2024 Wifi Recommendations

Hey there,

I’ve been using Google Fiber and its provided router along with mesh extenders for a good while. Initially, the setup was decent enough, but of late, the performance has really taken a dive - it’s become quite erratic and just doesn’t hold up reliability-wise. I’m now leaning towards getting my own high-quality equipment.

My home does present some unique challenges, it’s an older construction with new additions, meaning there are exterior walls that the signal needs to get through to cover all areas. This definitely means I’ll need to look into mesh points or similar solutions to achieve the coverage I desire. I’m still in the early stages of figuring out the best tech solutions and what exactly to look for, as this is somewhat uncharted territory for me.

With that context, I also wanted to reach out to this community to just see if anyone has some quick tips to share while I begin to research. If anyone has recommendations or advice based on gear they’ve had great experiences with, I’d really appreciate hearing about it.

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can share!

I won’t be the only to recommend this: Ubiquiti UniFi. Solid as a rock. I run a Dream Machine Pro with 3x AP’s (2 in my house and one in my shed) and the coverage and reliability has been brilliant. I’ve had the setup for a few years now, no issues.

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I would spend some time and effort to identify the specific and quantifiable problems, and the causes of those problems, before buying new gear. You don’t want to spend a lot of money to have the same problems.

Since you currently have Google Fiber provided gear, have you tried to work with them to resolve the problems?

There are tools to help you diagnose problems on your own but it takes some skill to use them. And there is some skill in making sure wi-fi access points are positioned and setup properly (location, channel selection, type of antenna, power settings, etc.)

In general, I try to avoid mesh networks as much as possible. I hard-wire to all my access points.

P.S. I also use Unifi networking switches and access points but I prefer to use pfSense as my router.

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Over the years as I moved from one ISP to another I have amassed a number of routers. I converted these to access points connected by ethernet. I haven’t had to resort to mesh. That would be a potentially cheap way of working out what you needed to provide a network for IOT before moving to something more expensive. I moved to using second hand routers then flashed with Openwrt. That would then be a new rabbit hole to go down.

New skills to acquire.

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I would love to hard wire to all the access points. The issue is that they installed the line in a very inconvenient spot, and I’d love to run a new line in through the attic but unfortunately that’s something I can’t even pay for? According to Google support… which seems weird but ok.

Either way, inconvenient does not mean impossible, so perhaps the solution is to put forth the effort there like you’re saying. I’ll definitely be looking more into that before I purchase anything.

Some powerline adapters or Wifi bridge may get you over that initial gap if you can’t drop an ethernet cable down to the google router. I have used both in past but neither as good as a cable.

I used TP-Link powerline adapters when I was in a rental and they worked really well. I never had any issues with them at all. Could definitely be an option for the O.P. even if only short term.

The only guarantee of performance improvement is to hard-wire your APs.
Meshing and powerline networking can both work, but performance is “subject to survey”, ie depends on your exact environment.
I just pulled some cat6 down from my loft [where the router is] through the wall cavity, to the living room. I wish I had done this 5y ago when I first moved in to this house. This has replaced some [admittedly ancient] TP-Link powerline adaptors that would give anywhere from 5-100Mbps, depending on how long it had been since the last reboot.
Pulling and terminating ethernet cable is not for everybody, but it is basically the gold standard.

Meshing and powerline networking

Note that, on top of those options, and if you have a couple of coaxial outlets around your home, there is also the option of using MoCA adapters to achieve hardwired backhaul for your mesh wifi.
It is similar to powerline adapters from the HW perspectives, and behaves just like direct ethernet cable connection, but the networking goes through coax cables.

Oh… looks like I just have found the video to outline the conversion:

(The keywords for googling were “googld fiber moca”, BTW.)

I gave up on my Verizon router. It had become very unreliable after I had more than 60 clients on my LAN. WiFi devices wouldn’t connect or they would drop offline. I finally went with the TP-Link Omada solution and my LAN has been solid ever since.

Why mesh? WAPs should be all you need, and I have not been thrilled with Mesh performance. Someone mentioned powerline adapters. Don’t. I’ve tried a few and NEVER gotten more than 100 mbps with them.

Here is my shopping list:
ER7206 Router
EAP-610 Access Point (2)
EAP-615-Wall Access Point (2)
TL-SG1210P 8 Port Gigabit PoE Switch,
TL-SG1005P 5 Port Gigabit PoE Switch

(TP-Link Omada gear has the reputation of being Ubiquiti on a budget).