Considerations for Optimal Wireless Mesh Networks

What is a Mesh Network? 

A mesh network consists of access points (AP) that are wirelessly connected to each other with client devices connected wirelessly to them, opposed to everything being hardwired to your network. This enables you to minimize dead-zones and create a continuous wireless network when it is difficult to run cable to certain locations.

Note: Wireless Meshing must be enabled in your Network Application settings.

Mesh networks should only be supplemental.

It is always preferable to hardwire your equipment to your central router/gateway for optimal performance and stability. This is because meshed networks are heavily impacted by their environments. Too much radiofrequency (RF) noise may result in client or AP disconnections.

Minimize the number of wireless 'hops.'

Although you can uplink one wireless AP to another wireless AP, this is not recommended. Each wireless 'hop' from its internet source will reduce stability, and will also result in nearly 50% performance decrease. Due to this, we recommend a maximum of only two hops for a wireless AP.

Minimize the number of APs connected to the same uplink 'parent.'

Although multiple wireless APs can mesh to the same uplink, this is not recommended. This creates large amounts of interference and puts an abnormally high load on the parent AP, which will degrade speed and connection stability.

Make sure there is a strong signal between your wirelessly meshed APs.

We recommend having a signal strength of at least -60 dBm between your wireless AP and its wired uplink. Lesser signal strengths may result in performance and stability issues. This can be improved by moving your wireless AP closer to its wired uplink. Also, try to keep a clear line of sight, minimizing obstruction from walls and other large objects.

We recommend our default settings.

UniFi will automatically pick the best AP to uplink to, as well as the channel on which the APs are wirelessly connected. Although you can set these parameters manually, we advise most users to remain on the default settings because an incorrect configuration has the potential to completely break your meshed network.

Note: Both APs must use the same channel or else you risk breaking your meshed connection.

Make sure you have a suitable RF environment before using wireless meshing.

UniFi APs mesh over their 5GHz frequency. A congested RF environment may degrade, or completely disrupt, this connectivity. You can refer to Optimizing Wireless Client Connectivity for tips on improving this.

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