FortiAP Management – Set up a mesh connection between FortiAP units

Set up a mesh connection between FortiAP units

To set up a WiFi mesh connection, a minimum of three devices are required:

  1. A FortiGate as the AP Controller (AC)
  2. A FortiAP as the Mesh Root AP (MRAP)
  3. A FortiAP as a Mesh Leaf AP (MLAP).

Configuring the AC

These instructions assume that the MRAP is already being managed by the AC (see Configuring the FortiGate interface to manage FortiAP units on page 639 and Discovering, authorizing, and deauthorizing FortiAP units on page 640).

To configure the AC:

  1. Go to WiFi & Switch Controller> SSID and create a mesh SSID.
  2. Go to WiFi & Switch Controller> Managed FortiAPs, edit the MRAP, and assign the mesh SSID to the MRAP, and wait for a connection.

Configuring the MLAP

The MLAP can be configured to use the mesh link as its Main uplink or a Backup link for Ethernet connections.

To configure the MLAP:

  1. On the FortiAP, go to Connectivity.
  2. Set Uplink to Mesh or Ethernet with mesh backup support.
  3. Enter a mesh SSID and password.
  4. Optionally, select Ethernet Bridge (see Main uplink on page 646). This option is not available if Uplink is set to Ethernet with mesh backup support.

Once the MLAP has joined the AC, it can be managed in the same way as a wired AP.

A mesh SSID can also be assigned to an MLAP for other downstream MLAPs, creating a multi-hop WiFi mesh network. The maximum hop count has a default value of 4, and can be configured in the FAP console with the following commands:

cfg -a MESH_MAX_HOPS=n cfg -c

Main uplink

When a mesh link is set as the main uplink of the MLAP, the Ethernet port on the MLAP can be set up as a bridge to the mesh link. This allows downstream wired devices to use the mesh link to connect to the network.

To enable a mesh Ethernet bridge, select Ethernet Bridge in the FortiAP Connectivity section in the GUI, or use the following console commands:

cfg -a MESH_ETH_BRIDGE=1 cfg -c

Backup link for Ethernet connections

When a mesh link is set to be the backup link for an Ethernet connection, the mesh link will not be established unless the Ethernet connection goes offline. When a mesh link is in this mode, the Ethernet port cannot be used as a bridge to the mesh link.

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This entry was posted in Administration Guides, FortiAP, FortiGate, FortiOS 6.2 on by .

About Mike

Michael Pruett, CISSP has a wide range of cyber-security and network engineering expertise. The plethora of vendors that resell hardware but have zero engineering knowledge resulting in the wrong hardware or configuration being deployed is a major pet peeve of Michael's. This site was started in an effort to spread information while providing the option of quality consulting services at a much lower price than Fortinet Professional Services. Owns PacketLlama.Com (Fortinet Hardware Sales) and Office Of The CISO, LLC (Cybersecurity consulting firm).

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