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740 posts

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# 177221 27-Jul-2015 07:44
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After many years of good service, my Tomato-laden WRT54gs is starting to show it's age as we have more connected devices (3 laptops, two PCs and a Roku). In addition, although we currently have ADSL2, I'm anticipating upgrading to UFB once it becomes available in our area sometime later this year. Am planning on the 100/20 plan at this stage.

Our house is a 2 story brick place, 170m2 each story. The current wifi strength doesn't cut it, so the upstairs WRT54gs is boosted by an Ethernet Over Power wifi box downstairs. Running cat5/6 cable would be difficult, but not impossible given the construction of our house, so a wifi implementation is preferable.

After some considerable reading, I think I've narrowed my selection down to the mikrotik RB2011UiAS-2HND-IN or the ASUS RT-N66. I have no AC clients, and don't anticipate any for quite some time, so AC or dual band radios are not needed. Both routers have 600MHz CPUs and should have enough RAM/CPU power to run my OpenVPN network and route traffic around the house. Basicaly would be looking at a router for the next say 5 years, so it doesn't have to be the be-all-end-all right now.

Mikrotik:
Pros: cheaper, prosumer-quality, well reviewed, 1mw wifi transmitter with supposedly very good coverage possibly avoiding the need for an additional AP, PoE (could be useful if I need to add a Ubiqiti AP)
Cons: supposedly steep learning curve with RouterOS, limited openVPN implementation (no UDP, no compression)

ASUS:
Pros: I'm very familiar with dd-wrt (and its decent openVPN implementation), well reviewed & supposedly good quality (for a consumer-level box).
Cons: Lower transmit power, no PoE, more expensive.

I've also considered an appliance running pfsense with separate dedicated wireless APs (like the ubiquitis), but even I reckon this is probably overkill for our current and anticipated needs.

So, in your esteemed opinions - the ASUS or the mikrotik, or any others not here mentioned?

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  # 1352255 27-Jul-2015 08:14
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Don't base your decision on WiFi power. The days on 1 "high power" AP being a solution for WiFi are long gone. Most people also forget the type of AP/antenna is pretty irrelevant as it's devices that need to talk back, it's not a one way medium.

I use a lot of Mikrotik hardware but it has a steep learning curve.



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  # 1352296 27-Jul-2015 09:25
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You will find with a high power AP that the 'signal strength' seems to be better around the area you cover but because the device will have a much smaller radio/antenna combo it won't be able to talk back and be useless.

I would say grab a Mikrotik and a couple of Unifi AP's and place them where you want wifi coverage as opposed to just a generally central area. Remember to that wifi is 'as the crow flies' too so look at how many walls etc it has to go through to get to where you are going. In my old place I had one access point in the lounge/dining and then one in the hall way close to the bedrooms - despite the house only being 140m^2. This gave excellent coverage and, more importantly, performance all over the place.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1352342 27-Jul-2015 10:12
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I know you said you don't need it, but you're comparing a dual band device with a single band device. The RB2011UiAS-2HND-IN is 2.4ghz only, and relying on this band for any decent sort of performance these days is not a good idea except in specific situations where you have minimal interference - which is almost never the case in urban environments. 

2.4ghz should be relied on as a secondary band, not the primary access band, and multiple 5ghz capable APs should be used to cover multiple floors. (eg one on each floor)

Additionally, the maximum throughput you'll get on 2.4ghz will be barely half of your UFB plan in the future at best in ideal conditions, more likely to get a third to quarter of it if you've got more interference. Remembering that wifi is a shared medium, this doesn't bode well.

While you could just go for 2.4 only, not deploying 5ghz would be short sighted in terms of future devices - it doesn't have to be AC either, even N 5ghz such as in that N66U is still a much better choice than single band.

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  # 1352365 27-Jul-2015 10:24
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Yeah I'd look at adding an unfi to the floor with poor wifi coverage, you can still use your ethernet over power link to connect the unfi to the router.

I actually have a Mikrotik RB2011 at work and an Asus RT-N66 at home (running Tomato, Shibby version).

Tomato basically has a far better web ui compared to the Mikrotik web ui and winbox, it's more more convenient. If you're willing to learn the command line and have a strong grasp of networking then yes the Mikrotik technically better and it is better in terms of rack mounting in a wall cabinet and so on.

For home I'd take Tomato as convenience wins.

Tomato Shibby:
- Router List: http://tomato.groov.pl/?page_id=69
- Screenshots: http://tomato.groov.pl/?page_id=31



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Ultimate Geek


  # 1352492 27-Jul-2015 12:46
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Cool - thanks for the input so far.

Looks like a general trend towards the ASUS - and the 1mW transmitter advice is in keeping with what I had thought (re: two-way comms nature of wifi), hence the idea to add ubiquiti AP(s). The only thing holding me back from the ASUS is the lack of PoE, which would *greatly* enhance my ability to deploy the Ubiquitis.

So: a couple of other options would be:

1. Ubiquiti Edgerouter ERPoe-5 - power over ethernet, 5-LAN ports (currently I need about 4), plenty of routing grunt for 200mbit fibre connection, good integration with APs (https://www.ubnt.com/edgemax/edgerouter-poe/)

2. Pfsense SG-2440 - plenty of grunt, runs pfsense which looks like it would do everything I need (& more, including full openVPN integration). (https://www.pfsense.org/products/product-family.html#sg-2440). Starts getting a bit more pricey though.

3. An ASUS router with PoE as an addon / hack?

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  # 1352500 27-Jul-2015 12:52
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if your going to add access points why buy a device that has wifi? why not just buy something that can do the authentication and sort out the hard wired connections and leave the access points for the wifi



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  # 1352502 27-Jul-2015 12:58
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Jase2985: if your going to add access points why buy a device that has wifi? why not just buy something that can do the authentication and sort out the hard wired connections and leave the access points for the wifi


Good points, hence my re-think above :) - which will cost more, but definitely be future-proof in the forseeable UFB upgrade future.

In terms of an all-in-one, I guess I'm hoping that an all-on-one router upstairs would provide adequate coverage there, therefore only needing AP(s) for downstairs (or vice versa depending on where I eventually get the fibre ONT fitted). The bandwidth-heavy appliances (SVOD) are all downstairs, although my backend server is upstairs, so getting decent bandwidth from that downstairs is also desirable.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1352523 27-Jul-2015 13:20
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One other option is, to use powerline ethernet adaptor with/without wifi access point.

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?p=search&sf=Netcomm+powerline


So you can use cheap router but multiple AP in every power point!





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  # 1352524 27-Jul-2015 13:20
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I wouldn't have POE in the selection criteria; you can get a separate POE injector for $15-20



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  # 1352714 27-Jul-2015 17:25
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nakedmolerat: One other option is, to use powerline ethernet adaptor with/without wifi access point.

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?p=search&sf=Netcomm+powerline


So you can use cheap router but multiple AP in every power point!


Yep - already got a couple of the TP link (AV500's). They're useful for avoiding running cable and are currently able to deliver ~1Mbit/sec, which is OK for our current setup but not really enough for the planned HD/Fibre update :)

Thanks for the heads up re: PoE injectors, which do indeed sway me towards the N66 now.

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  # 1352768 27-Jul-2015 18:16
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Don't the unfi's use passive PoE so won't be compatible with the Miktotik anyway?

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  # 1352870 27-Jul-2015 20:15
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PANiCnz: Don't the unfi's use passive PoE so won't be compatible with the Miktotik anyway?


Mikrotik POE out is passive. so you can plug in a UniFi that uses passive POE (most do)


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  # 1353015 28-Jul-2015 07:56
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Yeh might be worthwhile looking at separate units. Have not used an ASUS so cant comment.

 

The unifi's are fantastic. The only thing is if you want dual band you will have to buy the unifi pro or unifi ac which are quite expensive. 

 

I have a reasonably cheap setup with a microtik and a unifi AP (just the normal $125+GST one from gowifi). I only really get about 20Mbps around some areas of my house, but thats all i really need it covers 1080p netflix to my Roku etc.

There are also other wifi AP's which are cheaper than the unifi pro that might be worthwhile looking at. 

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  # 1353481 28-Jul-2015 15:12
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sultanoswing:
nakedmolerat: One other option is, to use powerline ethernet adaptor with/without wifi access point.

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?p=search&sf=Netcomm+powerline


So you can use cheap router but multiple AP in every power point!


Yep - already got a couple of the TP link (AV500's). They're useful for avoiding running cable and are currently able to deliver ~1Mbit/sec, which is OK for our current setup but not really enough for the planned HD/Fibre update :)

Thanks for the heads up re: PoE injectors, which do indeed sway me towards the N66 now.


That's quite slow. I'm getting well over 200Mbit with my netcomm.







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  # 1353983 29-Jul-2015 01:18
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Sorry - that should have been ~1MB/sec ;). Lots of variables in EoP, such as length of wiring, quality/age of wiring, other devices on the line etc.

Aaaanyway - thanks for all the input/info. I decided to pull the trigger on the ASUS RT-AC68U. Sure it's a consumer-grade box, and as much as I'd like to tinker with a new router software (such as pfsense or routerOS) in all honesty the RT-AC68U should cover my current and projected fibre needs and with the choice of flashing ASUSwrt-Merlin or good ol' Tomato, I took the low road. Can always add extra Ubiquiti APs if needed.

Besides, I still plan to install pfsense on my *nix server in a VM and have a poke :)


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