Architecture for an Ad-Hoc Outdoor Mesh Network?

Hi there,
I am tinkering on my network infrastructure for different purposes, mainly to connect a variety (20+) of LED fixtures running ESPs for my lighting installations at festivals, open airs and other possible events. As I dont know what the future locations will be like, I try to be as flexible as possible and prepare my rig for all kind of situations.

  • Runs on power banks if no AC is available
  • Larger distances will be bridged via Point-to-Point(Multipoint) connections
  • Mesh via B.A.T.M.A.N-adv on OpenWRT using 5 GHz
  • Controlling server, router and LED fixtures through WiFi from all covered areas
  • Can be used as infrastructure network for the events (e.g. for connecting smartphone based paying and ticket systems)
  • Also suitable for indoor installations
  • Easily expandable
  • Low latency > Bandwidth

My current plan:

As I am looking for the Jack-of-all-Trades, I could need some advice regarding the setup:

  1. How do I get Internet into my network from an external WiFi source?
    a) Use the 2,4GHz radio of the ASUS router to connect as a wifi client
    b) Use one of the mesh node devices as a wifi client to deliver internet via Ethernet to the WAN port of the AC86U
    c) Use a P-to-P device instead of a mesh node device (better radio?)
    d) Addionatly connect one device to the external router via ethernet (if possible) and WDS (?)

  2. I like to keep my 5V travel routers (TP-Link TL-WR902AC, GL-iNET GL-AR300M16-Ext) as mesh nodes, but are there other "better" small devices around 30 Euro that I should take into account?

  3. Should I go for one dedicated model for the mesh nodes or is mixing hardware ok (taken that they work in general)?

  4. Is integrating P-to-P (or P-to-MP) connections/devices a problem?

  5. Any other tips, experiences or recommendations regarding the architecture you can share?

Kelvin - Kandela Lighting

1 Like

For what you have described, batman is not needed. A simple 802.11s layer 2 mesh would be more than adequate, but up to you of course.
Maybe read:

These are 2GHz only, so for your proposed 5GHz mesh will be of no use.



A mesh network is multipoint to multipoint so covers it.

The Nanostation M2 is 2 GHz only, is very outdated and short of flash/ram so can be problematic.

  • Avoid 2.4 in festival situations. Use 5 GHz wherever possible.
  • When you have things in easy wired range (such as the router that is picking up Internet to the first mesh point), wire them.
  • Plan spatial frequency reuse. A downside of a mesh is that all nodes must operate on the same frequency. Everything else needs to be planned onto different frequencies.
  • BATMAN allows a mesh to carry VLANS (e.g. isolated networks for lighting and ticketing) simply with the notation bat0.N. This does not work on plain 802.11s.
  • Locally route endpoints into the mesh at the mesh nodes. Avoid DHCP or other broadcast traffic on the mesh.
  • Run SQM between every endpoint AP and the mesh. Set local speed limits tightly so the mesh doesn't get overloaded. Also SQM your WAN connection at the edge.

batman was a recommendation by so., so I did read into the topic as far as my tech understanding goes. batman should "find the best routes through the network" is what I took so far. Does that more apply for bandwidth orientated scenarios with changing/moving clients?
I would probably make some tests on my own later as I have identical hardware.

Yeah just saw that too. I bought more used WR902AC routers and will make them my main nodes. I am thinking about adding some "normal" AC based routers for when AC is available. Any recommendations for about max 30Euro? Due to the compact size I like the AC plug "range extenders", but dunno how they perform for this job compared to normal ones.
Also I am wondering if devices with 2x5GHz could be used as "relays" between nodes (i.e. if thats better than 2,4+5).

AH, I forgot to add: I would use them as "dumb relays" for bridging larger sight-to-sight distances. Less for the lighting network but more for getting the "service network" connected.

How that?

Ah, thanks, thats a good point.

So static IPs? And sth. else?