Asus ZenWiFi XT8 with Firewalla Gold - Config advice?

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tonkat

New Around Here
I've been using 'mesh' Portal (two node, off-brand, EOL) routers with a Firewall Blue for several years. I've decided it was time for an upgrade. I got a pair of XT8 routers and set them up in the default AI Mesh wireless router mode using the 5GHz-2 band as backhaul, and without any firewall. I got a good pair, they work flawlessly and I love the UI options, especially the multiple SSID options per band, which I will use to segregate IoT devices and Guests from the main network.

But I've come to love my Firewalla. They are constantly adding features and it has just been getting better and better. The Asus controls are not granular enough to replace the firewall; I have kids and need to watch exactly what they are doing when, and be able to selectively block/whitelist domains. The Asus UI, as far as I can tell, only has very simplistic blocking, it doesn't seem to have the feature set I need.

The FW Blue uses ARP spoofing/poisoning, and I think that contributed to some of my previous network issues, so I grabbed a FW Gold and am going to put it between the dumb modem and the Asus XT8. It's a 'real' FW and does not use ARP spoofing.

However, to really use the FW for what I want, I have to use the integrated router, and I'd rather not double-NAT, so I can't use the XT8 in it's default configuration.

I'd like my network to look like this: Modem---> FW Gold ---> Asus XT8 Node 1 ---(5GHz-2 backhaul)---> Asus XT8 Node 2

The problem is not only am I and wife working form home, the kids are schooling from home, and everyone's only connection to the outside world, including TV, is via the internet. So I don't have the luxury of trial and erroring my way through various setup options, and I'd like some input as to which of the configs I should use, and also if there's anything else I might be overlooking. This is my first time using the Asus UI, and though I've read the manual carefully I don't know what I don't know...

The XT8 has 5 possible modes:

1) AiMesh Wireless Router mode (Default)
2) Access Point(AP) mode / AiMesh Router in AP mode (is this two different modes with the second option only visible after applying this?)
3) Repeater mode
4) Media Bridge
5) AiMesh Node
*There is also a Bridge or WDS (Wireless Distribution System) option. The way the manual describes it doesn't make sense to me, and I can't tell which of the 5 modes it applies to.

Can anyone give me advice on how to set the XT8 up to get it to work the way I'd like? Appreciate all input!
 
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