Our old apartment was small enough that the AT&T Fiber-supplied modem covered the entire space with awesome WiFi. The new house is just a little too big for a single base station to cover reliably and is currently suffering from Xfinity cable Internet with two Xpods (Comcast’s own mesh networking device, comparable to Eero; so we have three access points including the modem/base). The system does not seem reliable and oftentimes devices are not connected to the nearest pod, but rather are trying to talk to the base station.
The house was built in 2003 and has a fair number of CAT5 runs, many of them never terminated. My plan is the following:
- return the rented Xfinity modem/WiFi router and replace with a Motorola MB8611 that can be mounted to a wall near where the cable comes in and the CAT5 wires gather (don’t want to put this in a cabinet because it can draw 15 watts)
- install a compact 16-port Power-over-Ethernet switch in the A/V wall cabinet where the CAT5 wires come in (the cabinet is 14″ wide by 19″ high and 3.5″ deep; it has a cover that can be left off for cooling, but has no provision for airflow); The UniFi Switch Lite is an example of something that would fit (only 7×7″) and will drive half the ports with power.
- give the Xpods away to a neighbor
- install three WiFi access points inside the house and one outside, all driven by PoE; maybe something like the UniFi “mesh” access point?
The neighborhood is packed with busy physicians and dentists who apparently aren’t capable of watching TV or getting an iPhone online without significant assistance. (By contrast, none of our neighbors in the apartment building reported any trouble getting everything that they wanted from AT&T!) It is common to see A/V service providers’ trucks, therefore, and when I ask them what they install for network hardware the answer is always “Ruckus and Araknis,” never the brands that I’ve used before (Cisco, Netgear, Linksys). One installer said that the Ruckus gear is used by municipalities to provide public WiFi (not by the Palm Beach County Schools, apparently, since the other night the guest network was non-functional and also Verizon mobile data was unusable, as is typical in Jupiter) and that he likes it because his company logs in every morning to each client’s house to make sure that all of the equipment is operating properly and has the latest software updates applied.
Readers who are networking experts: What is the correct solution for a standard McMansion like ours? UniFi, Araknis, Ruckus, or “other”? We don’t want to pay an A/V firm to log in every day and, in fact, don’t need any capability of remote management (though maybe it would be nice if we have a house-sitter and the network fails?).
Ruckus is professional wireless networking. Good stuff but you pay for it.
As for Araknis I have to ask how you even heard of it. Are you dealing with an A/V installer? If so they are trying to scam you. Araknis is mediocre quality gear sold only through “dealers” at crazy prices. They target people who want to throw money at problems instead of doing any research.
An advantage of UniFi for me is that a friend has a big setup and is an expert on configuration. At a minimum, I think that I want to pay an A/V company to do the CAT5 terminations and clean-up in the A/V cabinet. A degree in electrical engineering does not imply skill at CAT5 crimping compared to someone who does it all day every day.
From a security point of view, is remote management a feature or a bug? Xfinity can presumably log every web site that we visit, but why create additional opportunities for individuals or governments to see that, for example, household members are viewing misinformation on a Muskified Twittter?