Dumb AP isn't that dumb

Hi all.
The matter of fact that we should assign ip address to the Dumb AP makes it bridge, which isn't what I want.
In the past I remember I had a faulty WAN port on some old router (not using OpenWRT) and I've disabled the DHCP, put the Internet cable in some of the LANs and the WiFi AP was actually no different than connecting to LAN port. So this is what I want to achive in OpenWRT.

I don't want to assign on AP router and have on Main Router because my main Router has multiple networks and I need them all passed to the Dumb AP.

Several routers should be able to connect to the Dumb AP (in WIFI client mode) and I should be able to assign different IP addresses in different networks.
Router1 ( --wifi--> Dump AP Router --cable--> Main Router
Router2 ( --wifi--> Dump AP Router --cable--> Main Router
... More

I tried making the Dump AP WAN iface look like same as LAN and made it Unmanaged and made the WiFI AP bridged to that WAN so when Router1 or 2 tries to assign IP to directly use main Router.
Unfortunately this does not seem to work.
I know about Relay Bridge protocol but again you should assign IP for the Dumb router which limits you to single network and isn't something that I want.

Any ideas? It smells like DHCP relay? but I'm pretty sure the old non OWT router didn't had all this complexity and I actually need to setup everything Statically.


If you’re connecting some of these devices (router/AP) via wifi to pass information through to another device (router/AP), then you have 2 options.

  1. Use relayd

  2. Use 802.11s mesh / batman-adv mesh

You’ll still need a network interface on each device to manage any of those devices and that network interface will need an ip address (so you can login via Luci or ssh, etc)

You can setup your other network interfaces on any dumb AP’s to be unmanaged, but again, you will want to have a “management” aka “parachute” network to access those devices.

You can put the management network on any private ip address range and assign static leases from the main router or assign static address’ to the interfaces directly.

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All dumb APs are bridges-- from wireless to wired. The dumb AP only needs to hold an IP address to be able to log into it for administration. Only one interface (if any) needs an IP for that reason. User packets are not routed through an IP address inside a dumb AP. They aren't routed at all. Any packet from a wireless user goes over to the wired interface unchanged. This is layer 2 operation based on MAC addresses not IPs.

Since the link there is Ethernet cable you can use VLAN tagging to combine multiple networks onto one cable. Also an Ethernet cable is a true layer 2 bridge connection, which means that the multiple end user MAC addresses will be preserved as bridged packets pass across the cable.

A problem exists when you want to connect a downstream router wirelessly to any network, be it a dumb AP or a direct (wireless) connection to a main router. The standard for AP-STA communication assumes that there will be only one MAC address on the STA side of the connection. This is true when the STA is an endpoint device such as a laptop (the end user MAC is the same as the wifi radio MAC), but not when it is an AP trying to combine and bridge multiple devices into one wireless link. This is not possible using a regular AP-STA link. A regular STA cannot be attached to a kernel bridge like an Ethernet port can.

What relayd and various "repeater" boxes do is rewrite MAC addresses so that the upstream AP sees all the users of the repeater at one MAC address. This is not a perfect solution. Other wireless modes such as WDS and mesh communicate the end user's actual MAC over the link, allowing a true bridge. This does require the source AP to support the mode.


You was convincing that Unmanaged iface works ! So I tried again and it did worked. That solved it.
In fact I can manage this Dumb AP router. As I said I made the WAN in firewall settings same as LAN and main router cable goes into that WAN. If I plug the cable into the LAN of Dumb AP I'm managing it.
And ofc this WAN is broadcasted using WiFi so the client router now gets IP from the main router.

Thank you mk24 as well, I have to be careful with the MACs that's nice reminder :slight_smile:

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