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Bridge mode and mesh simultaneously - possible? 2 Recommended Answers 18 Replies 34 Upvotes
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Last edited 10/5/18
Consider moving back to Google Wifi after having used various other products for a while.  My home network has moved on considerably, and I'm now able to connect all of the Google Wifi nodes using ethernet backhaul (where I couldn't before).  As I have a Unifi Security Gateway acting as router, I only want the Google Wifi points connected in bridge mode (I want the USG managing the routing, firewall, etc.).

So I'd like to run the Google Wifi in bridge mode, ethernet backhaul, 2-3 meshed nodes.  I successfully managed to get the primary Google Wifi node into bridge mode, but when I try factory reset and adding the second Google Wifi node (wireless only at this point) it fails to connect to the primary node.

The Google Wifi (iOS) app is happily allowing me to attempt add a second node with the primary node in bridge mode, on the basis of which I'm assuming it is technically possible to do so.  I was planning to add each additional node wirelessly first, then later to cable them in.

Is the configuration I'm describing possible, or is the iOS app allowing me to try something that shouldn't be allowed or isn't supported?  If it IS supported, what's the trick to getting the second Google Wifi node to join the mesh?  I've tried every permutation of factory reset (using the hardware button) but when it gets to the stage of joining the mesh it fails connection every time.
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Just wanted to add that I have searched for several hours for similar problems and solutions, but most of what I can find is not very recent and may no longer be applicable on latest firmware.  I can of course set each of the GWF nodes up separately but with the same SSID, but I'm assuming that would eliminate any steering of the device to the most appropriate node (I believe most devices will remain connected to the first node they connect to and not jump to another with same SSID even if nearer/stronger signal).
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Google user
Hey Tom - Yes that should be possible though I'm not quite sure why you are having problems adding nodes to the mesh in your current configuration. I have a similar layout in my lab where I'm using mesh systems as APs and a pfsense box as a router. I've not had any issues with any mesh system as long as I build the mesh first, then switch to bridge mode (full disclosure - I review mesh systems, including Google Wifi, which I'm a big fan of).

Give that a shot and see if that helps at all.
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Thanks for the reply.  So you suggest I go back to NAT mode, add all nodes to the mesh, *THEN* switch to bridge mode?  I did try something like this originally, but I couldn't get the primary node to switch to bridge mode - completely greyed out and nothing I did made it available.  

For what it's worth (and you might have some thoughts on this) I'm evaluating moving back to the Google Wifi from a Linksys Velop.  The Velop definitely works in the configuration I'm describing, but I'm finding the wireless performance actually worse than the GWF annoyingly.  So with Linksys nodes placed in the same position and same connection as GWF, I'm getting far less wireless speed out of the Velop.  If I can get GWF back up and running I'll stick with it.
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Google user
Yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting. My story is purely anecdotal and I have no 'proof' that this is the "magic sauce" to make it work but I always build the mesh first, test, plug it into the router, test again, then flip from NAT to Bridge. I'm testing some other systems at the moment but I'll get GWF hooked back up so I can validate what I just suggested (and see if I can re-create your issue too). Good luck!
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With a second generation of Google WiFi hardware rumored to be released soon, hopefully this feature will be part of the hardware/software package.
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