XT8 - mesh - hidden network mirroring the wireless backhaul connections?

karma

Regular Contributor
Hi guys,

Not quite sure how to phrase this, I have an XT8 mesh (1 main and one node) with wireless backhaul. In wifi analyser (android) it shows for each 5Ghz-2 SSID on the nodes there's a hidden AP with a slightly different mac address (last two characters are different) shadowing, maybe mirroring is a better term, the backhaul SSIDs.

It's hard to see in the graphs view because their graphs are usually exactly superimposed. To see them long press the backhaul graph and select highlight.

Anybody know what that's all about?
 
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karma

Regular Contributor
hmmm, that sounds odd to me.. I tested that theory by enabling the guest networks on 5GHz-2 one by one and the hidden networks still remained.
 

whitestar999

Occasional Visitor
Have you enabled guest network on both devices at same time? I never had asus routers so maybe it is something specific to them but such built-in hidden networks in wifi devices usually have some specific function like guest network or some internal path/failsafe etc in case of multiple devices/mesh scenario etc.
 

karma

Regular Contributor
yes, the guest network was duplicated across both devices.

mmm yeah, it might be some internal networking thing for the wireless backhaul.. no idea
 

Thirteen

Occasional Visitor
That is the wireless backhaul. It's hidden by default and has a nearly identical MAC address.
 
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karma

Regular Contributor
That is the wireless backhaul. It's hidden by default and has a nearly identical MAC address.

ah? what confuses me is why would there be 2 networks per node? one hidden and one named with the SSID defined in the 5GHz-2 configuration? That doesn't make any sense to me? I would expect it to use the named wireless network only as the backhaul, no?
 

slrt

Occasional Visitor
Why would you unhide the backhaul band in the first place?
If you use wireless backhaul, leave it as dedicated and hidden, and don't add clients or a guest network to it. That's the whole point of having a third band in these routers.
 

karma

Regular Contributor
Why would you unhide the backhaul band in the first place?
If you use wireless backhaul, leave it as dedicated and hidden, and don't add clients or a guest network to it. That's the whole point of having a third band in these routers.

i'm not adding clients or guest networks to the backhaul. it should be irrelevant if it's 'hidden' or not tbh. the fact is that according to the wifi analyser on android shows two networks per node.

i finally figured out how to take a screenshot with wifi analyser. this should give a better idea of what i'm talking about:

2021-12-07-145957.jpg
 

Blowsor

New Around Here
i'm not adding clients or guest networks to the backhaul. it should be irrelevant if it's 'hidden' or not tbh. the fact is that according to the wifi analyser on android shows two networks per node.

i finally figured out how to take a screenshot with wifi analyser. this should give a better idea of what i'm talking about:

View attachment 37651
I'm wondering the exact same thing. I thought it was some kind of solution for "full duplex". I have 3 units, 1 router and 2 nodes, and only have five 5-2 GHz, should be six?
 

slrt

Occasional Visitor
What is the last byte of the MAC addresses you see there? Each router should have a single DBH network. That was at least the case for me. Is the network defined as dedicated, or does it allow clients to connect?
 

karma

Regular Contributor
What is the last byte of the MAC addresses you see there? Each router should have a single DBH network. That was at least the case for me.

2d, 28 and ae, a8 . By DBH do you mean dedicated backhaul? If so I agree that each router should only have a since dedicated backhaul network.

Is the network defined as dedicated, or does it allow clients to connect?

what do you mean by 'defined as dedicated'? No clients connect to the 5GHz-2 band. I don't think I've ever seen such an option? btw, i'm running in AP mode.

[edit, I guess, as someone said before, the hidden network is the actual backhaul and the named network exists to allow clients to connect if somebody wants to do that]
 
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OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi guys,

Not quite sure how to phrase this, I have an XT8 mesh (1 main and one node) with wireless backhaul. In wifi analyser (android) it shows for each 5Ghz-2 SSID on the nodes there's a hidden AP with a slightly different mac address (last two characters are different) shadowing, maybe mirroring is a better term, the backhaul SSIDs.

It's hard to see in the graphs view because their graphs are usually exactly superimposed. To see them long press the backhaul graph and select highlight.

Anybody know what that's all about?

Each of your nodes can broadcast two 5.0 signals, 5-1 and 5-2. I'm not familiar with their configuration, but expect a visible SSID to be for your clients, and a hidden SSID to be for a dedicated backhaul between nodes (not shared with clients).

If you can configure their channels, I would think you would want the backhauls on their own channel(?), but perhaps not possible with the XT8 hardware.

OE
 
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slrt

Occasional Visitor
You can see the MAC address assigned to each backhaul and fronthaul interface in the AiMesh tab (except the guest networks, which are in their own tab), by selecting the relevant node and selecting Network on the right. Do you see there all 4 networks?
@OzarkEdge 5-1 is at most 80MHz, so this cannot be the case here.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture

slrt

Occasional Visitor
In the screenshot @karma sent all 4 visible and hidden networks are on the same 160MHz DFS channel.
This is likely a result of unhiding the 5-2 network - the router creates also a hidden network for the backhaul communication.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
In the screenshot @karma sent all 4 visible and hidden networks are on the same 160MHz DFS channel.
This is likely a result of unhiding the 5-2 network - the router creates also a hidden network for the backhaul communication.

That seems similar to what I originally suggested, two 5.0 signals per node. How they are configured is up to the user. If you wire the backhaul, then you might want to enable Ethernet Backhaul Mode to release all WiFi for client use, including 5-1 and 5-2.

OE
 

slrt

Occasional Visitor
Agreed. But since OP uses a wireless backhaul, there is simply no reason to unhide the network.
 

karma

Regular Contributor
In the screenshot @karma sent all 4 visible and hidden networks are on the same 160MHz DFS channel.
This is likely a result of unhiding the 5-2 network - the router creates also a hidden network for the backhaul communication.


I hid the network.. just to see if something would change.. well instead of one hidden and one named, i have two hidden per node :) ... so nothing really changed. ah well.
 
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