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Router to Switch With Access Point

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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December 16, 2011 9:56:39 AM

Hi,
I am having trouble try to get this set-up, and I hope what I am trying to do is acheivable. I have a wireless router supplied by BT (Model: 2701HGV-C), at the moment it supplies a wireless network for multiple laptops/computers, that all works fine, all system connect to the net and to each other throught the wireless network.
The problem is that I have room with 8 computers (non-wireless), I am trying to connect them to the wireless network. My original idea was to connect all 8 machines to a switch and also connect a wireless access point to the switch. The downside is I can't see how to connet the access point to the router. The access point allows the following modes Access Point, Client, Repeater, and Bridge with AP. None of these modes with allow me to find my wireless router and enter the wireless key.
It seems like the only way around is to set the router into bridge mode, but if I do this then I'll loose my existing wireless network as its either bridge or router mode. The other option is probably to get another Access Point and connect that to one of the ethernet ports in the router and set up a bridge to both access points, but I don't know how secure this is as password are useless as you cant enter them into the access point for the device you want to connect to.
The access point is the TP-Link TL-WA701ND.

I hope someone can help or offer some advise. This is a new area to me and I've tried on my own but unfortunately I now need some guidance.


Regards,
KCorbishley
December 17, 2011 4:30:35 AM

it sounds like you want to configure the TP-Link in Client mode
December 17, 2011 8:47:39 AM

Hi, thanks for trying to help. I have tried every mode including client mode. Not a single mode allows you to access the wi-fi key of the router. If you scan it will pick up the BT router but doesn't give an option to enter the wi-fi key. I've come to the conclusion of it just being a cheap access point. One of the images on the TP-Link box shows the access point plugged into a game console for wireless mode. But I Can't even see how that will work as you cant connect to the router.
Thanks for trying to help though, it's much appreciated.


Regards,
KCorbishley
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December 17, 2011 1:57:14 PM

If I understood the manual right, you select Client Mode, click SSID, and then Search. Select you wireless network and hit Save.

After rebooting it seems you go to Security and enter the password key for the wifi
December 17, 2011 6:51:23 PM

I would assume if you used the search option on that same page, you would be given the opportunity to specify the security settings.

A word of caution is in order. This device is using WDS, NOT universal bridging. Universal bridging relies on wifi certified protocols (B/G/N) to establish the link between the bridge and the remote AP (just like the wireless USB/PCI adapter in your desktop/laptop). Because WDS is not a wifi standard, incompatibilities are very common. As a general rule, your best hope for having WDS work is to make sure you use hardware from the same manufacturer. Even then, manufacturers have been known to change their implementations and create their own incompatibilities. For these reasons, WDS has fallen out of favor over the years and “universal” bridging has become much more prevalent.

The TL-WA701ND manual is very misleading in this regarding. It uses terminology like “universal repeater”, WDS enabled/disabled, etc., when in fact, you’re ALWAYS using WDS. To understand why requires a minor lesson in WDS.

The most common WDS difference (leading to incompatibility, but not necessarily the only one) is the addressing in the WDS header. The WDS header contains several addresses relevant to WLAN and ethernet frames (it’s these addresses that allow the APs to communicate and pass ethernet frames). Again, WDS isn’t a wifi standard, so to even talk of a standard or correct implementation is a misnomer. So let’s talk in terms of behavior. It’s generally agreed that a “well behaved” WDS implementation uses four (4) address fields in the WDS header. Some “less well behaved” WDS implementations only use three (3) address fields (the developers recognized that one of the addresses wasn’t absolutely necessary for WDS to work, so they eliminated it… that’s what happens when you don’t have standards!).

So what’s this all mean? When configuring your client (or repeater) bridge, you’ll notice that you have the option to enabled or disabled WDS. This is misleading. You’re ALWAYS using WDS. When WDS is enabled, it just means they’ll use the “four (4) addresses” implementation. But if WDS is disabled, they’ll use the “three (3) addresses” implementation. In either case, it’s still WDS. What makes it “universal” in the minds of TP-Link engineers is the assumption that this is the only possible incompatibility, and if you simply try one or the other, WDS will work w/ any other WDS enabled device, even those from other manufacturers.

And there’s the rub. As long as you have no standards, the possibility of other incompatibilities remains. Some may be so subtle that you might not notice it immediately. You may get connected initially, but then have dropped or otherwise unreliable connections.

For these reasons, I always worry when someone is relying on WDS. It can lead to endless headaches, esp. across manufacturers. Don’t be surprised if it still doesn’t work, even if you get past the wireless security issue. TP-Link seems to be one of the few manufacturers that have attempted to address this problem by creating what is more properly termed “universal WDS”. The only time I recommend WDS is when you know w/ 100% certainty that it’s compatible (e.g., same device (ideal), same manufacturer, same third-party firmware (dd-wrt, tomato, etc.)).
!