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Extending network range - 2 WRT54G's, v5 & v3

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June 27, 2006 8:55:28 PM

Help....I'm a newbee trying to learn. We currently have one Linksys WRT54G, v5, hooked up to DSL Modem (2Wire). Have changed out the small rubber duck antennas for 9dBi rubber duck antennas. We would like to turn the 2nd WRT54G, v3, into a bridge to expand our range (small RV park with approx. 20 computers sharing 1 DSL connection). The v3 router has been flashed to DD-WRT SP-1 3rd party firmware. Can someone tell me if it's possible to turn the v3 router into a bridge and if so....what steps I would need to perform to make it work?
June 27, 2006 10:44:23 PM

The usual way of doing this is generally termed WDS.

(Client mode / bridging is usually used to describe wireless-to-wired bridging, essentially connecting two LAN segments without using a wire, but not extending the wireless range further.)

The Linksys supports WDS out of the box, and you can find info on that here:

http://www.linksysinfo.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=...

The typical problem with consumer WDS is that they usually don't support strong security. I guess that in your application, security may not be being applied. Where security is applied, you need to be careful to ensure that WPA security is available in WDS mode, and for this you might need to have 3rd-party firmware on both ends. (WEP is easily cracked.)

I'm not sure if the DD-WRT WDS will be compatible with the Linksys WDS. It might well, and the only way to find out would be to try it out. In addition to the LinksysInfo.org help above, you can find help within the DD-WRT's WDS page. You should be able to re-flash the v3 router with the latest Linksys firmware if necessary. I'd try DD-WRT first as it generally provides more features and security. There's also a mini DD-WRT for Linksys v5.

Another problem with WDS is that some bandwidth is lost (of course, as some of it is going to the bridge and some of it is going to the clients of the distributing AP). This is probably unavoidable unless you (a) get a new AP with better wireless range (I believe that some people even claim to get better performance with 1 high-range device than a couple of Linksys's) ((b) Run a long wire to the 2nd Linksys, and use it just as an AP.
July 24, 2006 8:35:45 PM

Interesting post Madwand.
I am buliding a Point to Ponitn WAP escenario for extend my ADSL range using WDS.
The security in not more importan than the bandwith. You can helpme?
I need know mora about WDS, and bandwidth lost using WPA encryption.
Is really important for me.
Thanks in advance.

regards, Damián.
Note: excuse me bad english. I from Uruguay.
July 26, 2006 7:31:12 PM

Your English is fine, but your typing could use some work :) 

I'm not sure if I can really help you -- there is a lot here that's going to be very specific to your setup, needs, etc.. Besides, I like client bridging, and security (a lot), so don't have much experience with long-range WDS and unsecure performance.

There's going to be at least a slight drop in performance due to security overhead. I take this as a must-have for my needs. Perhaps in your case, if security is not important, you could take the unsecured = faster = better and just go with it.

The best way to find out about performance is to measure it yourself in your own environment. Nobody has a database of all possible hardware/versions/configurations to give universal performance stats. Esp. in wireless, things vary a lot.

You can use something like PCTTCP to measure performance point-to-point, and try various options.

Note also that wireless performance in itself is a changing beast. One day, you could have great performance, and the next day, much lower performance because someone's using a cordless phone or microwave, etc., etc., in the neighborhood.

Here's an intro to WDS, with further links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Distribution_Syst...

Perhaps if you have very specific questions, I can help you. Actually, I suggest taking wireless questions to one of the Wireless forums -- presumably the people who deal with wireless all the time and with more products gather there.

Perhaps the reason I write about wireless bridging and related features is because I really like wired networking better :)  Especially gigabit :) 
!