in a copper feed from your main router and just push out it's own SSID (Wi-Fi logon name), devices should transfer between the two, though not seamlessly!

 

Best performance (highest price) is a unified (central control) system where all the access points have the same SSID and your devices seamlessly roam between them, all the manufacturers do them (enterprise grade equipment) and their performance far exceeds the general consumer equipment but a certain amount of effort and know how is required.

 

I have two Ubiquity UniFy systems, in the house we have just finished there is a DrayTek Modem (turn ADSL/VDSL into computer) a gateway router, two switches (1 x 48 and 1 x 24 (PoE)) and 4 access points, 420m2 spread over 2 floors with 350mm of concrete/screen between floors.  In the other house a simple router/8 port switch and access point that covers the whole house.

 

Ubiquity UniFy system is easy to use and fairly intuitive.

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The Ubiquiti kit looks good and I think I will go for this as it has the collective endorsements from @Alphonsox, @Dreadnaught, @PeterW, @vfrdave and @le-cerveau.  I already have a switch on the first floor feeding a RJ45 double outlet in each room, located next to a power point.  Switch is in a bedroom so fanless with no PoE.

 

Max budget is £400 (would prefer cheaper) and I don't want any ongoing subscription.  I would appreciate any ideas on what I need so I get whole house seamless coverage and also the best way to install.  The house is 4 storey terraced with each floor about 4.0m x 12.0m.  There is also a roof terrace without any CAT5 but will probably be covered if I have a unit on the third floor.

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40 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

I don't want any ongoing subscription.  

 

Not sure why you think that extending your private home network around the house would incur any subscription cost? You obv. pay for the home internet connection (of whatever flavour) but after that its up to you.

 

I currently use old BT SmartHubs acting as repeaters to squirt the wifi around the house and it works fine - not sure if I'm loosing any bandwidth in doing this.

 

I set each up with a different SSID (basically the same SSID with a number at the end) and provided all three are provisioned on the device then it will usually jump on the strongest one - should work fine if they have the same SSID but then I have no way to 'shove' a device onto a stronger signal if it's clinging to an old one.

 

Like the look of the Ubiquiti kit - I only have a standard 48 port switch at present in loft where all the cat 6 terminates but almost every wall plate is next to power so not a huge issue.

 

How does it compare to the BT branded mesh wifi as resold on Amazon etc?

 

 

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As for Ubiquiti kit, you should have plenty of change from your budget. UniFi AC Lites cost about £80 each and you can pick them up on eBay second hand from time to time for about £50 or so. 

 

Suggest to buy 2x UniFi AC Lite's and nothing else. (Plus a laptop to do the setup remotely using the free Unifi software.)

 

Regarding "2x or more", it depends on coverage areas and signal attenuation by thick walls. Suggest trial-and-error. Start with 2x and buy more if you need them. In a modern house, two did the whole house. In a big older house with brick internal walls, 3x were needed. If you need an weather-tight outside AP, they are available too from the "mesh" range (e.g. UAP-AC-M).

 

Optional extra: a PoE ethernet switch (made by Ubiquitu or a third party, doesn't generally matter) so that PoE injectors, which are included in the box, are not needed at each access point.

 

Initially you don't need a UniFi Cloud Key, which is for remote monitoring of your network and more commonly deployed for commercial installations.

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1 minute ago, Bitpipe said:

I set each up with a different SSID (basically the same SSID with a number at the end) and provided all three are provisioned on the device then it will usually jump on the strongest one - should work fine if they have the same SSID but then I have no way to 'shove' a device onto a stronger signal if it's clinging to an old one.

 

 

The issue is less about an initial connection but more about how long a device will hold on to a dwindling network as you walk away. With multiple access points ("AP"), it is far better to have an AP with the technology to switch between APs as you roam. Most domestic (i.e. non-commercial) APs don't have this. It makes all the difference.

 

Ubiquiti have their own technology for WiFi roaming but also support 802.11r.

 

The same applies if you manually give the same SSID to two APs. Without the ability to roam, it will still hold on to the first network for too long, until the signal strength dwindles. In the reality of a home environment it often means that it never switches automatically at all. And having always to manually switch networks is an annoyance, a distant second best in my experience.

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1 hour ago, le-cerveau said:

If you want a fanless PoE switch teh UniFi 8 port ones are fanless and you can then leave out the injectors.

 

Without wanting to seem thick, can I just connect a fanless PoE switch to my existing switch with a patch lead?

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Just now, Mr Punter said:

Without wanting to seem thick, can I just connect a fanless PoE switch to my existing switch with a patch lead?

 Yes,

word of warning you cannot disable all the lights (link activity etc) so ensure it is somewhere where the blinking won't be an issue.

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On 21/05/2018 at 14:11, le-cerveau said:

 Yes,

word of warning you cannot disable all the lights (link activity etc) so ensure it is somewhere where the blinking won't be an issue.

Bit of black electrical tape fixes that :-)

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I have several WiFi access points in my house. In theory it's possible to set them all up with the same SSID so that you can walk around the house while streaming music to your phone. Ive never managed to get his to work. Has anyone? 

 

Typically mobile devices will log into the strongest signal and stay logged into that one unless you manually switch or stop and restart streaming.

 

Not really a big issue but would be nice to know if anyone has done this.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Temp said:

I have several WiFi access points in my house. In theory it's possible to set them all up with the same SSID so that you can walk around the house while streaming music to your phone. Ive never managed to get his to work. Has anyone? 

 

Typically mobile devices will log into the strongest signal and stay logged into that one unless you manually switch or stop and restart streaming.

 

Not really a big issue but would be nice to know if anyone has done this.

 

Its the hardware and software within the APs (Wifi access points) that matters. The only effective solution is to use APs that support WiFi roaming and seamless handoff,  802.11r or a proprietary equivalent. The AP requires a special controller functionality within and the vast majority of home WiFi routers do not have it.

 

Without WiFi roaming, using the same SSID for multiple WIFI sources is generally not a good idea as, as you have found, it doesn't assist with roaming and it can make debuging more difficult.

 

Which APs are you using? Are they true APs or just home routers connected by ethernet cabling and set to bridge mode, each creating its own sub-net and with multiple NAT. Or even worse WiFi extenders connected wirelessly, again with multiple sub-nets and NAT, and likely a halving of data throughput?

 

 

Edited by Dreadnaught
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D-Link now do a Mesh extender system with seamless roaming SSID COVR-nnnn.  This gets rid of the multiple SSID problem, but it is still a mesh network, using up capacity to transmit between extenders, however if you are not tech savvy should be a simple solution.

 

Otherwise you want a unified system D-Link DWL-nnn, Ubiquity range, ....... (look in the business area on vendor sites)

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