Need recommendation for new WiFi Access Point

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  • Updated 10 months ago
I've decided it's time to upgrade my home network and get a new WiFi Access Point/home router. My Flex 6300 and main ham radio PC will be plugged in directly to this device. I will also access the Flex via WiFi from my laptop and/or iPad from time to time.

Plus I would like the very latest Wifi features and HIGH POWER (long range). It's a big house and we have to use extenders now. Internet service is cable at 100 MBs if that matters. Also want something that will be easy to setup for remote Flex access. What should I get?
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Dave KD5FX

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Posted 10 months ago

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KF4HR

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Dave I also have a large home, all on one floor, and was initially having WiFi issues.  I solved the problem by installing two ASUS RT-AC3200 tri-band Routers; one configured as a Router on one end of the house, and the other configured as an Access Point at the other end of the house.  This solved my WiFi connectivity problem 100%.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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High power is not necessarily a good thing.  If your AP (access point) has greater reach due to having its power setting on high and the device you are connecting to is not capable of that power level, it will not reliably connect and transfer data. By cranking up the power all you have done is to add unnecessary QRM to the frequency spectrum.  In general, when deploying APs, you should set the power level at 50% to ensure all devices can make reliable connections to the AP.  If you have a coverage problem, cranking up the power is not the cure-all for devices at the edge of your coverage zone. 

I have first-hand experience setting up commercial wifi for a variety of businesses.  I can also see the effects of cranking up the power on APs at my home QTH.  In general, in a residential setting, there is about a 6:1 ratio of wifi devices to APs.  I have a 2.4 and 5 GHz spectrum monitor.  My spectrum monitor routinely sees approximately 100 of my neighbor's access points but only sees 60 devices on 2.4 GHz.  Why the disparity?  Because most consumer based APs all come with their power levels set to maximum. 

All these 2.4 GHz APs are causing in and co-channel interference (QRM) which degrades my 2.4 GHz wifi performance even though I am using the least populated channel and the commercial based APs I have deployed use adaptative channel and power management features.  I resorted to upgrading just about all my wifi devices to 5 GHz and using a mesh of APs wired back to a central gigabit Ethernet switch to cover my property and get sufficient throughput for streaming data.
(Edited)
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Dave KD5FX

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Tim, what do you think of the MU-MIMO technology? Does it really work? Seems like all the latest devices have this tech but I'm thinking it might just be hype.
Thanks for the info on power output. I reduced my cable modem wifi AP down to 50% this morning to see how that works. I think I'll still get something newer/better. Is there one that is recommended for use with the new Ver. 2 remote access feature? 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Good question.  Yes, MU-MIMO technology works, but how effective it depends on the implementation (software) in the router.  As more and more routers and devices support 802.1ac (where MU-MIMO was added to the 802.1 spec) and the bugs get worked out and the software optimized, its operation should become ubiquitous. 
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David H Hickman

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I run an Ubuiti amplify HD mesh for the consumer devices at my house. works fine and support several 4K streams throughout the house and the radio via VPN since I have the radio installed on a separate network.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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I would highly recommend looking at the Ubiquiti UniFi line of products which are more on the side of enterprise grade hardware as opposed to the typical Netgear/Linksys/Asus stuff out there. I've had several consumer grade wifi routers over the years and they all seem to start having problems after about 6-12 months use. For as much as they cost they sure don't last very long.

Ubiquiti on the other hand require a little bit of wifi/networking knowledge to get the system up and running. Not plug and play like consumer gear. But things like POE for the access points and ability to customize and control your network is a huge plus.

https://www.ubnt.com/products/#unifi