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Re: AX1600 — 4-Stream Wifi Mesh Extender

CMorrisDev
Initiate

AX1600 — 4-Stream Wifi Mesh Extender

I bought a handful (4) of the 4-Stream Wifi Mesh Extender Devices (AX1600) and seem to be having trouble using them as a mesh network. I've only tried to use 2 mesh devices so far. I am using the Nighthawk App for setup.

 

The issue: The mesh devices only seem to work in-range of the Internet Service Modem/Router. 1 device connected in range of the router is showing a green connection light (good). The 2nd mesh device (only 25 feet away from the 1st mesh device, but further from the router) is showing a red connection light (poor). The 2nd mesh device should have a strong connection with the 1st mesh device. They are much closer and have less walls in-between than the 1st mesh and the router. The Network Map tool within the Nighthawk App is showing both mesh devices are connected to the router and not each other.

 

Question: Can these devices operate as a mesh network — aka connect to other mesh devices to extend Wifi range even further?

 

I'm afraid to open the boxes for my other 2 devices as they won't do much good if every device needs a strong connection to the router. I require a mesh network for my house. My TP-Link Deco devices work fine as a mesh network in the same positions as the Netgear AX1600 devices are failing to operate. I figured the Netgear devices would have been a major upgrade as they are much more expensive and have much better specs.

 

Thanks!

Message 1 of 4
plemans
Guru

Re: AX1600 — 4-Stream Wifi Mesh Extender

I never recommend using more than 1 mesh extender. The only time it ever works is if:

1. you have them on opposite sides of the router (extender<-----router------>extender) and far enough apart that they can't see each other or

2. They're not set up in mesh. Meaning they have separate ssids. 

 

the problem with using mesh extenders is that nothing controls them. And they connect to a set ssid. It can't tell if it's connecting to the router or to the other extender. It can cause loops, instabilities, slowed speeds, etc. 

 

If you truly need that many extenders, you should be moving to an actual mesh system like the Deco you had or an Orbi/NIghthawk MK series. And if the home is big enough, shoot for the triband version for the dedicated backhaul.

 

What size is your home? 

What deco system did you have? 

What's the budget? 

Do you have a hardwired backhaul option? (ethernet ran through the home)

 

Message 2 of 4
CMorrisDev
Initiate

Re: AX1600 — 4-Stream Wifi Mesh Extender

Dang — you’re breaking my heart but I appreciate the blunt honesty. I figured they’d work in a mesh as they are advertised as mesh extenders. Netgear chat support stated that they should operate as a mesh but I think they’re probably mistaken. It’s unfortunate to hear that they don’t operate properly within a mesh configuration. I just moved into a new house — I think I lost the receipt for both purchases (I bought 2 and 2). Looks like I’m out $500 and can’t use the hardware.

 

I’ve already encountered the problems you’ve described (instabilities, slowed speeds, weird behavior, etc). My network performance tanks when using the Netgear mesh extenders over the default router.

 

The house is a rental but I would guess it is probably 2,500 sq. ft on a single floor — all of the walls are concrete. The router and cable hookup is on the complete opposite end of the house as my wife and my home offices. We receive a very weak signal from this distance using the router alone.

 

We currently have 2 Deco M4R devices. We bought them because our last rental was also a concrete home but the devices we purchased didn’t have the best performance. We were only able to get maybe 90/mbps out of them (at most) even though we could get 150-200/mbps out of the router (across the house — 600-700/mbps in the same room).

 

I would say the budget is anywhere from $500-$1,500. I work from home as a software engineer — a consistent and fast connection is fairly important to me. I’d also like to be able to play games in my office if possible — otherwise I need to move anything gaming related to the other side of the house.

 

Hardwiring may be an option but I’d need to get creative for it to not be annoying or look annoying. Being a rental (and having concrete walls) — there isn’t an option to put those wires inside the walls.

 

I appreciate the help and apologize for the wordy response!

Message 3 of 4
plemans
Guru

Re: AX1600 — 4-Stream Wifi Mesh Extender

Concrete walls=the worst. 

Concrete blocks wifi exceptionally well. 

You also run into the issue of how extenders work. they drop throughput 50% of what they receive because they have to go router----->extender and then extender------>devices. And they can't do both at once. Add in the concrete dropping signal level, and your 50% will be even more than that. And that's just for a single extender. 

If you're daisy chaining them (router---->extender------>extender) that 2nd extender speed cuts it another 50% of what it receives. So you could be at 5-15% of the original speed. 

I'm not sure if the rep you talked to didn't have all the info, but homes made of concrete are the most challenging to deal with. 

that Deco you have is a pretty low performing device so I can see why you got those speeds. Those "up to ****ft " don't apply when it comes to concrete homes, sadly. 

I'd check with where you bought those extenders at as you might be able to get in credit refund. Or they might have it on file. the 2 you used, you might be stuck with but maybe the others can be returned. (maybe)

options? 

1. Run the wires. It can let you keep the EAX12 (if that's what you have). The EAX12 has an ethernet port and you could hardwire it in and run it in access point mode. It won't roam very efficiently but it can work.

2. Try powerline devices. If the wiring is new enough and there isn't much interference, powerline could be used to connect the access points versus ethernet wires. You could get a set and buy a couple extra. The straight powerline devices (without wifi) are reasonable and would let you again wire in the extenders

3. MoCa adapters. If there's coax through the home, you can use moca adapters to connect everything. 

4. You can try moving to a mesh system but make sure you'd get the triband with dedicated backhaul. Also, keep a receipt as it might struggle just as much with concrete walls. It still might need the dedicated wired backhaul. 

 

You're a bit limited. The extenders setup in access point mode doesn't work as part of the mesh. You can use the same ssid but the roaming won't work either because the roaming protocol only works in extender mode. if you switched to a Orbi/MK nighthawk, they can function off a wired or wireless backhaul with the roaming intact. 

 

My biggest recommendation is to buy somewhere you can return the devices like amazon or somewhere local. That way you can try different things. Concrete is a challenge to work with and sometimes you have to use more than 1 approach. 

 

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