Hi guys, been using openwrt since about 2002 on an old WRT54G but have recently caught up and installed WRT 21.02.1 on a BT HH5a using VDSL with Vodafone - took a while but got it running ok.
My plan is to have a mesh network with 4 other HH5 covering my property with Wifi and ethernet via rj45 connectors. These 4 other HH5's would mesh back into the device with is providing internet connectivity via its built in wifi and lan ports.
The other mesh units would would provide wifi access and ethernet to various remote devices all running on the same sub net but with a mixture of static and dynamic devices.
The main HH5 is connected to the Vodafone ISP and serving DHCP it also holds the static IP address table for those items which must remain static (mostly our Sonos system).
In total we have about 70 IP addresses in use 192.168.1.xxx
Now I have the 1st HH5 working, here are my questions I'm hoping some kind sole can help me with.
Is the above even possible ? Specifcally can the main router do double duty and run the mesh function.
Can the mesh nodes provide both wifi and ethernet connectivity ?
How do I start ? FYI I did have a little dabble with a bunch of RPI 3's but quickly discovered their wifi chips don't support mesh - hence the use of HH5 devices.
I've read some guides done a lot of googling, but frankly I find it a bit over whelming - but at the same time a fun challenge to learn something new, so I'm going persevere !
I'm reasonably Linux and computer savy just not to hot on the finer points of networking.
One thing I forgot to mention is you'll probably want to avoid using 5ghz channels with enforced radar detection, as I find they tend to shut down, or else switch channels (if you configure that) when using several routers, I suspect the other router's wifi signal may sometimes be being misidentified as a radar. ( "iw phy0 info" for a list)
If it is any help, these are the current settings for my 5ghz mesh using batman-adv. To use 802.11s routing which is best to get working first before trying batman-adv if you need it, you'd want to change mesh_fwding=1 and change the network (presumably to lan).
I changed the last octet of the wifi mac addresses of each router to make it easy to identify which router's are connected to each other (01,02,03 etc).
You are very likely to ever get an RPi working with 802.11s mesh, because you cannot get a USB dongle that can reliably support mesh.
In addition, RPis are expensive when you add up all the bits and pieces, fine to play with if you have one already (except for this use case it will not work).
Buy, instead, a low cost OpenWrt router (eg gl-iNet MT300N-V2 for £27 new on Amazon in the UK).
If you are in an ETSI region (~Europe), running a mesh on 5GHz can be problematic due to DFS. Stick with 2GHz, particularly if you are in a quiet rural area where you can run 40 MHz channel width to get double bandwidth (300Mb/s).
Ofcom relaxed the rules on 5ghz in 2020 to allow use of channels 149 - 165 without DFS, so now channels 36 - 48, or channels 149 -165 (both 80mhz) would be suitable here in the UK.
Although if you decide to run an access point on 5ghz as well as a mesh, the 149-165 band isn't supported by many devices.
The Mesh settings are the same on all devices. as mentioned previously I do change the default mac address of each mesh so I can identify each router without memorising each of their unique mac addresses.
Until recently, I'd been compiling my own image with the required modules included and 5ghz wifi drivers replaced and at one point, I did include much of my config files, and changed the IP settings, gateway and dhcp settings of each after flashing, although now I either just keep the settings, or restore a backup from one of my other routers and tweak them in the UI.
Just for clarity, so each node can use the same image ,with the same config files for WAN, LAN, Wireless and Mesh (not just mesh config) - but changing the last digit of the Mesh MAC for id purposes on each node. Correct ?
Sorry to be a pain but could you post all your config files (WAN, LAN, Wireless and Mesh) suitably sanitized so I can compare them to mine in case I've missed or screwed something up (very likely !)
I'm running WRT 21.02.1 but have not yet installed batman-adv just wpad-wolfssl, maybe I don't need batman-adv, time will tell.
I think I'll take the plunge and order some more HH5a's in anticipation of Mesh success
The WAN settings don't matter on the routers that are only used as mesh nodes, I set gateway in the lan settings on the nodes to point to the one plugged into the phone line, and disabled their dhcp servers.
I've been using DSA builds for over a year, something I can't currently recommend as recent builds are very unstable due to the bootloop issue, so my network settings would just confuse things. It is also possible that some of them are a bit messed up as a couple of my routers got stuck in a boot loop after trying a recent snapshot and I used an old backup, and they were more of a case of getting it working, rather than a good example, as my networking knowledge is negligible.
I'm also using batman-adv, partly because two mesh nodes are also connected by ethernet cable, which would cause a bridge loop. These are the relevant sections
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply.
I've managed to get one mesh point up and running with connectivity to my ISP, but can't be sure until I receive my other HH5's and set them up. I think I'm on the right track thanks to your help, reading various posts and most importantly reading the guide documentation.
One thing I did have to do was to use a ethernet WAN connection to my original modem DMZ as I found the HH5 VDSL modem would frequently drop / re-sync whereas my Vodafone modem would go for days without dropping.
At some point once I have the mesh working ok I'll revisit using the HH5 modem to see if I can get it to work more reliably.