Trouble deciding between AP6 or AP6 Pro

Hi all! I tried looking through previous posts, but it’s hard to find what I’m looking for with both access points named so similarly. I’ve been debating between the non-pro vs the pro. My house is only 2000 sq. ft., but it is an old brick rowhome in an urban environment, and we still have plaster on lath for our interior walls. I’m dealing with the double whammy of congestion and walls that degrade a lot of signals.

My original plan was to get two APs for my house split between the first and second floor, but then a friend recommended the Alta Labs APs and they look great. I was thinking of trying out just the AP6 to start with one AP, but I wonder if the AP6 Pro would be better for my use case. I haven’t seen any reviews really comparing the two against each other. I guess I’m trying to figure out the ranges people are seeing, and if the Pro is worth the extra cost for me. Thank you!

Hey there,

I recently purchased the AP6 Pro for my own property, and it’s fantastic. I live in Western Australia, and the standard for housing is pretty much double-brick (ie. brick outer wall; followed by a cavity and then another brick internal wall). Then there’s single brick walls throughout the inside of the house to divide up the rooms (covered in render, then white-set plaster + painted).

Our house is about 1940 sq.ft (180 m2), and we get excellent coverage throughout the entire house (single story). I even get decent coverage at my back fence (about 70 ft away from the AP6 pro, without direct line-of-sight), and similar for the front of the property near the road. Doing a speed test out the front (70ft away with hallways/doors/walls to contend with), I was pulling about 150-200mbps on my Pixel 6 Pro (1 gig fiber connection, typically gets about 900-950mbps wire speed).

Also, our AP6 Pro is probably “less than ideally” mounted (ie. not in the direct center of the main living area), more for aesthetic reasons.

Also, the management UI for Alta Labs is awesome - really quick and easy to adopt the devices, and very easy to configure. Previously I’ve used things like MikroTik and Ubiquiti, but I actually prefer the Alta UI/management more.

Edit: Total property (land) size is 8000 sq.ft. I get WiFi coverage pretty much all through-out the property.

Also, perhaps consider getting the AP6 Pro as a single unit first, then seeing how your coverage performs. I chose the AP6 Pro over the AP6, as the additional cost isn’t a whole lot, and it basically gives better future-proofing in my opinion. Worst case, if the AP6 Pro by itself isn’t providing good enough coverage upstairs, you could install an AP6 upstairs (assuming its the less used area?).

The 2 main upgrades in the A6Pro for your case are:

  • 3dB more transmit power on 5GHz which doubles your range
  • 4x4 MIMO on 5GHz whereas the AP6 is 2x2 on 5GHz

With that being said, when it comes to attenuation from the walls and congestion from outside, more coverage by way of increased power may not be the solution. A big trend in WiFi right now is instead of using 2 APs at max power, use 3-4 APs and lower their power. This increases your coverage by volume.

If you picture an empty conference hall with 2 people on opposite ends; they could carry on a conversation. This is a non congested environment. You can walk by both people and hear what they’re saying and anywhere between them, you can hear what they’re saying.

Now cram that conference hall with people, all chit-chatting, still 2 people on opposite ends. If you’re walking between them, you’re gradually going to hear them better as you get closer, but dead center you don’t hear anything but the ambient chatter. You’d have to give each person a bullhorn for them to be able to hear each other. That’s increasing power, the noise and interference is still there, you’re just louder than the noise and interference.

Now, instead of bullhorns, put 2 more people in the crowd, roughly evenly spaced between the original 2 people. The 2 new people, their sole job is to listen to each other and the other 2, so all 4 people are listening to each other and their job is to relay the information heard from each other. All 4 people don’t have to talk as loud (turning down the power) because there’s relatively less chatter because all of the chatter is basically divided amongst the 4. So as you walk by, you hear each person much clearer.

I hope that makes sense. If you have the need for speed, I would recommend starting with 2 AP6Pros and seeing how it goes. If you end up with a dead spot or unreliable spot, add a 3rd. If speed isn’t super important, then you could go with the AP6, same thing. Start with 2 knowing you may need to pick up a 3rd because of the attenuation and interference.

@heyitsjel All of that is good information, thank you! Your house sounds similar to mine in construction type.

@Alta-Matt_v2 I was thinking sort of along the lines you laid out, but I was thinking one AP6 Pro vs two AP6s or an AP6 Pro and AP6. I figured two AP6s would provide “volume” like you mentioned, but I thought maybe one AP6 Pro could also do the job.

I have a pfsense router that I set up, but our previous router is an Asus RT56u (now running in AP mode). With that router, the wireless signal, especially the 5ghz band, would be very weak in some parts of our house. It was roughly centrally located in our house. I figured since a dedicated AP will probably be better/stronger, I may be able to get away with one AP.

I’m going to preface this by saying that it is, unquestionably, overkill. But I run 4 APs, 3 Pros and 1 standard A6. The reasoning is simple, I want a solid 5GHz connection on every square inch of my property. On paper, you are correct a single A6Pro will cover the house, but there are many variables that will be specific to your environment that will degrade that signal. There’s no harm in starting with one, but unless you’re in a pretty rural environment and/or have some basic construction (drywall and 2x4s) to the interior walls, I suspect you’ll want a second AP. And if you want good WiFi coverage outside, you’ll want a 2nd AP.