Mesh protocols performance testing

A project log for MeshPoint - wifi router for humanitarian crisis

Autonomous, smart, wifi mesh router which is easy to use by humanitarian NGO first responders during humanitarian or natural disasters.

David BlaževićDavid Blažević 07/24/2017 at 10:341 Comment

At Meshpoint we're always looking for ways to improve performance and stability.
Therefore we're looking for compare our current setup that uses ad-hoc interfaces on top of which we use babel mesh routing protocol with 802.11s mesh that recently became available in OpenWrt and LEDE.

With the availability of IEEE 802.11s mesh technology we wanted to compare results and is which solution offers better stability and more bandwidth.

For first round of tests we devised this test:

We used 2 TP-Link WR842ND routers flashed with our custom LEDE firmware image that uses babel mesh routing protocol. For the purpose of the test we disabled AP mode on there routers so that no client could connect and disrupt results on our test routers. 

The routers were placed 2 meters away from each other (keep in mind that this was not a range test but stability and bandwidth test) and laptop with iperf3 was connected on each side.  On one side there was direct internet connection (fiber 200/100Mbits) for the part of the test.

We used wireless channel 13 to minimise interference from other wifi networks.

                                                             Test network layout diagram

The results:

Ad-hoc mesh

Results were erratic and unpredictable, going from 5 to 33 Mbps, so we ran tests 10 times but we never got anything even remotely close to stable and reliable network bandwidth.

                                                         Iperf3 basic test results ad-hoc

                                             Iperf3 speedtest results via

Internet bandwidth test was done with laptop connected to router 2 that then run the tests. The graph shows that speed is inconsistent, starting with only 25 Mbps and dropping further to only 5-8 Mbps. Testing directly on router 1 showed is that Internet connection is not the cause of poor performance, but ad-hoc interface itself.

IEEE 802.11s test results

After testing ad-hoc mesh we switched to testing the 802.11s mesh. 

Iperf3 test: 

And speedtest results:

802.11s mesh results were much more consistent, bandwidth was greater than with ad-hoc mesh and there were no bandwidth dropouts.


thechriscoffey wrote 03/15/2018 at 19:06 point

That seems to be a very disappointing result. Losing 70-90% of your bandwidth at a distance of 2m. Or am I interpreting the data incorrectly?

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