General network/wi-fi reliability/recommendations

Hope this is the right category for this question; there was no obvious choice to me. My wi-fi is old (N300) and crappy. I have a wired router (TP-Link RL-470T) that’s been great and 100% trouble-free but the two TL-WA-801N WAPs (one at each end of the house) that provide wi-fi have never been great and since reliability is a key element of home automation, I think it’s time that I upgraded my system. I’d like to get your thoughts and input on the following, please…

  1. What have you done to insure the reliability of your home automation efforts from a networking perspective?
  2. Do you use/recommend static IP addresses and/or DHCP reservations?
  3. Are the new mesh systems better/worth the money?
  4. What about using wi-fi (especially with a mesh setup?) to track who’s home and movement within the house?
  5. Anyone using/recommend powerline products/systems? (I’m particularly intrigued by the ones that combine a WAP with 2 or 3 Ethernet ports.)
  6. If you were revamping your network today, what would you buy?
  7. Any other thoughts/suggestions?
  1. I run Ubiquiti edgerouter and UAC-LR access point, along with a Cisco 3650 48 port Poe switch.

  2. Depends. All my home automation devices go on a VLAN that is separate from my regular or guest network. All iOT objects get DHCP reservation, while servers and the NUC running home automation, get static.

  3. Don’t have much experience with them.

  4. I only need one UAC-LR for my 2500 sq ft home + half acre (WiFi reaches out to the end of my property) so I can’t track by room without using Bluetooth beacons. Honestly, you shouldn’t need that many access points anyway.

  5. Powerline Ethernet is terrible. It should only be used as a last resort.

  6. I would actually replace my switch with a Ubiquiti unifi switch, and the router with a USG. Nothing else would need to change.

  7. Not really

1 - bought a really decent router after lots of research and reading reviews, ended up with an Asus model, it’s been great.

2 - I use static ip for anything that supports it, and dhcp reservations for things that need to be static but don’t have the option themselves, with anything else dynamic. This is based on the concept that if my router dies I’ll only have to set up a few items on dhcp reservation as all the static stuff will already be sorted.

3 - no idea

4 - the problem with WiFi tracking seems to be with phones and things dropping connections or going to sleep, rather than an issue with routers AFAICT, so probably irrelevant.

5 - I don’t use them, but a friend swears by Tp-link, and he’s not particularly a techie so it’s probably a good review as he would be hopping mad if it wasn’t reliable.

6 - I’m pretty happy with the setup I have tbh

7 - Research, research, research, and get the best kit based on a ratio of function/budget