Access Points are not Routers

Once in a while we receive questions from someone who has not taken the time to read our documentation before making a purchase decision regarding access points.  This article is intended to make clear why trying to use an access point as a router is a bad idea.

Open Mesh access points and Ethernet switches are not designed to be used as a replacement for a router. We strongly recommend you use a router between your modem and your network to manage your local network, internet routing and firewall needs, and only use the Open Mesh access points as Wireless Access Points for your network.

Some modems hand out DHCP addresses – an open-mesh access point will work with them but many modems do not hand out DHCP addresses and open-mesh access points won’t automatically work with them. Modems and access points are not routers – they do not provide any protection from hackers – they just provide wide open Ethernet to the world.

Open-mesh products need DHCP addresses from a router in order to properly be configured – automatically and simply using our cloud controller. An old feature of using hard coded IP addresses from a modem being assigned to an access point is only available in routers that also act as an access point. Those type of devices cannot be used in a true cloud based controller like that offered for free by Open-mesh’s Cloudtrax service.


Limitations of trying to use an Open Mesh access point as a router include:

  • No user configurable firewall or port forwarding.
  • Default firewall rules expect to be on a local network.
  • No control over DHCP address range.
  • No control over services exposed to the internet (e.g. DNS/SSH).
  • Bridged SSIDs will likely not function due to exhausting your available allowed IP addresses from your ISP, and should be considered a security risk, as users would be bridged directly onto the internet with no firewall.
  • Limited to one wired gateway per IP address allowed by your internet provider.

By trying to use Open-mesh products or any other access points from any other manufacturer as a router you give up using all of the advantages of using Open-mesh as a smart cloud based network.