Mesh Networking 802.11s

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mark74
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Joined: 16 Nov 2021
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2021 17:25    Post subject: Mesh Networking 802.11s Reply with quote
I am currently using an EA8500 router running 47528 (with a samba share). Everything is working great except I would like to have slightly better range (I am using a non-DDWRT repeater to get around this). So I am looking for some advice on how I can setup a mesh network using DD-WRT.

1. I noticed DD-WRT "wireless" settings had options for WDS and 802.11s mesh. I could find some documentation around WDS by setting up a WDS AP and a station. But couldn't find anything around 802.11s. Is 802.11s a better option for mesh? Any help related to setup would help or any guidance on what may not work. I would also like to keep a samba share on both nodes of the mesh and keep each other backed up through rsync. Basically I am looking for better range/availability for all the functions I get out of my primary router.

2. Since EA8500 seems very similar to R7800 based on the specs, could I mix those two hardware as a mesh or do I need to get another EA8500 for 802.11s mesh to work? Based on WDS documentation, it seemed like it would need the same chipset. Not sure if EA8500 and R7800 qualify as both are atheros based chip and R7800 seem to be highly recommended here (and may be easier to flash without opening the router and soldering).

Thanks in advance..
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egc
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2021 19:20    Post subject: Reply with quote
This can better be answered in the Atheros/Qualcomm forum as this is router specific.

So I will move this thread so that it can attract better attention

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mark74
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Joined: 16 Nov 2021
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2021 22:25    Post subject: Reply with quote
Any direction on this will be helpful. Is it the same process as WDS? Is 802.11s better than WDS?
bushant
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Joined: 18 Nov 2015
Posts: 2074

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2021 16:17    Post subject: Reply with quote
@mark74
I do not have EA8500 but do have R7500v2 with near identical hardware.
I have no knowledge of mesh as that option was introduced after I had WDS running.

I have WDS between R7800, R7500v2, WZR-HP-AG300H, WNDR3700v4 and had another R7800 in there at one time.

At one time the 2.4GHz connection between R7800 and R7500v2 was ~300 yds thru some walls and trees.

So if you have also R7800 I believe WDS would work outstanding with your Linksys.
If you don't have the netgear they are getting harder to find but XR450 and XR500 are R7800 rebrands.

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ian5142
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Joined: 23 Oct 2013
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Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2021 18:00    Post subject: WDS Reply with quote
I use a ton of WDS on Atheros. See my signature. Netgear R7800 is my main with many stations depending on requirements at the time. It is off-season at the moment, so only 1 station, 1 wired AP and the main. High season it is setup like my signature.

WDS wiki: https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/WDS_Linked_router_network

As for mesh, as it was mentioned above (mark74) it was only recently added. I don't plan to change my setup as what I have works just fine.

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Before asking a question on the forums, update dd-wrt: Where do I download firmware? I suggest reading it all.
QCA Best WiFi Settings


Some dd-wrt wiki pages are up to date, others are not. PM me if you find an old one.

Atheros:
Netgear R7800 x3 - WDS AP / station, gateway, QoS
TP-Link Archer C7 v2 x2 - WDS Station
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 v1 - WDS Station
TP-Link 841nd v8 - NU
D-Link 615 C1/E3/I1 x 7 - 1 WDS station
D-Link 825 B1 - NU
D-Link 862L A1 x2 - WDS Station
Netgear WNDR3700v2 - NU
UBNT loco M2 x2 - airOS

Broadcom
Linksys EA6400 - Gateway, QoS
Asus N66U - AP
Netgear WNDR3700v3 - not used
MediaTek
UBNT EdgeRouter X - switch
mwbuss8
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 3:10    Post subject: Reply with quote
As others have shared, 802.11s was just recently implemented. From the few brief mentions I've seen though, setup seems pretty straightforward. Just make sure wireless settings are the same on both/all devices, set them to 802.11s, and add VAPs. I will eventually get around to testing myself, but I wired my whole house when I moved in, so it's not currently a top priority.

If you go this route, be aware that if buying used, some r7800/xr500 units are affected by bad blocks. I don't know %, but reports are fairly common. I bought 2 xr500s a few months ago, and 1 is stuck on stock because of this. Other users have just returned/exchanged units if purchased new. BS made some tweaks recently trying to help affected units, but they were not successful. I don't know if he intends to put anymore effort into it, since it is a HW issue.

EA8500s are pretty easy to work with if you know what to look for. Opening them for an initial serial flash is to be expected, but you can avoid soldering if you know what to look for.
https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=330100&start=15
mark74
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Joined: 16 Nov 2021
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 16:56    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for all suggestions. I will try both 802.11s and WDS since WDS seems to be a more proven solution.

I might get another EA8500 if R7800 has issues with flashing. I noticed EA8500 tends to run hotter - normally 68 degree, but close to 80 if I ran something heavy like rsync, it seems memory is not freed up (free memory remains low) after those operations are complete (and I noticed subsequently network speeds were slow until I did a reboot).

With a single EA8500, I am seeing improvement in range compared to stock FW when I use vanilla option, but still falls short that I need a repeater
mwbuss8
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 17:32    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just checked temps on my devices. My 2 ea8500s & 2 r7500v2s are all a few degrees warmer than my xr500, but all are <60*. The XR500 has a large heatsink covering most of the board. It's attached to the top section of the case and has thermal pads on the CPU & radios (though not too carefully placed on the one I opened). The ea8500 just has a basic small finned heatsink on the CPU.

I'm hoping I just got unlucky on the 2nd xr500. Along with the posts about issues, I have noticed there are quite a few xr450/xr500/r7800 in use by members here & on openwrt. I'm not trying to scare you off, I just wanted you to be aware. Personally, I still have an XR450 on the way because the price was right.

If you're only linking 2, there may not be a significant difference between the two setups. If my reading is correct, the real benefit of 802.11s is self healing if a device goes down, since they're a true mesh.
msoengineer
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 18:48    Post subject: Reply with quote
Of all the devices you have, the EA8500 has the best reach on 5ghz of all the routers. They have some magic in their antenna design that's slightly better than the other routers you mention... Maybe the amps were better impedance matched to the antenna's¯\_(ツ)_/¯ than Netgear... All I know is that the EA8500 could get that signal out better than my R7800 and my R9000.

In terms of CPU performance, the R7800 is slightly faster than the EA8500. The only place this really matters is if you have 250mbps+ WAN from your ISP and intend to have really good qos results. Otherwise, you will see 30-45ms extra latency introduced using qos on either the R7800 or EA8500. This won't affect you unless you're a Gaming stickler (Cough-Tatsuya46-Cough) and want the absolute best/lowest latency possible. Only an x86 design can overcome that on dd-wrt. The code used for Nat in conjunction with qos cannot overcome the Atheros/broadcom limits right now.

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[EA8500]43192 & 45493 (2xOffsite)
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mrjcd
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 19:15    Post subject: Reply with quote
msoengineer wrote:
...the EA8500 has the best reach on 5ghz of all the routers...




thanky ...'bout time someone besides me said that Laughing
mark74
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 16 Nov 2021
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 22:38    Post subject: Reply with quote
mwbuss8 wrote:
I just checked temps on my devices. My 2 ea8500s & 2 r7500v2s are all a few degrees warmer than my xr500, but all are <60*. The XR500 has a large heatsink covering most of the board. It's attached to the top section of the case and has thermal pads on the CPU & radios (though not too carefully placed on the one I opened). The ea8500 just has a basic small finned heatsink on the CPU.


It looks my CPU and 5GHZ wlan temp is closer to 70deg most of the time. However, I am running this with TX Power 30 (max TX power). Also, I have an external hard drive connected to usb3.0 port (but it has its own adapter). Not sure if those are playing a part in keeping the temp higher.


I see some netgear X4S listed locally, I am assuming it is same as R7800. "XR" seems to be gaming routers, not sure if there is any underlying difference for the board to minimize latency. Gaming is not a high priority for me.

@msoengineer - I have also noticed that the range for EA8500 is much better even when I had stock FW on that. That was one of the the main reason I took the effort to switch to DD-WRT (vs the RT-AC68U which had stable FW, but so-so performance)
msoengineer
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Joined: 21 Jan 2017
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Location: Illinois Moderator

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 22:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
The XR series is nothing more than re-badged hardware equivalents running "Duma OS" which allegedly is optimized for latency.... I don't think anyone has done any side by side comparison, but I would be skeptical of "Drammatic" latency improvements.

But now we're way off topic...stick to setting up mesh please.

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FORUM RULES

TIPS/TRICKS: Best QCA Wifi Settings | Latency tricks | QoS Port priority | NEVER USE MU-MIMO |
Why to NOT use MU-MIMO | Max Wifi Pwr by Country | Linux Wifi Pwr | AC MCS & AX MCS | QCA 5Ghz chnls to use | WIFI Freq WIKI | TFTP R7800 | Don't buy AX | IPERF3 How-To

[R9000]57046 nightly (Main Router)
[EA8500]43192 & 45493 (2xOffsite)
[R7800] resting
[WDR3600]BS 44715 (Offsite)
[A7v5]BS 43038 (Offsite+spare napping)
eeff11
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Joined: 23 Jan 2013
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:11    Post subject: Reply with quote
WDS works on layer 2 using STP
Mesh works on layer 3

I wonder which one works better?
lexridge
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2021 15:51    Post subject: Reply with quote
A quick Google search revealed this:
The fundamental difference between the MESH network and the WDS is the automatic discovery and configuration mechanism of Mesh routers. It also makes Mesh routers more reliable and more fault-tolerant. If the current link of the Mesh router fails, the MESH network will try to find alternative paths. In contrast, if the WDS link fails, no failover mechanism is provided.

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- Linksys EA8500: I-Gateway, AP/VAP 5ghz only r56820: Features: WDS-AP, VLANs, Samba, WG, Entware
- Linksys EA8500: WDS Station x2 - r56941
- Netgear R6400v2: WAP/VAP 2.4ghz only w/VLANs over single trunk port. r56820
- Netgear R7800 (WDS-AP, WAP/VAP) - r56820: Features in use: multiple VLANs over single trunk port
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AsX
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Joined: 15 Jun 2010
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2021 17:35    Post subject: Reply with quote
I always wondered and couldn't find a definite answer - will Mesh bridge WiFi to LAN ports on remote routers like WDS does?
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