Adding nanoHD to router as mesh

Hello! New to OpenWRT here... I have a Raspberry Pi 4 set up with version 21.02.1 that's functioning just fine as a router, and seems to be accomplishing what I'm after - setting up VLANs to better control my network traffic. I'm trying to replace Google Home Wifi in my house... so I need to add wifi access points / mesh to this setup.

I have a Unifi nanoHD unit that I flashed OpenWRT 21.02.1 on. I'm able to connect to this device just like the Pi. My ultimate goal is to get a second one of these units, and place them throughout my house. With the nanoHD plugged into my switch (configured as an access point) and setting the gateway to the Google Home Wifi address, I can connect and access the internet.

However, I want this to be part of an eventual mesh network, using OpenWRT on the Pi4 as the gateway / DHCP server / DNS server. I've tried setting it up through LuCI, as well as is described here. It appears to be 'up' in LuCI, but when watching the logs while restarting with wifi I see lines like this:

Thu Feb  3 12:58:14 2022 daemon.err wpa_supplicant[1277]: wlan1: Could not join mesh

I've tried taking it all down and setting up again, but I can't seem to get this to work. Any ideas? Thanks!

802.11s mesh is for wireless linking of the "backhaul" network to the main router. If you have wired Ethernet connections to all APs you don't need 802.11s.

After replacing wpad the router must be rebooted to properly load and start the new versions.

The simplest mesh configuration is to put the mesh wifi interfaces into the existing LAN bridge. There is no need to create a new network named 'mesh' as the instructions say. With the LAN bridged together you can configure the rest of the AP as a conventional dumb AP. This will at least get you started you can of course make the network more complex later.

And as @amteza said, if you only have one or two wirelessly linked APs in fixed locations, it is better to run as dedicated point to point links with AP(WDS)->Client(WDS). Which by the way is actually how the Unifi stock firmware "mesh" mode of operation works behind the scenes.

1 Like

You are describing my LAN network, RPi4 connected to my ISP router, and two nanoHDs connected as dumb APs via WDS. I tried first with mesh and throughput was really bad.
Please, see here:


aaaand as is usual for me, I find some clarity right after posting about it, thinking I've exhausted all my options. the part I missed was that I need an interface set up not only for the mesh network, but a second one set up as an SSID that clients actually connect to. it all makes sense now, of course. :smiley:

this is the info that I came across that gave me the eureka moment... I'll have my second nanoHD here tomorrow, and am going to get things set up. super excited to have better control over things!

thanks for the info, @amteza! I'll definitely keep it in mind when my second unit shows up here. good to know about the BSSID values, I could see myself banging my head on that for a few hours. :smiley:

how do you like the setup with the Pi being the router? any issues? the nanoHD is a beast compared to my Google Home wifi it seems... great signal, and fast throughput.

hmm... thanks for the info @mk24 - I'm still a bit of a noob when it comes to OpenWRT here. my intention was to have the nanoHD units connected to my switch as they need power anyway... I guess it makes sense that I don't really need a mesh setup at that point then. how does 'handoff' work then between the access points? if I use the same values for all 'dumb' access points (SSID, security, etc) will it 'just work' with that, and gracefully hand off to the best device at the moment? something tells me there's more to the story than that... :wink:

I've moved from a Google Home WiFi setup to. The main problem you will face compared to Google Home WiFi is that you DO NOT have a backhaul dedicated channel! Be aware of it, that's why is highly recommended that you cable your backhaul.
In general I'm happy with the performance of the nanoHD for my use case and their low footprint. My main use of the second nanoHD is extend the network to support WFH and video conferencing, so its latency is good enough.

Regarding the Pi being the router, I love it. Does all what is required and can saturate my download bandwidth (1000/50) when asked to. :wink:

1 Like

It works without issues. There are a few tricks to ensure 802.11r works right but we can help with that when you get your second unit. :wink:

1 Like