Best WiFi Mesh system for Home Assistant in 2022

Hi all,
I am struggling to get wireless connections in all rooms in my house and think that it is time for a new mesh router.
I am currently using my ISP router and the wifi is not great.
My house is a pretty large single storey brick house and I have my IOT devices (about 15) spread around the house. My router is near the back of my house (Can’t easily move it) and after using a wifi tester, I was getting -90db at the front of my house, and the only place that I had any decent coverage is within about 15m of my router, which I guess is pretty normal.
Anyway, I think that I need to get a mesh wifi router and want to get one that is going to work really well with HomeAssistant. I saw the TP-Link M9 (3 pack) has a zigbee hub built in, as does the Eero from Amazon. Is it worth getting one with a zigbee hub, or is it just as good to use my existing ConBee II USB dongle and get more “router” units to create a better mesh?
Cost is an important factor so I probably don’t want to go the Ubiquiti Range.
Some of the parental controls and antivirus options of the TP-Link M9 look good.
I have heard some people saying that some mesh networks conflict with their HA running in Docker. Mine is running in a VM in docker, so I guess that needs to be taken into consideration too.
So many things to think about.
If anyone is currently running a mesh system with success, please let me know and what it is.
Thanks,
Simon

I usually cringe when people ask for “the best” because it more often than not masks a lack of planning and requirements. Which you’ve laid out quite well to my surprise.

Yet I feel bound to suggest taking a long hard look at wiring in any wifi AP you need. Short term cost constraints vs long term satisfaction. And hair. Definitely cannot afford to pull anymore of that out.

Mesh systems can work. You just take a gamble at signal propagation, interference, etc…

I was surprised to see a mesh system so cheap. If the nodes can be wired in, do it. I think some Velo systems can and a very quick Amazon browse showed three packs of AC era models in somewhat comparable price territory.

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Thanks for your reply.
Yes, best and lack of planning do generally go hand in hand, but I have been looking at many options, and thought best not to reinvent the wheel and see what others have had success with.
I am fairly techy, but not a networking expert, so although I know that there are some better options than mesh, I am not sure if I would know what to do.
As for wiring the additional units in, if I can get some time to do that later on, then I might do, but to get started, wireless connection to the mesh units is what I am happy with.

I have the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus as my main router wirelessly meshed with 3 Deco M5s (one of which is outside in my shed some 15m from the other M5 providing connection) - and for a reasonably cheap setup it does a good job with my 70+ networked devices.

The M9 Zigbee hub wasn’t supported in HA last I checked - but that may have changed.

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Thanks for the feedback Daryl.
I am seriously considering the Deco M9 Plus, not just for the zigbee hub but for the vast feature set.
I had not thought about the mix of M9 and M5 devices. That is an idea that I will think about too now.
Regards,
Simon.

My opinion - wait for a bit.
2022 is the year of Matter / Thread, and WiFi 6E.

I’ve already seen one router pop in my Google News today - that has Matter, 6E and Zigbee - Comcast’s new router includes Wi-Fi 6E, Zigbee, and Matter - The Verge

More will follow.

CES is just about to start https://www.ces.tech/ so we will know what else is coming this year.

Thanks Andrew,
I guess I can wait for a while. In the mean time, I guess I will need to see if I can add an additional router to my home network somehow.
I am in Australia, so Comcast is not available here. I am sure there will be loads of good stuff released at CES too. When is it?

Simon,

Grab a cheap used TP-Link or similar router from Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. Most of them can be connected via cable to you main router and work as an access point.

Just check the manual for them online before you buy to make sure they have an AP only mode. The ones provided by ISPs typically don’t.

You can also find second hand Cisco access points for as little as 20 dollars - which would be my preferred route for a cost effective interim measure.

If you go and buy an AP from Officeworks you will pay nearly as much as a set of M5s so probably not worth going that way.

And stay away from powerline extenders and wireless extenders, they typically halve at least the throughput of connected devices.

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January 5th - January 7th.

Hey Daryl,
Good advice mate, thanks.
I have a spare TP-Link and a spare Telstra router. I will have a look at them both to see if they can do AP only.
What cisco device would you recommend if any?
Do I then use the same network ID (SSID) or a new one? I guess this is different to a mesh network.

Yes, just use the same SSID but a different channel.

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Is it still seamless to transition between, say the back of house router and front of house router?

Seamless-ish. There might be a few seconds of dropout.
It’s really down to the device itself, more than the access point. The Device will always be looking for a stronger signal when it starts getting weak, and will switch to the next access point that it finds with a stronger signal, but it can take a few seconds to do it, because it has to connect and do the whole DHCP thing again.

I doubt you will notice switchover - unless you are streaming videos or playing real-time games while walking around the house.

I notice it most on WhatsApp video calls, I have Unifi Access Points.

I’ve had decent performance with both Asus AiMesh (it’s much, much better since they upgraded it to version 2.0), and with UniFi - again it’s been excellently stable compared to the older UniFi stuff that’s installed at work.

The AiMesh system has 3x RT-AX56U routers, which gives excellent WiFi6 on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

The UniFi I’m using a mix of U6-Lite, UAP-AC-M and UAP-AC-Lite. The AC-M cover the front and back yards, the AC-Lite is in the garage (which has a heap of Shelly power monitors and other IoT devices), and the U6-Lites cover inside the home. The only caveat is the U6-Lites only do WiFi6 on 5GHz, 2.4GHz is WiFi5. Not an issue, as any 2.4GHz devices are MeRoss smart switches and the likes, so no big panic there.

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Can provide the link of the ones you got thanks.