EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming

EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-11 02:03:18 - last edited 2020-04-11 13:45:58
Model: EAP245
Hardware Version: V3
Firmware Version: 2.1.0 Build 20181107 Rel. 39421

Hello, 

 

I will soon have two EAP245 v3s. I am only using one, the other one is on order. 

 

Did anyone experience roaming without the controller? I have read some of the benefits whether it is a software controller or the OC-200, and I don't really think it justifies to buy a $100 device for one feature (fast roaming). F

 

If I set the Tx to medium on both devices or play with the transmission so that a smart device (I.e. Smartphone) picks up the stronger signal (hopefully), would that work as the 'fast roaming' feature? 

 

As well - is beamforming an imbedded feature and not controllable? I only found one thread about it on the net (these forums) and someone mentioned that it comes as is. 

 

Thank you in advance, 

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming -Solution
2020-04-11 12:33:36 - last edited 2020-04-11 13:45:58

 

Jmusic88 wrote

If I set the Tx to medium on both devices or play with the transmission so that a smart device (I.e. Smartphone) picks up the stronger signal (hopefully), would that work as the 'fast roaming' feature? 

 

No, it is just basic roaming which always was defined even in early 802.11 standards.

 

For fast roaming you need a controller since fast roaming implies that the controller creates a list of nearby APs which is then sent to clients wishing to roam in order to avoid time-consuming WiFi surveys. It's not just a feature you get with Omada controller, but it won't work at all without a controller.

 

You can download Omada software controller for free if you need fast roaming and don't want to use an OC200.

 

As well - is beamforming an imbedded feature and not controllable?

 

Yes.

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming -Solution
2020-04-11 12:33:36 - last edited 2020-04-11 13:45:58

 

Jmusic88 wrote

If I set the Tx to medium on both devices or play with the transmission so that a smart device (I.e. Smartphone) picks up the stronger signal (hopefully), would that work as the 'fast roaming' feature? 

 

No, it is just basic roaming which always was defined even in early 802.11 standards.

 

For fast roaming you need a controller since fast roaming implies that the controller creates a list of nearby APs which is then sent to clients wishing to roam in order to avoid time-consuming WiFi surveys. It's not just a feature you get with Omada controller, but it won't work at all without a controller.

 

You can download Omada software controller for free if you need fast roaming and don't want to use an OC200.

 

As well - is beamforming an imbedded feature and not controllable?

 

Yes.

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-11 13:00:03

@R1D2 

 

 

Does the Omada software controller  has to be on all the time to use it? Running a laptop all the time like  a server is probably not a good idea.

 

Thank you for your reply! 

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-11 13:41:52 - last edited 2020-04-11 13:47:17

 

Jmusic88 wrote

Does the Omada software controller  has to be on all the time to use it? Running a laptop all the time like  a server is probably not a good idea.

 

Yes, the controller needs to run all the time to have EAPs provide fast roaming.

 

The controller is not just a config tool which could run on a laptop, but part of the functions an Extended Service Set provides (an ESS is a collection of multiple WLAN cells of several single APs aka Basic Service Sets, which all use the same ESSID and the same WiFi settings).
Therefore, the controller needs to run on a server.

 

An ESS can be implemented on APs which itself reside in different subnets, but share the same network for this ESS (e.g. with VLAN-mapped ESSIDs). Thus, 802.11k is best implemented in the controller and this is the case wit Omada controller.

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-11 13:45:44 - last edited 2020-04-11 13:46:34

@R1D2 

 

Understood thank you. I guess I'll have to see if I'm satisfied with the basic roaming. And if not I'll get the OC-200 controller. 

 

Thanks again 

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-11 13:50:55 - last edited 2020-04-11 13:54:34

@Jmusic88, you're welcome.

 

In my opinion, fast roaming is needed when using latency-critical applications such as VoIP or gaming while walking around. 

In most other cases, basic roaming is still acceptable.

 

BTW: Omada controller can also be useful as a pure managing tool, e.g. for setting up a mesh network. Once set up, the mesh will still work even if the controller is shut down. But functions such as automatic failover for the mesh won't work unless the controller is started again.

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-11 15:40:41 - last edited 2020-04-11 15:41:12

@R1D2 

 

I keep reading that mesh support isn't implemented yet for the EAP 245 v3. But looks like tp-link is working on it. 

 

I get confused with what mesh is. Is mesh wireless compared to hard wired access points? Can you even do a mesh system with the EAPs only or do you need to buy something else? (like the 225 outdoor). 

 

Also don't mesh systems act like repeaters, so essentially you are cutting your speed? 

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-12 12:05:05

Hi @Jmusic88,

 

"MESH" is largely just a "pro-sumer" marketing term to describe wireless backhaul between multiple access points.  Sometimes this includes some additional management, coordination, and failover features to (in theory) make the network "smarter" and "more resilient."

 

Historically, wireless access points were always connected/uplinked/backhauled to an Ethernet switch using Ethernet cabling (copper, twisted pair) and they still are in most corporate/commercial enviornments.  The best solution is always Ethernet backhaul.  It's fast (has a high capacity), reliable, secure, has a very low latency, and can even supply power (PoE) to network connected devices (like AP's, Cameras, etc.).

 

But most people don't have Ethernet cabling running through their homes.  As homes have gotten larger, and home wifi networks faster/more clients, using one central AP (as part of the broadband router) is becoming less optimal.  In particular, because of the poor range associated with 5.8GHz signals. 

 

Other technologies exist for "bridging" networking traffic over non-traditional media (e.g. MOCA, PowerLine, etc.) but some of this equipment has not been very reliable/performant over the years, and it adds additional cost and complexity to the overall solution, so there has been a lot of interest in a seemless, integrated solutution to enable AP's to "talk" to each other over the very same wireless networks they are already hosting (essentially making these devices both an AP and a STA).

 

You are correct that using some of the Wireless capacity for backhaul between AP's will create some overhead and thus potentially limit the performance of wireless clients.  But in practice, most wireless networks, especially home networks, are actually very lightly loaded so there is a lot of spare capacity that is going unutilized -- especially as Wifi networks get faster (e.g. 802.11ac and 802.11ax).  Also keep in mind that most home users broadband connections are still slower (especially on the Upload) than modern 802.11ac networks.  So there is some "extra capacity" built into the wireless network that you cannot use anyway when accessing the internet.  (it could be used, however to STA to STA, communications -- like file sharing, backup, etc.)

 

Most of the time, when STA performance declines, in the home, it is predominantly due to insufficient RF signal (generally from the client back to the AP) due to distance, attenuation (wood, drywall, doors, etc.), reflections cause by physical barriers (ductwork, piping, wiremesh for plaster), and competing RF signals (neighbors, microwaves, Radar, some CFL/LED ballasts) causing interference.  Having multiple AP's, closer to the STA addresses all of these problems.  Just as small cells due for cellular.  Of course this means buying more equipment.  And the wireless spectrum is still limited so there are only so many channels (e.g. bandwidth) to go around.

 

Some more expensive MESH solutions for the home add additional "bells and whistles" such as having two 5.8GHz radios (one dedicated for wireless backhaul), additional MIMO transmit and receive chains (e.g. 3x3, 4x4, or even more), MU-MIMO, etc. as part of the 802.11ac Wave2 specification.  But a lot of these "add ons" are really just there to increase the price and bragging rights of the solution.  For the vast majority of customers none of this extra capability is really needed and many of these extra capabilties are too new, buggy, and inconsistently implemented to be of much use.

 

-Jonathan

 

 

 

 

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-12 14:07:39 - last edited 2020-04-12 14:09:15

 

Jmusic88 wrote

I keep reading that mesh support isn't implemented yet for the EAP 245 v3. But looks like tp-link is working on it.

 

Yes. There is an EAP245 beta firmware available for those who want help testing.

 

I get confused with what mesh is. Is mesh wireless compared to hard wired access points? Can you even do a mesh system with the EAPs only or do you need to buy something else? (like the 225 outdoor). 

 

You can mesh one or more EAPs with a root node which needs to be hard-wired. Currently only EAP225 and EAP225-Outdoor support meshing, EAP245 will follow soon. Mesh is primarily for easy deployment of an additional EAP if running a cable to an EAP is impossible or inconvenient.

 

Also don't mesh systems act like repeaters, so essentially you are cutting your speed? 

 

If the client is connected to the 5 GHz radio a mesh node acts pretty much like a repeater does, therefore affecting bandwidth, yes. But if the client is connected to the 2.4 GHz radio or to the LAN port of a mesh node, the mesh node works much better than a repeater can do, avoiding the typical problems repeaters introduce.

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-12 14:45:34 - last edited 2020-04-12 14:46:18

@R1D2 

 

If the client is connected to the 5 GHz radio a mesh node acts pretty much like a repeater does, therefore affecting bandwidth, yes. But if the client is connected to the 2.4 GHz radio or to the LAN port of a mesh node, the mesh node works much better than a repeater can do, avoiding the typical problems repeaters introduce.

 

What's the reason the 2.4Ghz would be better? Is it just a specific AP or is it universal? 

 

I have a cheap TL-WA850RE repeater that I used with my router previously (no longer needed since the eap245 provides the coverage). But it was cutting my 2.4 ghz speed in half. 

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Re:EAP245 v3 - roaming without controller / beamforming
2020-04-12 15:19:20 - last edited 2020-04-12 15:24:02

 

Jmusic88 wrote

What's the reason the 2.4Ghz would be better? Is it just a specific AP or is it universal? 

 

The mesh backhaul uses the 5 GHz band by connecting to an invisible ESSID of the wired node, thus the meshed EAP works much like a repeater if the client connects to the 5 GHz band. When clients are connected to 2.4 GHz, they can make use of the full (2.4 GHz) bandwidth without interfering with mesh traffic on the backhaul.

 

I have a cheap TL-WA850RE repeater that I used with my router previously (no longer needed since the eap245 provides the coverage). But it was cutting my 2.4 ghz speed in half.

 

Yes, that's one of the drawbacks of using a repeater. Another one is the Hidden Node Problem, which might contribute to interferences when using repeaters.

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