Wifi mesh network on the cheap

wifi mesh network on the cheap. i would like to learn how to implement wifi mesh networking using consumer grade router can it be done with openwrt or is anybody familiar with it, can it be done?, cant find any user friendly guide.

research so far:

guide i found from "Starting with mesh networks"

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802.11s works without anything much more than installing wpad-mesh or wpad-full.

B.A.T.M.A.N. works as well as a mesh-routing protocol, over 802.11s, "ad hoc", or what have you.

Both 802.11s and running B.A.T.M.A.N. over it are described at https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/mesh/batman

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will 802.11s or B.A.T.M.A.N. provide wifi roaming ?

What do you mean by "WiFi roaming"?

Are you expecting your phone, laptop, IoT device, or what have you to be part of the mesh, or to use a set of access points connected by the mesh? Very few dedicated devices support mesh. Linux's implementation of various mesh technologies aren't typically compatible with other OS's implementations.

sorry im new to this, i meant that a given device will always connect to the strongest access point (cant find to terminology for it)

No worries -- how a client chooses what to connect to is pretty much up to the client, "normal" 802.11, mesh, or whatever.

An Access Point (AP) can "kick" a client, but it still may try to reconnect.

My wireless devices connect to APs that are connected together with a mesh. As such, they never "see" the mesh at all. I don't know of any phone, tablet, laptop, or the like that is "mesh enabled" without adding additional software, if it is even available.

please point me in the right direction, recently i set up on a friend house 2 consumer grade router running ddwrt one as main/ gateway and the other one in bridge mode, only issue is that 30 minutes later he told me that the internet on the computer that is connected to the second router (Ethernet port) is unreliable. so at this point i would like to learn what to do not only to to do in my house but to help my friend as well

It sounds like you've got something like:

ISP <---> modem <---> router 1 <~~~~> router 2 <---> computer

where the link between the two routers is wireless. Most reliable would be a cable, next most reliable a power-line modem.

WDS is not a "real" standard, so I'd suggest running both routers on the same firmware if you're going to try that. For two devices, a station-client connection and GRE tunneling or even batman-adv would work out OK as well. You don't need a "mesh" unless you've got three or more nodes.

One reference for WDS is https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/atheroswds (be aware that Broadcom chips may/will not support WDS the same way as Qualcomm/Atheros chios).

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u lost me, because for what i have read WDS will cut bandwidth on half

It doesn't matter what technology you use, if you're sharing the radio, the bandwidth will be cut in at least half -- x ms to receive a packet, another x ms to transmit it to the other end. If you put clients on one band and the backhaul on the other, then you don't lose the bandwidth (just increase the latency).


ok so should i go for 802.11s or B.A.T.M.A.N. ?

A mesh network establishes a wireless interconnection among the access points. Performance is better with a wired or other out of band connection, but of course that has higher installation costs and is not practical in many situations.

The interlink of access points is so that users of any AP can reach the Internet. It doesn't have anything to do with how the user devices connect to their access point. Ways to steer users to the best AP for them is an entirely different area of study.

BATMANadv is a routing system which automatically figures out which nodes can link to each other directly and which need to relay traffic. It is an under layer to a radio system. Previously it was common to use adhoc mode as the radio layer. The 802.11s standard includes both a radio layer and a routing layer. The routing in 802.11s is very basic but is fine for a network of only a few nodes.

Lately most commercial and free projects have moved to using only the radio layer of 802.11s with the 802.11s routing disabled, then linking this radio to BATMAN. BATMAN does several things that internal 802.11s routing cannot, for example it can encapsulate VLAN tags in the packets.

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all im trying to do is something like google wifi and similiar but on the cheap, i have my ayes in https://qmp.cat/Documentation and https://libremesh.org, but i dont know how to start. what do you think?

If you can live without the self-organizing features of real mesh networks, plain WDS/4addr might be the easiest option - this does however require that you can configure a static binding between each of your APs (and don't move them too often). This approach requires more effort while configuring, but is simple and compatible with all clients (the requirement to run OpenWrt on all involved APs is shared with mesh implementations as well).

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running openwrt on the router (ap) are not an issue, so what steps should i do next ?

wiki: atheroswds, as already posted by jeff - if possible, try to keep the branches short (as in ideally connect all APs to your main router, as each extension limits the throughput further; a good mesh can profit from multiple uplink routes, WDS/ 4addr can not - but that's often (unless the area gets too large) not needed/ won't help much).

what about this https://qmp.cat/Documentation and do u have and user friendly guide or video i can follow?

I'm not sure why you keep pointing to reasonably complex mesh schemes.

  • Do you have more than two routers in either of your installations?
  • Do you have or intend to have multiple VLANs or an isolated "guest" or "IoT" network?
  • Does one or more of your routers use Broadcom wireless chips?

Unless the answer to at least one of those is "yes", WDS is likely the first approach to try.

As stated before, unless you've got three or more nodes, "mesh" technologies don't provide any advantage over point-to-point technologies.


never mind jeff, i will be playing with it by myself, and if that does not work i will just run an Ethernet cable trough the attic to that room, thank you for not helping at all.

All you need is https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/atheroswds
All you ever needed was WDS.

You should use routers with 2 wifi chips so the WDS link and client AP don't use the same radio.

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