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Posts: 11
Registered: ‎07-07-2017

Velop or Router with Access Points?

Hello,

 

I'm really seeking some good solid advice here folks regarding upgrading my existing Apple AirPorts to a mesh or router with access point system.  I'm not a big pro here, I do know some as you'll see below.  But, I am definately drawn to the convenience of the mesh system all working together in one app with easy setup etc.  After much effort, my Airport setup still dissapoints with frequent slow loading video, poor range overall etc.  It's time to upgrade.  Here's my situation:

 

Currently:

1. I have 1 Airport Extreme and 2 Airport Expresses. 

Airport Extreme connects via thernet to both Expresses, cable I've run one way or another when using them as repeaters wirelessly failed miserably.  It's a pretty big house I'm covering here.

2. Whats so important is that I have MANY many devices connected well beyond phones and tablets.  I need a router system that can handle that.  Also, I need a system that can handle playing music via AirPlay through iTunes flawlessly.  Currently, my wired speakers handle it great and my 4 wireless speakers work 90% of the time, which is acceptable, barely.   I've read that Orbi has had some issues with reliability when it comes to airplay, so that's a concern.

 

Scenario 1:  Orbi or Velop

1. Replace the 3 Airports with a 2 unit Orbi or a 2/3 unit Velop system.  I could still keep my Airport expresses connected in bridge mode and use them for airplay speakers, connected via ethernet branched off the main router.  The wifi would need to feed the rest of the wireless speakers in the house however.

2. I currently have 3 WIRED locations, and with Orbi I cannot connect them via ethernet for the backhaul, it MUST be done via wireless tri band.  So, this begs the question, is Orbi SOOOO good and reliable that even running wirelessley it's better/as good as a router with wired access points?  Will the backhaul required when using airplay suffer since the rest of the system is forced to use the wireless backhaul and not ethernet?  Or is it all just so amazingly perfect and range extending that it will all beat the 3 Airports I have spread through my 3,000 sqft home? 

3. Velop DOES support ethernet backhaul connecting, but is not rated as highly for range and Airplay reliability.  Thoughts?

 

Scenario 2: TriBand Routher plus access points

1. I could easily just swap out my existing 3 units for 1 Nighthawk AC3200 router and 2 AC1900 access points or like Linksys routhers (suggestions please?).  Is there a system that is already bundled or MADE from Linksys to work flawlessly together in this configuration?  Netgear recommended a powerful Nighthawk but the only "access point" type device I could find was the AC1900, which is dual band while the router I would get would be 3 band. 

2. this begs the question, what is the TriBand used for in a wired system?  Is it used to manage traffic better or is it relatively pointless as it's there to run the backhaul for wireless devices, and since I'm wiring all 3 of them together, this Tri Band dream I'm holding onto is irrelevant?  Should I just get a strong dual band with dual band extenders and call it a day?

3. Again, I'd really like this to be somewhat future proof, I don't want to bother with the wifi again for a long long time.  I want it to be able to grow and handle it.  I'll throw a decent amount of money at it to get that too.  Please, any other model configuration or brand suggestions are VERY welcome.

 

Lastly, I know the Eero system also supports the ethernet backhaul and Velop does too, right?  Is there a benefit to a wired mesh system OVER a wired routher/access point system?

 

Many thanks for any advice, thanks for your time, I know it's not a short post:-)

 

Rob

Posts: 247
Registered: ‎01-07-2012

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

Having tried both I can tell you there are pro's and con's for each.

The nice thing about having the router and wireless separate is you can administer / reboot one without affecting the other, and it also means you can upgrade or await them independently without having to reconfigure everything from scratch. This is really the config that gives you ultimate flexibility but you do end up with multiple points of administration.
In the example of a wireless router and wireless access points, this gets even worse because you are likely to have to configure and administer them as separate devices - so adding SSIDs changing VLANs etc is a manual effort to keep them all in line.

On the opposite side with something like Velop you significantly reduce your admin effort because everything is in one place, but you lose that independent upgrade option and you are also restricted to the features they choose to implement.

Personally I think the answer is to have a dedicated router if you need it (special network configurations, detailed control over firewalls etc. Then run a cluster/mesh of wireless APs like Velop behind it - so multiple easy-to-install wireless APs are configured as one. If you don't need the dedicated router features then you can go all in on the mesh/cluster similar to Velop and use the master node as the router.

Personally I was really hoping I could park myself in this final category - administer everything through the app, incl remotely , integrate into smart home etc
- however this most recent firmware has reminded me the risks of putting all your eggs in one basket. Once we get to a stable firmware release I might change my mind, but for now I'm leaning to to a dedicated hard wired router with no wireless , connected to a switch with the velop running in bridge mode downstream. That way I have the flexibility to move and reposition all the wireless nodes to get the best coverage (regardless of where the ISP modem is) , but I can still keep the core, wired network services up and running on the main router which I probably only touch once every 6 months.
The main router aspects seems to be more of a set-and-forget thing - wireless connectivity on the other hand seems to need loving and stroking weekly if not on a daily basis (troubleshooting clients, iPads that won't connect, media servers that buffer etc).
Posts: 247
Registered: ‎01-07-2012

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

Additional. To answer your other question, in a wired deployment like yours and mine, the tri-band is exclusively for connecting clients.

It's functionally the same as any dual-band router. It's just that they decided to split the high and low channels onto separate radios so you don't have to choose whether you run the 5Ghz in Ch36 or Ch149, you can run both at the same time from a single AP.
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎07-07-2017

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

Thanks for the insight. I'm not sure I'm any closer to a decision however! I really would do one or the other. Is there any wired system setup that's made to operate together??
Posts: 247
Registered: ‎01-07-2012

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

The only one I can think of is unifi.
They have a badged /stripped down version of the edgemax router branded as the enterprise security gateway (ESG). You can then manage the WAN and separate Unifi Access points all though the single unifi manager (and the LAN as well if you use a unifi LAN switch) called the unifi controller.

https://unifi-sdn.ubnt.com

I started down this road originally but I had too many issues with the AP firmware and I resented some of the hobbled features that were excluded from the ESG management. Might be useful for you though.
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-08-2017

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

Or the ultimateSmiley Happy

 

https://meraki.cisco.com/

 

Posts: 247
Registered: ‎01-07-2012

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

Oh yes, well - of course. If money is no object!! :-)
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎07-07-2017

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?

Ha! I am not gonna say it's NO object, but I'm willing to throw several hundred at it for a good option. Any other feedback?

Thx so far!
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Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-08-2018

Re: Velop or Router with Access Points?