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What equipment should I buy to connect over a hundred WiFi devices?

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c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
I need to connect over a hundred WiFi devices in an 85 foot radius from the router.
These are mostly single impulse light switches - nothing that requires huge bandwidth.
The place is on a copper line that cannot download more than 7 mbps, so this is a no high speed internet location.

What actual equipment do I need to get to improve what I have now which is basically a few regular extenders. They are quality extenders but the sheer volume of connected devices (triple digits) might be better handled through a more professional setup. What actual equipment am I best off buying in 2021?

ANSWER:

Ubiquiti Access Point WiFi 6 Long-Range SKU: U6-LR-US
https://store.ui.com/products/unifi-6-long-range-access-point
passed the test of 100% stability over the weekend. It is rock solid.

No savings / sales are worth getting a Netgear/tp-link/similar consumer Access Point. In fact I have found out the hard way that you should not accept a FREE Netgear/tp-link/other consumer Access Point. The price you will pay in time and frustration for a consumer product is not worth any savings.
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
DHCP can handle 254 devices per subnet and with VLANs you can segregate the switches onto their own virtual network. The number of devices isn't really an issue IMO. If these devices have negligible traffic then I can't imagine you would gain much from better router/extenders., but I am not an expert. If your router supports VLAN and QoS, you should be fine? I'm interested to see what more knowledgeable folks say though. Good luck
 
OP
c627627

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
There will be people upset that I am asking the following question on the forums because they may feel I should already know this / do my own research instead of asking for help on overclockers forums.... but:
What actual model do I actually buy and where do I buy it?



The number of devices isn't really an issue IMO.

I was stunned how many people (on the entire internet) are not aware that this *absolutely!!!* is an issue. Different extenders have different (pretty low number) of devices they can connect to, companies hide this number and people are not aware that this is an issue, because they do not use that many devices (yet).
I have reached limits on ALL the extenders I am using. Main router craps out itself more and more now because I added a couple of more to it:
https://www.netgear.com/support/product/R7960P.aspx

This one reached its limit pretty quick:
https://www.netgear.com/support/product/EX6200.aspx

This one I am using has a limit of 20:
https://www.tp-link.com/us/home-networking/range-extender/re220/

This one I am using has only 8 devices maximum:
https://www.tp-link.com/us/home-networking/range-extender/tl-wa855re/

This one I am using has a limit of 25:
https://www.tp-link.com/us/home-networking/range-extender/re300/
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
What actual model do I actually buy and where do I buy it

Ive got no experience with the Ubiquity model that Janus linked, but those units have good street cred. The only reason I havent bought one is because of their expense. They are supposed to be nearly bullet proof in almost every regard. If I was doing this project I would use: this powerline adapter from linksys or something similar to bring wired connection over the house electrical wiring, and then I would feed that wired connection into anyDDWRT compatible device. If you are a little bit network literate, you can parlay the powerline adapters and ddwrt router/routers into a pseudo mesh network with no limit on devices. I will say however, I pick up my routers for flashing with ddwrt at the local thrift store and save quite a bit like that. If you were going to purchase new units, it would likely be more cost effective (and less stressfull setup) to get the unit Janus linked.

Also, that is bogus that the extenders have a device limit. They are only extending the signal from your primary router (which can handle hundred of devices per subnet and hundreds of subnets) so there is no reason for a device limit that I can see . Good luck and let us know what you finally land on
 
OP
c627627

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
They are only extending the signal from your primary router (which can handle hundred of devices per subnet and hundreds of subnets) so there is no reason for a device limit that I can see . Good luck and let us know what you finally land on

I will - I always do.
But wait, main router absolutely has a limit just like the extenders... It absolutely cannot handle anywhere near a triple digit number of devices.

The extenders help with signal being present everywhere, yes they do their job - but the primary thread topic is *huge number* of devices being connected - and nobody on the interent, and I mean n-o-b-o-d-y out there is talking about this problem because they are not using 100+ devices, and are unaware how real this problem is. There is a limit, so where does Ubiquity stand on number of devices connected?
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
If you scroll toe the bottom of my link the UAP-AC-Pro that is in the link says 200 users, the HD (high density) says 500+
 

(G{in}[AK)TION]

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Look into Mikrotik for your routers and Ubiquiti for your APs.

RB4011 router should do for you. or the RB5009u (newest one they got out right now). You can use winbox to manage it as well. if you have a high capacity internet connection like 500mbps to 1gbps, you can look into the higher end routers like the CCR1009 or higher.

SEE HERE > https://mikrotik.com/products/group/ethernet-routers

Strongly suggest you use a POE switch as well. pick your favorite.

8port POE switch > https://mikrotik.com/product/crs112_8p_4s_in

48v adapter for 8port POE Switch > https://www.ebay.com/itm/283860969873

24 port POE > https://mikrotik.com/product/crs328_24p_4s_rm

48port POE > https://mikrotik.com/product/crs354_48p_4s_2q_rm

Ubiquiti has MANY Access points but you will need a unifi controller like their cloud key gen 2 or cloud key gen 2 plus (does NVR as well). If you cannot get either of those but you have a an X86_64 computer laying around instead, you can install windows or linux and install the "Unifi Network Application" instead. You can also set the APs in "mesh mode" which works BEAUTIFULLY for me.

SEE HERE > https://www.ui.com/download/unifi/

Now for which specific APs, you will need to look at each one ubiquiti has as they have an AP designed for a specific use case scenario. Saucers would work great in a cafeteria or gym. Cant mount it on a wall? AP-Mesh units will work as you can mount them on a pole!

Also, take their "max client number" as a suggestion. I have only gone over 100 clients but never over 200. max was around 150 I believe. thing was still kicking butt so I have faith you can really go nuts with these APs.

as for meshing, I would start with the Strongest AP first, and then span out from their with either the same or weaker APs. Think of a branch thats attached to the trunk. Thick near the truck but thin at the end of a branch.

SEE HERE > https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-wireless

Godspeed.
 
OP
c627627

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
I will read all this.
All I need is a link to an actual item in stock at a store, which will allow me to connect over a hundred devices, which use little to no traffic.

Every thread I posed on every forum was spent convincing people that there is such a thing as a device limit. There is a device limit.
It kicks in pretty quick when you have WiFi power and light switches in a large place with a radius of 85 feet.

So your advice is to also replace this router, instead of just buying XYZ item(s) to connect to it?
https://www.netgear.com/support/product/R7960P.aspx
 

(G{in}[AK)TION]

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
I fouled up. I read only the title and a little bit of other peoples posts here but not so much yours. My attention span, am i rite?

anyway, my suggestion about the router can be considered as a suggestion. You should definitely consider the ubiquiti APs in mesh though. Those can be hooked up to the netgear router you got. If the netgear router is not working out IP wise, theres always the mikrotik routers. or Open Source Firmware.

if you like APs with little antennas that mount to a pole or conduit
https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-wireless/products/unifi-ac-mesh-ap

Saucer APs that you can mount to wall or ceiling. or just leave sitting around some place.
https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-wireless/products/unifi-ac-lite

same for the unifi controller. You will need it to setup the APs for the mesh part. Although I would recommend running it off a small server running your favorite windows or linux flavor. You are free to look for a "Cloud Key Gen 2" or "UCK-G2" as they are sold out.

CONTROLLER > https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-accessories/products/unifi-cloudkey

SOFTWARE > https://www.ui.com/download/unifi/
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Netgear routers are, in general, crap. They use a low power CPU and do not have enough RAM. These are consumer devices.

For 100+ network objects, you need to go to prosumer or enterprise level.

As stated above, UniFi fits the prosumer level. They are far superior in hardware to anything Netgear, Asus, or the like will put out. My UniFi network just works...a few of the devices have been up over 9 months.

Is it more expensive than the Netgear crap you have tried...yes...that is because the hardware is more powerful and the devices are more capable.

My UniFi network looks like this:

- UniFi Dream Machine Pro
- UniFi 10 GBit switch (core switch)
- UniFi 24 port PoE switch (connects all the ethernet jacks in the house, and then into 10 GBit switch)
- UniFi 16 port PoE swtich (connects into stuff in my office rack, and then into 10 GBit switch)
- UniFi 8 port PoE switch (connects into my entertainment center, and then into 10 GBit switch)
- 3 x UniFi AP 6 Lite (each can support 300+ concurrent clients, connected to 24 port switch)

However, they do tend to be "bug heavy" when releasing new firmware...I don't upgrade until it has been out for a few months...if I need the new features.
 

Railgun

Member
Joined
May 7, 2011
DHCP can handle 254 devices per subnet and with VLANs you can segregate the switches onto their own virtual network. The number of devices isn't really an issue IMO. If these devices have negligible traffic then I can't imagine you would gain much from better router/extenders., but I am not an expert. If your router supports VLAN and QoS, you should be fine? I'm interested to see what more knowledgeable folks say though. Good luck
To be clear, it can handle as many devices as the scope is configured for within the size of the subnet. Could do 1000+ if you wanted.
 
OP
c627627

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Netgear routers are, in general, crap. They use a low power CPU and do not have enough RAM. These are consumer devices..

But I am a consumer who does not even have high speed internet and simply wants to connect many single pulse ON/OFF devices. Just curious why higher powered CPU and more RAM are needed to send a single ON/OFF signal to a WiFi light bulb?


I will follow through, probably next month on Cyber Monday and replace what I have based on advice that I get in this thread.
My main issue is too many [single pulse] devices in a 85 foot radius and I need to buy equipment which can handle say, two hundred of them.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
It's not the bandwidth that the devices use for WiFi, it's the number of devices. Each device needs to be "polled" on a continuous basis.
 

torin3

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2004
When I was doing IT, we went with Meraki, a mid-range Cisco product. Cloud managed, but you work with them to set up your network, including a nice WiFi mesh system. May be more than you want to pay though.