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Mesh Network Overview

The Aruba Instant secure enterprise mesh solution is an effective way to expand network coverage for outdoor and indoor enterprise environments without any wires. As traffic traverses across mesh IAPs, the mesh network automatically reconfigures around broken or blocked paths. This self-healing feature provides increased reliability and redundancy and allows the network to continue operation even when an IAP stops functioning or if a connection fails.

Mesh IAPs

Mesh network requires at least one valid uplink (wired or 3G) connection. Any provisioned IAP that has a valid uplink (wired or 3G) functions as a mesh portal, and the IAP without an Ethernet link functions as a mesh point. The mesh portal can also act as a Virtual Controller. A Mesh portal (MPP) uses its uplink connection to reach the controller, a mesh point, or establishes an all wireless path to the mesh portal. Mesh portals and mesh points are also known as mesh nodes, a generic term used to describe IAPs configured for mesh.

If two IAPs have valid uplink connections, there is redundancy in the mesh network, and most mesh points try to mesh directly with one of the two portals. However, depending on the actual deployment and RF environment, some mesh points may mesh through other intermediate mesh points.

In an Instant mesh network, the maximum hop count is two nodes (point >point >portal) and the maximum number of mesh points per mesh portal is eight.

Mesh IAPs detect the environment when they boot up, locate and associate with their nearest neighbor, to determine the best path to the mesh portal.

Instant mesh functionality is supported only on dual radio IAPs only. On dual-radio IAPs, the 5 GHz radio is always used for both mesh-backhaul and client traffic, while the 2.4 GHz radio is always used for client traffic.


Mesh service is automatically enabled on 802.11a band for dual-radio IAP only, and this is not configurable.

The mesh network must be provisioned for the first time by plugging into the wired network. After that, mesh works on IAP-ROWs like any other regulatory domain.

Mesh Portals

A mesh portal (MPP) is a gateway between the wireless mesh network and the enterprise wired LAN. The mesh roles are automatically assigned based on the IAP configuration. A mesh network could have multiple mesh portals 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 portal broadcasts a mesh services set identifier (MSSID/ mesh cluster name) to advertise the mesh network service to other mesh points in that Instant network. This is not configurable and is transparent to the user. The mesh points authenticate to the mesh portal and establish a link that is secured using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption.


The mesh portal reboots after 5 minutes when it loses its uplink connectivity to a wired network.

Mesh Points

The mesh point establishes an all-wireless path to the mesh portal. The mesh point provides traditional WLAN services such as client connectivity, intrusion detection system (IDS) capabilities, user role association, and Quality of Service (QoS) for LAN-to-mesh communication to clients and performs mesh backhaul/network connectivity.


Mesh point also supports LAN bridging. You can connect any wired device to the downlink port of the mesh point. In the case of single Ethernet port platforms such as AP-93 and AP-105, you can convert the Eth0 uplink port to a downlink port by enabling Eth0 Bridging. For additional information, see Configuring Wired Bridging on Ethernet 0.