Expanding a small neighborhood network

I'm sharing my business fiber connection with written permission from my ISP to my neighborhood. We are currently 11 apartments and it works good with a mix of Unifi and airMax equipment. I use some of the Unifi AP in mesh (wireless uplink). The fiber is currently 200/200 Mbit, but it is upgradable to 10 gigabit.

Each apartment have their own VLAN, for Wifi there is one shared SSID with WPA-Enterprise (user/password in RADIUS), but many have its own SSID for AP that is close or inside their apartments.

All the low-hanging fruit have been done with cabling and point-to-point antennas between buildings. It would be great if I could expand the network further.

My initial idea is to expand with cheaper OpenWrt APs in batman mesh mode. My goal is to be able to provide speed above 100mbit. I also would like to keep our existing network in place while we are expanding our network.

Do you ha any recommendations for hardware? Can I still use the same VLAN setup under batman? The best supported wifi driver/equipment that have good support for mesh?

I have setup a small test lab consisting of:
1 x Linksys MR8300 (tri-band)
2 x TP-Link TL-WPA8631P v3 (dual-band + powerline)
1 x Ubiquiti airCube AC (dual band)

I have more equipment laying around that I want to add once I am able to have a good and stable mesh setup. Hopefully I can deploy them to my neighbors.

You may want to look into mesh network communities and freifunk.


Yes it is simple to run VLANs within a BATMAN mesh with the notation bat0.N instead of bat0 when attaching the mesh to a network or network bridge.

Triple radio equipment like the 8300 is a good choice. I'd also look at 60 GHz for inter-building links that can't be done with cable or fiber.

Thanks for the link. I have both looked at Freifunk and their software stack Gluon. Gluon might be a good solution for me too, but there is a lot to learn before I am comfortable deploying such a system.

I considered 60 GHz when I installed the antennas, but the low price and the easy setup for the Ubiquiti Nanostation Loco 5ac was too tempting. I will probably upgrade those antennas when I get faster fiber. I would love inter-building cables, but it is too much work.

Thanks, then I should be on a working path. I have some issues with spanning my Batman mesh over the power-line, but I will debugging more before making a new post. Seems like there is some learning for me part so that I fully understand Ethernet and layer 2.

I managed to get the devices to communicate via my existing network via powerline and wifi-mesh over Batman, but once I started playing with VLAN, I managed to lock my self out.

Do you have a good technique to not have to start over when you are changing the config files via SSH?