3x NWA50AX V6.25(ABTF.5), standalone APs: Where is 802.11r ? And: (faster) dynamic routing

shh Posts: 5
edited February 1 in WirelessLAN
I'm using 3 NWA50AX V6.25(ABTF.5) as standalone APs with same SSID throughout my house. Due to obvious reasons WDS isn't appropriate with these two band APs and I don't want to let the APs to be controlled externally (e.g., NCC)

Where is option 802.11r for fast roaming in standalone mode?
This seemed to be supported once:
What happened? Why was this disabled and how can I enable it again?

Best regards

All Replies

  • Zyxel_Tobias
    Zyxel_Tobias Posts: 194  Zyxel Employee
    edited March 17
    Hi shh

    The 802.11r is supported in Nebula mode and AP controller managed mode.

    We consider adding it into Standalone products maybe in the future and adding it into the Feature Request list.



  • shh
    shh Posts: 5

    thanks for your answer!

    > 802.11r is auto-enabled

    That seems to be good news. :-)

    > Nebula Smart Mesh

    This is also somewhat feasible in standalone mode via "Root AP" / "Repeater" setting if I'm not mistaken. How is Nebula Smart Mesh different?

    Also, as all of my NWA50AX are connected to LAN (via PoE) I don't like the reduced throughput of the "APs" when being repeater mode – which would also occur with Smart Mesh, if I understand correctly.

    How can I activate a "smart" AP-changing with using the full throughput of my LAN connections?

    Best regards
  • Zyxel_Tobias
    Zyxel_Tobias Posts: 194  Zyxel Employee

    SmartMesh always finds the best way for signal and traffic it usually acts better as WDS as each WDS Hop is reducing your performance by up to 50%. In SmartMesh it may only go 1-Hop or 2-Hop if it previously verify it´s the best to have better throughput.


  • shh
    shh Posts: 5
    Hello Tobias,

    I understand. So, also SmartMesh obviously cannot do anything about general repeater mode drawbacks.
    Again, the best option would be, that all 3 NWA50AX would use their 1 Gbps LAN connection for 
    a) uplink: WiFi/Internet access (directly)
    b) band steering (e.g. move a client to the best (current) AP, or just to redistribute WiFi clients from a crowded AP)
    c) consolidation of auth methods (probably)
    So I must ask again: "How can I activate a "smart" AP-changing with using the full throughput of my LAN connections?"
    Or, when could we expect that feature? None of your other products seem to support this (or I cannot find the checkbox). And, I'm surely not the first person thinking about this as some competitors already do it that way more efficient way.

    Best regards
  • Zyxel_Tobias
    Zyxel_Tobias Posts: 194  Zyxel Employee
    Hi shh,

    you need another model for it.

    Wireless bridge supported model list:
    NAP203, NAP303, NAP353, NWA55AXE, WAC6103D-I, WAC6303D-S, WAC6502D-E, WAC6502D-S, WAC6503D-S, WAC6552D-S, WAC6553D-E, WAX610D, WAX630S, WAX650S

    These models can in Nebula do Smart Mesh (find best WIFI way) and same time in case of cable connection existing, passthrough the traffic through Ethernet Port.

    So for example:

    NWA55AXE -> WIFI NWA55AXE - LAN - Switch - Client

    Is that what you are looking for?

    If not, please upload a graphical topology of what you try to achieve.


  • shh
    shh Posts: 5
    Hello Tobias,

    thanks again, but I didn't mean wireless bridge support.
    I think you refer to (one time) configuration, but I am talking about optimal connection of clients all the time.
    My topology is like this (just the 5G part):

    |  |  |                                                                                  ••WiFiClient1
    |  |  +--(Ethernet)--NWA50AX1(SSID#1,ch56)•••••WiFi•••WiFiClient2
    |  |                                                                                     ••WiFiClient3
    |  |
    |  |                                                                                    ••WiFiClient4
    |  +--(Ethernet)-----NWA50AX2(SSID#1,ch116)•••WiFi•••WiFiClient5
    |                                                                                       ••WiFiClient6
    |                                                                                         ••WiFiClient7
    ••• = WiFi connection (80 MHz band)
    --- = Ethernet connection (1000Base-T)

    This way, all WiFi clients have the max possible throughput without any (hopping-)reduction per AP. This comes also with reduced latency (no hops) and no channel collisions. Any other mesh/repeater/(smart)WDS configuration is disadvantageous.
    However, I still have sticky clients (wanting to remain at one AP) and want better and faster roaming.

    This brings me to the point that all 3 Zyxel APs obviously don't talk to each other besides sending dump 802.11k/v/r info. Therefore the sticky clients: No AP dares to kick a client and roam it to a better AP.
    Note, that I already activated "Station Signal Threshold" and "Disassociate Station Threshold", but this is much too inaccurate and doesn't handle overload situations and other corner cases.

    Kicking/Roaming/LoadBalancing should be done much more actively by the AP and could be done way better if the APs know of each other.
    In (other) modern WiFi-"meshes" management is mostly done over a separate band often with proprietary protocols/extensions. In my configuration this can easily be added over the existing Ethernet-Connection:
    Let's call it "Zyxel-AP-Mesh" or "dynamic routing":
    - add seldom ARP-lookups (= do we have other Zyxel MACs within this IP-range?), then
    - do the Zyxel APs share the same SSID? (if yes, we can balance our clients: yay!)
    - gather (SSID-)associated WiFi-Client MACs
    - gather connection info: signal strength per MAC, antenna usage per AP, client connection capabilities, …
    - upon a (known) client (MAC) entering another AP's range, compare connection and AP load
    - actively roam the client to the better AP of our Zyxel-AP-Mesh (if DeltadBm > threshold && load == high etc.)
    Most info could already be retrieved by 802.11k/v extensions of the beacon, but the meshed/connected Zyxel APs should then *actively* distribute the clients throughout the area. Perhaps 802.11k/v is even enough info, then we would just need a checkbox and some threshold values to enable it.
    Since this steering should be done dynamically, a Nebula solution wouldn't work, because Nebula is way to slow for analyzing every beacon. Besides, nobody would like a cloud solution to control, steer and protocol client's walk around. This also would't be data protection compliant in our country.

    Perhaps my proposed dynamic routing is somehow feasible. Suggestions welcome!  =)  

    Best regards
  • Zyxel_Tobias
    Zyxel_Tobias Posts: 194  Zyxel Employee
    Hi shh,

    thanks for the detailed feedback. I´ll mark this thread to review by our Product Manager to see which ways are doable or can be planned in the future.

    The update may take some days and will be next week, stay tuned!


  • nicogat
    nicogat Posts: 6
    Hi Tobias, any feedback for SHH? 
    I have the same desire and I am looking for the same answer. 
    I'd like to use as much as possible the Ethernet connection, and a smooth fast roaming among the access points. I understood it is related to  802.11k/v/r enablement but...anything else? is mesh option just related to the use of the Access point   as a wireless bridge ( not connected to lan?) 
    thank you very much 
  • Zyxel_Bella
    Zyxel_Bella Posts: 293  Zyxel Employee

    Hi @nicogat


    Smart mesh is used to improve wireless signal coverage in an environment where cables cannot be installed, but it will sacrifice part of the throughput.

    Therefore, it is recommended to use wired deployment if the environment permits.

    With the same SSID and security conditions, as long as the signal coverage between APs is 15-20%, the device can smoothly roam to target AP in normal cases.

    One thing to remind is the devices from different vendor triggers roaming with varies conditions and threshold.

    If you require any further suggestions of configuration, feel free to contact us.

    Thank you








  • nicogat
    nicogat Posts: 6
    Thank you, 
    I am currently using Nebula, but I'd like to go back to standalone. I am checking the features available on standalone; I saw there is the 802.11k/v. but what about the 802.11r? I haven't fount it in the AP manual. 
    Do I lose the fast roaming moving to standalone configuration? 
    thank you