Looking For Mesh Wifi That Will Play Nicely w/OpenWrt

I've had enough of trying to bodge together decent wifi coverage in my house with old APs, routers and EoP bricks and have some money to spend, so I'm looking for an off-the-shelf mesh wifi product that will work well with my existing OpenWrt router (albeit with wifi turned off). I'd love suggestions/comments from anyone that has gone down a similar route. Some selection criteria are as follows:

  • must be able to operate in AP mode with a seperate router on the network handling DNS/DHCP/firewall/etc
  • preferably have 5GHz backhaul on a seperate channel to user traffic
  • if wired backhaul connection, needs to be PoE to minimise cabling as I'm desperately trying to avoid drilling holes and running cable in this house
  • multiple SSIDs and VLANs would be nice to enable a guest network

I'm liking the looks of the TP-Link M9 kit, as although that's consumer kit it can still run in AP mode and retain all the mesh features. Also interesting is the TP-Link EAP stuff, that now appears to support mesh/radio backhaul, although I can't find any reviews of it used in this manner. I've got a server running 24/7 so have no issue running the Omada software in docker. Please don't suggest ethernet over power for backhaul, as the wiring in our place is ancient and I struggle to get above 10-15Mb/s througput on AV1200 units (they were a waste of money!).

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The ubiquiti gear does all you want. I use a bunch of nanohd AP with oem firmware

The Ubiquiti stuff certainly ticks a lot of spec boxes, but wowzah is it pricey! I know I said I had some cash to spare, but that's looking like twice the cost of the comparable TP-Link gear...

That's true. They're not cheap. But they work and work well and the control software is actually quite usable. All the boxes you want checked are checked

I struggled with cheaper solutions until I eventually gave in and bought an enterprise class system and it does the job perfectly. I'm happy I spent the money.


Cheap is expensive, they say...

Do you really need mesh? Wouldn't WDS serve the purpose?