Can we please stop calling it mesh?

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
In my understanding, the Mesh term is about how the nodes operate in this network, including the roaming. Which is quite different from having multiple routers.
This is a common misunderstanding, encouraged by Wi-Fi marketing people. Mesh technology has nothing to do with how devices roam. Mesh determines how APs interconnect, not STAs.

The primary things affecting roaming are the design of the STA driver and whether APs and STAs support roaming standards 11k,v and to a lesser extent, r.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Mesh is a marketing term not a technology.
I beg to differ. Clearly you are limited in your experiences and education. The term "mesh" has been around longer than the Internet and even electronics. Many of us understand it is something to catch or hold something. A net is a mesh. Mesh stockings anyone? And I have a mesh holding my abdominal muscles together.
It can be argued that two routers connected to form one network may not really be a mesh. But add a third or fourth? I really doubt that marketing came up with the use of the term. More likely an engineer who has more education than most of us but no where the experiences!
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Basically 11s provides a L2 mechanism of connecting ad-hoc MAC <>MAC just like a dumb switch / bridge would in older networks. This just means there's no L1 connection like you would have in an AP back to the network. The P2P association between systems allows for a pseudo extension to the network.


802.11s is an open-source standard for connecting wireless devices without having to set up infrastructure. It operates on Layer 2 and makes sure that all nodes can see each other on a bridged Layer 2 network (as if they were all plugged into a switch). Any Layer 3 infrastructure will work on top of this. An IP router and DHCP clients will work well. More sophisticated infrastructure can be implemented depending upon the use case. (eg Batman, Bird, OLSR etc.)



Having used hostapd before to make my own AP out of an internal AC2600 and other devices as well as digging into the code being run on AP's it does have limitations in how it can function. I ran into a limitation on my coveted NWA210AX system I'm running that required some reverse engineering to get Zyxel to fix an issue in their firmware. Most of the derivatives being used around here to improve upon the off the shelf options being sold do as well.

"Mesh" being deployed currently in a half baked form as indicated by the "easy mesh" option vs true 802.11s are just another work around to proper setup of networks for home users. There are draw backs and concerns when looking into the option of using the technology in either form.



 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
A mesh system is where all the node connect to as many nodes as possible to form redundancy. These nodes could be sites they do not have to be wireless APs.

This consumer wireless "Mesh" crap is just a marketing term. The consumer "Mesh nodes" are NOT setup as redundant nodes. They are stretched as far as they can to gain as much coverage as possible. It is not even a real mesh system.

Using wire or wireless is just a topology change no difference in setup that I see. You can make a wire system just the same as a wireless system a mesh system. Mesh is a very loose term around here with not much meaning.
 
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RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Personally, my definition of mesh would be when there is more than two devices, and when these devices can talk to one another based on their location (i.e. not a fixed chain or star, like normal APs would be). That means the topology is really a web (or a mesh).

And indeed, you cannot really have a mesh with Ethernet, since that implies that the nodes are only connected to one specific router in a star or daisy-chain, they can't communicate between one another, or reorganize themselves based on signal quality.
 
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shoman94

Regular Contributor
I disagree, a mesh is wired or wireless or a combo of both. A mesh consists of multiple hardware Wi-Fi broadcasters that work together to form a single unified Wi-Fi network, controlled from a single place and nodes are setup from the main AP or HUB.

Connecting multiple access points and setting them all up the same is not a Mesh IMO.

EDIT: However, I do agree with this 100% and would prefer this with Fast roaming support any day of the week.

You do not need "mesh" hardware to build an Ethernet connected multi AP system. Any AP or router can be used as long as it is properly configured.
 

slvrscoobie

Regular Contributor
What does the ISP speed have to do with the performance of their network?

Your internal network dictates how all devices perform. If you want a smooth experience with all of your services then you need to have proper infrastructure to support it. The ISP speed will dictate the performance / resolution you're able to obtain from streaming services. Internal speeds matter if you/re hosting streams internally from a NAS or something similar to multiple devices.
not talking ISP. most mesh routers are multigigbit connections. splitting it by half for backhaul really won't affect 99.5% of people buying mesh because they think it will be better.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
splitting it by half for backhaul really won't affect 99.5% of people buying mesh because they think it will be better.


Isn't the point to BE better than to THINK it's better? Extending coverage is one thing but, maintaining the performance of the bandwidth you're paying for makes more sense. Also, running things on the internal network may be a priority as well such as mentioned many might be streaming from their own Plex server. Devices will benefit from having the full bandwidth as well when it comes to accessing files.

Mesh in this case and many cases seems to mean different things to different people. The goal though is to have comprehensive coverage over WIFI for all of the devices that need it. In some cases as mentioned the meaning of mesh in the context of out of the home is providing redundant links to locations in case one drops out.

Even in the instance of a DC you want redundant links in place to keep your uptime at 99.999% for customer data. This can only be achieved with several links between systems.

Mesh in the sense of WIFI comes as either the junk you can get off the shelf from a local store or wiring AP's on different channels to provide seamless handoff as you approach the border of the signal coverage. In the sense of using AP's you can configure them individually with the same SSID / WPA info and the clients just change to the new AP w/o needing to do anything or you can use the web based controller apps to manage them from a central page / app to propagate the changes automatically. In an Enterprise situation there's hardware WLC's that do this function instead of outsourcing it to a website / app. There are other methods as well to push config changes but, that's beyond the notion of mesh.

Using a second WIFI band to provide connectivity is just asking for problems unless you're using higher end solutions that can provide the signal on reliable hardware and for most home users that's cost prohibitive.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
The purpose of this thread is not to debate the pros and cons of WiFi mesh products. It is to discuss the use of proper terminology. So please stay on topic.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I disagree, a mesh is wired or wireless or a combo of both. A mesh consists of multiple hardware Wi-Fi broadcasters that work together to form a single unified Wi-Fi network, controlled from a single place and nodes are setup from the main AP or HUB.
This is incorrect and a perfect example of the misuse of the term.

Please refer to the definition links previously posted.

If you want to make up alternative meanings for established terms, you may have a bright future in consumer Wi-Fi marketing. :)
 

shoman94

Regular Contributor
This is incorrect and a perfect example of the misuse of the term.

Please refer to the definition links previously posted.

If you want to make up alternative meanings for established terms, you may have a bright future in consumer Wi-Fi marketing. :)
I'm not.... I don't need to look at links and I am aware of networking topologies. Mesh topology isn't only wireless. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill. What do you call a reciprocating saw (Sawzall) or a circular saw (Skill Saw)? We don't always use the technical terms in our day to day lives.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
We don't always use the technical terms in our day to day lives.
Maybe not. But in a forum with a technical focus, we should.
I didn't say mesh topology is only wireless. I said Wi-Fi mesh systems use Wi-Fi backhaul. Once you connect a node via Ethernet, you remove the ability to dynamically change its connection, which is a key element of mesh networking.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Personally, my definition of mesh would be when there is more than two devices, and when these devices can talk to one another based on their location (i.e. not a fixed chain or star, like normal APs would be). That means the topology is really a web (or a mesh).

And indeed, you cannot really have a mesh with Ethernet, since that implies that the nodes are only connected to one specific router in a star or daisy-chain, they can't communicate between one another, or reorganize themselves based on signal quality.
Your definition is for a wireless backbone as the wireless APs only talk to the main router as they are a star system just the same as wired system. If you can turn off the main router and switch and the APs still work then you have a mesh system. Otherwise, you don't really have a mesh system. There is also a redundant system which is not a mesh.
 
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coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I didn't say mesh topology is only wireless. I said Wi-Fi mesh systems use Wi-Fi backhaul. Once you connect a node via Ethernet, you remove the ability to dynamically change its connection, which is a key element of mesh networking.
In what way do you do you remove the ability to dynamically change its connection? Please explain in details. What can you change to and from what?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
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2 = point to point
3+ = point to multipoint

MESH means connection to all other nodes as seen above.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
In what way do you do you remove the ability to dynamically change its connection? Please explain in details. What can you change to and from what?
When you connect a mesh node via Ethernet, data travels only through that physical link. If the port dies or cable is unplugged, the node is dead. Any clients connected to it no longer have a path to the network.

With Wi-Fi mesh, a leaf node can potentially connect to another node if the link dies.

The key to mesh is the ability to dynamically change its connection, to remain connected to the network.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
MESH means connection to all other nodes as seen above.
Actually, it means the ability to connect to the other nodes if and when needed.

Remember, Wi-Fi mesh is a form of ad-hoc connection. There is still only one association (data path) active at a time.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
With Wi-Fi mesh, a leaf node can potentially connect to another node if the link dies.
Sounds good but what does it really mean. Yes, since they are on the same channel a laptop could connect to another AP and if the AP were placed close together then you would have a mesh system kind of. Yes, but nobody installs it that way. It costs too much for too many APs. The other problem is the system stops if the main wireless router is down the same as wire.

The laptop is designed to connect even if the channels are different so a star system effectively gives you the same wireless results.
 
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