GL B1300 Mesh and WISP

Hi, after using a B1300 for a few months now I thought i’d extend the quality of it’s coverage by getting another and setting up mesh mode. I tap my internet via WISP mode and noticed when I setup mesh this disappears along with options to add it back in.

So am I doing something wrong or is there a fix? Maybe the only way around this is to use the ethernet WAN port?

Any help is appreciated, thanks.

Based on your explanation (or maybe my assumptions), you would not want to use Mesh in your case. A WDS repeater is mostly likely what you want, although perhaps a WISP repeater would work as well.

Mesh is designed if there will be several wireless hops from some of your clients back to the device providing Internet service. Most homes are not large enough to make this necessary. In larger buildings (e.g. hospitals, factories, schools), it may be too costly to retrofit the building with Ethernet to every corner of the building. In such cases, Mesh is very helpful and cost effective.

GL-inet has provided an easy way to configure a Mesh using the physical buttons on the B1300, as explained in the manual. However, a bunch of changes are made when this is done, not all of which are likely visible from luci. So, further configuration within luci of a Meshed B1300 is likely going to lead to problems for most people. If you have tried to mesh your routers, I advise a full factory reset before proceeding (to change back all the settings, even some that may not be visible from the gui).

With only one wireless hop needed, as it seems in your case (and most home cases), a repeater is much easier and straight forward. WISP is the easiest to configure, as it makes no assumptions about the “main router”. However, WISP will create a separate network “behind” the repeater, i.e. if your main router gives addresses in the space 192.168.20.X, the repeater would give addresses in a different space, e.g. 192.168.111.X. This will make it harder for devices from the two subnets to directly communicate. When you are in a hotel, this may be preferred, as it gives some protection to your devices from those outside your room, but most home cases, it is not preferred.

WDS is likely what you want for your home. Since you have two identical GL-inet routers, WDS should work well. Configuration steps are shown here:

If this isn’t clear enough, let us know here and I’ll spell out the steps.

Or if you want to learn more about the Mesh option, let me know and I’ll draw some pictures.

Hi klaberte, thanks for the detailed response.

I’ll try to best describe my situation and why I am using WISP. I live in a boarding school so I have to use the schools network connection to the internet. The IT department will not let me install my own broadband connection to my apartment and they will not install a physical Ethernet port either. Because I am concerned about privacy and security I’d prefer to keep all of my devices on a separate sub-net, hence the reason for using WISP. Up to now this has been fantastic however the apartment is large and at it’s furthest point the network speed is to slow. This is why I thought about buying another B-1300 to extend the other B-1300’s network.

Ideally I’d like to keep all my devices on one sub-net. Another alternative i thought of was to use a third device for WISP and physically connect that to the master B-1300’s WAN port. I’m assuming this will reduce performance though.

What do you think would be the best setup? Many thanks!

I don’t think that will help you, unless your main B-1300 is already located in a sub-optimal location in your apartment. You should start with placing your main B1300 in a location for optimal reception from the school’s wireless network. You can test this by running or similar from a computer connected by ethernet (using the LAN port of the B1300). Once you find the location for your main B1300, now the issue is trying to connect a second B1300 to improve the signal to locations far from the main B1300.

You can treat the LAN port of your main B1300 as essentially your own, private Ethernet port. At that point, if you can run a long Ethernet from there to the far side of the apartment (or at least as far as you can), you can set up any AP there you want. If that second AP fixes your problem, you are done.

Alternatively, you can try to just set up the second B1300 as a WDS repeater. I haven’t tried it (creating a WDS repeater to repeat a WISP repeater), but my hunch is that it would work. I could try it at some point and let you know, but it won’t be for a few days at the earliest.

Another option would be to forgo the second B1300 and purchase a matched pair of mini GL-Inet routers. You could hang one off the LAN side of your main B1300 and set up a WDS pair.

But, whenever possible, use wires instead of wireless. Let me know how far you can run Ethernet from your main B1300 as described above.

I completely agree with using wires however this apartment has concrete floors covered in laminate fake wood. The cable would have to travel over a passage way between rooms and I don’t have to way to cover it.

Maybe the WDS connection to my main B-1300 will be fine. Another thing I should mention is the schools network has access points in every room. Their coverage is excellent so it’s a pity I can’t take advantage of that somehow. Maybe WISP with both B-1300’s and link there sub-nets somehow?

I’m obviously not a network expert however I’m willing to get my hands dirty with technical advise of any kind :slight_smile:

There are school-run APs in each room of your apartment?

Every room - except the bathrooms :slight_smile:

OK, now I’m starting to understand. I think we should clear some things up.

With respect to privacy, creating your own subnet and firewall inside your apartment will do very little besides buy you a false sense of privacy. That’s because, as soon as your packets cross from your apartment network to the school’s wireless network, all the packets will be decrypted (or encrypted with a password everyone knows) throughout the school’s network. If you are worried about snoopers, your best choice is to use a VPN service. This will give you a strong, encrypted data pipe to a point outside of your school. If you (or a friend) do not have a server outside the school you can configure, you are best to use a VPN service like Private Internet Access (just one example, there are many).

As far as security, it is true that a subnet and firewall makes it hard for others on the school network to attack your devices. However, I suspect you spend a non-trivial amount of time with some of your most precious devices in and around the school, where the firewall in your apartment will do little to help. If so, perhaps it is best to rely on other forms of security. Use strong passwords and a password manager like LastPass or KeePass, and/or multi-factor authentication (e.g. YubiKey). Turn off devices when not in use, or at least turn off wifi to keep them off the school network when it is not needed. And never leave a device unattended. Physical access to a device almost always undermines most forms of security. And if you really want to keep some devices (e.g. a desktop computer) behind your own firewall, just place it close enough to your WISP device and don’t bother using it on the other side of the apartment.

Sorry if this is taking a different turn than expected. If you already have excellent, free wireless throughout your apartment, that is definitely a special use case. I’m not sure an extra B1300 is really what you need.

I fully understand where you are coming from and agree with what you say. I somewhat think that by hiding my devices behind my own firewall and sub-net, at least the more vulnerable IOT items, would give me more peace of mind then not doing it. It would also prevent others on the network connecting to my NAS, DLNA server and printer.

Either way, thanks for putting in the time to respond and i’ll consider my options and maybe setup a hybrid of the two.

If you do have IOT items, a NAS, DLNA, and printer, as those are less likely to leave your apartment, by all means create a WISP repeater and hide them behind it. Do any of these items need to connect to devices on the other side of the apartment?

You also know, I think, that repeaters cut down on available bandwidth, right? Likely you will have plenty of bandwidth, so a 50% reduction won’t be problematic, no?

mostly yes however it’s not an issue with performance. It was more my daughters PS4 that had performance problems when she plays online. I can’t see any problem with connecting that directly to the school network. As for repeater performance drop. Yes WISP does seem to add an overhead, roughly 30% to 40% from my tests.

I also have a whole bunch of smart items like aircon controllers, air purifiers, robot vacuum etc. Again performance isn’t an issue for them so they can stay on the B1300.