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How to set up Tenda Nova mesh for wired backhaul - MW5, MW6, etc.
#1
After using a Tenda Nova MW6 mesh kit for a few months, it is like a night vs day improvement over using my former ISP router.  Unlike my terrible experience with Wi-Fi repeaters, the Tenda nodes have been very stable using wireless backhaul.  This means if there's a Wi-Fi blackspot without Ethernet connectivity, an extra node will solve that.  

The Tenda Nova nodes support wired Ethernet backhaul, which allows the secondary nodes to extend the Wi-Fi without consuming wireless bandwidth back to the primary mode.  This is particularly useful where the nodes are separated by thick walls or down a long corridor where the Wi-Fi of the primary node does not reach. 

Preparing for wired backhaul
  1. To start with, connect the main node's blue Internet socket to the Internet (e.g. LAN port on the router).  Leave the other nodes unplugged for the moment.
  2. Set up the main node, e.g. provide the Internet settings (if not using an existing router) and give it a Wi-Fi name and password. 
  3. Place all the secondary nodes in the same room as the primary node and connect their power cables.  Don't attach anything to their network sockets.
  4. If the secondary nodes were included in the same kit as the primary node (part of a 2 or 3 pack), leave them switched on for a few minutes to automatically pair with the primary node.
  5. For any nodes bought separately, go into the Tenda App -> Settings -> Add nova, then follow the steps to add the separate nodes to the mesh.
  6. Ensure all the secondary nodes have a solid green LED before continuing. 
  7. Unplug the secondary nodes, then place them in the desired locations and follow either method below.

Setting up the wired backhaul - Method 1

Run an Ethernet cable from the 'LAN' socket of the primary node to the blue Internet socket of the secondary node:

   

Repeat this process for any additional nodes, like this:

   

Switch on the secondary nodes.  The LED will flash after a moment, but should turn solid green after a few seconds.  If it turns yellow or another colour, it has reverted to wireless backhaul, i.e. Ethernet cable problem.


Setting up the wired backhaul - Method 2

Although I have not tested this method, this should also work and would allow using the one network socket as both wired backhaul for the Wi-Fi and connecting an existing wired device, such as a PC or games console.  
  1. Run an Ethernet cable from the 'LAN' socket of the primary node to a separate network switch, e.g. port #1. 
  2. Run Ethernet cables from ports #2, #3, etc. to the blue Internet sockets of the secondary nodes. 
  3. The LAN sockets of each secondary node can be left empty or to provide wired Internet connectivity to a desktop PC, TV set top box, etc.

   

If using an ISP router with multiple LAN ports, ensure all secondary mesh nodes are attached to the separate switch:

   

When using an ISP router like this, I suggest configuring the Tenda Mesh network to Bridge mode so that the Wi-Fi devices can access any printer, NAS, etc. attached to the ISP router. To do this, go into the Tenda App -> Settings -> Internet Settings -> Connection Type, then touch the Bridge option.


Wired backhaul methods that do not work!

My first few attempts of setting up wired backhaul were unsuccessful, mainly due to trying to attach the secondary nodes to the router or to a network switch attached to that router.

For example, the following wiring does not work:

   

Basically, do not connect any network port of a secondary mesh node to the LAN port of the ISP router or any network switch attached to the ISP router.
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#2
Hey! Very helpful.

In Method 2, do you think having other devices (printer, PC, console) will also work if connected to the same LAN Switch?

I have a 8 port LAN switch with 7 cables ran to each room. I can use 2/7 to add two nodes from Tenda.

Can I use the other 5 ports as I wish?
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#3
I reckon that should also work, e.g. with an 8 or 16 port switch, you could connect other wired devices such as spare room ports, PCs, etc. in addition to the secondary nodes. 

Then main important point is that this switch connects to the LAN port of the primary node and that its WAN port (with the globe icon) connects to the Internet such as an ISP router, like below:

   
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#4
Perfect. This worked and is flying Smile .

Another question -
My ISP is via ADSL using PPPOE.
FTTC, around 70mb speed.

I noticed the Tenda accepts PPPOE - do you know if I plug the DSL cable direct to the WAN port of the Primary node and then configure the PPPOE username/password, should it work?
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#5
Unfortunately, the Tenda node does not have a built-in VDSL modem. Although the telephone RJ11 jack may physically fit, don't try this as there is a risk it could damage the port. The telephone line also carries about 48v voltage, so even if it doesn't buckle the pins, the high voltage could cause internal damage.

The PPPoE is for legacy DSL modems that depend on a separate Ethernet-only router. I haven't seen one of them in around 15 years. Smile If your router has a "Bridge Mode" setting, this will also turn it into a passive DSL modem, in which case you would configure the Tenda for PPPoE. The catch here is that you will no longer be able to access your router's web interface with bridge mode enabled, at least not easily.
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#6
Got it Smile

I think I'll stick to the setup from 2 posts ago then, thank you Sean!
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#7
(14/01/2021, 04:11 PM)DC1988 Wrote: Got it Smile

I think I'll stick to the setup from 2 posts ago then, thank you Sean!

Really pleased to have found this thread! Hoping someone might be able to help to resolve an issue I have. I’ve had 3 MW6’s for a while but recently built a garden room and purchased a 4th MW6 to extend the wifi. I also have CAT6 back to the house.

The MW6 in the garden room can connect to the mesh ok but only talks directly to one of the three in the house due to distance, walls etc.

I have been trying to setup wired backhaul between the primary MW6 and the garden room MW6 pretty much as described here however every time I try it, the wifi in the house goes from 30meg down to 1meg!! I have to disconnect and rely on the wireless connection to extend the wifi to the garden.

I cannot fathom what is going on with it. The primary is connected to the router via the port with the blue globe on it, then I run the cable that runs to the garden room from the <....> port to the MW6 in the garden. The garden MW6 then appears in the app with the <....> next to it indicating it’s connected via a wired connection. 

My router controls DHCP for my network so there are no issues with multiple
subnets etc

Any ideas out there please guys and girls? I’d be so grateful for any advise!

Paul  Smile Smile
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#8
That does seem strange. I get the impression that house MW6's are using the Garden room's MW6 for the wireless backhaul whenever it's connected to the primary node with wired backhaul.

To me it seems like the primary node can only deal with either wired or wireless connections to the other nodes, but not both, i.e. if the primary node is serving any secondary node with wired backhaul that any wireless nodes would need to connect to a secondary node at the end of a wired backhaul. I don't have a third MW6 handy to test this. It could also be a bug in Tenda's firmware when using a mixed wired and wireless mesh. Smile

I suggest contacting Tenda directly just in case it's a bug. Their support e-mail is: support.uk@tenda.cn

These are a few suggestions I can think of, which you can try one at a time if possible:
  • Just to rule out any issue with the new MW6 node, try swapping it with one of the house secondary nodes.
  • If you have a network switch handy, connect one of the house nodes to the primary MW6 with Ethernet, even if it means moving it closer or loosely running a long Ethernet lead temporarily, i.e. from the <...> port from the primary node to the switch, and then from the switch to the blue globe icon of a second node and from the switch to the garden room node. See if the Wi-Fi performance improves with the remaining secondary node within the house.
  • If you have a long enough Ethernet cable handy, try swapping the primary node with the node in the garden temporarily, i.e. so the router connects to the primary node in the garden room, then a second Ethernet lead runs from it's <...> port back to the secondary node where the primary node was. This way if the secondary house nodes were connecting to the garden room node for wireless backhaul, it is now where the primary node was.
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#9
(22/01/2021, 11:54 AM)Seán Wrote: That does seem strange.  I get the impression that house MW6's are using the Garden room's MW6 for the wireless backhaul whenever it's connected to the primary node with wired backhaul. 

To me it seems like the primary node can only deal with either wired or wireless connections to the other nodes, but not both, i.e. if the primary node is serving any secondary node with wired backhaul that any wireless nodes would need to connect to a secondary node at the end of a wired backhaul.  I don't have a third MW6 handy to test this.  It could also be a bug in Tenda's firmware when using a mixed wired and wireless mesh. Smile

I suggest contacting Tenda directly just in case it's a bug.  Their support e-mail is: support.uk@tenda.cn 

These are a few suggestions I can think of, which you can try one at a time if possible:
  • Just to rule out any issue with the new MW6 node, try swapping it with one of the house secondary nodes.
  • If you have a network switch handy, connect one of the house nodes to the primary MW6 with Ethernet, even if it means moving it closer or loosely running a long Ethernet lead temporarily, i.e. from the <...> port from the primary node to the switch, and then from the switch to the blue globe icon of a second node and from the switch to the garden room node.  See if the Wi-Fi performance improves with the remaining secondary node within the house.
  • If you have a long enough Ethernet cable handy, try swapping the primary node with the node in the garden temporarily, i.e. so the router connects to the primary node in the garden room, then a second Ethernet lead runs from it's <...> port back to the secondary node where the primary node was.  This way if the secondary house nodes were connecting to the garden room node for wireless backhaul, it is now where the primary node was.
Thanks so much for your advice and guidance! I’ll give your suggestions a try! One additional note to add is that the newer MW6 is running a newer version of firmware compared to the other three yet the older ones all report they are running the latest available firmware. I guess that the newer one has updated components and therefore a different firmware. I wonder if this is contributing. 

I’ll try the new one as the primary and see where this goes!

Thanks again!!!!
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