Neutron firmware code c1.8.53 (and later) supports Mesh feature for Neutron Access Points. Mesh provides a network topology in which remote nodes relay data for the network wirelessly (i.e. without an Ethernet wire).
EnGenius Neutron APs, such as the EWS360AP, can be configured either as a Mesh AP or Mesh Point.
A “Mesh AP” is an AP that uses its wired interface to reach the wired network, while a “Mesh Point” is an AP that establishes an all-wireless path to the Mesh AP. These are also called Mesh Nodes.
The Mesh AP is the gateway between the wireless mesh network and the enterprise wired LAN. The Neutron AP is configured to perform the Mesh AP/Gateway role, which uses its wired interface to establish a link to the wired LAN. One can (and should) deploy multiple Mesh APs to support redundant mesh paths (mesh links between neighboring mesh points that establish the best path to the mesh portal) from the wireless mesh network to the wired LAN.
The Mesh AP broadcasts the configured mesh service set identifier (MSSID/mesh cluster name) and advertises the mesh network service to available Mesh Points. Neighboring Mesh Points that have been provisioned with the same MSSID authenticate to the Gateway and establish a secure mesh link over which traffic is forwarded. The authentication process requires secure key negotiation, common to all APs, and the mesh link is established and secured using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption.
Depending on the AP model, configuration parameters, and how it was provisioned, the Mesh Point can perform multiple tasks. The Mesh Point provides traditional WLAN services to clients and performs mesh backhaul/network connectivity. A mesh radio can be configured to carry mesh-backhaul traffic only. Additionally, a Mesh Point can provide LAN-to-LAN Ethernet bridging by sending tagged/untagged VLAN traffic across a mesh backhaul/network to a Mesh AP.
Mesh Points use one of their wireless interfaces to carry traffic and reach the controller. Mesh Points are also aware of potential neighbors and can form new mesh links if the current mesh link is no longer preferred or available.