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Testing WiFi Mesh things

Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
edited July 2020 in Networking

I am not a big fan of WiFi for streaming applications like HF radio, but I continue to keep playing around with different types of hardware.

I have had good luck with the Eeros and Google WiFi as my friends bought them based on my recommendation. I am not now testing the TP-Link Deco M5 with 5 nodes.

So far, so good and I like the fact that I can have the backbone on LAN (ethernet). These are not TriBand devices but the price is about half the others.

TriBand is preferred as it moves all your traffic off the users frequencies.

Also, you should be able to connect your radio directly into the back of one of the nodes to give your radio a WiFi connection (subject to bandwidth restrictions). I will test this

I am interested in other Mesh solutions that are so easy to set it up, you can talk your grandmother how to do it over the phone. :)

This is a shot from my iPhone showing some of the traffic rates on 1 node.



  • Eric-KE5DTO
    Eric-KE5DTO Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited July 2020

    It threw me off when you said you were "not" testing it. I was like, "Why not??" Then I realized you meant "now." :)

  • Ken Wells
    Ken Wells Community Manager admin

    Interesting. I look forward to more test results and longer-term experience.

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    More on my testing.

    I took a M5 Puck and added it to the network.

    Once that was completed, I took a CAT5 cable from the LAN port on the puck and plugged it into the 6700. Doing this then put the 6700 on the house network via WiFi.

    Yes, it does work. I'm just not sure how well at the moment, but the M5 did pass Layer 2 packets from the CAT5 side to the WiFi side.

    This might be a viable solution for some.

    (* this is not a Flex blessed solution, but it might work for some - support for this type of network connection would come from TP-Link).

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    More visuals.

    Seems to work. You are still subject to WiFi bottlenecks.


  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭

    Could a comparative test be devised for Mesh-with-Flex?

    Thinking on a Go/No-Go initial basis with perhaps a bit of Good, Better, Best among the solutions that get a "Go"?

    I have been using a TP-Link device for a couple years at one QTH, and have been using an extensive Amplifi mesh setup at my main QTH for about a year. https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/mesh-systems-for-the-shack-ubiquitis-amplifi-in-the-new-k9zw-shack/

    Both are far from where I would like to get these systems operating at, but are working very well with Flex-6000 traffic as well as my other devices.

    On the Amplifi setup, I have a fiber bridge running 265 ft underground between the house and the radio workshop. https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/internet-by-fiber-ethernet-to-the-radio-room/

    One thing I did discover was when I replaced the workshop windows (that building is metal) with new high-E units, I ended up shielding the workshop. Lost much ability to run wireless outside and the backup wireless link to the house was attenuated to being useless. https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/more-windows-adversity/ https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/another-kind-of-radio-room-windows/

    At work we have the wired-mesh Ubiquiti setup layered over a conventional wired network, which has run solidly for some years.


    Steve K9ZW

  • ctate243
    ctate243 Member ✭✭

    I have a google mesh here at the house that supports multiple flex remote both in and out, as well as 1 professional gamer, a teacher and a student doing distant learning.

    Its an impressive system that works well, but it is extremely limited as far as implementing any more advanced infrastructure, like routers, etc. As an IT guy, I am impressed with it, yet equally frustrated with its lack of flexibility..




  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Hey Chris

    I think I mentioned, I have done 3 for 3 friends. Google Mesh, Eero and now the TP-Link M5. I do like the M5 due to the price and generally good performance and the fact that I can actually walk around the QTH on a WiFi call on my iPhone (aka work) and not drop the call when I change Access Points.

    I have a neighbour with a BIG house and I think I am going to add a TP-Link M9 as it is TriBand and the backbone should be on a non-WiFi carrier. I still need to confirm that.

    BTW, I did take an M5 puck and hook it up to the 6700 making it WiFi connected and for the most part it did work. However, it was subject to WiFi dropouts at times.

    I have been testing truly plug and play Mesh's. The 3 I have done are very usable.


  • Mark_WS7M
    Mark_WS7M Member ✭✭✭

    Just a warning... After my recent lightning strike took out an access point I considered going mesh as I was manually managing 3 different nighthawk access points. While they featured auto client switching, it didn't work well and my wife would complain about bad WiFi on her phone or computer and I would look and find it connected to the furthest AP.

    So I bought the decos. Here the first things I encountered:

    Automatically they setup their own DHCP. So things that were connected were on a different subnet than what I choose. I found that strange.

    I then put them in access point mode which was supposed to make them use my subnet and not use their DHCP server. I wanted to use mine in my IQRouter.

    When I did this one of the units kept going offline even though it was hardwired into the LAN.

    I rebooted the entire network, cable modem, IQRouter and all and that is when the trouble started. Suddenly the DHCP server in the IQRouter quit working. Many of my devices could not get an IP. The only things that were alive were those things where I had put in a static IP.

    I sent off a support request to EvenRoute who support IQRouter and they have always been great. It took 5 hours of back and forth debugging when Sandy from EvenRoute off hand asked this:

    "Mark, another weird question: Are you perchance running any TP-Link powerline to wifi extenders or a Deco setup in AP mode?

    They do 'fun stuff', which I'll explain if you have some.


    Well that was exactly what I had. Three of them in AP mode. He later explained that the decos in AP mode are not supposed to turn on their DHCP servers but sometimes they do if they cannot momentarily contact the primary DHCP server. When they do it causes various network devices to store the wrong DHCP server info in their caches.

    I took all the decos out, rebooted the whole network again and everything came up this time. I asked Sandy if the decos are a bad choice what would he recommend based on the IQRouter. Sandy pointed me to this thread about the trouble the decos can create:


    He pointed me to the TP-Link EAP 225v3 access points and provided a document on how to tie them in with the WiFi on the IQRouter. Three of these cost the same as I spent on the decos.

    They have been rock solid for a little over a week. I get great WiFi coverage even outside!

    So I'm not slamming the decos, but in my experience things like that are more designed for the person that just wants to setup WiFi for their computer or phone. If you are doing anything unique on your LAN like I tend to do, they may not be the way to go.

    Mark - WS7M

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