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Meraki device changes to Repeater Mode

When adding a second, or additional Meraki device onto an existing network; or in the case of an already configured multiple-device wireless network, you may noticed that one of the device operates or switches into “Repeater Mode”.

If you are used to configuring multiple access points as gateways (preferred method), you may not immediately identify that one of the devices has changed into operating as a Repeater.

If you have not intestinally configured the device in this manner, and prepared the site for this kind of setup, you may find the device in repeater mode has trouble with connectivity, and drops users off the network, especially when there is a high amount of users / traffic. This will especially be evident if the devices do not have a strong signal between each other, often not such a major issue when the access points are both setup as gateways. Pushing all the traffic from one device, to another access point over wireless is obviously not an ideal scenario if Ethernet cable access is available.

Within the Meraki portal there are several ways to identify that a device has changed to acting as a repeater. The first is by viewing the “Access Points” page, and checking the Gateway. Devices acting as a gateway will list Self, but those operating as a repeater display the mac address of the device it is connecting to.

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Once you click on that access point, you will also notice that there is no IP Address assigned, and it will identify that the “AP is a repeater”.

So what causes devices to change into this mode?

Basically, the device cannot reach the network through the Ethernet cable. This could mean that there is a faulty cable, no network cable, or a misconfigured switch. As the device can operate in repeater mode, this may not be immediately identified as an issue. Once connectivity is restored through the Ethernet port, the device should automatically obtain an IP, as well as switch back to Gateway mode.

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