New install of Surf Soho and access points

Hi everyone,
.
Ready for an updated router. Was thinking about the Surf Soho because of the security, privacy, and reliability I’ve been reading about.

My house is a bit wonky with 2 separate zones that are basically WIFI isolated from each other. However, there is an ethernet connection between the zones.

I’d like to have WIFI coverage in both zones AND the ability to directly plug into the ethernet in both zones.

Looks like people have had success with Surf SOHO and Ubiquity APs.

If I used an AP, would I lose the security/privacy benefits of the Surf SOHO?

Alternatively, could I use 2 Surf SOHOs, one in “AP” mode?

Is there a better solution?

Thanks!

Just my $0.02.

I prefer one-vendor integrated solutions (when reasonable). So - all Ubiqiti or all Peplink :slight_smile:

For the Peplink side of things you may consider a Surf SOHO as the main router (if it is fast enough for your needs) and it’ll provide WiFi service for the zone it is in.

Then add a Pepwave AP One access point to the ethernet in the other zone, let it be in bridge mode and let the Surf SOHO handle the network topology of your choice.

Since you want a wired option in both zones, add a small, dumb switch in the second zone for wired access there.

Do note the specs for the SOHO, though: Throughput is only up to 120 Mbps.

For a more robust solution I’d suggest that you consider the Balance One in place of the SOHO - faster, better… and a bit more expensive :slight_smile:

In eiher case, the router (be it the SOHO, the Balance One or something else) will be where you lock things down. You internal network is protected by your router’s security.

Cheers,

Z

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Hello and Good Day to You gotigers

This may be an option for you.
We have a Surf soho Mk3, it provides WiFi AP and Ethernet to various devices. Then from Surf soho to a Surf otg connected with an Ethernet cable, the Surf otg is in bridged mode and has WiFi AP to other various devices. It’s kinda like a zone 1 and 2.
The devices work great together.

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zegor_mjol,

Thanks for your response…I suspect using one vendor would make life easier. I am no system administrator!

Peplink is the more compelling option for me…I frequently have read about the robustness and security with Peplink, not sure much with Ubiquiti.

Just to be sure, when you say the SOHO throughput is 120 Mbps…that is for the wireless portion only, right? Will the ethernet connection still potentially be much faster?

Some people have discussed used the Surf SOHO only as a router and use separate APs for wireless. Is that possible without a built-in AP controller like what is available on the Balance One? I would probably need 2 APs to cover our house.

With separate APs, is the wireless throughput still limited to 120 Mbps?

I’ve looked at the Balance routers but I’m worried about the complexity of setting one of these up. I’m no expert! I’ve found a few guides to setting up the Surf Soho.

At any rate, thanks again for your help!

Ballistic,

Thank you for the response!

I wondered about the On-the-go device as well. Its a bit more expensive than the AP and probably provides way more functionality than I need.

That being said, sounds like they work together seamlessly which may justify the extra cost.

Fine vendors both. In my (admittedly limited) experience Peplink equipment is easier to configure and deploy, and the customer support is absolutely fabulous :slight_smile:

Ubiquiti seems to allow more sophisticated/detailed choices w.r.t. their RF setup (incl. WiFi), however I have found that to be of use primarily when one configures RF-based network links (microwave, RF-based long-haul and the like), which is quite far afield from your situation.

No - I mean (and the specs say) “Router Throughput.” (The specs are available at Surf SOHO specifications).

Think about it this way:

  • There is the port speed at the ethernet interface as per the appropriate IEEE standard (10/100/1000 Mbps). The SOHO is up to 1000Mbps.
  • There is the LAN speed (“router throughput”) which caps how fast the router can route packets from one device to another on your network. The SOHO is up 120 Mbps.
  • There is the WAN speed which caps how fast the router can route packets between the external and internal networks. This is usually the same as the router throughput, and in practice the external connections are slower than the internal ones (but not necessarily).

As a consequence:

  1. If your internal network speed (via the router) is an issue (i.e., significant traffic between devices on your own network) then you either
    (1) consider router throughput to be important or
    (2) you split the responsibilities: Let the router only deal with traffic between the external and the internal networks, and have only one LAN connection from the router, to a local switch which then handles all internal traffic at full 1000Mbps speed. This assumes there are no internal firewall needs.

  2. If your WAN connection is fast and you want to employ all its capacity then router throughput becomes the issue. E.g., if you have a 1Gbps fiber connection then your Surf SOHO will reduce it to being only a 120 Mbps connection - a waste of good bandwidth.

Yes it is possible. You would have to administer each device individually (somewhat tedious) or you could manage them all using the cloud-based InControl2 as the controller (first year free, then $29/year/unit)

Yes. Rotuer throughput is the critical parameter for network speed in the absence of switches on your LAN. However, traffic among devices connexted to the same access point would be faster (limited by the AP capacity rather than by the capacity of the router)

The user interfaces are similar - so there should be no worries there. The devices function pretty much right out of the box (just remember to change the passwords from the defaults :slight_smile: )

If you are concerned about possible complexities I’d say your alternative scenarios (three devices (a router and two APs), each configured separately, adding two switches for internal throughput) is actually more complex than getting the Balance One.

To summarize, assuming that the budget is OK:

  • Zone 1 + WAN:
    One Balance One (with WiFi). Throughput is 600Mbps, and it has 8 LAN ports.

  • Zone 2:
    Access point AP One, either the AC Mini or the Enterprise, depending on your space, Throughput 300-1300Mbps (depending on the model).
    A small, dumb switch with enough 1Gbps ports to satisfy your wired connection needs.

  • Conection between zones: A CAT5e or better cable between a LAN port on the Balance One and the uplink port on the Zone 2 switch (or directly into the AP One, if you don’t need the wired ports in Zone 2)

You’re most welcome.

Z

PS: One advantage with two APs rather than a WiFi-enabled Balance One and one AP is that the AP AC minis are quite tiny and can be anywhere as long as you can get an ethernet cable to them (they can be powered by PoE, so no need for a powerbrick at the AP location). Thus that alternative would replace the Balance One + 1 AP with a Balance One Core and two APs.

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Unless I am mistaken the Surf On-The-Go is discontinued, had limited bandwidth and did not support the most recent WiFi protocols. The specs are available at Peplink.

Cheers,

Z

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Thank you for that fantastic response! After reading it 6 times, pre- and post-coffee, I think I’ve got most of it! :nerd_face:

Very clear now the importance of router throughput. I see how that could be a drawback of the Surf SOHO.

While 120 Mbps would probably suffice for our situation NOW, not sure it will in the future. We like to stream 4K, often on different TVs.

I agree with you that the complexity of doing the Surf SOHO + 2 APs, each configured separately will be tedious. From reviews, the Balance + peplink AP(s) work seamlessly together…I guess they are in fact designed that way!

From what I understand, easy to manage multiple APs with the AP controller on the Balance, obviating InControl since I don’t need to manage from the cloud.

I suspect the WIFI range of the AP One AC mini is greater than the Balance One WIFI…I wonder if I could get away with just the Balance One Core + 1 AP Mini. The router needs to be in one corner of the house, but I could probably run a second Ethernet cable to the AP in a more central location of the house. If range is insufficient, I get a 2nd AP + switch.

Thank you again for all your help. You should write a blog post…you pretty much have it done already!

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Coffee is important.

Investing for the future is important. Some (not too long a) time ago we were setting up the network at our place. “100Mbps is enough!” we said. “Who needs more?” we said. Today we have a symmetric 1Gbps WAN, and a less than 1Gbps router throughput is…not enough. So we had to go to the extra expense of replacing the (fine) router with a faster one.

If you have only the Core in zone 1 then you rely on the AP Mini punching through from Zone 2 (no WiFi off the core) or from Zone 1 to Zone 2. If that is insufficient you can add an AP mini.

Thanks for the kind words. I am pleased to be considered useful.

Cheers,

Z

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Thanks again for the help!

Took the plunge…got the Balance One + AP mini and setup as been a breeze. Learning a lot along the way too!

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