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.

  • This question, asked 8 months ago and having two very helpful answers, has just been closed today as "off topic." There aren't even any comments explaining what's off-topic about it, what gives? Jan 31, 2021 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 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. May 7, 2020 at 19:17
  • Ubiquiti doesn't really use mesh networking. Instead, the UniFi Network Controller configures a set of daisy-chain links with a static topology and then reconfigures the network if a node fails.
    – M.W.
    Jan 29, 2021 at 22:54

"Mesh networking" is more of a marketing term; it does not imply interoperability between vendors. Unfortunately, even the 802.11s mesh networking standard doesn't guarantee interoperability as vendors add proprietary extensions. Wi-Fi.org introduced "Easymesh" to address interoperability.

For example, "Google / Nest WiFi uses the standard 802.11s protocol to implement its core mesh features, but layers on significant additional functionality – in particular, the key management required to maintain the security of the mesh itself. In short, no – you can't add mesh hardware from other manufacturers."

If OpenWRT is installed on all of the access points and they all have radios with 802.11s support, then OpenWRT can be used to create a unified mesh network with hardware from different vendors. OpenWRT is available for both the TP-Link Archer C2600 and the UniFi AP-AC-LR (but not Gen 1 hardware).

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