Before we start, a bit about wireless mesh.
Wireless mesh is only used when wired ethernet is not available and is really a last resort to extend network coverage. Wireless mesh means your network is extended via a wireless uplink between two wireless access points. The access point plugged into the wired network is called the Central Access Point and the access point configured with a wireless uplink to the CAP is called a Range Extender or RE.
Remember wireless mesh is only used to extend network coverage when ethernet cabling is not available. This is why the first rule of wireless is to run a cable!
Wireless access points capable of meshing have two radios, 1 x 2.4GHz and 1x 5GHz. One of these radios needs to be dedicated as the wireless uplink. Although there are more advanced configurations, they are outside the scope of this article. For best performance use the 5GHz radio as the uplink, using the 2.4GHz radio for wireless uplink is not recommended.
The maximum recommended hops between access points is three as the bandwidth drops by about 50% with every hop. Poor design can cause bottlenecks at the CAP and slow down all connected devices.
As an example, if the uplink between CAP and RE1 is 100Mbps, uplink between RE1 and RE2 drops to 50Mbps and uplink between RE2 and RE3 drops to 25Mbps. Therefore, stations connected to RE3 over service links will have very poor network performance.
1 – Go to www.gwn.cloud, set your zone and either login if you already have a GWN Cloud account or click Sign up to create one.
2 – If you intend to manage Wi-Fi for your customers its best to create a new network for each customer. If not just use the Default network. As an example, I’ve created the Demo 2 network for this article.
3 – Click on the network you want to use and navigate to Access Points, Configuration and click Add to add your GWN 76xx series Wi-Fi Access points
***NOTE*** Its best to take a photo of the silver label on the rear of your GWN access points as it shows the Serial Number, the MAC address, the SSID and the Wi-Fi password for the default configuration. You should store them somewhere as these details are important and are required to add devices to your cloud account and may also be required in the future.
4 – Give your access point a name, I normally use the name to identify its location, enter the MAC address and Wi-Fi password from the label on the rear as mentioned above
5 – Add the second access point in the same way as above
6 – You should now have the two access points showing in your GWN Cloud account
7 – Next go to SSIDs, Configuration, Add inside the network you’re using. Enter an SSID for the Wi-Fi network you’re creating and be sure the tick Enabled.
8 – Click on Access Security and scroll down to enter the Wi-Fi password for the new SSID
9 – In the same dialogue box click on Device Membership
10 – Select your access points from the Available Devices list and click the right-arrow to add the devices to the SSID and click Save
11- You can now power up both access points using POE injectors or a POE switch. If using POE injectors be sure to use and ethernet cable from the POE port on the injector to the POE port on the access point and another ethernet cable from the LAN port on the POE injector to a LAN port on an ethernet switch or to a free LAN port on your internet router. You will need to do this for both access points and of course either your ethernet switch and/or your internet router will need to be connected to the internet.
12 – Both access points will now power up and green LEDs will stay on for a few minutes while they start up and call home to your GWN Cloud account. Once they’ve reached your GWN Cloud account they will download the configuration details you set when you created the SSID and password in steps 7 to 10 above. Once the new configuration have been downloaded and apply to the access points the LEDs will turn solid blue
13 – Go back to your GWN Cloud account and navigate to Access Points, Configuration, select an access point and click Configure. Set the 2.4Ghz radio to use channel 1, 6 or 11 as the don’t overlap with adjacent channels.
***If there is substantial wireless interference you may need to do a site survey under Access Control to see which channels are available or are the least used. If there isn’t too much wireless interference you can skip this step***
14 – In the same dialogue box scroll down to the 5GHz radio and select a channel
15 – Do the same thing on the other access point and make sure you select different channels than you selected on the first access point.
16 – Go to System, Mesh and click Enable Mesh and Save
17 – You can now power down whichever access point you want to use as the range extender or RE and move it to about halfway between the Central Access Point or CAP and where you want to extend Wi-Fi coverage to.
***Note that the RE should not be powered by a POE switch or have an ethernet cable plugged into the spare LAN or Net port as it will detect data traffic and think it is a CAP. The RE must be powered by a POE injector and the POE injector should not have a second ethernet cable plugged into a device or an ethernet switch or as above it will think it is a CAP***
Your mesh network using Grandstream’s GWN76xx series Wi-Fi access points is now complete and you should be able to connect to the SSID you created earlier.
From the team at Go Wireless NZ Ltd, enjoy!