Vlan + Mesh with access points?


I have a 4 unit apartment building with fiber

I just bought a N100 Mini NUC, and I plan to install OpenWRT onto it for SQM.

This will feed into a switch, that will feed the access points. What's the best way to set this up for each apartment unit?


  1. Vlan for each unit, so I can trace an IP address back to a unit if I need to.
  2. SQM piece of cake
  3. Different credentials per unit to access the WiFi

Option 1:
1 Access Point per unit, they each get their own password to connect to it. Pretty simple solution, however I feel like I'm losing the potential to leverage mesh wifi coverage. I would have to get additional access points per unit and mesh that way. I want to somehow leverage other unit existing access points if possible

Option 2:
Each unit gets an access point, however they're all meshed onto a central network? I want to somehow use different login credentials per unit if this is even possible for IP traceability?

Let me know if I'm being unrealistic or unclear what I'm trying to do. Hoping for a simple solution

Is this switch managed or unmanged?

Are the APs running OpenWrt or some other firmware? If something else, is it a VLAN aware firmware.

Mesh refers to the use of a wireless backhaul. It sounds like you have wires running to each AP. This is better than mesh.

What you might be referring to is "roaming" -- this capability is not lost when you have multiple APs wired to a switch... you just need to configure the VLANs and SSIDs appropriately.

Again, you don't want mesh. You want roaming.

You can setup multiple SSIDs (each with its own password and connected to its own VLAN). This will make it such that you can give each apartment its own credentials and subnet, and you'll be able to differentiate between them.

It will be Managed switch

I was looking for one with 8 ports, poe, managed, and ideally has a 2.5gb wan connection

But those get really expensive so I might have to deal with a normal gigabit one

The access points will be running whatever it comes with firmware wise. I was looking at the TP-Link EAP655 for access points

Switches don't have wan connections -- they just have ports. The idea of a wan is a routing concept.

2.5G ports are only useful if you have other 2.5G devices to connect and if you actually need the additional bandwidth (vs 1G).

These support VLANs and multiple SSIDs. As do many/most PoE powered APs which are a step up from typical consumer wifi router combo devices.

So yes, you can achieve your goals (at least in general) with that combination of hardware. There may be some practical limits to consider, of course, but you'll be able to deploy multiple networks without too much hassle.

I'd recommend that you start with a single network + SSID, then build out one more so that you learn how VLANs work. Once you understand the concepts and the 'recipe,' you can use that knowledge to build out the additional networks.

Meshing is for cases where you don't want to run cable. You will get higher network performance with wired Ethernet feeds to every AP. If the apartments are large enough to require more than one AP each, you should run a separate switch port for each AP to the apartment, with all the APs in one apartment on the same VLAN.

Let's say you have 4 tenants, 1 in each in every unit. Then separate SSID for every AP + VLAN/separate subnets for each unit seems to be the logical way to go. You can accomplish this with an unmanaged switch if the APs sets the VLAN, or you could use a managed switch and set the vlan tag using the switch.

Appreciate the input! I think I was told the switch is better to let it handle the vlans and whatnot

Looking at the TP-Link TL-SG1210MPE

Thoughts on the switch or possibly better alternatives?

I'd stay away from the "Easy Smart" series of switches... they have some really annoying flaws in the implementation of the firmware.

If you don't need quite as much PoE (total power budget and/or ports), consider the Jetstream models such as the TL-SG2210P and the TL-SG2008P.

Also, the two switches I recommended are part of the Omada series, as are the APs you're looking at. You can actually configure them on their own, or using the Omada software, which looks like it is pretty good based on what I've seen in some review videos. The idea here is that you have a "single pane of glass" management for all of your devices if you use the Omada software... it's basically the same as the Unifi system (in fact, it looks like TP-Link took a bit more than just "inspiration" from Unifi as they built it out).

Looks perfect.

When connecting my router to this switch, do I just use one of the Ethernet ports?

I'm asking because I see SFP ports and I'm not sure what that is or if I'm supposed to be using those instead?


It's a port for inserting a module that allows you to use fiber, direct-attach-copper (DAC), or regular copper. You probably won't be using these at this point.