Need Suggestions for Wifi Access Point

Hello! I am looking for suggestions for a good wifi access point (AP) for my sister-in-law’s home. Their kids will be at home for the semester and I’m helping setup their home network. (If all goes well they have an IPFire in there also!)

  • three (3) APs total in basement, main level and upstairs.
  • each AP with its own ethernet connection
  • mesh not needed
  • bridge to ethernet needed
  • single SSID for all APs
  • 802.11n and 802.11ac or better
  • 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz
  • US channels
  • 16 devices (iMac, iPhones, iPads, smarts TVs, streaming devices, xbox)

Does anyone have suggestions?

Thank you!

Take a look on Ubiquiti UniFi series.

3 Likes

At home, I have an Asus AC86U and an Asus AC68U. AP mode with Aimesh.
Dual core processors. Enough for this demand.

1 Like

Hi,

i think its more then only worth to think about a maybe already owned old hardware, even if you must buy a new one.

https://openwrt.org/supported_devices

Often you dont get a very well supportet hardware or none anymore. Also you have a bunch of possibilities after flashing with openwrt.

3 Likes

Simple fix is to get some used routers, turn everything off on them except wifi, and plug them into the IPFire green lan.

IPFire does the DHCP.

If you want 5G, you’ll have to make sure the routers you pick up have it.

I have 4 floors, and use a Fritzbox on the green LAN for the AP on the 3rd floor, with a mesh amplifier you plug into the wall on each floor. I, too, have Win, Mac, Linux, Android devices. Works very well.

Just make sure the router you used for the AP is on the green LAN and DHCP is turned off. Let IPFire run everything.

1 Like

We have used Engenius WAPs for years. Ultra-reliable but the setup is designed for IT people not home users. There have been occasional quirky issues with disconnects on Apple devices, which usually go away after the next Apple iOS upgrade. They can do everything in your requirements list.

Another great choice is Ubiquiti. They are great equipment but have moved strongly into cloud management and their devices are very dependent on it. If you are not comfortable with everything in the cloud, they are not for you.

Used Cisco is an option but you really have to be invested in Cisco infrastructure and knowledge to use them.

Most of the rest are either very expensive or home user items. Depends on your needs and budget.

1 Like

Grandstream APs.

1 Like

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!

@pike_it - do you currently use the Ubiquiti UniFi series? How do you like them?

@rgnldo - I’ll take a look at the Asus AC86U and an Asus AC68U. Thanks!

@tulpenknicker - I’ll look at the openwrt.com effort. I am not sure I want to be experimenting on my sister-in-law. But it would be a fun project for me!

@jack-long - Hi Jack! Welcome to the IPFire Community!
I’ll probably stick to something new for the sister-in-law. And no cell 5G. I don’t want it to come back and bite me. I’ll probably stay away from mesh since they’ll be an ethernet connection on each floor.

@fkienker - I’ll look at the Engenius WAPs and Ubiquiti. I may steer away from cloud management. I hadn’t thought about it before but I don’t want to be too firmly tied to the cloud. Something to think about! I don’t have any experience with Cisco.

@xperimental - do you currently use the Grandstream APs? Which one? How do you like them? I just bought a Grandstream SIP device and it was a “challenge” to set-up.

Thank you again - Lots of reviews to do!

The Unifi AP’s can be used in a manage environment or un managed.
They are not tied to Cloud management.
I use one of there AC Pro AP’s
And I also do the old router trick. Turn of DHCP etc.

1 Like

I do not use them because my setup does not need it, but i installed few (10-12) and i quite like them.
The (free) management software is a bit a PITA (should be running 24/7 to gain advantage of the features) but when installed is easy to use and manage, you can extend your setup quite easily adding devices if needed.

In a domestic environment, the devices are “nice”, they work really well, the extension of the coverage is good and the bandwidth is really interesting.

No affiliation with Ubiquiti.

Another brand and device group can be Nebula-enabled AP By Zyxel. They can be managed standalone, but the base cloud management of Zyxel is free and there are some not expensive AP’s that be buyed and used into an house. Never give a shot of Nebula management because every time I installed one of them the cloud management was not an option/interesting.

BTW 5G Wireless lan is really useful when close to the AP, the latency is dramatically lower and the bandwidth is quite interesting.

1 Like

why a PITA?

Is the 24x7 running software just for monitoring? Hopefully no babysitting.

For the setup at sister-in-law’s house I plan to set it up and forget it unless something goes wrong.

Why is bandwidth interesting?

 

I’ve been looking at this:

Hopefully I don’t need cloud set-up.

No it don’t. I got one of these (for now about 1,5 yaers) and i’m totally happy. For the first setup you’ll need the controller UI (better than doing the setup via shell directly on the AP). I installed it on a RasPi 3 (with raspian) that wasn’t in use. If you did your setup and don’t want to change anything you may take the RasPi for other purposes.

Software to setup is free.
And I have seen they have DD-WRT firmware. for some models.!?
https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/

Because if you don’t have a “low consumption” device as a Pi or CubiEBoard for the management, you have to keep a computer powered on and a service/server (well… a few) to collect data and store stats from your AP’s

Also, the management can be linked to a cloud management account, so you can run/manage remotely the network, and update not only management, but also the firmware of the devices.
Anyway: after the setup, management do not need to be kept running all the time for the AP to works, even after power shortage.But… i suggest you to keep it running at least a couple of months, only to help evaluate use, bandwith hogs and even which device need… ethernet than a wireless card :slight_smile:

Bandwidth has been defined “interesting” because a pricier AC-Pro gives more transport capacity on 5GHZ, allowing the increase of data exchange between hosts into the network. This come handy in massive file transfers and LAN streaming from devices like NASes/video banks with more resolution than 2k.

Also… you don’t mention any ISP capacity/speed. Maybe after 400mbps the AC AP Lite could show the limit.

1 Like

I have a Unifi AP AC Lite and it is working fine. It has a very good coverage and I only need the one to give me good coverage throughout the house.

You don’t need to have the management software running to be able to use the AP as long as you are not intending to use the Guest Portal option as that needs the software to be running.
Without the portal the only thing you lose by not having the management software running is the statistics for the AP connections, speeds, dropped packets etc. I haven’t missed that for my home use of the unit.

The only problem I had with it was when I set it up to get an IP address from ipfire by dhcp. It would work most of the time but occasionally it couldn’t connect and it’s fall back seemed to be to set a fixed IP in another subnet from the one I was using. Then I would need to basically reset the AP and restart it. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was so in the end I set a fixed IP in the AP and it has worked fine since then.

I have been using it now for over 6 months.

1 Like

@jon after your choice, come back to tell us your experience. And what did you enjoy most of your AP set.

2 Likes

At the moment I am leaning toward:
:one: - Unifi AP AC Lite or maybe
:two: - Unifi AP AC IW (In Wall).

I’ll be able to add comments about the install but probably not many comments about the use. The set-up will be at an in-laws house so I may not hear anything.

Thanks again to all and I’ll report back!

Edit:
• No NAS (yet?)
• And the speed is 50 Mb down x 5 Mb up. Maybe someday will update to 200 x 10.

@pike_it , @bonnietwin, et al. -

I will (should) be receiving my Unifi AP any moment and I am still reading the guides & Ubiquiti web site. Much of this is over my head and I have a few beginning questions.

I want to stay away from a Ubiquiti cloud setup. Do I need to setup a Ubiquiti account to setup / configure the Unifi AP? When I load Java and the Unifi.app on my iMac, the Unifi Controller ask for a password & ID. Is there a direct way to configure the Unifi AP without calling the mother ship? (I realize this is not the Ubiquiti support site but I am hoping someone has gone thru the same and can point me to the right webpage/website)

Thank you!

PS - I didn’t want to do shell commands to setup / config either unless there is a nice setup command like IPFire!

Ahh! <-- excitement
I think I found something!

1 Like

Hi Jon,
That looks very interesting. I never found that in any of my google searches. Oh well.
You will have to let us know how you get on with it. I might give it a try myself. Will have to check that it can be used to set up vlans as I have my Unifi AP with two vlans, one for green and one for blue.

Regarding the Ubiquiti account. You don’t need to set one up but the wizard doesn’t make that very clear. I only read that I didn’t need to do that some time after I had done it. However, even if you do, you can disable it in the controller software. However this probably no longer is an issue if you use the app.

Good luck,

Bonnietwin

1 Like