Openwrt and mesh

Hi, is there a problem if I use an x86 router running Openwrt together with mesh-capable access points?

The AP's would all be from the same vendor/model.

Or, in order to use mesh, the router will also have to be from the same platform as the access points?

Are they all running OpenWrt?

  • If so, yes of course
  • If not, ask the vendor

Router - x86/64 pc running openwrt
Access Points - all from the same vendor running vendor firmware

Not sure how OpenWrt is related here. Your vendor would be able to tell you of all the WiFi devices will connect together in a mesh.

Does the x86_64 have a WiFi card?

The setup I'm thinking about would be more or less the same as @phinn : What's your favorite enthusiast LEDE/OpenWrt device? - #484 by phinn

That is, an x86 router and mesh capable access points.

No it doesn't. It will connect to the ap's with ethernet cables

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Cool, then your setup will work like any other Ethernet-capable router.

In this case your AP doesn't care at all what is the main router: you can use anything, and for example an x86 (good choice BTW). Your concern is the other device that will be meshed with the AP.

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... and devices will seamlessly jump from one ap to the other as expected from mesh ap's, right?

You would configure that on the mesh. The WiFi is unrelated to the router.

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Exactly, like I mentioned in my previous answer to @lleachii

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It's not really clear why you're asking about the mesh's capability on the OpenWrt forum - since the OpenWrt device is not WiFi-capable.

Nonetheless, since the devices will all be connected by Ethernet, you would configure that via the mesh. To be clear, the Ethernet port on the WiFi devices are compatible with the x86_64 device running OpenWrt firmware. Ethernet is a universal standard.

Edit:

Does the vendor require the APs to be configured via the router, or is there some other reason you're inquiring about the router?

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Whole story: I already have a x86/64 router, no WiFi card + switch + six old access points.
The setup works relatively well, except roaming sucks: devices do not seamlessly jump between ap's.
I want to buy new mesh ap's and solve the roaming issue. But I also want to keep the valuable x86/64 openwrt router.

As for APs needing to be configured via the router, is it a common situation?

Cool, as noted before, since the OpenWrt isn't WiFi-capable, you would simply connect your mesh to the Ethernet according to the AP vendor's installation instructions. Clients switching APs are handled by the APs.

I'm not familiar with other vendors.

Then this has nothing to do with mesh. Mesh is a wireless backhaul based on layer 2 mac-routing protocols. Normal devices cannot connect to a mesh directly, they would connect to an AP that is connected to the mesh, ie a mesh gateway.
What you want is wifi roaming, something entirely different

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What he said, and 802.11r is really easy to setup, if supported.

No. Normal devices will see a "mesh ap" ie a mesh gateway, as a normal ap. For the (myth of) seamless roaming, you need 802.11r support on the ap, or better, a careful positioning of and careful power output of the APs.

Thank you all, I think I got it now:

  • Since I already have a cable backhaul, I don't need the mesh.

  • And for seamless roaming, I'll look for 802.11r compatible devices, together with posicioning the ap's so that I don't have zones where signals from two (or more) ap's overlap with similar strength (which would confuse devices as to which ap to connect to, causing many unneeded disconnects/connects and probably a bad experience in the end)

Given that setup, however, I wonder if the ap's should be in repeater (dumb ap) or router mode...

they all are, as long as they run Openwrt.

if they're routers, they're not APs.

If you're in EU a 3-pack of Zyxel Multy M1 is usually less than 100€.

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I was planning to leave the ap's running on vendor firmware (provided they're 802.11r compatible), and have Openwrt only in the x86/64 router.

I don't see many advantages in switching the ap's to Openwrt, given that it will reduce my choices. Choosing specific brands breaches bidding regulations (this setup is for a small government office).

My focus is on the router, where Openwrt offers me all I need.

Demand Linux kernel 6 compatible hw, with public drivers ,)
Then you will at least get rid of Broadcom :slight_smile: