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Orbi mesh network question

GTGeek88
Guide

Orbi mesh network question

It appears Netgear and Linksys and maybe others can't seem to explain the mesh network that well. And it seems Netgear has no pre-sales tech support, so here I am.

I guess most people don't have wired homes. I do. But I still need good wireless and, like many houses, there are dead spots. It appears that some extenders (and maybe some mesh network devices) can plug into a wired network port and become an access point. The advantage being that they are not "boosting" an already weak WiFi signal, but are taking the wired network and making it wireless at that point. This should offer benefits in speed and as long as the resulting wireless network is seamless, there won't be a lot of switching of networks (either automatically by the device or manually by the user of the device). I wouldn't be in one part of my home and move to another and have to manually switch to another network (an automatic switch would be good, if the device can do that). And although I'm a software developer, keeping up with the rapid changes here in this space is daunting. So what I'm looking for is a system where each node of the wireless system plugs into the wired network and gives you a seamless and fast wireless network. Is this possible with the Orbi system or any other mesh system? Because it seems like some of these systems are really just acting a wireless extenders and boosting an already weak wireless signal is not optimal, IMHO.

Message 1 of 16

Accepted Solutions
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question


@GTGeek88 wrote:

So what I'm looking for is a system where each node of the wireless system plugs into the wired network and gives you a seamless and fast wireless network. Is this possible with the Orbi system or any other mesh system?


All models of Orbi which include ethernet ports can be connected over ethernet.  (This leave out the least expensive, newest model RBR10 series, becauses the satellites have no ethernet port.

 

The KEY to this is that the satellites need to be connected to the Orbi router LAN ports.  There have been some active discussions about pitfalls when "smart" or "green" ethernet switches are used between the router and satellite.

 

But, yes.  This is exactly how people lucky enough to have ethernet wiring typically run their Orbi systems.

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Message 2 of 16

All Replies
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question


@GTGeek88 wrote:

So what I'm looking for is a system where each node of the wireless system plugs into the wired network and gives you a seamless and fast wireless network. Is this possible with the Orbi system or any other mesh system?


All models of Orbi which include ethernet ports can be connected over ethernet.  (This leave out the least expensive, newest model RBR10 series, becauses the satellites have no ethernet port.

 

The KEY to this is that the satellites need to be connected to the Orbi router LAN ports.  There have been some active discussions about pitfalls when "smart" or "green" ethernet switches are used between the router and satellite.

 

But, yes.  This is exactly how people lucky enough to have ethernet wiring typically run their Orbi systems.

Message 2 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

Thank you. That answers the basic question, but now I'm wondering what the issue with the switch is. I've got a Netgear GS116 switch. I'm wondering how to search for these discussions. Do you have any links to such discussions?

Message 3 of 16
FURRYe38
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question

https://kb.netgear.com/000051205/What-is-Ethernet-backhaul-and-how-do-I-set-it-up-on-my-Orbi-WiFi-Sy...


@GTGeek88 wrote:

It appears Netgear and Linksys and maybe others can't seem to explain the mesh network that well. And it seems Netgear has no pre-sales tech support, so here I am.

I guess most people don't have wired homes. I do. But I still need good wireless and, like many houses, there are dead spots. It appears that some extenders (and maybe some mesh network devices) can plug into a wired network port and become an access point. The advantage being that they are not "boosting" an already weak WiFi signal, but are taking the wired network and making it wireless at that point. This should offer benefits in speed and as long as the resulting wireless network is seamless, there won't be a lot of switching of networks (either automatically by the device or manually by the user of the device). I wouldn't be in one part of my home and move to another and have to manually switch to another network (an automatic switch would be good, if the device can do that). And although I'm a software developer, keeping up with the rapid changes here in this space is daunting. So what I'm looking for is a system where each node of the wireless system plugs into the wired network and gives you a seamless and fast wireless network. Is this possible with the Orbi system or any other mesh system? Because it seems like some of these systems are really just acting a wireless extenders and boosting an already weak wireless signal is not optimal, IMHO.


 

Message 4 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

Thanks, Furrye38. I had seen backhaul mentioned earlier in the day while doing some research. I need to understand what that means exactly. The "back" part seems to me to imply one-way communication. What I'd like to see - what I think would give you the best response - would be this scenario:

 

My computer is linked wirelessly to one of the units, which is plugged into my wired network. I request a web page and that request goes wirelessly to the closest Orbi unit, then over the wired network, eventually making its way to whatever server I was hitting. Then on the way back, it goes to that same Orbi unit via the wired connection and then to my computer via wireless. In other words, as little travel as possible over wireless and then only via the closest Orbi unit (no, "closeness" doesn't necessarily relate to the strongest signal, but this is just an example) so that you get the best wireless performance.

 

So "backhaul" just seem to imply to me that it's a one-way thing. You know, "it's going out and it's coming back" . . . is the path the same there, like above, or does going out take one path and the trip back take another path. I don't know enough about this term, yet, but if history is the guide, it's about jargons and cool-sounding words and not always about accuracy or something that's easier to understand. The IT industry has a long history of that. But I digress.

Message 5 of 16
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question

In Orbi terminology "front" means the connection between Orbi units and user devices.  "back" means the connection between Orbi units. Traffic goes both ways, no matter whether the "backhaul" link is WiFi or ethernet.

Message 6 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

Well, yeah, but backhaul is used by other manufacturers, too. Not sure if they operate with the same definition. Anyway, I guess my question now is about this issue you mentioned about connecting them through a switch. That's really the only feasible way to connect them when we're talking about the wired option. The link that Furrye38 provided shows them connected via a switch. But you mention "discussions about pitfalls when 'smart' or 'green' ethernet switches are used between the router and satellite." My Netgear GS116 switch is unmanaged, so maybe that won't cause these pitfalls. But, seriously, if you have some links or some suggestion about search terms to turn up those discussions, please let me know. Thanks again for your responses.

Message 7 of 16
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question

There is an open topic regarding "which switches work" (don't recall the exact post title) 

I have no wiring, so I have not paid a lot of attention to the discussion. Several forum participates report using switches successfully. 

Message 8 of 16
tomschmidt
Virtuoso

Re: Orbi mesh network question

@GTGeek88, I have a GS116v1 switch between my RBR50 and RBS50 and it works.  Newer versions of the GS116v2 have green power-saving features (802.3az spec). Check the version of your GS116 switch.  If it is v1, then you are good, but if it is v2 then it supports 802.3az and will not work between the router and satellite.  Netgear currently does not appear to sell any switches that do not have 802.3az on them.

Message 9 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

Well, hell. That switch is pretty old and I thought for sure it'd be v1, but when I got it off the wall and looked at the underside (now I have a picture of it), it's v2.  Smiley Sad

 

Maybe I'll have to find a switch that doesn't do that, but now this is getting quite expensive.

Message 10 of 16
tomschmidt
Virtuoso

Re: Orbi mesh network question

@GTGeek88, if your RBR50 is close to your GS116v2, then you could use an RJ45 female-female coupler to patch the backhaul from LAN1 of the RBR50 to your GS116 for your other wired network devices, and LAN2 of your RBR50 to the coupler that connects to the patch cord that goes to the room your satellite is in.  If you have 2 satellites, then use LAN3 to another coupler to the second satellite.  This way each satellite has a dedicated LAN connection for the backhaul without using the network switch.  RJ45 couplers are inexpensive if this solves your issue.

Message 11 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

Thanks, but not possible.


@tomschmidt wrote:

@GTGeek88, if your RBR50 is close to your GS116v2, then you could use an RJ45 female-female coupler to patch the backhaul from LAN1 of the RBR50 to your GS116 for your other wired network devices, and LAN2 of your RBR50 to the coupler that connects to the patch cord that goes to the room your satellite is in.  If you have 2 satellites, then use LAN3 to another coupler to the second satellite.  This way each satellite has a dedicated LAN connection for the backhaul without using the network switch.  RJ45 couplers are inexpensive if this solves your issue.


 

Message 12 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

On another note, when I get the email notifications I was taken straight to this tread. No logging in required. Now I get "authentication failed" and have to log in and then click the link again. I hope they get this working more smoothly. Seems like they messed up this process.

Message 13 of 16
FURRYe38
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question

NG support site shows the GS116 as a smart managed switch. Not un-managed. 

I would look into this and if your is actually managed, then all IGMP protocols need to be disabled. If any Green ethernet featuers are selectable as well, disable this if possible. 


@GTGeek88 wrote:

Well, yeah, but backhaul is used by other manufacturers, too. Not sure if they operate with the same definition. Anyway, I guess my question now is about this issue you mentioned about connecting them through a switch. That's really the only feasible way to connect them when we're talking about the wired option. The link that Furrye38 provided shows them connected via a switch. But you mention "discussions about pitfalls when 'smart' or 'green' ethernet switches are used between the router and satellite." My Netgear GS116 switch is unmanaged, so maybe that won't cause these pitfalls. But, seriously, if you have some links or some suggestion about search terms to turn up those discussions, please let me know. Thanks again for your responses.


 

Message 14 of 16
GTGeek88
Guide

Re: Orbi mesh network question

@FURRYe38 Unmanaged. See attached image.

Message 15 of 16
FURRYe38
Guru

Re: Orbi mesh network question

Ok just making sure. I saw this same model listed as managed on NGs support site. 

 

To troubleshoot switch issues. It's best to directly connect the RBS to the RBR with good LAN cables while near the RBR. I use long LAN cables for this. Then put in a switch behind the RBR, then connect the RBS to the switch. RBS should connect and show wired status on the RBRs web page. You can graduate adding another switch or two in Daisy Chain to see how the RBS respond. If the first switch works and then adding a 2nd switch or 3rd you start to see a failure, then you'll know where the problem is. Something to keep in mind. Other problems can stem from bad LAN cables. I also disable Daisy Chain on the RBR when I'm troubleshooting this. 

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