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Extending the LAN with a Wireless Mesh Link

Cisco Meraki APs can operate as mesh repeaters, which allows them to extend the wireless network range off of a limited number of gateway APs. Since repeaters also support wired clients plugged into their wired interface, a repeater can be used to bridge a remote LAN segment back to the main network.

This article explains how the LAN can be extended via a wireless bridge, including limitations and requirements.

Basic Configuration

In order for repeater APs to share their wireless connection over their Ethernet port, the following requirements must be met:

  • At least one bridge mode SSID must be configured in Dashboard (can be an existing SSID used by clients, but must be in bridge mode).
  • APs must be configured to share the bridge SSID over their interface.

For more information about bridge mode and how to configure a bridge SSID, please refer to our documentation regarding Wireless Client IP Assignment.

By default, a client or device plugged into the Ethernet port of a repeater will gain no network connectivity. Once a bridge SSID has been configured, navigate to Network-wide > Configure > General > Device configuration, find the option to configure Clients wired directly to Meraki APs and set that option to have clients Behave like they are connected to the bridge SSID (as shown below).

 

Note: The authentication type of the SSID does not matter, wired clients will bypass authentication and gain network connectivity as though they had associated to that SSID.

Extending the LAN for Wired Clients

If the extended LAN segment off the repeater will only be used by wired clients, a Layer 2 "single subnet" switch can be plugged to the wired interface to allow that repeater to serve those clients as a bridge. The following figure details the extended LAN scenario described:

 

Note: VLAN tags are not maintained across wireless mesh links, any VLAN tags applied by wired infrastructure will be stripped before sent across the air. By extension, wired clients across the mesh link do not support the use of VLANs applied by Group Policies.

Extending the LAN for Additional APs

While an L2 switch is sufficient for wired clients to access the remote LAN segment, this switch cannot support additional MR access points. The following image describes an unsupported topology, where an additional MR access point has been connected to the remote L2 switch:

 

Additional wired repeaters cannot be within the same broadcast domain as the wireless repeater that is sharing its wireless connection to the LAN, nor can they exist in the same broadcast domain as any wired clients on the switch. As such, in order to add additional access points to the remote LAN, a router or Layer 3 switch must be used to put the wireless repeater, any wired repeaters, and any wired clients on their own broadcast domains.

The following image provides an example of a working topology that supports both wired clients and access points on the remote LAN:

 

In order for the topology above to be fully functional, the following additional requirements must be met:

  • The router in building B must not be acting as a DHCP server on its uplink to the wireless repeater (subnet A).
  • The router in building A must have static routes directing traffic bound for subnet B or C to the router in building B.

Note: VLAN tags are not maintained across wireless mesh links, any VLAN tags applied by wired infrastructure will be stripped before sent across the air. By extension, wired clients across the mesh link do not support the use of VLANs applied by Group Policies.

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Last modified
17:50, 19 Jan 2017

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ID: 1835

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