Mesh Network

I'm in an industrial factory environment and was informed this morning that our operations folks would like complete coverage, or nearly complete coverage of wifi in our facility. We have 9 levels, and two different areas of the factory, some is enclosed and some of the areas are wide open. We have wired network in some of the facility but not everywhere.

My thoughts were that I would probably want to set up a mesh network. I've used the e400s as a single access point in different office buildings and they work great, and I've noticed that they can be setup as mesh as well. 

My understanding is that I would need wired access to one of the APs and the rest would connect to eachother. My initial thought is that I'll need 10 or so e400s. I'm wondering if I can have more than one of them connected with a wire so that all of the traffic doesn't have to make it back to the single AP. Or if there are best practices. Or, if this isn't something I can do at all.

I've used Cisco APs in the past and they had the ability to both connect to another ap when it couldn't be wired rebroadcast for client access. I think this is the same thing that MESH is?

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It sounds like mesh is what the Cisco APs were doing in your explination.

Yes you can have more than 1 connected with a wire. It's always best to use a cable whenever possible (a wired connection is always better than a mesh connection), so do try to keep the number of meshed AP down to a minimum in your design.

Here is a best practices guide that might be useful:

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Hello, I would echo the comments from Wright-Fi, with some additional comments/considerations below.  I can tell you first hand that an all mesh deployment in your scenario is going to be more of a headache than it's worth. 

Each mesh link is called a 'hop' and each hop reduces throughput by about half.  We don't recommend going more than 2 hops deep.  Best practice would be to use a dual radio AP, with one radio (typically 5GHz) dedicated to the mesh backhaul (hop), and the other radio for client access.  While a single radio AP can also do mesh (backhaul and client access on the same radio), it is highly recommended that you don't do that.

Each wired AP within a mesh network is called a 'root-AP/Bridge'; each mesh AP is called a 'non-root-AP/client'.  You need 1 root-AP at a minimum, but a more robust mesh network would use 2 or more root-AP's for a back-up connection into the network.  You can see that one of the considerations with mesh networks in general is the single point of failure with only 1 root-AP.

Mesh is useful for 'one-off' AP deployments (i.e. the far AP in the warehouse), but is a serious pain if you want to get the entire facility up and running.

Also, I would hesitate on using the E400 in general.  The E410, E600 and even the E430 (great solution for conference rooms) would be better choices.

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Thanks for the replies, I'm going to get a couple e600s ordered in and start messing around with the Mesh setup. 

I've struggled to get it setup with the e400s in the past. I think I was configuring it incorrectly.

I’ve found that setting up mesh in cnMaestro is much easier, let us know if you need any help setting it up.

Out of interest how many of your APs will be wired and how many will be meshed?

I've ordered 2 units, and some mobile power. When they come in, I'll get the two setup as a mesh and go move them around and see what kind of coverage I get.

I'm going to try to have as many wired as possible, trying to only use 1 mesh hop if possible. 

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Great, sounds like your on the right track!