Anyone have any advice on mesh wifi networks?

After trying and failing to get wifi working on our 1st and 3rd floors, I have decided to fork out for a 3-piece mesh wifi system. The thing is, we already have a LAN and ethernet ports on each floor, though I don’t know any of the specifics - it was installed by the renovation company without really consulting us or providing any documentation.

So, I hopefully don’t need to worry about how well the backhaul works, because they’ll be connected, and I don’t have to worry about range, because our floors are tiny.

I just want a relatively cheap mesh solution to allow seamless wifi on all three floors and our roof.

Googling has led me to the TP-Link Deco M5 v2. It’s not the latest and greatest, but the 3-pack is 23,000 Yen (about $215), which is about half the price of 3-piece sets of Google’s Nest, TP-Link’s Deco M9, Netgear’s Orbi…

I literally knew nothing about mesh networks before this morning, so any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry, I’m not quite following. You have ethernet ports but you aren’t simply plugging APs into them?

That’s right. Because it didn’t/doesn’t work.

We’re using a solution with a repeater made by the same company as our router and it works like a charm, the setup is trivial as they simply ask if you want to have the two networks in a mesh. (However I doubt that you’ll be able to get your hands on that because it’s from a German company called AVM that makes one of Germany’s most popular routers the FritzBox).

If you already have ethernet everywhere, that’s the biggest obstacle usually (we have a cable hanging down from the top floor).

Other than that I would try to make sure that whatever repeaters you decide on are compatible with your existing wireless router.

I have a tolerant wife and I run cables round the house. From what I’ve heard, the old Apple AirPort Extremes (sold as AirMac in Japan) are surprisingly capable of mesh networking, but otherwise I haven’t heard anything especially good or bad for this.

RE: the ethernet ports around your house - You’d have to know how they were connected to each other in order to successfully roam from an AP plugged into one of them to an AP plugged into a different one. Primarily, it’s a matter of how “switched” ethernet networks work (and I won’t go into further detail unless you’re interested)

So, I would guess going the mesh route is likely the best choice if you cannot get the coverage you need with a single AP.

I do not have any experience with consumer-grade mesh networking equipment. I will say that I am quite pleased with my Ubiquiti access point even though it’s annoying to manage (I think newer products are more consumer friendly now); I know they have a mesh solution but it’s probably more expensive than TP-Link.

All of that said, I’ve used TP-Link equipment in the past with good success.

P.S. I’m a professional network engineer and willing to help answer any questions about networking; unfortunately my job often entails enterprise-/carrier-grade equipment, rather than consumer-grade so my hands-on experience with specific products is limited


Thanks. My new concern about TP-link is software, based on negative reviews on the Google Store. I’m wondering whether I double what I pay over this rather nebulous concern. Or maybe opt for previous generation Google Nest (pre-speaker and voice activation data harvesting).

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My experience with TP-Link in general, not specifically mesh, is that the software is pretty basic but as long as your use case is one of the things they claim to support it should be fine. If you want to do something a bit weird then it gets hard. (For example many years ago I had a TP-Link AP that would carry IPv6 router advertisement packets, but drop actual IPv6 traffic. Never found out why.)

All the Nest kit I know is dependent on the central servers being kept running, but I don’t know the whole line.

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Honestly, if you want hassle-free, and don’t mind Google being, well, Google. Just go with Google. It’s stupid easy to set up and maintain.

This isn’t the same as the rest of the Nest line, it ties into it by being able to function as the hub, but as far as I can tell it’s just a rebranding and update of the Google Wifi line. If the Nest servers go down, the router should still be able to function as a router.

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Yeah, I should have said “Google Wifi”, I’m looking at the model before it became “Google Nest Wifi”.


OK, here’s a question. If an auction seller has stupidly posted screenshots like this for each router, does the information being revealed pose a security risk for a potential future owner?

Unless it uses cloud-based provisioning that you can’t disable or configure a custom adoption code (my guess is there is no such issue), it shouldn’t be a problem

Thanks. To narrow my search, which of the pieces of data are you talking about? Network setting, “code” setting, serial number, and MAC address are visible in this photo. All I know is that many things people normally take for granted can’t be set up through the app (no web-based settings).

Likely it would be a combination of serial number and an admin/secret code that would be required; and specifically, this only matters if there is an automated cloud-based configuration/AP adoption functionality with the product.

And if there is, as long as you can change the code there isn’t an issue.

I’m not at my computer at the moment, but if you give a bit I can research the exact product and figure out if there is concern


Thanks, I’d really appreciate it.

I’m a fan of ubiquity as well. I have a cople AP pros in my house, and we had them in the office as well. They’re a bit fiddly to configure, but unless you want to do something like change the password of your guest network regularly, or set up authentication via a remote server, there’s not much to do when things are running along. I last fired up the controller six months ago, and that was when I added an AP. It all just works.


I managed to get hold of last-gen Google wifi, 3 devices for about $150, so it should work fine regardless of how our “black box” behind-the-walls ethernet switching is set up.

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One thing I didn’t realise would happen is that because I only have one LAN port on each floor, and each Google wifi point only has one LAN port, I now have a computer on the ground floor plugged into the LAN, and a Google wifi point on the ground floor that has a very weak signal and cannot be plugged into the LAN.

Still,at least I have wifi on all three floors now, more stable and reliable and faster than the old setup, so that’s a win.

On the other other hand, I have a fourth offline “wifi point” that only exists on the app, cannot be removed, and has the guy on the other end of the chat support completely baffled.


Buy a small switch. a five port gigabit switch can be had for less than $20, and will suit your needs just fine. don’t forget whatever cables you’ll need.


Can a router be used in the same way, or do I need a switch?