Home network hardware suggestions needed

I’m looking for home network suggestions.

I have used Apple AirPort Extreme base stations for years all broadcasting the same SSID and one acting as the router with the rest in bridge mode. This worked great until I needed better Wi-Fi speeds (AEBS supports up to 150Mbps 802.11n). Additionally, the AEBS seems capped at about 200Mbps on the WAN side as running a speed test on my 300Mbps service would only produce 200Mbps even over Ethernet.

So I went to UniFi with a USG, a couple nanoHD, and a USW-24-250W. Eventually upgrading the USG to a UDMP. I’d like to forget about this phase of my life. I eventually got fed up with poor Wi-Fi connectivity and sold it all after about 2.5 years.

Right now I have eero Pro 6. I’ve had it for 6 months and it has been frustrating to say the least. I am encountering 2 major issues that I have fully troubleshot and documented with network logs and time stamps and their support has completely ghosted me not wanting to troubleshoot any further. One of them is a broadcast packet storm caused whenever I send or receive an SMS/MMS. This packet storm is on the order of 11k packets per second and continues until I disconnect my phone from Wi-Fi. Until then, my upload speed is saturated/crippled and my download speed is about half of what it should be. It is caused by an ESP (encapsulated security payload) packet being sent out of sequence or dropped.

So anyway, I’m looking for your suggestions for a decent home network solution. Some requirements:

  • ceiling mounted APs
  • “flat” network architecture (no VLANs, no guest networks, etc)
  • router suggestions (I don’t have extra hardware laying around to run pfsense or OPNsense)
  • budget is under $700 USD

I have been looking at TP-Link Omada EAP670 with their ER7206 router (I can then run their controller in a docker container). Also looked at their EAP610v2 and EAP650 as a slightly cheaper alternative. I have also considered a couple Aruba Instant On AP22 with a firewalla purple router. Also looked at the new AP25, but not sure I need all the new Wi-Fi stuff (my newest Wi-Fi device is an iPhone 13 Pro Max). Looked at ruckus briefly before falling out of my chair at even the used resale prices.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

If you had poor wifi connectivity with a UDMP solution, the only thing I can say is you did something wrong.

Not here to change your mind - or to defend some company I have zero vested interest in. I don’t make even a single nickel if you buy anything from them. LOL

That said - I have 4 AP6 LRs and two WIFI6 outdoor APs, all wired directly. This covers my ~3900sf house, as well as my entire yard - and then some - with not so much as a single issue. I work from home full-time, am on wifi calling 8 hours a day, and my wife works from home 2 days per week as well.

Add to that well over 100 wireless devices on the network (including 8 wifi cameras), and I’d say it’s quite a solid solution.

As with everything else in life, the devil is in the details. I’m an IT consultant by day, and have seen the absolute best-in-class of a product line configured so poorly that it performed at only 10% of it’s potential. Not saying thats what happened to you, but… All I can say is if you do the homework, choose the correct APs for your application, and configure it all correctly, it can, and does, work quite well.

The HA integrations for Ubiquiti are also very nice, and quite powerful. Just something else to think about.

Best of luck in your search!

Thanks for the response. There are many other reasons I left Ubiquiti/UniFi, not just for the poor wifi performance with everything set to defaults (and also tuned with their suggestions in their support topics and forums). I will never go back to Ubiquiti products again.

Fair enough. I’ve had my own struggles with them. Some have been related to the hardware I was using (fast roaming on my old phone worked terribly, new one its seamless), some have been related to hardware failure of ubiquiti (had to have 1 of 4 APs and 1 of 3 doorbells replaced already), but so far, the benefits outweigh the bad - for me.

Please come back and update the thread, I’ll be interested to hear what you chose and how it performs for you.

I have a firewalla purple that should be delivered in a few days. I think I’m going with the Aruba Instant On AP22. Those will be ordered in a couple weeks. The TP-Link Omada looked like good contenders but I kept finding much more positive posts and reviews of the firewalla purple and AP22 combo. The only thing I’m still trying to figure out is the AP22 (2x2 AX1800 Wi-Fi 6) vs AP25 (4x4 AX5400 Wi-Fi 6). I could also possibly go for the slightly cheaper AP12 or AP15 which are 802.11ac wave 2 since I only have 2 devices which are Wi-Fi 6 devices but only 2x2.

I always opt for futureproofing, personally. When I put all this stuff in initially, I had only 1 phone that was wifi 6. Now I have 2 phones, 2 laptops, and a tablet. Eventually, older tech will age out and you’ll appreciate having it available. For me, endpoints get replaced FAR quicker than infrastructure does…

On the flip side, a buddy built a new house last year, and just went with the access point ac pros. He is lamenting that decision since every time he comes to my house he hops on my wifi 6 guest network now. LOL

I’ve had the Firewalla installed for a couple days. There were a few growing pains as I made a lot of changes at one time. I installed the Firewalla. I removed my Pi-hole (both a docker instance and an RPi0w). I put my eero into bridge mode as I don’t have the AP22 yet.

The Firewalla handles local DNS and hostname lookups beautifully, though I found out the hard way my Synology NAS doesn’t use it for name resolution… :man_shrugging: Anyway, as far how this works with home automation and HA, everything worked for me. I had to make one tweak which is a DNS redirect to point my DDNS back to an internal IP. My Pi-hole used to handle this, now the Firewalla does and it was well documented by them and took a single line of code. This is so I can have internal name resolution of my DDNS with SSL without needing a hairpin NAT or loop back. Plus if my internet ever goes down, I still have local control of my HA.

After fighting the DNS issues with Pi-hole and finding the nice work around with the Firewalla, I decided to enable the ad block services of the Firewalla and see how they do. I was pleasantly surprised when it worked as intended and does everything the Pi-hole did and then some more. So that’s why I deprecated my Pi-hole instances in favor of the built in services of the Firewalla.

So far, this just works and I haven’t had a single device complain about not getting an IP (unlike the eero), I haven’t had any devices take down my network because it couldn’t handle packet routing (unlike the eero), and I have a lot of customizable features including some I’m not using like VPN, VLANs, etc (unlike the eero).

I’ll probably pick up 2 or 3 of the AP22 in the coming weeks. I’m still not sure if I should go with the AP22 or the AP25. Like I mentioned above, they are both Wi-Fi 6 and 802.11ax, but one is 2x2 whereas the other is 4x4 and ~$90 more. But I only have 2 Wi-Fi 6 devices that are only 2x2 and that’s not changing for a while…

One more update. I’ve had the Aruba Instant On AP22 installed (3 of them) for about a week. No issues that I have noticed. Everything seems very solid and haven’t needed to reboot anything or deal with clients connecting or reconnecting. I like that the AP22 can have the WLAN tagged with a VLAN and I don’t need a managed switch. That works very well with the Firewalla Purple. I’ve done a lot of digging into the features of the Firewalla Purple as well. I have deprecated my PiHole installs in favor of the built-in ad blocking and also setup a WireGuard VPN. And lastly, I have not experienced any of the issues that I did with eero revolving around the poor handling of ESP payload traffic when in a wired backhaul configuration. The only drawback of the AP22 I have noticed so far is my wireless signal is not as strong in certain areas of my home and the wireless speed is not as fast as when using eero. However, I have not seen any real world impact in terms of data transfer or general internet usage.