Scenario: You rent a house in the suburbs and are unable to run cabling to all the locations you need. Normally this isn’t an issue, but your entertainment center contains multiple devices that are all wired and wireless capable. There are a few walls in the way as well as a neighbor who is irradiating your entire living room with their cheap, improperly configured ISP router. You decide to get those devices connected to a wire and let something more powerful handle the load. What to do?
Luckily, you’re a nerd. You take your two Aerohive AP121 access points and mesh them together, attaching a switch at the other side. _”But mesh is messy and complicated!”_ you say. _”Bridging to the wire can be tricky, do I want to put that much work into connecting my AppleTV? Why not just use powerline networking?”_ you lament. I’m here to tell you it isn’t that hard! Yes, you do want to do it! It works!
Assuming you already have your SSIDs configured, APs have check into your Hive, and everything is functional, there are two steps to get it done.
Step 1: Configure the primary AP into "Portal Mode" (some others refer to this as the root AP) by going into the configuration page and selecting "Use one radio (2.4 GHz) for client access and one radio (5 GHz) for client access and a mesh link" if you want to allow clients on that backhaul (which I do).
__Step 2:__ Configure the remote AP into “Mesh Point Mode” by going into the configuration page and selecting _”Use one radio (2.4 GHz) for client access and one radio (5 GHz) for client access and a mesh link”_ the same as before, but this time ticking the box for _”Enable the bridging of Ethernet-connected devices over the wireless mesh network”_. Then, as it states in the configuration page, you need to configure the optional ethernet settings below. This allows you to add VLAN tagging, native VLAN, static MAC entries, etc.
__Step 2.5:__ Move the mesh AP to its location and turn it on. This is when having the power adapter for the access point in the box is nice.
Viola! Watch Youtube all day long on your AppleTV, Xbox, or anything else you plug in on the other end.
Obviously I did this in my house to see how it’s done and this _may_ not be an actual scenario you’ll come across. What this does show is that mesh can be easy to do. There are plenty of business cases this will be the solution for, whether it’s providing connections to remote buildings that are too costly to run cable to or getting APs online in parking lots…