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I've got an existing wireless network with two access points on it:

  • A TP-Link Archer C2600 on 2.4GHz (802.11b/g/n mixed) and 5GHz (802.11a/n/ac mixed), with WPA/WPA2-Personal security;
  • A UniFi AP-AC-LR device, extending the network through a powerline ethernet adapter. I set the SSID and password the same as the TP-Link device.

Most devices seem to like this setup, they switch between the two networks according to which one has better signal for the device location.

I would like to add an outdoor access point similar to the UniFi Mesh Access point, UAP-AC-M-US, but I'm confused by the "Mesh" terminology in its description. Is this device meant to be used in a different kind of network setup than I have here? Or does "Mesh" here just loosely mean "co-existing with other devices"?

Thanks for any insight you can offer, or corrections of any misunderstandings I might have.

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Mesh ap's are able to use a wireless backhaul, without cable's, ap-mode or client-mode. They will form a wireless backhaul mesh with other ap's that support mesh-mode, if configured correctly.
Technicaly a 'mesh' access point is an access point that support's 802.11s technology.

sometimes "mesh" is a marketing term for 'access point supports assisted wifi roaming'. this means that the the ap's will optimize the client roaming experience. eg active steering them to a better ap. If you wish to use this technology, all ap's need to support this to help with the steering. Technicaly this is called 802.11r

the datasheet of the uap-ac-m-us does not show 802.11s, only 802.11r. This is he same for the UniFi AP-AC-LR.

So the unifi ap's will help each other with roaming and distributing the clients across ap's. The tp-link will also play along but without assisted roaming. I expect your wifi experience to be the same or better then before.

note: I have never used t-link or unifi devices, but have setup campus wlan's with other wit similar technology.

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  • Thanks, very helpful. So Mesh/802.11s sounds a bit more like using WiFi extenders, which is not what I'm looking for. I'll plan to buy and install the UAP-AC-M-US and hook it up basically the same way I've done the AP-AC-LR, I'll report back here with the results. – Ken Williams May 7 at 19:17

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