Tenda MW6 mesh & bridge mode

RobMcM

Active Member
I am awaiting delivery of a Tenda MW6 triple pack to get a mesh network up and running in my house. However, before I plug it in I have a couple of questions:

At the moment I have my router set up to have a few devices (including an HTPC, AVR for Airplay) wired via Ethernet to the router. I also have a number of devices (including the two I mentioned, plus others as well) on reserved IP addresses from my router. The Tenda cannot reserve IP addresses for specific devices so, if I understand what I've read correctly, I need the Tenda to be in "bridge" mode in order to leave all the DHCP stuff to my existing router. This will also mean that wireless devices connected to the Tenda can see and communicate with the wired devices connected direct to the router. Is this right?

If it is right, then do I need to enable bridge mode on the Tenda before I connect it to the router? The setup manual tells me to plug it in and power everything on - if I do this but it's in DHCP mode then I'll get horrible conflicts, no? Basically: at what point in the setup process should I enable bridge mode to ensure I don't break all of my reserved IPs.

Finally, I read on another thread (here) that bridge mode disables the mesh functions. Is this correct, and if so, what impact will it have on my day-to-day use?

Thanks!
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I don't know this kit, but in general you are best off to leave the incumbent router as is and just disable it's Wi-Fi (if desired) - it's rarely more than a couple of clicks - which will save you a lot of IP addressing issues.

A lot of the "whole home" type systems are capable of functioning as a routers (usually just the "king" or "first" node) in order to be a complete fork lift replacement of your incumbent and it seems they mostly ship in "router mode" out of the box for this purpose. If you're keeping your existing router (which I suggest is the best approach) then you'll need to flip the new system out of "router" mode into "AP mode" or "bridge mode" (nomenclature varies) which should disable any router/NAT/firewall and probably the DHCP Server with "one click" leaving the nodes "just" as AP's (or AP/switch combos.) I can't see any reason why that should affect any "mesh" functionality as such is nothing to do with router/NAT/firewall, but if your new system has functions like content filtering or parental control (of Internet access) then it probably would disable those functions.

Technically, having multiple DHCP Servers on a LAN is a bad thing as they might offer conflicting IP addresses and/or leases with incorrect IP information. If you are quick enough, unless you are really unfortunate, you can probably flip the Tenda into AP/bridge mode quickly enough that nothing else will notice.

However, it's probably simplest and most "safe" to configure the Tenda "stand alone" before you hook it up to anything else - it's what I'd do: Connect "something" to the Tenda, (I'd cable a laptop to it since I have one, but I suspect you could connect something Wi-Fi as out the box, it'll probably have a different SSID to your existing system,) set the appropriate mode, then reboot it, check the mode and hook up to your existing router. Tenda should not need a path to the Internet to achieve it's basic configuration, though it may whinge about it depending on how they've written the OS. Then it sould simply be a matter of ascribing IP address to the nodes (I'd fix them and record it if you use DHCP off your existing router) then set up the Wi-Fi as you require.
 
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RobMcM

Active Member
I've got the Tenda set up now - it's in bridge mode and as far as I can tell everything is working as it should - I still get IP addresses from the main router and they are as I've fixed them. However, my main desktop PC, which is upstairs, is plugged into one of the LAN ports on one of the Tenda nodes... and it cannot get an internet connection at all. It just says "no network access". I can't find anything to configure on the Tenda's to make this work, so it's really frustrating. Is there anything I need to do to get the LAN ports working? Is bridge mode the culprit?
 

RobMcM

Active Member
Fixed it. Seems that plugging in the Tenda caused the router to change its LAN addresses from 192.168.8.x to 192.168.10.x, despite me thinking I’d put it into bridge mode before connecting it to the router. This meant that there was a conflict between the reserved IPs I had set devices like my desktop (which was 192.168.8.2) didn’t agree with the router’s automatic LAN allocations. Changing the reserved addresses to .10.x fixed everything, and now it’s all working well. Hooray.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Weird, I'm not sure why your router would have done that. These no reason why you couldn't bully it back into it's original state, it'll just take a but if time to wade through it all.
 

RobMcM

Active Member
Weird, I'm not sure why your router would have done that. These no reason why you couldn't bully it back into it's original state, it'll just take a but if time to wade through it all.
Yeah I’m sure I could, but I don’t see any real need. I don’t care what the IP addresses are, it’s just important that I know what they are and that they don’t change. So now they’re fixed, I know what they’re fixed to, and everything is working well, I think it’s safest if I leave it all well alone and let it do it’s thing. Whatever that is.
 

RobMcM

Active Member
So interesting: we had some internet issues last night - I think it was the ISP - but while trying to deal with that I rebooted the router and the mesh system. Eventually everything got sorted, but I notice this morning that the router had changed its LAN IP address allocation again. This time to 192.168.11.x rather than .10.x. Why is it doing this, and will this happen every time I restart the router (which as we all know happens now and then) or (worse) every time the Tenda system restarts, which is currently set to be every night as an automatic restart / cache clear.

Anyone know what settings I can change to prevent my router from changing LAN IP addresses?
 

neilball

Well-known Member
How are you determining that the router has changed it’s subnet/DHCP range? Is it by checking the setting in the router itself or just by observing the addresses being handed out? If it’s by seeing IP addresses changing then I’d be looking at the settings in both systems as it sounds suspiciously like you have two DHCP servers running on the same network ie DHCP server eneabkenon both your router and wifi equipment. If it’s not and you are really seeing the IP address settings in your router change then I cannot help as I’ve never encountered anything like that before.
 

RobMcM

Active Member
I’m seeing it in the router settings directly, on this page:

1636901201870.png


The LAN IP address at the top was set as it is in this image before I started messing with the Tenda. When I looked after struggling to get my wired desktop to connect with it’s fixed IP address (as set in the “binding list” at the bottom of that image) the LAN address was 192.168.10.1. This morning, after having to reboot stuff last night and connect it all up again, it was 192.168.11.1. These changes of course mean that the fixed addresses were not valid for the new lan address of the router, so none of those devices would connect.

The Tenda is definitely set in bridge mode, but it wasn’t when I first connected it as I couldn’t make it do anything at all to even allow me into the menus without a connection to the router. This is the opposite of what mickevh advised but it just wouldn’t do anything otherwise.

I rebooted everything this morning just to see what happened - turned it all off, unplugged the Ethernet cable between router and Tenda master mode, then powered the router back on. Once it was on, I then connected the Tenda Ethernet cable and powered the tenda on - it all came back as it should, and the LAN IP address stayed at 192.168.11.1.

I’ll do another test tonight where I reboot the router via its app without disconnecting or powering off the Tenda and see what happens then. But it’s odd, right??
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
What router are you using..?

It might be useful if you show us some screen grabs off the Tenda settings - particularly anything to do with IP addresses and DHCP.

The Tenda may well have the ability to function as both a DHCP client and a DHCP Server. DHCP Client is OK as that will allow the nodes to go get DHCP leases from your router (though personally I'd prefer to statically assign them) but the Tenda DHCP Server needs to be off.

And yes, changing you IP address is a bit odd, though some SOHO routers have automation to do this sort of thing in order to make them zero configuration - though usually (for those that do it) it does so in response to a change in the ISP interface's subnet rather than internal stuff.
 
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RobMcM

Active Member
Thanks for the response - much appreciated.

The router is the Huawei 5G CPE Pro, supplied by Three with their 5G package. I’d happily provide screengrabs of those things from the Tenda but there aren’t any options to grab - from the screen below, Wireless Settings just lets me change the mesh SSID and password, while Internet Settings just shows me that it’s in bridge mode - nothing else to change.

I guess I could try unplugging the Tenda from the router then enabling DHCP mode to see if that unlocks anything like DHCP Client / Server options. Or perhaps the manual will give a clue - I’ll check!
 

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RobMcM

Active Member
Thanks for the response - much appreciated.

The router is the Huawei 5G CPE Pro, supplied by Three with their 5G package. I’d happily provide screengrabs of those things from the Tenda but there aren’t any options to grab - from the screen below, Wireless Settings just lets me change the mesh SSID and password, while Internet Settings just shows me that it’s in bridge mode - nothing else to change.

I guess I could try unplugging the Tenda from the router then enabling DHCP mode to see if that unlocks anything like DHCP Client / Server options. Or perhaps the manual will give a clue - I’ll check!
Checked the manual and it seems that if I enable DHCP mode on the Tenda then I do have some server options... but they are just IP address changing, I can't see anywhere to turn off the server and keep it set on client.
1636967125032.png

Didn't get a chance to see if my router's LAN IP has changed again overnight following the Tenda's automatic reboot at 3am - I'll check this evening. Hopefully it hasn't and everything has settled down. Still curious as to why odd things are happening though...
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Within any given device, DHCP Client and Server roles are completely separate functions that are not in any way inter-dependent on each other. It's not unusual for devices to be capable of both, but the two roles are not at all related.

At lot of SOHO market kit that is sold on an "appliance" basis offers little in terms of control over the functionality. If the vendor is using DHCP Client to gain IP addresses and hasn't given you any control over it, then there's nothing you can do about it. When you look at your routers DHCP Lease table, you should be able to find the AP's and I would tick whatever box is present o tell your router to "always use the same IP address for this device" or however it's phrased.

Definitely do not enable the DHCP Server on the Tenda - leave that off.
 

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