Need Help Support in Networking Mesh | Deco Concepts + OpenWRT

Dear Open Wrt Community,

This is more of a Networking Basics (70%) and less of Open Wrt (30%) question. Country = India. Reading Time = 5 Minutes.

Background #

  1. My office is a small 1200 square feet office with 2 floors (ground floor + 1st floor = total 2 floors) + 3 rooms each in each of the floor. Each of the wall separating the rooms are thick and brick constructed. This point is highlighted because, the walls inhibit the wifi penetration. Each floor has about 40 employees (sort of cramped) and total about 80 employees.

  2. Everyone works on laptop + mobile and so we are talking about 80 laptops + 80 mobiles + additional 10 guest laptops + additional 10 mobiles.

  3. We have 2 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) - both fibre GPON based - each about 400 Mbps speed - the output cable from their Device / Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) would be a CAT6 cable which needs to be connected to the routers for the Wifi to be accessed.

  4. All employees connect through Wifi and hardly 3-4 desktops connect through LAN.

  5. Currently we do have any Static IP.

  6. Each of the router can be connected through wired or wireless option. My preference is wired back-haul, since the office building supports internal duct cabling.

Requirements #

  1. Speed of each mobile device to be throttled or restricted to 10 Mbps - all through.

  2. Speed of each laptop device to be throttled or restricted to 20 Mbps - all through.

  3. Any new devices which is getting connected should follow the above rules.

  4. Specific applications (MS-Teams, Zoom, Skype, Cisco WEBEX, Microsoft Outlook) should get higher speeds - which means no throttling.

  5. If 1 ISP fails, the other ISP should automatically should kick in and continue the connectivity process. Ideally, only 1 ISP should work by default. If the 1st fails, the 2nd should kick in automatically. If the 1st ISP comes back live, 2nd one should hand-over the connectivity to the 1st ISP. 1st ISP to be the primary ISP.

  6. When employees move from 1 place to another place (room or even floor), they need not have to switch or reconnect SSID. It should seamlessly work without interruption. Teams calls should not get disconnected / reconnected.

  7. I need 4 SSIDs - 1st for employees on 2.4 GHz, 2nd for employees on 5.0 Ghz, 3rd for guests login on 2.4 Ghz and last / 4th for employees VPN access on 5.0 Ghz.

What I believe, that I need further?

  1. I may need a 8 port 10/100/1000 switch.

  2. I may need a software / hardware firewall + load balancer device.

Questions that I have!

  1. Do I need Mesh or Deco?

  2. Do I have to use 802.11s or 802.11r protocol or both?

  3. Can I use multiple brands but with same openwrt software and make all work together?

  4. If a device does not basically support mesh / deco with OEM firmware, with openwrt, can it be made supportable?

  5. Can multiple devices of openwrt with different openwrt versions - let's say 21 or 22 or 23 series, will it work for the above limited purposes of mesh + roaming?

  6. Tomorrow, if a new version comes for openwrt, if I update through normal update options, do I have to configure and set-it up all from the first or will updates will be seamless and will be smooth?

What do I have now?

What do I have now?

  1. I have about 6-8 devices of the following models - all currently out of warranty - but working.

    • TP-Link Archer C7 v3
    • TP-Link Archer C7 v4
    • Asus RT-AC3100
    • Dlink DIR-825 B1
  2. Loads of CAT 5E networking cable + RJ45 jacks.

What I cannot do?

I have severe limitations on budget - I want to use "what I have" and give a solution through "Do it yourself (DIY) approach".

Any ideas / links / suggestions welcome. Will take each of the inputs logically and conclude it practically and will update the status frequently in this forum. If required, will prepare a detailed write-up and share it as well - so that the future such requirements would not be a hunt like I did!

That is for you to decide.

Mesh:
https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/mesh/mesh11sd#are_you_sure_you_want_a_mesh

Deco:
A Portuguese footballer?

You have:

Loads of CAT 5E networking cable + RJ45 jacks.

Ah! The utopian dream :wink:

See this for starters:

You need to do some background reading and ask some pertinent questions rather than give us a project wish-list and expect someone to design your network for you.

1 Like

You need to do some background reading and ask some pertinent questions rather than give us a project wish-list and expect someone to design your network for you.

Real bummer!!! But, valid point! I will do my home work and get back! I'm not a network guy - in fact, not even a techie...I'm a finance guy...but, will take it and see to what extent I can go!

Worth your 2 lines!

  • 1200 square feet office
  • 80 laptops + 80 mobiles

Just unicorn and yeti missing. (such setup is physically not possible)

Why do you believe that this is not possible?

The public bus has 2x that floor space per person

So you're not talking about the networking, but rather the density of the people?

2 Likes

Yep, there is some mistake in that.

If all your APs are connected to a common wired backhaul (e.g. central switch), then you don't need mesh, just properly setup roaming between APs. 802.11r

How dense do the people need to be?

Chair desk space to exit, like 5m^2 50sqft

1 Like