Distinguishing between Smart Mesh and Wireless Bridge: Features and supported models

Zyxel_Judy Posts: 913  Zyxel Employee
First Anniversary 10 Comments Friend Collector First Answer

Smart Mesh and Wireless Bridge are often used to describe different methods of extending and connecting networks. While they might seem similar, they serve different purposes and are supported by different models of devices.

This FAQ aims to clarify the differences between Smart Mesh and Wireless Bridge, focusing specifically on Zyxel devices. We'll explore what each term means, how they function, and which Zyxel models support these features. By understanding these differences, you can make more informed decisions when setting up or expanding your wireless network.

  1. Nebula Smart Mesh is a WiFi mesh solution for Nebula Devices. With Smart Mesh, you can have two or more Nebula Devices automatically create a mesh network within your home or office, ensuring there are no areas with a weak WiFi signal.

Smart Mesh assigns a role to each Nebula Device depending on its connection method.

  • Root AP: A Nebula Device (mesh controller) that is connected to the network by Ethernet and can reach the gateway device.
  • Repeater AP: A Nebula Device (mesh extender) that is connected to the network wirelessly, or that is connected to the network by Ethernet but cannot reach the gateway device.

The mesh extender rebroadcast the mesh controller’s SSID, and then relay WiFi traffic back to the gateway.
To create a Smart Mesh network, add two or more Nebula Devices to the same Nebula-managed site and ensure that each Nebula Device has Smart Mesh enabled. Then connect one or more Nebula Devices to your network’s gateway using an Ethernet cable, so that you have at least one mesh controller. Finally, place one or more non-wired Nebula Devices in areas where you want to extend WiFi coverage.

Supported model list: All models.

2. Wireless bridge is a Smart Mesh feature that allows two Nebula Devices to automatically connect two network segments together over a WiFi connection. This is useful when you want to extend your wired network to a new area, but it is difficult to run cables to that area.

To use wireless bridge, enable Wireless Bridge on two Nebula Devices in NCC. Then connect wired clients to one of the Nebula Device’s LAN port. These wired clients form a new network segment and are able to reach the site gateway through the Nebula Device’s WiFi connection.

Supported model list:

NAP203, NAP303, NAP353, NWA55AXE, WAC6103D-I, WAC6303D-S, WAC6502D-E, WAC6502D-S, WAC6503D-S, WAC6552D-S, WAC6553D-E, WAX610D, WAX620D-6E, WAX630S, WAX640S-6E, WAX650S, WAX655E

3. Note

  • The guide for Nebula Smart Mesh and Wireless bridge’s configuration is available at the link.

** When you want to build the smart mesh with wireless bridge, both Root AP and Repeater AP support wireless bridge and enable it.

*** The supported model list may be adjusted, please refer to the device function table to know more about that