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ICS with Router?

Last response: in Networking
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January 4, 2012 1:25:10 PM

I get internet through my Desktop using a wifi card that picks up the internet from my in-laws across the street (gets a really good signal btw). Anyway, that connection is perfectly fine, and up until recently I had been using a Hawking Range Extender to repeat the signal through my house connecting it to my PC's ethernet port and using the Internet Connection Sharing feature. For some reason that is beyond me it suddenly stopped working. Or rather, it will work for a couple minutes and then stop receiving packets.

I'm thinking the device is faulty since it never actually worked that great to begin with. Is this type of setup possible for a wireless Router such as a lynksys device? Or would I need a repeater/range extender like I have been using?

Again I would use the Wifi from my PC to share the connection with the Router to broadcast that signal through my house. Or if anyone could suggest what I should do with the Hawking device I have, or preferably suggest a more competent setup that would be great.

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January 4, 2012 2:33:03 PM

As you're currently configured, the range extender isn't really extending your range. It's only acting as a local wireless AP in your own home. It's your desktop that's acting as the range extender.

So my initial impression is that while it may work (or has worked but you're having problems recently), it's not typically how you would solve this type of problem. While ICS works, it’s a better short-term than long-term solution. ICS is extremely simplistic, providing little more than a DHCP server and basic firewall. Plus you need to run your desktop continually if you expect to have 24/7 internet access.

If it were me, I would use a WISP (wireless AP) router. A WISP router allows you to connect to the ISP (which in this case is your in-laws) over wireless. In every other respect, it’s a typical router. You can either buy such a router, or construct your own using any router and connecting a wireless bridge to its WAN (perhaps using your current wireless extender).

[wireless router (yours)]<-- wire -->[wireless bridge]<-- wireless-->[wireless router (in-laws)]

As always when connecting to another network, make sure your network and the remote network are NOT the same. IOW, if your in-laws are using 192.168.1.x, you need to use something else, say 192.168.2.x.

Or you could use a dd-wrt compatible router and configure it as a “repeater” (not “repeater bridge”). In this case, the dd-wrt router is acting as both your own wireless router *and* as a wireless bridge (client) to your in-laws router. For all intents and purposes, a dd-wrt router in “repeater” mode is a WISP router.

One additional suggestion I would make is giving your router a static IP from your in-laws network and placing that IP in the DMZ of their router. That way, anything that would otherwise be blocked by their router will be passed to your own router. That will make it possible for you to use port forwarding on your own router!


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January 4, 2012 2:54:16 PM

Yeah, I don't mind having my computer on to supply the shared wifi. We were using the range extender as it was initially intended, but it was a very poor range extender as we had to reset it and reconfigure it constantly. It was working fine as an access point though until a few days ago.

So with the WISP I would be using my PC's wifi card to share internet with the WISP which then broadcasts through my house as an access point? Wouldn't my computer still have to be on? Not that I mind.

Or you're saying dump the wifi card all-together and use the WISP as the main draw for the wifi internet?

I'm not sure I follow correctly.

And yes I think I'm slowly understanding the 192.168.2.x business haha. I had our Hawking access point on 192.168.137.1 since my inlaws use the 2.x scheme and it was working fine, now it isn't...

Thank you for that info in any case, it does help point me in the right direction.

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January 4, 2012 4:18:27 PM

A WISP router is a replacement for your desktop. Your desktop is essentially acting as a WISP router. It uses ICS to provide a DHCP server, NAT (so users behind ICS have their own network), and a wireless connection to the in-laws router. IOW, you have all the basic elements of a WISP router. It's just that you've constructed it in a rather awkward and less than convenient, full-featured way.

What I'm suggesting is use a *real* WISP router to replace all that. A wireless router that provides the DHCP server, NAT, firewall, etc., and connects to the in-laws network over wireless. Now your desktop is freed of these responsibilities and is just like any other device on your own network, it's just a wired/wireless client to the WISP router.

But if you don't mind using your desktop for these purposes, if it's all working fine, and you don't mind not having access to the other features a wireless router provides that ICS doesn't (advanced firewall features (DMZ, port forwarding, access restrictions, etc.), QoS, static routing, MAC filtering, UPnP, VPN client/server, whatever), then by all means, continue using the desktop. As I said, ICS is not really intended as a long term solution. It simply lacks too many features that most ppl would find too compelling to forgo over the long haul. But if you're happy w/ it as it is, yes, it will work (as your current experiences have shown).

Of course, none of this explains why you're currently having issues when everything was fine for so long. But if someone came to me and said, given what you've seen, what would you change, that's what I recommend.
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January 4, 2012 4:31:15 PM

Yeah, I'm aware my method is terrible and very uninformed but I got something working and stuck to it, lol.

I think I understand better what you are explaining. But one more question, what is the difference between a Range Extender and a WISP? The Range Extender was acting as the go-between my in laws house and my house until we got sick of it resetting constantly and not keeping a connection.

The WISP sounds like it is a similar setup except, I assume as it is a Router it gives the features of a router like you were mentioning.

If my assumptions are correct then what type of WISP router would you recommend? I'd hate to get another finnicky product like the Hawking Extender.
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Best solution

January 4, 2012 5:50:44 PM

An extender is a very simple device. All it does is connect to a remote wireless AP and repeat the signal. It’s the functional equivalent of an amplifier. It typically doesn’t provide any routing features such as NAT, firewalls, etc., or DHCP server.

A router connects two networks together. It provides a means for users/devices of one network to navigate to the other network. Usually that’s unidirectional due to the router’s firewall. And by using NAT, it’s able to share a single IP (assigned to its WAN port) among many users/devices on the local network behind the WAN. Most manufacturers add wireless as a convenience.

So these are different devices intended to solve completely different problems. Of course, like many network devices, you can often combine them in various ways to solve new problems. For example, if the extender has a wired ethernet port, you can probably use the extender to create a wireless bridge between the router’s WAN and a remote wireless AP. IOW, create a WISP router.

As it happens, there aren’t many commercial WISP routers available. IIRC, ZyXEL has a few.

Personally I recommend a divide and conquer strategy. Find a wireless router you like, with all the features you want, *without* consideration for WISP. Otherwise, the number of available WISP routers is so small you’ll likely end up sacrificing too many other features to gain that one feature. Solve the connection between the wireless router and the remote wireless AP *separately*. All you need is a wireless adapter/bridge to solve that problem. But you might need a more powerful, long range, and probably more expensive bridging solution. Ideally you’d like the extender you already have to serve that purpose. But if it doesn’t, then you need to up the ante.

One way to up the ante would be to consider a higher grade wireless bridge, perhaps something from Ubiquiti. In fact, if the problem is bad enough, they have solutions that place adapters and antennas on BOTH properties, and are capable of transmitting over long distances using non-wifi channels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9JKSVx0f7E
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January 4, 2012 6:01:32 PM

Best answer selected by acefondu.
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