WDS vs 802.11s (mesh)

My current setup is as follows:

  • TP-Link TL-WDR4300 v1 (w/ OpenWrt 21.02.1) as the main router
  • TP-Link C60 V1 (w/ OpenWrt 21.02.1) as the repeater (using WDS)

On every reboot, I have to manually restart the wireless connections on the repeater in order to reach the main router. I don't know why... but after a reboot the repeater doesn't connect to the main router automatically.

My question: is a mesh setup (802.11s) going to perform better than the current one?

Thanks in advance!

Hi. There are known issues with WDS link on Atheros devices in 21.02.0 and 21.02.1. Fixes have been pushed to the 21.02 branch and should be included in 21.02.2.

You could try the master branch as the fixes are available there. I've been running the master branch for a while for the WDS updates.


Thanks, @chadneufeld!

How to upgrade to the master branch? Only flashing this firmware upgrade?

That should work. You'll need to flash the snapshot build to both your devices. I think you should be able to keep your settings from 21.02.1 to the snapshot build.

Make sure you keep a list of the packages you need to install and that you are comfortable installing LUCI via ssh. The snapshots don't include LUCI by default so you need to ssh in an install it if you want the GUI. Installing LUCI is pretty straightforward:

  • ssh into your router (username is root and whatever password you set)
  • run the following command opkg update ; opkg install luci
  • you should now be able to access luci at your devices IP address


One downside of the snapshot branch is that packages can usually only be installed for a day or two. After that, you'll need to update the device firmware to install additional packages.

I'm likely switching to 21.02.2 after it gets released. I'm only running snapshot for WDS links.


I recommend that you use the Online Image Builder to build your custom OpenWrt firmware (with packages that you want already installed in the firmware, along with some commands to run on first boot):


  1. On "Custom package selection":

    1. DELETE:

      • libustream-wolfssl
      • wpad-basic-wolfssl
    2. Then ADD to the end of the last package, these packages:

      • libustream-openssl wpad-openssl luci-ssl-openssl auc luci-app-attendedsysupgrade

      (Install "auc" and "luci-app-attendedsysupgrade" to keep snapshots up to date)

  2. On "Custom script to run on first boot (optional)" ADD:

    # Enable wireless 2.4 GHz band
    uci del wireless.radio0.disabled
    uci del wireless.default_radio0.disabled
    # Enable wireless 5 GHz band
    uci del wireless.radio1.disabled
    uci del wireless.default_radio1.disabled
    # Saving modified values
    uci commit wireless
    wifi reload
  3. Request Build, wait and download the firmware, then flash the firmware and configure the router from scratch (don't use a backup).

P.S. Don't delete the packages that appear in "Custom package selection", they are necessary or you will brick the router, but you can replace those packages if you want.

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Thanks, @chadneufeld! Thanks, @elan!

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No problem @protoman

I had a quick look at the firmware builder @elan linked. There is the option to select snapshot, 21.02.1 or 21.02-snapshot. Both the snapshot build and 21.02-snapshot should include the WDS fixes for you.

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