Mesh Router

Eric

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Sounds like it's the latest and greatest in home networking, we just purchased the NETGEAR Nighthawk Whole Home Mesh WiFi 6 System, 3-pack for $199 from Costco. Anyone have any experience with these? For us the biggest problem is reaching from the laundry room where the feed comes in to the rest of the house, I did some testing from my phone in various areas of the house and was really surprised at how much signal loss there was.
 

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I don't have any experience with those, but I've given up on consumer grade networking gear. I've found pretty much every consumer grade device grossly underpowered. I switched to Ubiquiti for wireless APs and a custom pfSense box for routing and couldn't be happier.
 

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I never heard of the nighthawk one. The Orbi one with WiFi 6 is very good though; I set it up for a friend with a big home and it is solid throughout. I read some reviews on the Nighthawk and they had similar complaints to yours...


The Orbi is more expensive, but IMHO worth the money - as for Ubiquiti - it is great although I think the higher-end Orbi has really narrowed the gap, and the setup is way easier for the Orbi too.
 
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Eric

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I never heard of the nighthawk one. The Orbi one with WiFi 6 is very good though; I set it up for a friend with a big home and it is solid throughout. I read some reviews on the Nighthawk and they had similar complaints to yours...


The Orbi is more expensive, but IMHO worth the money - as for Ubiquiti - it is great although I think the higher-end Orbi has really narrowed the gap, and the setup is way easier for the Orbi too.
Okay, good to know. It sounds like they've addressed some of the complaints with more recent updates so I'll give it a shot and let you guys know how it works out.
 
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Eric

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I just wanted to follow up that I got it and had no performance issues but it wasn't any better than my current Nighthawk AC1900, especially in terms of reach. So I'm returning it and going with the TP-Link AX6000 instead which for our single story home offers a pretty decent upgrade both in terms of reachability and added bandwidth.
 

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I don't have experience with that particular model, but I got a cheap-ish 4-pack mesh wifi last year and it's been great. I can recommend it as a definitive solution to bad wifi reception as opposed to wifi extenders.

However, I've had a bunch of issues in the last two weeks with several of my Apple devices refusing to connect automatically (maybe due to some recent OS updates?). My PC was fine so I don't think it's due to the routers.
 

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I used to use Netgear Orbi mesh, worked great at first but had serious dropping issues after about a year of usage.

Now I use Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien router and I don't even need a mesh system anymore. It's a bit expensive, and at first the software seemed too simplified for my taste, but this is the best wifi router I've ever had.
 

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My cable company decided to make some changes and so I was notified that I would need a new modem since the old one would no longer be compatible. I prefer to own my modem rather than rent one from the cable company, so did my due diligence, chose and purchased a modem (Arris Surfboard SB8200) and got that all installed and set up. I did not want a combination modem/router, I prefer to keep the two as separate devices. So then I started thinking about my router, the final generation of Apple's Airport Extreme Base Station, which has served me faithfully for quite a few years now. Upshot was I did some more research and yesterday went to Microcenter (electronics/computer store) and came home with an Amplifi Alien 6 router and I LOVE it! So, so cool looking, so easy and quick to set up and I am more than happy that I have done this.

I am in a 1045 SF condo apartment unit so the one router is all that I need (I had spent some time waffling over whether I should buy the two-unit set, router plus one mesh point, but eventually arrived at the conclusion that it would be overkill here, even though I do have some logistical issues with location of the router. The problem is that the modem is in the master bedroom, which is located in the back section of the condo unit. I do most of my computer activities in the main living area and also in the warm weather I like to sit out on the deck with either my iPad or laptop. So, my solution was that I have a long CAT 6 cable that runs from the main living area back to the bedroom. While it would be possible to have the cable company come in and set up a cable connection in the living room in order to bring the modem out here, at this point it seems like an expensive hassle, as it would involve moving heavy furniture out of the way and undoubtedly would be expensive. Quicker, easier and significantly less expensive to run a CAT 6 cable through the house myself (along hall floor, then elevated and taped over doorways in the bedroom), even though it's not exactly elegant looking.

Years ago when I first got cable, at that time I had a television and a desktop computer both in the master bedroom, so it was logical to have the cabling installed in there, which limits the placement of the modem, of course. This was long before WiFi and wireless became a thing in residential settings. We were all wired with our computers, the modem and an Ethernet cable and that was it. Then along came WiFi..... With earlier routers through the years I used various strategies, including at one time an AEBS paired with an Airport Express to get sufficient signal strength and coverage. The last-generation AEBS had strong enough signal that I could finally dispense of the Airport Express but with the modem and the router both in the bedroom with significant construction elements in between, including the fireplace and its chimney, the plumbing stack, a few walls, etc.) the signal was weaker in the main living area and on the deck and strongest in the bedroom. Just the opposite of what I needed! Since I spend significantly more time in the main living area and on the deck than I do in the master bedroom, I wanted the router to be closer to where most of my devices actually live and are used, so that is when I set up the long CAT 6 cable and that has worked out nicely. Kind of a Rube Goldberg kind of solution but it works.....

Anyway, definitely an improvement in the signal and signal strength with the new Alien over the older AEBS, and because the Alien has WiFi 6 and I currently have two devices which use it (M1 MBP and iPhone 11 Pro) with the anticipation of eventually getting an M2 MBP whenever they are released, it made sense to go with a router which offers WiFi 6 rather than remaining with the older WiFi 5.

I love this thing! It is really nice to be able to look at the small screen on its front and immediately get information about what's going on and to see that all of my devices are happily enjoying the new faster speed and stronger signal. I love being able to control things through the Amplifi app as well. Very slick setup all the way around! I like the way I still have a sort of "Appleness" ambience in this router, too, since one of the people who developed Ubiquiti and Amplifi is a former Apple guy and there are some familiar touches, from the elegant packaging to the overall smooth and easy setup process and the display on the unit's front. The green light around the base of the unit is just too cool for words and definitely gives the router a distinctive "alien" look.....

I am hoping that both my new pieces of networking gear will serve me as well and as reliably and faithfully as the older ones did....
 
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LIVEFRMNYC

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My cable company decided to make some changes and so I was notified that I would need a new modem since the old one would no longer be compatible. I prefer to own my modem rather than rent one from the cable company, so did my due diligence, chose and purchased a modem (Arris Surfboard SB8200) and got that all installed and set up. I did not want a combination modem/router, I prefer to keep the two as separate devices. So then I started thinking about my router, the final generation of Apple's Airport Extreme Base Station, which has served me faithfully for quite a few years now. Upshot was I did some more research and yesterday went to Microcenter (electronics/computer store) and came home with an Amplifi Alien 6 router and I LOVE it! So, so cool looking, so easy and quick to set up and I am more than happy that I have done this.

I am in a 1045 SF condo apartment unit so the one router is all that I need (I had spent some time waffling over whether I should buy the two-unit set, router plus one mesh point, but eventually arrived at the conclusion that it would be overkill here, even though I do have some logistical issues with location of the router. The problem is that the modem is in the master bedroom, which is located in the back section of the condo unit. I do most of my computer activities in the main living area and also in the warm weather I like to sit out on the deck with either my iPad or laptop. So, my solution was that I have a long CAT 6 cable that runs from the main living area back to the bedroom. While it would be possible to have the cable company come in and set up a cable connection in the living room in order to bring the modem out here, at this point it seems like an expensive hassle, as it would involve moving heavy furniture out of the way and undoubtedly would be expensive. Quicker, easier and significantly less expensive to run a CAT 6 cable through the house myself (along hall floor, then elevated and taped over doorways in the bedroom), even though it's not exactly elegant looking.

Years ago when I first got cable, at that time I had a television and a desktop computer both in the master bedroom, so it was logical to have the cabling installed in there, which limits the placement of the modem, of course. This was long before WiFi and wireless became a thing in residential settings. We were all wired with our computers, the modem and an Ethernet cable and that was it. Then along came WiFi..... With earlier routers through the years I used various strategies, including at one time an AEBS paired with an Airport Express to get sufficient signal strength and coverage. The last-generation AEBS had strong enough signal that I could finally dispense of the Airport Express but with the modem and the router both in the bedroom with significant construction elements in between, including the fireplace and its chimney, the plumbing stack, a few walls, etc.) the signal was weaker in the main living area and on the deck and strongest in the bedroom. Just the opposite of what I needed! Since I spend significantly more time in the main living area and on the deck than I do in the master bedroom, I wanted the router to be closer to where most of my devices actually live and are used, so that is when I set up the long CAT 6 cable and that has worked out nicely. Kind of a Rube Goldberg kind of solution but it works.....

Anyway, definitely an improvement in the signal and signal strength with the new Alien over the older AEBS, and because the Alien has WiFi 6 and I currently have two devices which use it (M1 MBP and iPhone 11 Pro) with the anticipation of eventually getting an M2 MBP whenever they are released, it made sense to go with a router which offers WiFi 6 rather than remaining with the older WiFi 5.

I love this thing! It is really nice to be able to look at the small screen on its front and immediately get information about what's going on and to see that all of my devices are happily enjoying the new faster speed and stronger signal. I love being able to control things through the Amplifi app as well. Very slick setup all the way around! I like the way I still have a sort of "Appleness" ambience in this router, too, since one of the people who developed Ubiquiti and Amplifi is a former Apple guy and there are some familiar touches, from the elegant packaging to the overall smooth and easy setup process and the display on the unit's front. The green light around the base of the unit is just too cool for words and definitely gives the router a distinctive "alien" look.....

I am hoping that both my new pieces of networking gear will serve me as well and as reliably and faithfully as the older ones did....

To add on to that, I find the bandwidth graph on the display useful.
 
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My cable company decided to make some changes and so I was notified that I would need a new modem since the old one would no longer be compatible. I prefer to own my modem rather than rent one from the cable company, so did my due diligence, chose and purchased a modem (Arris Surfboard SB8200) and got that all installed and set up. I did not want a combination modem/router, I prefer to keep the two as separate devices. So then I started thinking about my router, the final generation of Apple's Airport Extreme Base Station, which has served me faithfully for quite a few years now. Upshot was I did some more research and yesterday went to Microcenter (electronics/computer store) and came home with an Amplifi Alien 6 router and I LOVE it! So, so cool looking, so easy and quick to set up and I am more than happy that I have done this.

I am in a 1045 SF condo apartment unit so the one router is all that I need (I had spent some time waffling over whether I should buy the two-unit set, router plus one mesh point, but eventually arrived at the conclusion that it would be overkill here, even though I do have some logistical issues with location of the router. The problem is that the modem is in the master bedroom, which is located in the back section of the condo unit. I do most of my computer activities in the main living area and also in the warm weather I like to sit out on the deck with either my iPad or laptop. So, my solution was that I have a long CAT 6 cable that runs from the main living area back to the bedroom. While it would be possible to have the cable company come in and set up a cable connection in the living room in order to bring the modem out here, at this point it seems like an expensive hassle, as it would involve moving heavy furniture out of the way and undoubtedly would be expensive. Quicker, easier and significantly less expensive to run a CAT 6 cable through the house myself (along hall floor, then elevated and taped over doorways in the bedroom), even though it's not exactly elegant looking.

Years ago when I first got cable, at that time I had a television and a desktop computer both in the master bedroom, so it was logical to have the cabling installed in there, which limits the placement of the modem, of course. This was long before WiFi and wireless became a thing in residential settings. We were all wired with our computers, the modem and an Ethernet cable and that was it. Then along came WiFi..... With earlier routers through the years I used various strategies, including at one time an AEBS paired with an Airport Express to get sufficient signal strength and coverage. The last-generation AEBS had strong enough signal that I could finally dispense of the Airport Express but with the modem and the router both in the bedroom with significant construction elements in between, including the fireplace and its chimney, the plumbing stack, a few walls, etc.) the signal was weaker in the main living area and on the deck and strongest in the bedroom. Just the opposite of what I needed! Since I spend significantly more time in the main living area and on the deck than I do in the master bedroom, I wanted the router to be closer to where most of my devices actually live and are used, so that is when I set up the long CAT 6 cable and that has worked out nicely. Kind of a Rube Goldberg kind of solution but it works.....

Anyway, definitely an improvement in the signal and signal strength with the new Alien over the older AEBS, and because the Alien has WiFi 6 and I currently have two devices which use it (M1 MBP and iPhone 11 Pro) with the anticipation of eventually getting an M2 MBP whenever they are released, it made sense to go with a router which offers WiFi 6 rather than remaining with the older WiFi 5.

I love this thing! It is really nice to be able to look at the small screen on its front and immediately get information about what's going on and to see that all of my devices are happily enjoying the new faster speed and stronger signal. I love being able to control things through the Amplifi app as well. Very slick setup all the way around! I like the way I still have a sort of "Appleness" ambience in this router, too, since one of the people who developed Ubiquiti and Amplifi is a former Apple guy and there are some familiar touches, from the elegant packaging to the overall smooth and easy setup process and the display on the unit's front. The green light around the base of the unit is just too cool for words and definitely gives the router a distinctive "alien" look.....

I am hoping that both my new pieces of networking gear will serve me as well and as reliably and faithfully as the older ones did....
Thanks for adding this to my radar. It looks pricy, but if it can really deliver wifi in a 3-level, 2K SF home, it might as well be cost efficient compared to having multiple mesh routers. I like the data display on the front a lot.
 

Clix Pix

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The display on the front of the router is really very convenient and useful! At a glance one can see what's going on, ensure that all of one's devices which are powered up and running are actually online, and, yes, as mentioned above, that bandwidth graph is very helpful. If I have the urge to do so I can run a speed test right simply by tapping on a tab right on the screen and see whether or not I'm getting anywhere near what had been promised by the cable company.

I would say that in a three-level 2000 SF home that most likely the router alone wouldn't do the job, but that the router plus one mesh point might be exactly what's needed, or very possibly it might be necessary to add a second mesh point..... A lot depends, of course, on the layout of the building, whether there are any serious potential barriers to good WiFi (lots of walls, lots of bricks, other construction-type obstructions such as plumbing stacks, fireplace chimneys, etc.). Only way to know for sure is to try things out.

Yes, the AmpliFi Alien router / router plus mesh point system IS pricey but I definitely feel that this router is worth it, or at least for me...... Future-proofing in terms of WiFi 6, great coverage throughout my condo apartment, lots of information available right on the touch screen of the router unit itself or in the app on my iPhone...... I am more than happy with everything right now!
 
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Clix Pix

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It is sooooo cool, the screen which provides such good information and the intriguing neon green lighting at the base of the unit, too! I am loving this thing! Oh, and yes, it is giving me nice fast WiFi speeds within the confines of my current plan with the ISP......

OK, fine, so in another year or so we'll have widespread use of the new WiFi 6e standard....but in the meantime I'm really happy with what I've got right now.
 
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Eric

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I ended up setting up my previous router as an access point in my living room since we already have a hardwired jack out there anyway, this is a way better solution for us and has increased our reach so there are no more dead spots.
 
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