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Set up a Wi-Fi Mesh network at Home with Stellar AP1101 Access Points

by olivier.mazenod.stellar
Posted08.01.19 WLAN
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You need to spot a Wi-Fi at home and benefit from an enterprise-grade connectivity?

A mesh network system can bring you faster speed and enables extended coverage for a seamless connectivity in every corner of your home. Here’s what you need to configure the right mesh network at home with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniAccess Stellar AP1101 access points and set it up for optimal performance, providing you fast access to the Internet and to your equipment, with the last Wi-Fi and security standards.

Since few years now, mesh Wi-Fi systems have changed the look and feel of the home networking. In place of a router that you would normally place in a corner of your desk, a mesh system typically uses smaller, more attractive components that are meant to be displayed out in various rooms throughout the house. The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniAccess Stellar AP1101 system is usually coming with a Web mobile GUI interface that makes mesh easy to install and manage using a phone or a tablet. Since all of the nodes use a single SSID and password you can roam from room to room without having to log into an extended network.

 

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Stellar mesh configuration

The proposed mesh installation is the following:

 

  • The Internet box that is already connected to your Internet access provider (in our setup case it will be replaced by an Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniSwitch OS6450-P10)
  • 2 Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Stellar AP1101 access points:
    • The first will be connected to the Internet box (as the main AP)
    • The second will run as mesh satellite which will broadcast the Wi-Fi at home on the two 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radio bands.

 

The need here then is to extend the Wi-Fi as much as possible in the house with typical connections for the following equipment:

  • One laptop which is connecting on the 2.4Ghz radio band
  • Two Android smartphones which one connecting on the 5Ghz band and that is supporting last Wi-Fi standards on this band (802.11ac wave 2)
  • A connection of a Google Chromecast on the 5Ghz band to realize the broadcast of multimedia content
  • Potentially the connection of other Wi-Fi equipment (video game consoles etc.)

 

Getting started

AP1101s with their cables & power blocks, and the OS6450-P10

 

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Stellar AP1101 meshing system only requires a Wi-Fi connection with a smartphone for its setup. In our setup we are replacing the Internet box by an OmniAccess OS6450-P10 that is providing PoE power for the access points and then avoid the use of power blocks for the AP1101. Our OS6450-P10 is already connected to the Internet on the first port.

You will need power blocks at home for your access points, most Internet boxes are not providing PoE for network at home.

 

It is recommended first to enable the DHCP service of the Internet box to assign valid IP addresses to both access points.

Connect the 2 access points to the Internet box and wait until the LEDs are blinking green on both. In this initial configuration the 2 AP1101 access points are forming a single Stellar AP group that can be configured through Web interface (using Stellar Wi-Fi-Express mode here). Recover the IP address of the main AP (in our example here the main MAC 34:e7:0b:00:11:90 will have IP 192.168.1.51 in the network).

Note: some mobile apps such as hosts editor, enable to define hostname for the main AP1101, making mesh setup and monitoring through a single hostname. Root privilege is required for such applications.

With your smartphone, connect to the default mywifi-11:90 SSID and connect to the homepage of main AP using the default admin administrator password.

 

The Web interface is guiding you through a wizard to prepare the Wi-Fi you need for your meshing spot. The 3 main steps are detailed below:

  • First set up the admin password (switch in our example),
  • Then set up your country & time zone for the Wi-Fi regulation
  • Finally set up the SSID you want to broadcast at home

Once these parameters are saved, you can connect to the dedicated meshing SSID, the password defined in our example is 1234567890.

 

Once connected as administrator make a check on releases installed on your Stellar access points, the minimum recommended release for a Stellar meshing is AWOS 3.0.6.

AP1101 versions are displayed under the menu (AP > AP Configuration).

Now your AP Group is ready to setup SSIDs through a meshing link.

The meshing setup

First edit the main AP interface (AP connected to Internet box) by clicking on its IP address (IP 192.168.1.51 in our example) and open the APUI to access the Network sub-menu (AP > AP Configuration > IP@AP > Network > Edit AP interface).

Edit the Backhaul menu through the AP interface, enable the mesh, select the root role for the AP and then setup a private SSID for the link with strong policy in term of security (in our example private ssid is ssid-fade6r3 and password is fade6r3TYz)

 

       

 

Repeat the same configuration from the  AP interface on the AP1101 (the AP installed standalone in rooms) by clicking on its IP address (IP 192.168.1.50 in our example) and opening the APUI to access the Network sub-menu (AP > AP Configuration > IP@AP > Network > Edit AP interface).

Edit the Backhaul menu through the AP interface, enable the mesh, select the mesh role for the AP and then setup the private SSID for the link (in our example private ssid is ssid-fade6r3 and password is fade6r3TYz)

Once the configuration is saved the mesh AP1101 must be placed in rooms with its power block and rebooted to make it run as mesh AP. This operation takes 2 minutes minimum.

The LED turns blue or green fixed depending the radios you have selected for the SSID broadcasted.

Main AP1101 running with OS6450-P10

 

AP1101 running in mesh mode

 

Your mesh Wi-Fi network is ready! You can benefit from wireless connectivity on all your devices, on the 2 Wi-Fi bands.

 

Exploit your Stellar mesh installation at home

To fully benefit your Stellar mesh installation at home, whether it’s for your Internet accesses or for any Wi-Fi connected equipment, finally here are few recommendations for your installation:

  1. First one of the most important thing to consider when setting up your mesh network is where to position each Stellar AP to benefit from an optimal Wi-Fi coverage without any dead zones.

The main AP1101 (the root AP) should be installed in close to proximity to your existing router box and it will be connected to it using a LAN cable. The Wi-Fi service of the router should be now ideally disabled.

Mesh AP1101 placement (the satellite one then) location should be defined according to the required coverage, knowing the limit in distance is no more than 2 rooms (about 30 feet/ 10 meters). When positioning yours mesh AP1101, you should also consider how you will connect to the devices like gaming consoles, TVs or other components. AP1101 provides the last Wi-Fi technology standards on both Wi-Fi radio bands and then enable the benefit of a LAN connection within a distance of 10-15 feet/3-5 meters.

Place the AP close to a power outlet, if ceil fixation stays the preferred fixation for AP1101 (AP1101 is provided with such mounting kit) it can be also provided with specific wall mounting kit.

The OAW-AP-MNT-W mounting kit is the Stellar accessory that enables the definitive wall fixation with screws once AP1101 placement is known. This enables proper installations and then avoids flying installations in a home environment.

 

2. Monitor your mesh link by ensuring first a proper status of the link, mesh status is displayed under the (AP > AP Configuration) menu as depicted below. Stellar AP1101 use both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radio bands for a secure wireless backhaul. With possible extension of mesh topology, it is always advised to name and locate each node to identify properly mesh links within the house.

Access to the monitoring mesh page to display the mesh route, the mesh neighbors and mesh clients connected on each node.

 

There is always the possibility to notify on specific mesh events with the AP logging via System > syslog & SNMP menu and manage a syslog logging remotely as necessary

3. If you have to use your Stellar meshing to stream video, or connect online gamers, use the QoS (Quality of Service) with specific SSIDs for such medias. QoS can be directly managed per SSID through the AP Web-GUI.

 

 

 

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