TP-Link WPA8631P multi unit Mesh with AV1300 backhaul

I currently own three TP-Link WPA8631P PowerLine AV1300/WiFi modules, along with three TL-PA8010P plain AV1300 PowerLine units and a TP-Link ADSL/WiFi router (VR600). I have a gigabit switch for my wired Ethernet servers, workstations and other bits, but my house is quite spread out with an office at either end. I have various bits plugged into the AV1300 TL-PA8010P PowerLine network. I also run file servers, media servers, and a DHCP/DNS server, along with connections going to my Air Source Heat Pump & Solar inverter.

At the moment, I have all of my TP-Link WiFi kit running as a TP-Link OneMesh, which is really unstable. It's running both 2.4 & 5Ghz on the same SSID, with WPA2 WPA2-PSK and AES Encryption.

We live in a fairly rural location, with flaky internet. At some point next year we are supposed to be getting 100Mb full fiber. As it will never be faster than 250Mb, let alone 500Mb, I'm going to do the Raspberry Pi OpenWRT router thing - giving me a independent, stand alone gateway router that doesn't participate in the WiFi.

As the WPA8631P modules are now fully supported for running OpenWRT & using AV1300 as a backhaul, my plan is to reflash all three to OpenWRT and retire the WiFi on the ADSL/WiFi router - I'll just keep it as my ADSL gateway until I can obsolete it completely if/when they connect the fiber. Yes, I'm not planning on touching the TL-PA8010P AV1300 units, as they can just stay as they are. I also know that my VR600 isn't compatible with OpenWRT - I'll replace it when I can, with something that is.

So... the question is: what is my best approach to running the three TP-Link WPA8631P units as a WiFi Mesh, using their AV1300 PowerLine capabilities as a backhaul? Does it appear that I can configure an OpenWRT based Mesh to give me a stable replacement for my existing setup?

At any time I probably 10+ WiFi devices connected, quite a few of which are roaming around the building. I've gone through the OpenWRT Documentation & really think that I need some advice on how I should best approach it, given all the the choices. I think that I should just be looking at 802.11s and Mesh11sd - but I'd like someone to confirm that OLSR and batman-adv are too much for my needs?

As I currently own the three WPA8631P units, I hope that they will make a good hardware choice for my Mesh network. They cost me quite a lot to buy originally, & I just want a home mesh network that works reliably. I don't really want to buy more bits unless I have to.

If you are using PowerLine as a backhaul, you do not need a mesh.

A Mesh network is by definition a backhaul, where the mesh network wirelessly connects all your APs together.

Roaming is where you can wander round your house and your phone will automagically hop from one AP to the next without you noticing.

Are you confusing "Mesh" with "Roaming"?

Apologies if my usage of the words mesh and backhaul led to you misunderstanding my question, my requirements and my current setup. My equipment is currently TP-Link and I was using the words and concepts that their marketing department used to sell me this stuff. I have read many of your other posts & agree that terms Mesh Node and Mesh Gateway are far less ambiguous terms, but I am dealing with the kit that I have and I am just coming up to speed on Mesh Networking terms & technology, so please forgive me. I am using Backhaul to describe how each AP exchanges data with the rest of the network.

Rather than having several independent Dumb WiFi APs (each of which neither knows nor cares that any of the others exist), I purchased a Mesh network, on the proviso that each AP is (supposed to be) aware of the other APs, and will (supposedly) seamlessly hand over a WiFi signal that connects a mobile device to the most appropriate (nearest) AP as you are roaming around the house. The problem is that mine doesn't!

I live in a house that unfortunately does not have a physically cabled, wired ethernet network. I am also not in a position to change this, so I have had to live with alternatives. Because of the way that my house was designed and built, my WiFi range is lousy on 2.4Ghz & worse on 5Ghz. Thus, I have been forced to use AV1300 PowerLine as my wired network. Thankfully, this does exactly what it is supposed to, but the use of dumb WiFi AV1300 based range extenders has led to exactly the same problems covered in this post: Mesh Mode Only using OpenWrt APs and TP-Link Multi WAN Wired Router? by @jdn and answered by @IanC - any mobile device will hold onto its current AP connection for as long as it can, then it will dump me onto the 4G network before quickly picking up a nearer AP and reconnecting to my WiFi. My wife's family is scattered all over the world, so we use IP Telephony and voice chat all day. This disconnects your call whenever you move more than a few metres, which leads to a great deal of friction within the family.

This leads onto the current problems with the TP-Link OneMesh system that I am using. Even though each TP-Link WPA8631P unit supposedly bridges the WiFi and the AV1300 network on its internal switch, when it participates in a TP-Link OneMesh network, it appears to only use a 5Ghz WiFi channel as the Backhaul (which is really flaky because of the way my house is built), rather than the rock solid & high bandwidth AV1300 PowerLine network. This took quite a lot of research to discover, & it turned out that had I spent considerably more on my TP-Link equipment, I could have bought stuff that used a Wired Backhaul instead (either PowerLine or Ethernet, their words, not mine) - however, I wasn't aware of all this when I originally spent my money & bought everything. Their various Deco systems weren't available at that time, & what was available was out of my price range.

So, I'm hoping to use the kit that I have bought, rather than having to buy more. Plus, by converting all three of my WPA8631P units to OpenWRT, I get a Mesh system that I can configure in exactly the way that my house needs me to. End result being that I don't have to spend any more money & my wife stops shouting at me - a win-win result.

Back to my original question. Currently, I believe that I will need to install 802.11s as my basic WiFi, and Mesh11sd to handle all the Mesh configuration. Should this setup cover my requirements, or do I need to start looking at batman-adv or OLSR as well?

I have a powerline backhaul using TL-WPA8630P and a TL-PA8010P. I have a separate wireless router on the 8010 side and the 8630 runs OpenWrt and acts as a wireless AP.

I just bridge the wireless interface on the 8630 device with the powerline interface and then use the same wireless configuration on both the APs. It works well for me. Devices roam seamlessly between the APs and connections aren't dropped when switching AP.

You probably want to enable 802.11r Fast Transition on your APs to get quicker roaming, but that's just a checkbox in the wifi settings (ok, I don't know the details of 802.11r so it could be more to it than this).

I never used TP-Link's firmware so I can't say anything about that.

I'm curious.. You say you get "high bandwidth" on your powerline network. What speeds do you get? I get 50-60 Mbit/s which isn't that great.

A mesh network (802.11s) IS a backhaul. If you have a Powerline backhaul, you do not need a mesh unless you want to extend your backhaul beyond the Powerline.

That is NOT what an 802.11s mesh does.

An 802.11s mesh knows nothing about access points.

Again, there is nothing a mesh backhaul can do about this.
As mentioned by @robho you need 802.11r to help with roaming, but be aware that not all devices will work with this (although newer ones are probably ok).

OLSR and batman-adv are specialised layer 3 ip routing protocols that sit on top of the layer 2 network provided by an 802.11s mesh.
These enhanced packages are targeted more for large infrastructure scenarios eg. city scale, rather than a typical home mesh application. In contrast, a basic 802.11s mesh serves all scenarios from home mesh through to high resilience neighbourhood WISP applications.
Unless you need some of the specialised functions, OLSR and Batman are somewhat of a complicated overkill in a typical domestic environment.


An 802.11s mesh can be a very effective and resilient method of extending your backhaul to remote access points. It does not provide a WiFi network and does not provide access points. Non-mesh clients (like your phone) cannot connect to a mesh. Only mesh-nodes can connect.
(A mesh-node can of course also have an access point configured on it at the same time as its mesh configuration - but this has some potential downsides and at this point of the discussion will only add confusion - we can come back to this later if you wish).

You can get gigabit powerline 1000 adaptors, and 500Mb Powerline 500 is commonly available.
What you actually achieve depends on many factors such as the quality of the power cable connections, design of any RCD (Residual Current Detection) breakers, new style AFDD (Arc Fault Detection Device) breakers, physical range, and electrical interference (many coffee shop grade Espresso coffee machines seem to put out a broadband "white noise" that causes havoc, for example).

Yeah, after several years of use I'm really happy to finally retire my WPA8630Ps. I had a similar setup with WiFi on each end in 802.11r configuration and Powerline between the APs. It worked OK, but every now and then, depending on what the neighbors (!) did, the connection would drop.

I take it all back! I'm just busy eating my hat...

I just installed iperf and ran various tests around my network, & my AV1300 PowerLine speed is currently atrocious. I'm getting between 26 & 36 Mbits/sec & I don't know why yet. I think that what @bluewavenet said about RCD's and Electrical Interference is 100% spot on correct though, as I have recently had my fuse board replaced with new RCD's, & I have several potentially very noisy devices plugged in. I'll test more & tell you what's causing it as soon as I find out.

I'm also interested to find out what else you had to install into your TL-WPA8630P, or if you just used the basic OpwnWRT image for it?

I haven't installed any additional packages on my WPA8630P. What you want to do should be possible to do with what's installed by the OpenWrt image.

You may want to install scripts to handle the device buttons, but if you have your adapters paired before installing OpenWrt it's not necessary.

(Thanks for the bandwidth numbers, it's nice to hear what others get.. I did some benchmarking over a weekend some time back to try to see how performance varies over time. In my case I have stable connection and stable speed, but the speed stays at ~60 Mbit/s. So, no temporary noise sources for me, but just bad wiring for a powerline network. One other problem for me is that I don't use grounded sockets which prevents these powerline adapters to use the ground path for communication.)

Put them next to each other in a N-way extension lead, see what speed you get.

A set of COVR 2500 1300Mbps devices topped out at approx 250Mbps using this setup.

Good test. The sensing coils in RCDs act as fairly good attenuators for the powerline carrier even with this test as the impedance for powerline signals is pretty low. I have tried this on RCD and non-RCD ring mains in the UK an found a consistent lower performance on RCD circuits. So it is not just "going through" an RCD, even just having one in the circuit somewhere has an effect. As for AFDD breakers, I am yet to find anyone with any, but expect to do so soon as it is I think, becoming mandatory to have them installed in business premises. They are not cheap, but a good safety addition....

I will as soon as I get a moment, as that sounds like a really good test. It's been half term here in the UK & I have had my hands full with my kids.

I have RCDs on every circuit in the house, so this would explain why my PowerLine networking is sooo sloooow. No AFDD Breakers though.

It is circumstantial evidence, not a definite and it might depend on the manufacturer of the rcd as well as other factors.
Premises with zones on a single rcd (eg upstairs on one rcd and downstairs on a second) seem to be better than installations with an rcd on every circuit.

On the other hand, a lot of rural areas in the UK consider themselves lucky to have 30Mb/s vdsl, so 50Mb/s on a powerline is just fine. For now anyway. (I know this as that is what I have to put up with..... Starlink looks very attractive.....)

an unfortunately very valid point. My current ADSL connection gives us 24Mbps, which is why I hadn't noticed the PowerLine issues before. Lots of stuff to fix, troubleshoot and/or upgrade.

I am trying the same, I have two WPA8631P devices (not the kit). Batman over the wifi and over the plc0 device gives these warnings in the log:

Sun Oct 30 11:23:54 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2785.885179] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:24:05 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2796.125369] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:24:15 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2806.365039] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:24:25 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2816.605241] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:24:35 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2826.844957] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:24:46 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2837.085172] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:24:56 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2847.324923] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)
Sun Oct 30 11:25:06 2022 kern.warn kernel: [ 2857.565100] br-lan: received packet on bat0 with own address as source address (addr:10:27:f5:31:c4:45, vlan:0)

Going back to an 802.11s mesh, on 2.4GHz HT40 will connect at 300Mb/s between meshnodes, and achieving 180-200Mb/s or better is common under load, depending of course on signal to noise ratio. (HT40 is fine if you do not have any close neighbours.)

@bluewavenet this sounds promising...

Assuming that OpenWRT can stabilise the WiFi on my three TP-Link WPA8631P units, an 802.11s mesh should automatically find the most efficient route to transfer data in between the meshnodes and to/from the wired LAN & WAN. This could/should then use HT40 between meshnodes in preference to the AV1300 PowerLine 'wired' option, because it is 5 to 10 times quicker (I assume)?

From the look of I'll have to have a good play around with the HT40 mode settings & see which one works nicely with my house & my various clients.

I presume that I can still use 802.11r Fast Transition by just ticking the checkbox in the wireless config on all three units?

I'm going to have to test everything again... According to the web interface on my WPA8632P units, I am getting awesome speeds, whilst my iperf speeds are terrible. This needs more investigation I think...


These will be the connection bit rates, not the mean achieved bandwidth.