Expanding WiFi Footprint with Repeater / Mesh

I tried to solve a common scenario.

My R7800 WiFi Network does not cover all spots in my place.
So I wanted to solve this with another device / AP.
I wanted to expand the existing network / IP Range etc., I did not want to have a new Router / DHCP / IP Range etc.
Solving this scenario is easy when using a cable for uplink and following the "dump AP" guides.

If you do not have a cable, things get a litte more difficult.

I tried to confige a "dumb AP" and then build a wirless uplink ((https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/connect_client_wifi)) and interconnect the whole stuff with / within the LAN segment. Would habe been very easy solution if it would work. but does not work. Complete Failiure.

I then found out I am most likley in the "Repeater" scenario, and choose after some research 80211s https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/mesh/80211s,
because I thought it the most "modern, common " way.
So I did NOT use
Relayd https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/relay_configuration
WDS https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/atheroswds
which could have solved as well

So this is my first question:
If you just want to expand your existing network / WiFi Footprint , and you can not connect a new Dumb AP with a cable, is 80211s / Mesh the right thing to choose?

Second question:
The 80211s guide sets up the Mesh, but the AP wont work because ( I think) you need to configure the LAN Interface, using / doing / configuring the same stuff you do when going for the "dumb AP" https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/dumbap

Just wondering if I did the "right" things to make my scenario work or if I did it overcomplicated or missed the point somewhere. Thank You.

It depends. If you have a very complicated system with guest and iot networks, vpns all over the place, separate ad blocking dns-hijacker server/ dhcp server, then no matter what you choose, your solution is going to have a very high level of complexity in its customisation problems needing a matching high level of knowledge.

If you have a sane system, just providing wifi to your house then:

  1. If you need just one single repeater, you can use WDS or 802.11s with little if any difference in performance (a cable is always [potentially] better then wireless)
  2. If you want more than one, the balance shifts dramatically towards 802.11s

WDS can be used with a "dumb ap" wireless AP. It adds modified packets to the normal AP to STA (station, or client device) wireless packets on the same interfaces, allowing your "dumb ap" to effectively look like a wireless STA. This is a fixed single point to single point setup. It needs a fair degree of knowledge and experience to set up. There are lots of examples to be found on this forum if you search for it

802.11s on the other hand uses its own virtual wireless interface to provide multi point to multi point connectivity between the nodes of the mesh. The resulting "mesh backhaul" can be very resilient and self manages itself using a built in mac-routing protocol (known as HWMP) to find the best routes from one node to another (in a multi node scenario).

There is the mesh11sd package that will auto-configure everything for you, making the addition of extra nodes a very simple task. This is the best way forward even if you only want two nodes.

BUT the current version has problems with some hardware implementations, so I would not recommend it right now, but all this is fixed in the upcoming new release.
This will be available on Github in a couple of days and roll out into the OpenWrt feeds a few days later.

802.11s can be used in conjunction with a "dumb ap" configuration. This can be manually configured if you only ever want 2 devices.


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