Create a Wireless Mesh Network with Manage

To create a mesh network with Discover, see Create a Wireless Mesh Network with Discover.

The tasks you must complete to create a wireless mesh network with Manage are:

  1. Connect All Mesh APs to the Wired Network
  2. Create a Mesh Profile
  3. Configure a Device Template
  4. Apply the Device Template to APs
  5. Configure the Device Properties for Root APs
  6. Disconnect Non-Root Mesh APs from Wired Network
  7. Monitor APs in the Wireless Mesh Network

For an overview of how mesh networks work, see About Mesh Networks.

Connect All Mesh APs to the Wired Network

You must initially connect all the APs to the wired network so that they can be configured for your wireless mesh network. Configure the APs with the necessary network settings and connect them to your wired network (LAN). Power on all APs and check whether they are visible in Manage.

When your network mesh configuration is complete at the end of these procedures, you will disconnect the non-root mesh APs from the wired network and deploy them as wireless-only. (If you use PoE power, make sure the data-in port is disconnected for your PoE power source.) Make sure that the root APs are still connected to the wired network in your environment.

Create a Mesh Profile

You must create a mesh profile that contains the parameters for the mesh network. The mesh profile defined for the wireless mesh network must be applied to one of the radios of the mesh APs. This radio acts as the dedicated radio to communicate with the other APs on the mesh network.

We recommend you use the 5 GHz radio for mesh networks. While you can add SSIDs to the mesh radio, we recommend that for the best performance, you dedicate this radio to mesh communications and do not add an SSID Profile to broadcast on the same radio.

To set up a wireless mesh network for a location in Manage:

  1. Select a location from the location tree.
  2. Select Configuration > Device Configuration.
  3. Select SSID Profiles, then click the Mesh Profiles tab,
  4. Click Add New Mesh Profile.
  5. Specify the mesh profile parameters:

Screen shot of the mesh profile page

  • Profile Name — Name of the mesh profile.
  • SSID — SSID of the mesh profile. This is the network name of the mesh network.
  • Max Hop Count — Maximum number of hops in which the wired network can be reached. For example, the number of hops for a root AP would be 0 as it is directly connected to the wired network. Similarly, the hops for a non-root AP directly communicating with the root AP is 1.
  • Max Downlinks — Maximum number of mesh APs that can directly connect to a non-root or root AP in the mesh network. This indicates the maximum number of child nodes that a parent node can have in the mesh tree topology. You can type a value between 0 and 5.
  • Min. RSSI — Minimum RSSI for an AP to connect to another AP in the mesh. An AP requesting to connect to another AP should have the specified RSSI to be able to connect to the other AP. You can type a value between -100 and 0 dbm.
  1. Click Save.

Configure a Device Template

To define a device template for the APs in the mesh network:

  1. Select Configuration > Device Configuration > Device Templates.
  2. Click Add Device Template or modify an existing template.
  3. Type a Template Name and Description.
  4. Select the Allow Device Specific Customization check box.
  5. Configure any required options in the Device Settings section, such as the device password.
  6. Expand the Radio Settings section.
  7. For both Radio 1 and Radio 2, select Access Point as the Operation Mode.

Radios on a mesh AP cannot be configured as a WIPS sensor or as an AP with background scanning.

  1. Select the radio that you want to use for the mesh network. You can only add a mesh profile to one of the radios on the AP. We recommend you configure the mesh radio on the 5 GHz band radio.
  1. Select the Mesh Profiles tab for the radio.
  2. Click Add SSID Profile.
  3. In the Available SSID Profiles for this Location window, click the Mesh Profiles tab, then select the mesh profile you created.
  4. Click OK.

Screen shot of the radio settings for a mesh radio in a Device Template

Make sure this mesh profile has a corresponding Authorized WLAN Policy. If you do not create an Authorized WLAN Policy for the mesh profile you have assigned to the radio, WIPS will classify the AP as misconfigured. For more information, see Configure Authorized WLAN Policy.

  1. On the mesh radio, set the Operating Channel. After you add a mesh profile to the radio, the channel is set to Manual and a channel number selected. Make sure that each mesh radio uses the same channel in your deployment.
  2. On the other radio that will offer wireless network access to clients, add an SSID Profile.
  1. Click Add SSID Profile for the required radio that will broadcast an SSID.
  2. In the Available SSID Profiles for this Location window, select the SSID Profile.
  3. Click OK.

Screen shot of the radio settings for the SSID Profile radio on a mesh AP

Make sure that the scanning mode for the radio where you added the SSID profile is set to No Scanning. You cannot use VoIP-aware Scanning or Background Scanning on the mesh AP.

  1. Click Save.

Apply the Device Template to APs

After you configure the device template, you must apply the template on the APs in the mesh network. Make sure that all the mesh APs, both root and non-root devices, are connected on the network and are visible in Manage.

  1. Select Monitoring > Managed Devices.
  2. Select the APs to be deployed on the mesh network.
    Make sure that the APs are active. If the APs are inactive, the template will not be applied on the AP.
  3. Click the change device template Change device template icon icon.
  4. Select the device template you created for mesh APs.
  5. Click Save.

Configure the Device Properties for Root APs

By default, all configured mesh APs are non-root APs. To configure a mesh AP as a root AP:

  1. Open Manage.
  2. Select Monitoring > Managed Devices.
  3. Select a root AP to display the device properties.
  4. To reveal additional device properties, click the additional properties icon Device additional properties icon.

The ability to change the root mode of an AP is initially hidden in the device properties. To reveal additional device properties, click the additional properties icon Device additional properties icon, and then enable the Is Mesh Root Node option.

  1. Enable the Is Mesh Root Node option to specify the root AP or APs in the wireless mesh network.
  2. Repeat these steps for each AP in the mesh network that you want to make a root AP.

Disconnect Non-Root Mesh APs from Wired Network

When your network mesh configuration is complete, disconnect the non-root mesh APs from the wired network and deploy them using wireless only.

If you use PoE power for your non-root mesh APs, make sure the data-in port is disconnected for your PoE power source to make sure the mesh APs are not connected to the network.

Root APs must still be connected to the wired network.

Monitor APs in the Wireless Mesh Network

You can add a location floor and layout for your wireless mesh network in Manage from the Locations menu. You can place your mesh devices on the floor layout. Click the Show Mesh Topology link to show the mesh links in your wireless mesh profile. For more information, see View Mesh Topology.

On the Monitoring > Managed Devices page, you can select an AP, then click page 9 to see the Up Link and list of Down Links for the AP and the corresponding RSSI values. The device name and the RSSI of the parent of the selected device is displayed in Up Link. The APs that are connected to the selected AP as child nodes in the mesh network topology are displayed in Down Links.

Create Copy of Mesh Profile

You can create a copy of a mesh profile and use it as a distinct mesh profile by making minor modifications to the profile.

To create a copy of a mesh profile:

  1. Select Configuration > Device Configuration > SSID Profiles, then select the Mesh Profiles tab.
  2. Select the location of the mesh profile from the location tree. A list of mesh profiles available at the location is displayed in Mesh Profiles.
  3. Click the name of the mesh profile to save with another name.
  4. Change the name of the mesh profile, and modify any other parameters as required.
  5. Click Save.

Copy Mesh Profile to Another Location

To copy a mesh profile from one location to another:

  1. Select Configuration > Device Configuration > SSID Profiles, then select the Mesh Profiles tab.
  2. Select the location where the mesh profile to copy has been created.
  3. Select the mesh profile to be copied to another location.
  4. Click the Copy to location icon.
  5. Select the location to which you want to copy the mesh profile.
  6. Click OK.

Print List of Mesh Profiles for Location

To print a list of mesh profiles at a location:

  1. Select Configuration > Device Configuration > SSID Profiles, then select the Mesh Profiles tab.
  2. Select the columns that you want in the printed list.
  3. Click the Print icon.
    A print preview of the list appears.
  4. Click Print.

Delete Mesh Profile

To delete a mesh profile:

  1. Select Configuration > Device Configuration > SSID Profiles, then select the Mesh Profiles tab.
  2. Select the location where the mesh profile to delete has been created.
  3. Select the mesh profile to be deleted.
  4. Click the Delete icon.
    You cannot delete a mesh profile that is in use.
  5. Select Yes to confirm.