Help needed for either WDS or Mesh

Based on some really positive comments about the Linksys EA8300, I've purchased 3 units to set up either with WDS or Mesh. WDS seems pretty straight forward based on the tutorial, but the mesh tutorials seem very obtuse and user unfriendly (at least to me).

I plan on using the three units in my approimately 3500 sq ft, 2 story home.

Which setup do you think is better - WDS or Mesh? I'm also keen on using the third band as backhaul - how does that work? How to set that up?

If anyone uses a mesh setup with this particular unit, would you be willing to share your setup details? I'm ready and willing to continue learning about OpenWRT.


If your routers are at fixed locations and not moving around regularly and if both 'satellites' have a direct (wireless) connection to the main router, WDS will do fine and be a lot easier. Real meshing protocols only show their strength in heavily dynamic environments and for daisy-chaining satellites, respectively variable routing.


Do you need a mesh-based setup?

Are your routers going to move around the house? Are they going to be on/off at random times? Do you need to use intermediate routers to reach zones that are too far away from the main router? In this case, you probably need a mesh.

Otherwise, if all routers are static, always on, and within reach of the main router, WDS is far more convenient. Also, I would consider using PLC devices instead of WDS.

PLC = powerline communication?

My experience with WDS was it would just fail mysteriously every so often and I'd have to reboot the device to get it to work. super irritating.

I eventually used a powerline setup to provide network to my living room where there's a media pc that does a number of functions.

it does introduce a bottleneck in my network that requires a separate QoS control. At the moment it's just a smart switch policing that port. Without that I could get bufferbloat over the powerline which was irritating. of course latency on wifi is also an even bigger thing.

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Yes, I was referring to powerline communication addapters.

My experience with WDS was also irritating: it would work flawlessly for days, then became super slow or even stop all traffic completely, and had to reboot the client.

I haven't still made any tough speed / latency tests with the PLC, but so far the connection has been perfectly stable, and the few tests I performed were very satisfactory.

Thanks for your help. Is there a particular brand of PLC you would recommend? And how about speed rating?

The routers will be staionary.

Also, if I go with PLC, the ethernet would plug into the switch of the router, not the WAN port, right?

The PLC has an ethernet cord between the PLC and the router's LAN switch yes.

Also, nice feature of Discourse software, you can edit one post rather than followup multiple posts.

I can only talk about the hardware that I have tested myself: "TP-Link TL-PA4010PKIT". I plugged those more than one month ago, and forgot they even exist.

These are announced as "600mbps", but they do not pass 400mbps even when plugged one on top of the other, and the Ethernet port can only do 100mbps. Look for something else if you need higher speeds.

A pair of these is just like a long ethernet cable that runs inside your walls (you can even trunk several VLANs over them). You connect one of them to one of the LAN ports on the main router, then another one to the LAN/WAN port (depending of how you configure them) of each access point.

I have some ZyXEL ones that are advertised as 2000mbps :rofl: in my 1940's house they sometimes would hit 150Mbps, but it would vary with whether I was using the microwave or not etc and this meant I could sometimes get 40 to 60ms of bufferbloat which would wipe out VOIP calls.

I eventually decided to police the port at 40Mbps which is enough to flawlessly stream Fubo TV and two 1080p surveillance cameras and make VOIP phone calls on a wifi AP connected at the far end. I use a smart switch on both ends of the link that takes DSCP into account, and I trunk 3 VLANs over it (normal LAN, isolated cameras, and guest).

It's a pretty good technology, the only issue I have is that it seems to inject noise onto some audio equipment, but I've mitigated that.

Also btw: there is strong AES based encryption on the link, you pair them by pressing some buttons, for a minute or so they broadcast their randomly generated keys, after that they're linked over encryption with that key... if a snooper isn't there during the link up phase connected to your power-lines, it's secure.

That's if you want to connect to the LAN. The PLC is an "inline" de facto Ethernet cable. Where you connect it on the router is up to your use case. So for your case probably LAN-LAN, but in other cases you might have a reason to connect LAN-WAN.

That's the kit i have too, really happy with it (other than the eth port you mentioned, although not a big deal for my use).

Hi all I have a couple of more related questions about the WDS setup:

  1. Can this support multiple wireless networks, i.e. 1 or more SSIDs on bgn and ac bands?
  2. Does IPv6 ULA Prefix need to match on all the routers?


Do you mean to have the WDS client serving more than one SSID? Or do you mean having the same WDS AP serving more than one WDS station.

Each radio can only be client to a single access point (or SSID), so in principle you can only use WDS to extend one network.

However, with a bit of effort, you can create a GRE tunnel inside the WDS connection, and then forward all other networks using VLANs.

Just to make sure I understand, a WDS setup can have one wireless network on the 2.4 radio, and one wireless network on the 5gHz radio, unless I create a GRE tunnel?

Currently, without WDS, I have 3 2.4mhz SSID's and 2 5mhz SSID's.

I think I mean the WDS stations being able to serve multiple SSID's from the WSD AP.

That shouldn't be a problem, as long as your device is capable of having multiple SSID regardless of the WDS.

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Yeah, I think this requires either BATMAN-ADV or a GREtap so that you can multiplex the single WDS backhaul using VLAN tags.