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Home networking advice for an upgrade

Discussion in 'Networking' started by MJRinCT, Dec 21, 2018.

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  1. MJRinCT

    MJRinCT Thread Starter

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    Hi - I'm looking at updating my home network, which is a combination of wired and wireless. We live in a 4500ft2 home and have a household of 5 - 3 kids/2 adults and we each have multiple devices (phone, tablets, laptops, etc.), multiple streaming (2 AppleTVs and 2 Rokus) and gaming (Xbox & PS4) devices, multiple security cameras, Sonos, smart thermostats, etc.

    With the upcoming WiFi6, I'm thinking it's time to upgrade my network and would appreciate suggestions on the best options for:

    1. Replacing my current Airport Extreme routers to 802.11ax
    2. Should I also update my Gigabit switch to a PoE Gigabit as i'm thinking of updating security cameras soon?
    3. Is there a better suggested setup than what I currently have?

    I need to maintain a mixed wired/wireless network, if that makes any difference. I'm including a link with a picture of my current home network here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjAe0D4Ykf8NhxUlxI8nEhEnt0DR to help better understand how it's setup. I have GB Xfinity speed, which regularly gives me 1300+ Mbps on speedtests.

    Thanks so much for your help & advice!

    Miguel
     
  2. Fireflycph

    Fireflycph

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    I can't tell you about replacing the routers. But I see no reason why you should get a POE switch since you don't know which cameras you're getting. Remember that the voltage has to be the exact same value. Once you have the cameras you can get the correct POE switch.

    I think your setup is fine, with one caveat though. Why are the routers set in Bridge Mode? I'd think they should be set in AP mode, provided they're connected to the Cat6 "backbone".
     
  3. MJRinCT

    MJRinCT Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your reply, Fireflycph. Good suggestion on the PoE switch upgrade; I thought since they are rated a certain total watts (i.e. - 190w), that means the total is divided among whatever power-needing devices are connected?

    As for my current Apple routers, since they are hardwired and they expand the network coming from the Xfinity gateway (same SSID), they are basically acting as an AP. I understand "Bridge Mode' in Apple routers is equivalent to AP mode, but don't know for sure; will investigate. Thanks again!
     
  4. Fireflycph

    Fireflycph

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    @MJRinCT

    You're welcome. However you should concern yourself with what Voltage is being sent thru the wire. Many, if not most, Access Points use 48V, Some use only 24. And they are, of course NOT interchangeable.
    Apple Routers I know absolutely nothing about. But in my little world "Bridge Mode" means that there's a minimum of 2 devices that communicate with each other, generally bridging a gap where there's no other mean of connecting to an already existing network. Let's say you own a farm and your office is in a small building across a paved roadway or something, where it's not possible to start digging to pull cables.. You would then have a router in the office and one on the other side. Those two will send all traffic to and from the office to the centralized network equipment located in your living quarters.

    If you have both routers on the same network and people move devices between those locations. THen you'd setup the routers to the same SSID and password etc. Only the channel used should be different. I believe that 7 is the minimum difference in channel selection. Not always feasible, of course. But I think it's a good rule. THe same SSID and password ensures that you can move seamlessly between different floors and swith your connection to the closest router.

    If you knew all this already? then except my apologies. It's not possible for anyone here to know what knowledge the person behind the question already has.
     
  5. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    1. Reading the sparse information on 802.11ax, it appears it's the new standard which will give theoretical throughput of 10Gig on wireless. The promise is to have around 3Gig as the per stream throughput. If this is the case, you either need to have a minimum of Cat5e to get up to 5Gbps throughput wired to each access point. If you want to be able to support the full 10Gig, you'll need to have either Cat6 or 6a. To do up to 5Gbps speeds, you'll need to purchase a multi-gig switch.

    2. Yes, you should purchase a PoE switch is you plan on hard wiring the security cameras. On the point of PoE compatibility, just make sure the cameras support the industry standards of either 802.3af or 802.3at. AF is the most common where the device draws up to 15W of power. AT are for devices which draw up to 30W. There is another standard becoming more prevalent which provides up to 60W of power. But you'll find most of your cameras will run at AF. The ones that run AT are you PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) cameras which require the additional power to operate the motors. And you're correct about being cognizant about the overall power budget. You have to sum up the power draw of all your PoE devices and make sure the switch you buy can support that level of power. Also, with AT power, look at the fine print to make sure your switch can support the number of AT devices you plan on using. While the overall power budget might work for the switch, the switch may not be able to supply AT power to the number of devices required.

    As for the discussion of using multiple wireless routers as APs to extend coverage, if you're serious about building a proper wireless network, dump this idea. Having this setup while it looks simple and attractive is not optimal. Roaming between APs will be a disaster. Also, the ability to have all the APs operate as one single virtual AP is non-existent. Having a unified wireless system where all the APs operate together as a single virtual AP is much better. You'll be able to support roaming between APs. The APs will adjust their RF power output so no one AP is going to stomp over another. The APs will operate together in selecting the appropriate channel to run on and do so continuously based on the ambient RF noise. There are so many advantages with using a unified wireless system that there is no excuse not to implement one anymore. With the likes of Google WiFi, Netgear Orbi, Linksys Velop, Eero, and even Ubiquiti providing equipment that is priced at the higher end of the SOHO market, you should be looking at these solutions.
     
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