802.11r network - ASUS TUF AX4200 + Archer C7 - 5 Bed + Basement

Morning,

Was thinking of making an 802.11r network in my home.
2 floors about 2400 sq ft each + a basement about the same.

Bell Modem in one corner near the fibe connection.
Deadspots in garage, corners of basement & upper floor.

3x Archer C7 to cover deadspots (2 basement + 1 upper)

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Goal:

Minimally, eliminate deadspot in garage.
Should be completed just by moving the main floor router/modem.


Will be switching internet providers so buying a new router for main.

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ASUS TUF AX4200 $120 CAD
Archer AX55 $100 CAD

are two options which seem reasonable & below $150.

The Archer AX55 has better throughout, but ASUS has Open-WRT.

Was thinking that I could put the ASUS in a central location & flash Open-WRT on the Archer C7s creating an 802.11r network.

I have ethernet backhaul to everything.

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Over time, I can sell the C7s and replace them with AX devices.

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Alternatively, I leave things as is with a different SSID for each floor & just get a new router for the main floor.

KISS

In keeping with this...

802.11r (as well as k/v) is not required and may actually cause more issues that it solves. The idea of 802.11r is to improve the roaming speed, but some devices don't work properly when this is in use.

Therefore, I'd recommend that you spend time tuning your network for optimal roaming performance without using 802.11k/v/r. Once you have it working well, if you need (or want to try) additional potential improvements, you can then experiment with 802.11r.

This video by crosstalk solutions does a good job of explaining the optimization process. It specifically deals with Unifi, but the principles apply to all wifi.

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Sorry, have to read carefully.

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@brada4 - the OP said they have ethernet backhaul... they don't need powerline extenders or anything else.

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Thanks,

watching now.

Also going to optimize the IP tables or w/e
Like properly label each router & assign it a static IP so it's easier to login to.

Likely will replace the AC with Open-WRT AX devices over time just for ease of modification.

I need a good wi-fi heatmap app like he has.

Could I just put everything on the same SSID & just mod channels & transmit power to make switching seamless?

He uses:

Also this is good:

Or if you have samsung you can use wifi diagnostic menu

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Tyvm.

Have been making maps with WifiMan.

Found that the upstairs router works better in the garage.

Atm, the main floor is one a single SSID, while the others are separated into 2.4 & 5ghz.

Thinking of combining those for mapping simplicity.

It's really annoying not being able to login to the routers directly from my PC & instead having to connect to them somehow.

Is there a simple fix for that?

Researching now.

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Typically you set same AP name+password in many places, and connect that to one subnet with one DHCP server. Thats basic roaming setup.

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Can you elaborate here? If done correctly, each AP should be on the same subnet as the main router which means you can administer all APs without any special configurations or changes.

How are your devices connected? All of your APs should be connected by their lan ports (using the dumb AP config) so that they form a single contiguous network. If you wish to have roaming, you need all APs broadcasting the same SSID and using the same encryption type and passphrase. (without this, roaming will not work properly).

There is very rarely a good reason to have separate SSIDs for the 2 bands. What is your thinking here? Why not make them the same?

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See here:
https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_available_16128_ax-wifi
any ax in list will jump around c7 in huge circles.

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Updates -

Deadspots gone in garage/backyard + upper floor.
Speed in garage & upper floor is now 150-200mb from 5 & 30.
Fix was setting upstairs Archer V5 to Smart Band Selection.
10-15 dB gains!


As for login during roaming I'm not sure why it doesn't work.
I set to same SSID & turned off DHCP.
Had internet, but could not log in via

  1. its static ip
  2. 192.168.0.1
  3. tplinkwifi.net

Tried both ethernet & wi-fi.
Problem persisted after changing main floor SSID.
I reset & went back to old SSID.

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Didn't know single SSID was better as stock firmware often limits channel selection if you use it.

I was wrong.

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Next step is to test Open WRT on the the Archer C7 V2 & put it on single SSID.

After that I'll slowly migrate 2x Archer C7 V5 to Open WRT.

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Probably you need OpenWRT.....
The internet connected AP serves as DHCP server openwrt.lan 192.168.1.1
The others need:
Hostname changed from openwrt
Then LAN set to DHCP client or static IP in 192.168.1.x network outside DHCP range and their DHCP server disabled, and radios connected to LAN network.
They will get the renamed.lan name and you can see IP in the client list on the main router. Kind of easy .... from 2nd time yiou try...

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A topology diagram and settings per-device would help us understand what you have done. Start with a topology diagram and indicate the ports in use, IP addresses, and other settings that you've adjusted on each device.

Really, the better approach is to not worry about these issues now and just go directly to OpenWrt. The time/energy you are spending optimizing with vendor firmware is not terribly useful as you'll need to repeat many of these things once you switch to OpenWrt (and, FWIW, some settings may not apply or may be different).

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Yup.

Working on getting Open WRT onto the Archer C7 V5s this weekend.
Will get used to it tonight & then buy the ASUS.

Did some more mods & am down to just 1 AP for main/upper now with no issues.
Will test again in morning - EST.

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Thinking of taking an old Ivy Bridge PC & turning it into a router.
Just need a NIC & might put it into a smaller case? Idk.

TUF has good cpu compared to C7.

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Yeah also has a lot of apps.
Just got it up.

My Wi-Fi coverage is way better.
10-20 dB higher signal across the board almost.
Can walk 30ft ahead of the garage deadspot onto sidewalk now.

Speed is lower, but more stable.
The Home Hub 4000 would get 200 Mbps within 20-30 ft & then drop to the 2.4ghz band with like a laggy 20-30.

The Asus gets 80 everywhere even out to the old deadspots.
I like high speed, but who cares stability is key for Wi-Fi.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

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Redo the map and put some c7 in weakest corner.

No real weak spots as of yet & I want to leave the 2 basement Archers in place.

Firmware doesn't let me disable AX/Wifi 6 mode for testing.

One pc keeps getting DPC Watchdog Violation now.
Tried updating Sata drivers & even a new HDD/Windows install.

Looking into it now.

I like the stock ASUS firmware & will play around with it for awhile.

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edit - probably a problem with the Wi-Fi adapter.

TP-link Archer T2U Plus.
Will just grab a powerline adapter.

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You can set your C7s as dumb APs, will keep working whenever you go for openwrt.
My provider did not fancy their 12Hz aggressive dhcp, did not get to try it for long.

Single antenna zero beamforming 1/3 less range.

Done & it also lets me login from anywhere on the network as well.