MrGimper

macrumors 604
Original poster
Sep 22, 2012
7,132
8,328
Andover, UK
As it’s prime time, looking to replace airport Wi-fi gear. What’s the recommended best mesh Wi-fi?

looking to use primarily in access point mode if possible. Appreciate most come with ability to replace your broadband router, but likely not going to use that and keep my current router as my Wi-fi is behind an opnsense firewall.

Ta
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,690
620
on the land line mr. smith.
If you want to keep an existing router, there are lots of options for AP only. The big player in the space, if you want 2 or more is Ubiquiti. Their lower end APs are great for a typical home network (maybe up to 30 devices), while the higher-end models have more throughput and can handle many more devices....overkill for most folks.

I have been running 2 Pro Lite models plus an AC Mesh outdoor model for a few years. Rock-solid. They go many months between reboots, and that is typically only for an update.

I ran ethernet for all 3 as it is was easy access, and is the fastest, most reliable solution.

If you can't run cable...you might look at their BeaconHD, or FlexHD. Both look great, but I have not used them.

If you want drop-dead simple mesh, including routing, check out Amplifi Instant mesh.

One other simple mesh/router system to consider would be the Synology 2200ac system. Although I have not used these, their 2600 router is a beast, with a great interface and is feature packed.
 
Last edited:

maestrokev

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2007
875
8
Canada
If you want to keep an existing router, there are lots of options for AP only. The big player in the space, if you want 2 or more is Ubiquiti. Their lower end APs are great for a typical home network (maybe up to 30 devices), while the higher-end models have more throughput and can handle many more devices....overkill for most folks.

I have been running 2 Pro Lite models plus an AC Mesh outdoor model for a few years. Rock-solid. They go many months between reboots, and that is typically only for an update.

I ran ethernet for all 3 as it is was easy access, and is the fastest, most reliable solution.

If you can't run cable...you might look at their BeaconHD, or FlexHD. Both look great, but I have not used them.

If you want drop-dead simple mesh, including routing, check out Amplifi Instant mesh.

One other simple mesh/router system to consider would be the Synology 2200ac system. Although I have not used these, their 2600 router is a beast, with a great interface and is feature packed.

Thanks for your detailed response. I have the Synology 2600 router. I like your suggestion of running ethernet to each Ubiquiti AC Lites to build a mesh. I was looking for an alternative to the 2200ac as it is expensive and large. Do you run a Ubiquiti mesh router as well? I'm curious on how the mesh WiFi handoff works when not using the same brand router and mesh APs.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,690
620
on the land line mr. smith.
I have an unusal setup. I have a UBNT EdgeRouter X SFP. Small, robust, steel case, fanless (silent) rugged, and no wifi or bells and whistles. Not consumer-friendly...alot to wade through/not use except in enterprise or WISP management.

I don't really recommend an Edge Router to consumers, simply because the interface and configuration is not meant for a non-tech person (consumer) to manage.

But it is small, low cost, reliable, and does POE for APs. Just a POE switch can cost nearly as much...so it is a great value and makes for clean cabling (with up to 4 APs or other wired devices).

I wanted to avoid different brand APs too, and knowing I was going Unifi made it easy to choose a small, non-wifi router. Not that many choices out there, especially with built-in POE. It just works...no reboots for many months, typically only for firmware updates, not for any problems.

You could try running Unifi APs with the Synology, but I would be inclined to turn off the Synology wifi to avoid any hand-off issues...and to keep it simple. It may seem like a waste, but the Synology has great features outside of wireless, and is easy to manage, so most of its value is in software IMHO. I have never tried to integrate Unifi APs with other brands of APs...I see this discussion of how to do it, and you can see some of the possible problems or shortcomings.

Unifi makes a small wired router, and it uses the same interface/system as the APs, which is tempting. But it costs more, would require a switch (more cost, more mess), and it doesn't get great reviews...folks have said it is underpowered. So, at least for me, the Edge router was: smaller, simpler cabling, no performance issues, and much cheaper. The only downside is a separate tool/interface to set up and manage.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: pldelisle

Velin

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,603
1,072
Hearst Castle
Have you thought about Ethernet over powerline adapters w/ WiFi? They work great, I prefer them to the “mesh” systems. Wired signal throughput is superior.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.