Adding new Access Point to improve WiFi

Hi all,

I have been experiencing a few issues I’d like to resolve with my wireless network. I’m using OpenWrt on my Linksys WRT-1900ACSv2. On searching these forums I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not uncommon for this device, and is largely due to the mwlwifi driver/firmware binary blob. This cannot be changed and therefore issues fixed or improvements made. I’ve not been able to ascertain if these problems would ALSO exist for the stock firmware (I immediately flashed to OpenWrt on day one as that’s what I bought it for) but reading between the lines I expect this to be the case.

The issues I’m having specifically are:

  • Poor WiFi performance
  • Poor stability
    • Loss of client connection breaking things like web meeting
    • 5GHZ radio either being weak or strong but requiring a radio restart
  • Poor coverage
    • Dead spots in small 2-floor building

So I decided to buy a Ubiquiti AP Lite (gets good reviews and got it cheap) with the aim of using it as a wired connection to the Linksys 1900acs as an additional/replacement AP. I did consider just getting a different router to replace the Linksys but other than the WiFI issues it’s a really nice device and didn’t want to let it go but rather try and resolve its shortcomings somehow. One alternative I looked at was adding a USB WiFi adapter but that choice, on research, lead me to believe I’d have to compile my own img. This is fine, but if true I’d have to do this on each release and so I looked for an alternative option.

I have a few questions around possible configuration options using the Ubiquiti AP to eliminate the above issues.

Can I keep the 1900acs running as an AP and add the new AP - keeping the same SSID/crypto on different channels (1,6,11) - and client roaming just work or will I run into some problems? That way the Linksys can be the ground floor Router and AP and the new device (wired to the Linksys) can live upstairs as a top floor AP hopefully solving all the above. I ask as I’m curious around handoff and stability using different devices.

If that’s NOT a good idea for some reason or won’t work, presumably I just disable the wired interfaces on the Linksys and use it as a DHCP and router? I’d then stick the new AP on the top floor for best building coverage.

Is there anything else to be aware of/disable? And any other possible combinations/setups/topologies to consider as alternatives?

Many thanks :slight_smile:

why not using Ubiquiti in 802.11s mode if openwrt installed on it. same ssid and channel is really not good idea . need to avoid cross talk :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

The easiest solution is to just use the new router as a LAN-LAN wired-connected "dumb AP" that does not offer routing functionality, DHCP or DNS, which all are handled by the old main router.

And you have have the same SSIDs, but offer different channels.

Old advice from me:

The new device is an Access Point only. So will need the Linksys to handle the DHCP, DNS and routing. The question really is do I benefit more by turning the radio/Wifi off on the Linksys or making use of it somehow in a new configuration.

think the device supports Mesh but only if I use a controller. Not sure if I can run the controller on the Linksys using OpenWrt.

But then it would be a wireless rather than wired backhaul?

If signal conditions are such that two APs are required to fully cover the house, buy a second AP. The 1900 should be running wired only.

Is it really that bad?

I think given the other AP is just an AP and I can power it using PoE, I should be able to place it in the middle of the house on the top floor rather than where the fibre comes in, in the corner of the house on the downfloor. So am hoping I’ll only need the new AP. I did wonder if it was worth leaving the 1900 radio on just for some boosted downstairs coverage - hence my query.