Have you ever watched a great soccer team? If you have, you probably noticed everyone working well together; each
player passing the ball, performing quick substitutions, communicating often, and helping each other out as needed.
Great teamwork leads to a positive outcome.
You can think about a wireless mesh network in that same way. Just like a great team, the access points work together
to create a strong and successful network. A wireless mesh infrastructure uses the same resources as a traditional
wireless network, however, it is configured differently, using equipment that is mesh capable.
What does a wireless mesh bring as a solution that other wireless technologies do not provide? Great question!
Wireless mesh networks provide superior performance compared to traditional wireless. Mesh ensures a level of
resiliency, a layer of network management control, and a mechanism for dynamic resource allocation. Not only that,
but unlike other technologies, it optimizes wireless client connectivity and performance. Sounds complicated, right?
Don’t worry, a significant amount of engineering and technology is put to work to make wireless mesh simple to use
and deploy. Cisco Business is proud to offer this equipment as an option for your network.
This toggled section highlights tips for beginners.
Log into the Web User Interface (UI) of the Master AP. To do this, open a web browser and enter
https://ciscobusiness.cisco. You may receive a warning before proceeding. Enter your
credentials.You can also access the Master AP by entering https://[ipaddress] (of the Master AP) into a web
If you have questions about a field in the user interface, check for a tool tip that looks like the
Trouble locating the Expand Main Menu icon?
Navigate to the menu on the left-hand side of the screen, if you don’t see the menu button, click
this icon to open the side-bar menu.
Cisco Business App
These devices have companion apps that share some management features with the web user interface.
Not all features in the Web user interface will be available in the App.
If you still have unanswered questions, you can check our frequently asked questions document. FAQ
Let’s Increase your Mesh Vocabulary!
Access Point (AP): A device in a network that is used to allow users to connect to the Network
wirelessly. Specific labels may be added to this depending on its function: Master, Remote, Root, Subordinate,
Wireless Mesh Network: A type of topology where the wireless access points connect to each
other to relay information. These networks work dynamically to adjust the needs and maintain connectivity for
Master AP: The Master AP provides management and control of the wireless network and topology.
It is the bridge to the rest of the external network, (usually the Internet) using an Internet Service Provider
(ISP). The Master AP directly links to the premise router which in turn routes traffic to the WAN ISP interface.
The Master AP is the orchestrator of all the nodes providing wireless services within the mesh network. It
manages information from the nodes on the network, each client connection quality and neighbor information in
order to make the best decision on the best route for optimized wireless services out to the mobile client.
Primary Master: The current AP tasked with management of the WLAN.
Preferred Master: A setting in which a specific Master-capable AP is listed as preferred. If the Master AP fails, the Preferred Master AP will take over. Once the Preferred AP is back up, it does not automatically switch back over. You do not have designate a Preferred Master.
Master Capable AP: An AP that has a physical wired connection back to the network. This AP
needs to be connected to Ethernet and can become the Master AP if the Master AP fails.
Mesh Extender: A remote subordinate AP in the network that is not connected to the wired
Subordinate AP: A general term that can be applied to any mesh AP that is not configured as a
Parent AP: A parent AP is an AP that provides the best route back to the Master AP.
Child AP: A child AP is a mesh extender that selects the parent AP as its best route back to the Master AP.
Upstream AP: An upstream AP is a general term referring to the direction data flows through APs when going from the client to the server.
Downstream AP: A downstream AP carries data from the Internet down to the client.
Co-located APs: Mesh Extenders that are within broadcast range of the backhaul channel.
Nodes: In this article, APs are referred to as nodes. In general, nodes describe any device
that makes a connection or interaction within a network, or has the ability to send, receive, and store
information, communicate with the internet, and has an IP address. In a mesh network, optimized radio parameters
across all nodes assures maximum wireless coverage while reducing radio interference among nodes to provide
superior data speeds and throughput.
Backhaul: In a wireless mesh network, information in the Local Area Network (LAN) needs to get
to a wired access point in order to reach the Internet. Backhaul is the process of getting that information back
to the wired access point.
What Role can a Mesh Device Play on a Network?
Cisco Business Wireless access points are 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Wave 2) based, with internal antennas. These access
points support the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 standard for higher performance, greater access, and higher-density
Cisco Business models include the 140AC, 145AC, and the 240AC Access Point (AP) that can act as a Master AP or a
Master Capable AP. The 141AC, 142AC, and the 143AC can only be configured as mesh extenders. All of the models
listed below work with each other.
Master AP / Master Capable AP
Cisco Business 140AC Access Point
Cisco Business 141AC Mesh Extender
Cisco Business 145AC Access Point
Cisco Business 142AC Mesh Extender
Cisco Business 240AC Access Point
Cisco Business 143AC Mesh Extender
What Makes a Wireless Mesh Network Awesome?
Wi-Fi mesh finds an appropriate route to maintain connectivity to all mobile clients and applications that may be
delivered where it’s needed most. This is an advantage over a traditional Wi-Fi extender, that creates a separate
network and reduces bandwidth.
Redundancy and Reliability
When one node can no longer operate, the rest of the nodes can still communicate with each other, directly or through
one or more intermediate nodes.
Dynamic Wireless Routing
Mesh networks, by design, create multiple routes between its nodes. This means that if one network node fails, data
moving across a network will have another path it can use. This also applies to wireless networks, as a wireless
signal can take multiple routes to reach its destination. Various protocols exist to explicitly support mesh
networks that include the logic for best path and continued wireless service availability. Advanced features vary by
design, but all provide a method to join, transmit and advertise topology changes for best path transmission. The
Master AP may also optimize radio characteristics to compensate for environmental conditions.
Wider Wireless Coverage
Traditional wireless networks try to avoid cross-coverage of access points to avoid unnecessary installations.
However, wireless mesh networks benefit from having multiple nodes for a device to use. A wireless mesh deployment
allows for a device to have multiple points of access should one fail.
In addition, mesh networks have the ability to carry data over large distances by splitting the distance into a
series of short hops. Intermediate nodes not only boost the signal, but cooperatively pass data from point A to
point B by making forwarding decisions based on their knowledge of the network. This includes routing based on the
topology of the network.
Less Strain on the Wired Network
Traditional wireless network access relies on plugging access points and routers into a wired network. In some
networks, a notable amount of wired network resources get taken quickly. A wireless mesh deployment can extend your
networking beyond the wired network simply by connecting wireless nodes to each other.
It is important to note that in mesh solutions available there is no implied interoperability for a mix of nodes from
different vendors or protocols.
Device to Device Optimization
Mesh networks operate from the central Master AP which provides an awareness to the WLAN.
What goes into a Wireless Mesh Network?
Shown below is a visual example of a wireless mesh network. Of course, even though it isn’t shown, the switch needs
to be connected to a router with Internet connectivity.
Is this how all mesh networks look? Heck no! The components in a mesh may be identified by other, more specific,
functional devices, may play different roles depending on their relationship within the mesh network, or may combine
different roles into a single operational device depending on your business needs.
In general, mesh networks consist of these four basic components.
An Internet connection
Access Point(s) - One or more access points, nodes, provide connectivity out to wireless clients in the network.
A direct or wireless link - Each node has either a direct or wireless link to either another node or directly to
the Master AP.
The link or backhaul connection can be a physical, direct connection (to the Master AP) or a wireless connection
The backhaul connection (regardless of type) is the link to the Master AP and serves management functions across the
In addition, the backhaul connection provides routable, alternate paths for data between adjacent and remote nodes.
With each node providing additional wireless service to designated areas.
No Use for these in Wireless Mesh Networks
Yes, you read that correctly. These are not needed. We told you it was simpler than it seemed, and we meant it.
Wireless Range Extenders (also known as Wireless Repeaters)
Wireless Bridging Technologies such as Cisco Business Wireless Distribution System (WDS) and Cisco Business Work
Group Bridge (WGB)
Single Point Setup (also known as Cisco Business Clustering)
There you have it, the basics of Cisco Business Wireless Mesh Networks. Are you ready to go for it? There is nothing
stopping you now!