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I am trying to get a network setup in a small condo building. For multiple reasons, running cat6 is not a very good option. As a result, I am trying to find a way to get 4 separate wifi networks setup, each with its own password, without running any cable. To add to the complication, the signal from the main router, which has to be in the basement, does not carry very well two floors up to the top unit. So having separate access points that simply go back to the main router is not really an option. Would something like the attached drawing work? I am thinking of using the NETGEAR AC1200 as the range extender and TP-Link AC1200 for the access points.

network_diagram

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    I'm just going to throw this out there. This "might" work, but this is going to be horribly unreliable. And I mean horribly. You are using the WRONG technology to do this. You should be looking at wireless mesh technology. I suggest OpenMesh. And don't forget, every hop you make cuts your bandwidth in half! So, a couple of strategically placed ethernet cables throughout the building with a wireless mesh is your best solution. Especially if you are trying to provide this service to real people who are going to be pissed when it doesn't work worth a darn. – Appleoddity Sep 15 '17 at 19:14
  • If you use APs that have a second radio dedicated to meshing, you won't have your bandwidth halved for each hop. – I say Reinstate Monica Sep 15 '17 at 20:46
  • Thanks Twisty. You're right, some of the OpenMesh units do that too. – Appleoddity Sep 15 '17 at 22:36
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Yes, something like that would work. But as @Appleoddity said, it's a bad idea. Here are some potential good alternatives:

  • Mesh networking. I personally don't have much experience with setting up mesh, but I have a basic idea. This is the closest good option to your idea.
  • Powerline networking. You already have wires run - powerlines! These things will run an Ethernet connection over powerlines. Higher performance than wireless and simpler to set up. This is essentially the same as running CatX cable. I've seen up to gigabit+ lab speeds. I haven't needed that in my usage of powerline, so I got a cheaper 200Mbps set.
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  • As a side note, you may want to look at Mikrotik's CAPsMAN - Controlled Access Points Manager. Basically, from the interface of one central router/AP you can manage everything about the radios of other APs (you can actually get really cheap ones for $20). You can even have them forward all traffic to the central AP so you can manage (e.g. block) connections between clients on different radios. Note: I have no affiliation with Mikrotik. – Duncan X Simpson Sep 15 '17 at 20:28
  • Mesh networking looks interesting. One of my main concerns is getting everyone to have their own network within their unit. If there were a mesh network node in each unit of the building, could we then put an access point on top of the node so each unit can have it's own network/password? – crhaag Sep 17 '17 at 16:21
  • Honestly, I don't know. It probably depends on the specific mesh unit. But for what you want I recommend powerline. – Duncan X Simpson Sep 17 '17 at 16:35
  • I took a look at powerline. It looks good except that the area that the router is currently in is on a different meter than the rest of the building. – crhaag Sep 18 '17 at 17:22
  • In that case you could have a short wireless link, or possibly wire a cable of Cat6. It just seems like powerline is the best way to distribute the network throughout the building. But Mesh will work as well if you think it would be a better idea – Duncan X Simpson Sep 18 '17 at 17:30

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