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Solved Can I use AIMesh with a managed switch handling the DHCP and other main network management?

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flyingwolf

Occasional Visitor
Currently, I have a number of AC68U's running my network. All run the latest version of Merlin.

Router 1 handles the incoming fiber line and does the heavy lifting for the firewall, DHCP, and AiMesh master node. The other 3 act as nodes and do their thing.

I would like to replace Router 1 with a simple managed switch, a Netgear GS108Tv1, old but gig capable and more than enough for my small home network of 10 physically connected devices (with a few of those being connected via dumb switches so there are plenty of ports).

From the managed switch I would have Router one handle the AiMesh network and do the heavy lifting for the way too many wireless devices we have in the house. for instance, all but a few of our lights are smart, as are the plugs, appliances, so many cell phones, and tablets, etc. On average about 70 wireless IOT items at any one time including a few non-essential but nice to have wireless cameras. My essential ones are directly wired.

So is this possible? The managed switch handles all of the main networking and then the Merlin routers just work as a mesh network and occasionally use one of the LAN ports for hooking up a random device for testing or setup etc.

Note that all AiMesh routers will be using a wired backhaul.

I appreciate any advice you can give.
 
Your post is a bit confusing. If you "replace Router 1 with a simple managed switch" what are you going to use as a router and internet gateway? What device is going to provide DHCP and DNS services?
 
Last edited:
Short answer is no.
I tried to get AiMesh working across Netgear managed switches and failed. Direct Ethernet cable runs from router and nodes is best. I also would not use a switch for DHCP in a home environment
 
Your post is a bit confusing. If you "replace Router 1 with a simple managed switch" what are you going to use as a router and internet gateway? What device is going to provide DHCP and DNS services?
The managed switch will handle DHCP and DNS. That is what the managed part of it is.
 
Short answer is no.
I tried to get AiMesh working across Netgear managed switches and failed. Direct Ethernet cable runs from router and nodes is best. I also would not use a switch for DHCP in a home environment
Hmm, that's good to know there may be some incompatibility.

Why would you not use a managed switch for DHCP in a home environment?
 
Hmm, that's good to know there may be some incompatibility.

Why would you not use a managed switch for DHCP in a home environment?
Managed switch can't do DoT/DNSSEC or other network security. One stop shopping with a good router that does it all.
 
The managed switch will handle DHCP and DNS. That is what the managed part of it is.
You said your switch was a GS108Tv1. I couldn't find anything in the documentation for that model that says it provides DHCP, DNS or routing. For that you would need an L3 switch rather than just a managed switch.

 
If you can get your switch to ignore vlan tagging it should be easy. Another option is if your switch supports automatic vlan creation and tagging. It is much easier with a dumb switch.

The Asus AC68U have a built in switch for the LAN ports so that's not a load. If your AC68U is running out of memory, create a swap file on a good quality USB stick or USB SSD. If you need the CPU cycles, the easiest fix would be to move DHCP and DNS off the router. You could one arm your Netgear switch to do this. Any Linux host can do the job as well as windows Server and others. Easiest is to use a RT-AX86U as the main router.

Morris
 
You said your switch was a GS108Tv1. I couldn't find anything in the documentation for that model that says it provides DHCP, DNS or routing. For that you would need an L3 switch rather than just a managed switch.


Wow...

And you can tell I was dead tired while making this plan, I straight blanked on the capabilities of the switch and completely misremembered what it could do.

And this is why documentation is > memory.

Thanks for the bake check there Colin.
 
If you can get your switch to ignore vlan tagging it should be easy. Another option is if your switch supports automatic vlan creation and tagging. It is much easier with a dumb switch.

The Asus AC68U have a built in switch for the LAN ports so that's not a load. If your AC68U is running out of memory, create a swap file on a good quality USB stick or USB SSD. If you need the CPU cycles, the easiest fix would be to move DHCP and DNS off the router. You could one arm your Netgear switch to do this. Any Linux host can do the job as well as windows Server and others. Easiest is to use a RT-AX86U as the main router.

Morris

Thanks Morris.

The new plan, the line from the Fiber ONT into the 68U, set up the switch as a simple dumb switch and attach the majority of the wired devices to it. Then run dedicated lines from the remaining 3 ports on the 68U to the other 3 68U AiMesh nodes.

The 68U has been doing fine, but its current location just does not work well and I was thinking of changing things up a bit, but the reality is that the old workhorse is doing great and working fine.

Though it gets close to the memory limit I have no issues with it since the majority of my network all has predefined and set IP addresses so the machine has to do little in the way of heavy lifting.

Thanks again for the input.
 
Thanks Morris.

The new plan, the line from the Fiber ONT into the 68U, set up the switch as a simple dumb switch and attach the majority of the wired devices to it. Then run dedicated lines from the remaining 3 ports on the 68U to the other 3 68U AiMesh nodes.

The 68U has been doing fine, but its current location just does not work well and I was thinking of changing things up a bit, but the reality is that the old workhorse is doing great and working fine.

Though it gets close to the memory limit I have no issues with it since the majority of my network all has predefined and set IP addresses so the machine has to do little in the way of heavy lifting.

Thanks again for the input.

That should work fine

Morris
 
Thanks for the feedback Morris and Colin, and the reality check.

Completely random side question.

Any clue why the ports on these things go out so easily? I have a number of them and many have either a dead wan port or at least one dead lan port. They seem to be really susceptible to some sort of failure condition.

Any clue on that?
 
Thanks for the feedback Morris and Colin, and the reality check.

Completely random side question.

Any clue why the ports on these things go out so easily? I have a number of them and many have either a dead wan port or at least one dead lan port. They seem to be really susceptible to some sort of failure condition.

Any clue on that?

I've had reliability issues with Asus routers as well yet the firmware is so much nicer than other brands I don't move away.
 
Currently, I have a number of AC68U's running my network. All run the latest version of Merlin.

Router 1 handles the incoming fiber line and does the heavy lifting for the firewall, DHCP, and AiMesh master node. The other 3 act as nodes and do their thing.

I would like to replace Router 1 with a simple managed switch, a Netgear GS108Tv1, old but gig capable and more than enough for my small home network of 10 physically connected devices (with a few of those being connected via dumb switches so there are plenty of ports).

From the managed switch I would have Router one handle the AiMesh network and do the heavy lifting for the way too many wireless devices we have in the house. for instance, all but a few of our lights are smart, as are the plugs, appliances, so many cell phones, and tablets, etc. On average about 70 wireless IOT items at any one time including a few non-essential but nice to have wireless cameras. My essential ones are directly wired.

So is this possible? The managed switch handles all of the main networking and then the Merlin routers just work as a mesh network and occasionally use one of the LAN ports for hooking up a random device for testing or setup etc.

Note that all AiMesh routers will be using a wired backhaul.

I appreciate any advice you can give.
I hope you solved this. It took me a long time to figure it out. It works great now.

I'm using the latest ASUS Firmware from the company. (Not Merlin)

I had to create 5 VLANs:
Three Tagged VLANs (IDs 501, 502, and 503) for the three Guest wireless bands (2.4Ghz, 5Ghz-1, and 5Ghz-2). The wireless backhaul is OFF because my system is wired.
One Untagged VLAN (ID 14 like you chose) for the AiMesh to talk to itself on the wired backhaul
One Untagged VLAN (ID 1) with everything on it for the Main wireless, Guest, and wired networks to talk to each other. (Unnecessary?) I couldn't get the Guest Networks to use the mesh otherwise.
 
I was able to get AIMesh working with an Aruba InstantOn 1930 48-port POE managed switch. The issue is some sloppy code in Asus’s router software, but which can be worked around as follows (with steps 4/5 depending on whether you will use all wired backhaul, or a combination of wired and wireless backhaul):

1. Create a VLAN on the switch that includes all ports you will use for the Ethernet backhaul, with those ports UNTAGGED. I used default VLAN 1 for this.

2. Connect the Asus router via Ethernet from a switch port on VLAN 1 to a LAN port on the router.

3. Connect the Asus wired nodes via Ethernet from a switch port on VLAN 1 to each node’s 2.5G WAN port.

4. (Only if all nodes wired): If ALL your Asus nodes are connected via Ethernet, go to the ASUS router web portal, navigate to General>AIMesh>System Settings>Ethernet Backhaul Mode, and check the enable toggle switch. Once enabled, you are done, and all nodes should now recognize the Ethernet backhaul. Wallah!

5. (Some nodes wired, some nodes wireless): If ANY of your Asus nodes will use wireless backhaul, the Ethernet Backhaul Mode toggle will be greyed out by Asus’s software. Instead, you have to manually set the Backhaul Connection Priority for each node. For each node, go to the ASUS router web portal, navigate to General>AIMesh>Topology>Node Name>Management>Backhaul Connection Priority. For each Ethernet backhaul node, set the priority to “2.5G WAN first.” For each wireless backhaul node, set the priority to either “6GHz WiFi first,” “5GHz WiFi first,” or “Auto.” Done.

Ultimately, the problem is Asus’s “Auto” Backhaul Connection Priority setting. If a node’s priority is “Auto,” it will correctly default to Ethernet backhaul when connected directly to the router or through an unmanaged switch. However, the “Auto” setting will incorrectly default to wireless backhaul when the Ethernet connection is through a managed switch’s VLAN. The Asus router and nodes can still see the Ethernet connection through the VLAN, but the “Auto” setting incorrectly prioritizes wireless backhaul instead. Asus could likely fix this with a few lines of code. But until they patch this, do not use the “Auto” setting for any nodes connected to a managed switch. Either enable the Ethernet Backhaul Mode (all nodes wired), or set the connection priority for each wired node to explicitly prioritize your Ethernet connection (2.5G WAN) first.
 

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