Router - Managed Switch Configuration

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Router - Managed Switch Configuration

DS1821+, DS1511+,DS410J
  1. RT2600ac
  2. MR2200ac
Operating system
  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
Hi all,

Just thinking about how to connect up a bit of network gear.

At this time I have a RT2600ac (Main router) and 2 MC2200ac units. They are connected via Ethernet. Thinking of adding another router to the mesh system as well. Currently my internet provider is only 100 Mbs but I may go to 1Gbps. The biggest use of Wifi in our house is mobile devices and IoT devices (quite a few). All our key bits of kit are ethernet and go through a managed switch. The system runs a couple of VLans to separate the primary, IoT, Camera and guest networks. In the main the mesh units are just handling wi-if. The additional ethernet ports on the APs are not currently being used.

So to my 2 questions.

As the mesh points are mainly getting used for wi-fi, with I would suggest less than 20% used for local access, meaning most is direct internet access. In this case should I have the APs plugged into the main router or into the managed switch

The next senario is that if I started using the ethernet connections on the back of the APs would I then be better off having them plugged into the managed switch rather than the router.

Just trying to optimize local network traffic

Thank you.
should I have the APs plugged into the main router or into the managed switch
It will really not make any difference from a usability standpoint. My personal preference is to have as little devices connected to the router as possible, but again, personal preference. Personally I have only 2 cables going into the router. One is WAN port (going into the media converter), and the other is the first switch.

The next senario is that if I started using the ethernet connections on the back of the APs would I then be better off having them plugged into the managed switch rather than the router.
Again, it won't make any difference. 2200s on my end are connected to the switch that then goes into the main router. No issues on that front. One reason to go into the router or switch would also be if the AP is PoE driven, and you don't have (or have) a router'switch with PoE ports. Other then that, it won't matter.

Saying this however, it will matter when vlans are in question. If that managed switch also had vlan tags then you will have to configure the IDs on all devices from start to finish (AP, switch, router etc). If the connected ports are trunks, then those won't matter. So in that case it might be important where the APs and devices are connected 1st, but if that is not the case, you will not get any benefit/penalty for connecting them directly or via a switch.
A reason to connect Ethernet back haul from APs to main router via a managed switch would be to reduce bottle necking traffic to wired devices on the switch.

Consider you have a load-balanced NAS on the switch and multiple wireless devices connecting to it. When the APs are wired/wireless to the main router then all access to the NAS will be funnelled across the main router’s single LAN connection to the switch (and so on to the NAS). But when APs are wired back haul to the switch (with properly configured VLANs) then intra-VLAN connections will not pass via the main router (unless the wireless client is connected to the main router).
Why do you feel the need for 4 Wifi access points?My home in the UK is fairly large (5xbeds around 230 Square meters) and 3 Unfi Access Points are overkill, I could probably go down to 2 without issues (Unifi HD, ceiling mounted on first floor landing, Kitchen and ground floor hallway. I did try 4 and it just led to issues with device roaming (despite lots of cell size and RSSI tuning), the issue is a lack of available radio bandwidth unless you reduce the transmit power, then you get devices hip hopping from one AP to the other then back.
I would advise you survey your house with a good wifi analyser, (Unifi WifiMan is my app of choice, android only though).
Then site your access points in the best location. (It has a "heat map" facility showing where signal strength is green to lowest red. (-30dBm to -80 dBm, lower is stronger/better. look for signal/floor plan.
Then resite your APs to distribute the signal best. Look for 80MHz channel widths, though most wifi will be good enough on 40Mhz, but MU-MIMO devices might appreciate the headroom.

With the cash you save, get a couple of 2.5Gbe switches and use these for your network's "Core/backbone", you can pick these up for around £80 or even cheaper on Ali Express. As for whether to connect direct to router or to a switch, your router's CPU has enough to deal with, it makes more sense to let a managed switch pick up this work.

I recommend Unifi, but I have recently picked up a couple of D-Link managed switches out here and they work well, I am impressed with them especially for the cash. (I have a RT6600AX and MR2200AC out here for my apartment.)

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