I recently purchased a https://consumer.huawei.com/uk/routers/ax3-mesh-kit/ to setup a wifi mesh network at home and thought I would write about a major flaw the software has.
I have a Virgin 3 Hub in modem mode connected to an Asus router. The asus has wifi disabled and a single Huawei connected to it. The AX3 is in AP (Access Point) mode with dhcp disabled and wifi configured i.e ssid top_home and a suitable passphrase. When connecting to this wifi SSID everything works as expected i.e my laptop gets an IP address form my Asus router. So far so good.
The next stage was to add a second (slave) AX3 to create a mesh network. I set this up by performing a factory reset on the slave device and placing it within one meter of the master device and powering on. Once booted the slave device started flashing orange at which point I pressed the “H” button on the master and after a couple of seconds the orange light change to green to show it had synced. Again all good so far.
When connected to the slave via ethernet from my laptop again I got an ip from the asus and was able to browse the internet and local network. After disconnecting the ethernet I then went on to test the mesh. On opening available networks in windows 10 I saw a new network i.e HUAWEI_XXXX with status OPEN i.e no encryption upon connecting to that with no passphrase I found myself connected to my local network in the same way as I had before via a wired connection. I tried a lot of resets and syncing the master and slave via a wired connection but the end result was the same. After some online discussions I found out that these devices DO NOT support mesh while in Access Point mode, it does when you have the master in router mode i.e if i had to connected straight to my Virgin 3 Hub but rather than it not working at all in AP mode what it does is still allows access to you local network and the internet but via an UNSECURE SSID.
People with little or no networking knowledge may not realise this as they would rightly connect to the ssid they created i.e top_home and think nothing more of it but in reality they are connecting to the master device only and not part of any mesh and the slave device is sitting there in ignorant unsecure bliss.
I contacted Huawei support and I can safely say it was the worst I have experienced form any company EVER.
Here are some of the frankly laughable replies I received
For this type of issue, I advise you to contact your network provider.
Unfortunately sir we don’t offer such complex technical troubleshooting so in regards with your inquiry in regards with the AX3 I would recommend you to contact your internet provider for further assistance as the connectivity issues are usually from their side.
I asked them a very direct question “Does the AX3 support mesh when the primary device is in Access Point mode?” and all they did was reply with marketing speel saying the devices were “mesh ready”
After becoming totally fed up I decided to contact sales for an RMA and was told “We don’t accept returns after 14 days”
So i’m left with 3 door stops and I do question their ability to perform even this function to any satisfaction.