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I am looking to combine 2 access points into a single one. At my company we have 2 separate networks. One is used for guests and the other for our internal network. At the moment, we have 6 APs scattered throughout our building on 3 locations (2 per location, one for each network). The APs are a bit dated and we would like to upgrade them.

So to my question: Is it possible to setup one AP with 2 separate networks without using VLAN?

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  • You'll need two different SSIDs, with one (wired) VLAN each associated - any decent business-grade WAP should be able to do that. However, product recommendations are explicitly off-topic here, see the help center. You could try on Hardware Recommendations probably.
    – Zac67
    Jan 5, 2023 at 15:25

4 Answers 4

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Is it possible to setup one AP with 2 seperate Networks without using VLAN?

No. On the ethernet side, you need to separate the different networks by using VLANs. That translates to different SSIDs on the Wi-Fi side.

You should also be using a separate VLAN for WAP management that is usually the untagged VLAN so that the management of the WAP can be isolated from the user VLANs. The user VLANs are then tagged and each translates to a different SSID.

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    Technically, any controller based wifi could do this without VLANs - as data traffic is tunneled to the controller. But I'm not aware of any LWAP's that don't want ("require") data and management on different VLANs.
    – Ricky
    Jan 5, 2023 at 18:28
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You could buy a cheap web-managed switch with VLAN capabilities and plug it straight into the AP. Configure ports as untagged members of the guest and internal VLANs as necessary.

VLANs would only exist in the cable between the switch and the AP, the rest of the network would be VLAN unaware.

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You do need VLAN's for to seperate broadcast domains. For example, Meraki's are capable of multiple SSID's but you still need VLAN's to separate the traffic.

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As the others have already pointed out, you do need WAPs with support for multiple SSIDs and VLANs.

However, many WAPs feature dual uplink ports and at least some of them allow the ports to be configured individually - that way you should be able to associate each SSID with a VLAN ID and then put each of the VLANs on its own port untagged. Outside of the WAP you'd get two individual networks and no VLANs.

I'd recommend using VLANs all the same - it allows you to run management traffic separately from user traffic and just requires a single uplink (or two with redundancy). All you need is a (likely small) managed switch between your present network and the WAPs. In combination with PoE that also gets rid of the wall wart besides a WAP.

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