Legacy Open Mesh: Glossary of Terms



This article defines standard terms used when discussing Open Mesh devices.


  • Open Mesh Access Points 
  • Open Mesh Routers
  • Open Mesh Switches


Glossary of terms


Absorption occurs when a wireless signal is wholly or partially absorbed by the material through which it passes, such as drywall, brick, trees, or other materials. Absorption can cause lowered Wi-Fi signal strength.


The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network protocol which can automatically configure host devices to communicate with each other via Internet Protocol (IP). These devices are called hosts.

Networks use DHCP servers to monitor and control the distribution of available IP addresses and configuration information.   

For additional information, read What is DHCP? (external resource).


Diffraction occurs when a wireless signal encounters an obstacle which causes it to change directions. An easy way to understand diffraction is to imagine that wireless signals are the ripples made from a stone dropped into a pond. When the ripples reach an obstacle, such as a log sticking out of the water, they will bend around it since they cannot go through it.

Diffraction can cause many problems when setting up and configuring a wireless network. Open Mesh products come with automatic signal quality checking. You can see your signal quality, strength, and speeds via CloudTrax. 


The Domain Name System (DNS) translates internet domain and hostnames to IP addresses.

  • The Domain Name System acts as the "phone book" for the internet by translating the plain-language domain and hostnames to their appropriate IP addresses. For example, DNS might translate the domain name www.cloudtrax.com to the IP address
  • Networks use a Domain name server to provide these translations when they are requested.

For more information, read: What is DNS? (external resource).


In networking, a gateway is a device capable of joining two networks together. Since network gateways appear at the edge of a network, they often have integrated security appliances (such as firewalls). On a basic home network, the broadband router generally serves as the network gateway.

  • In Open Mesh networks, “gateway” is the name given to a node that is directly connected via Ethernet to an internet source. 
  • A gateway unit will show as dark green in CloudTrax.
  • Open Mesh devices can act as both gateways and repeaters, and will automatically configure themselves as one or the other based on internet connectivity to the LAN port and DHCP address.

Internet Protocol Address

An Internet Protocol address (IP Address) is a numerical label assigned to each device on a network that uses the Internet Protocol to communicate. IP addresses serve two primary functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

For more information, read What IP Means and How it Works (external resource).


node is a mesh-capable access point, and it may be used interchangeably with the term access point in Open Mesh networking. A node can be either a gateway or a repeater.  


Signal reflection happens when a wireless signal bounces off of a surface. Reflection can hurt the overall signal quality of the network by bleeding into unwanted areas and causing unwanted wireless noise. 


Refraction occurs when a wireless signal bends as it passes through a higher-density medium than its original origin. An example of refraction is light entering a prism or going underwater.

  • Smoke or pockets of warmer air through which the signal must travel can cause refraction.
  • Refraction can cause loss of signal quality as the original signal moves in an unintended direction.


Network repeaters receive incoming signals and retransmit them at higher power. Retransmission lets wireless signals reach previously unavailable places, like an area that is a long distance away or behind a large object.

  • Open Mesh repeaters do not have direct ethernet connections back to an internet source. Repeaters will display as a light green color in CloudTrax, indicating they are meshing wirelessly with other Open Mesh gateways or repeaters.
  • Open Mesh repeaters that are directly connected to the network via Ethernet are called gateways. 


Scattering occurs when a wireless signal reaches an uneven surface, causing it to bounce off in multiple directions. Leaves on trees, rocky terrain, smog, dust, rain, or even chain link fencing can cause scattering.

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