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I have years of adminning cloud/telco infrastructure but have never really looked into much for my house other than your basic router/switch/nas setup. Moved into a bigger house and wanted to expand the wifi footprint.

Was a little shocked at the overall lack of tech in the wireless space. The house I bought does not have ethernet setup so my first thought was expanding my wireless network through a mesh solution. So looking at netgear, google, linksys, asus, etc... They sell their little mesh packs of 3-4 that allow signaling through a big house.

However there are two points that confuse me and make me think it is the year 2000:

  1. Why don't routers (bridges) have the ability to connect to other routers via wifi? My problem is only half solved if my main mesh router has to get its connection over ethernet from the corner of the house. Even if there are throughput degradations this should be an option that the user has. I am blown away that a 20 year old laptop can connect to my wireless router, but a new mesh router cannot.

  2. Why can't mesh point repeat signal? (This one I have not researched as much) But from what I have witnessed and read is the most mesh satellites connect directly to the mesh router. Why? Why can't based on location/throughput can't another satellite forward the signal and comms from the router? This is the idea of simple switching/bridging. Why are the expectations so low around wireless?

(So I have looked into coax-to-ethernet and powerline and might choose one of them. But these questions stick out to me because I feel like I haven't looked into home routers in 6-7 years and almost nothing has changed. I mean I could have set up wired routers in bridge mode 10 years ago to act as an AP.)

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  • For point 1 just place the main mesh router next to the router connected to the Internet. For point 2 at least some mesh solutions allow daisy chaining, though there are performance impacts in such situations. The main point to check is the number of radios/independent channels each mesh device supports.
    – jcaron
    Apr 9 at 23:01
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    Also this is most probably better suited for superuser.com or networkengineering.stackexchange.com Not much to do with IoT...
    – jcaron
    Apr 9 at 23:02
  • @jcaron - I will move it if others want me to. No offense but you didn't even understand my point 1. Yes I know I can do those things. The question is why do I still have to do those things.
    – blankip
    Apr 10 at 3:41
  • I agree with @jcaron ... how to use technology to communicate? is an IoT question ... why is technology this way? is not an IoT question
    – jsotola
    Apr 11 at 6:10
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The answer to point one is because it's more efficient and cost.

Mesh devices already have at least 2 radios, one to talk to clients and one to talk to other mesh nodes, the master node would then require a 3rd to talk to an existing Wi-Fi router as back haul. This also leads to more spectrum channels being used which at 2.4Ghz was a problem as there are only really 3 channels that don't overlap and interfere with each other. Things are better at 5Ghz but still it's inefficient to burn through more channels than are needed. I believe the radios are the largest single cost item in these devices.

Second using Ethernet gets you a near guaranteed 1Gb (not seen anything with 2.5Gb or quicker yet) link to the router, which unless you are on some very serious fibre to the house is not going to be the bottle neck. It also makes upgrading easier, you can roll out new Wi-Fi standards by just replacing the mesh setup, not both the mesh and the Wi-Fi AP acting as back haul (which in most situations is going to be the Wi-Fi built into the ISP supplied router/modem)

But also some of the modern Mesh systems the master node is also a fully capable router with the ability to connect with PPPoE so can be connected to the cable modem.

As to point 2 residential kit started out as a star topology because 99.9% of the worlds houses just aren't that big. The problem the extra mesh nodes are solving is to fill in relatively small dead spots not cover a 10 acre plot, that sort of thing was left to the pro-sumer kit like ubiquiti or enterprise grade kit.

But I think anything supporting 802.11s these days should support daisy chaining e.g. Google Wi-Fi supports this. But at the cost of throughput because again, you'd need an extra radio in each satellite to do it synchronously and again that costs more (for a limited number of users that need this capability).

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  • That is a list of things that are why it is done this way because you think it is better. All of these things are pretty elementary and the only thing that you brought up was the main node needing a third antennae as a barrier. Point number two you didn't even touch on you just said star is all that is needed 99.9% of the time... Dude that is why I wrote the question - it doesn't work for me because I am in the corner of a 5000 sq ft house that is multilevel. It can't even reach my furthest node. Sorry I would downvote if I could.
    – blankip
    Apr 10 at 20:52
  • yes, but if 99.9% of the world is covered by what's available, then it's just not economic to build for that 0.1% which is your use case. Ecomonics WILL be the driving factor for a consumer electronics company
    – hardillb
    Apr 10 at 21:00
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    Also the last paragraph also covers point 1, The Google (Nest) Wi-Fi kit allows daisy chaining, it's explicitly listed on the tech spec page. Supports both star and daisy chain configurations
    – hardillb
    Apr 10 at 21:15
  • At some point, if you have a large enough house / property or have walls with certain materials, you'll be better served with a PTMP solution. Ubiquity has components for some of those. People out in the country sometimes setup solutions like those if they have lots of acreage and need internet access in the barns, etc. For... IoT purposes !!! Apr 13 at 15:59

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