Network advice for satellite w/ multiple routers & users


I originally asked all of this on the DD-WRT forums but have not gotten a response yet, so I figure I'd try here, too. I am fairly competant when it comes to computers, but not when it comes to getting them to talk to each other. :??: I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan and have been given the task to run the system as seen in the attached image I whipped up. It shows the setup that we are currently using (Satellite service provided by Bentley-Walker). I would really appreciate your collective help on a few things:

1) Is there something in the attached image which just instantly jumps out at you as being wrong?

2) I'm not sure but I believe I should be using the two secondary wireless routers as "routers" and not as "gateways". I've flashed DD-WRT onto the linksys WRT54G and it's set to gateway mode, but I don't think that's right. Please advise on the mode I should be putting these routers in.

3) Is the D-Link DGS-2205 too piddly/weak to be between the satellite modem and a majority of the users?

4) Do you recommend buying any additional hardware to improve this setup?

5) Controlling / monitoring bandwidth usage across all the users is going to be important so I can make sure everybody is getting a fair share. I'm not sure if I can do it through the satellite modem, but if I got a better router to replace the DGS-2205, could I set everybody up with a static IP and monitor that way?

6) Can the setup as seen in the attached picture be configured so it's all one single network that the users can share files or stream media between?

7) Is there a way to set a Static IP for certain MAC addresses so they have access to the local intranet but not to the Satellite/internet? I'd like to put more xbox's on the network but only for local multiplayer -- I don't want them to be able to access the internet.

The desired end-state is one large network that I can manage relatively easily (looking at bandwidth usage per user/MAC address) while also allowing file-sharing between all users.

I appreciate any & all assistance. Links to guides how-to's would be helpful, but I hope some of you can answer at least a few of the above.

My sincerest thanks,
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  1. Austin, first, thanks for your service.

    If you want it to be a single network for simplicity, which makes sense to me, I would use the HX50 DHCP service to assign the dynamic addresses and use one internal network, say for a gateway (subnet mask, a /24 network so you could use up to 254 total addressed devices on it), which I think is the default gateway address for the HX50.

    The HX50 also has the ability to assign static addresses, and seems to have numerous features to control network priority and QoS. I don't have a manual for the HX50 though, so cannot give you answers on some of the details of how to block users from WAN access.

    Your D-Link DGS-2205 seems fine, as it is just a simple gigabit switch.

    I would look at setting both of the wireless routers up as wireless access points and turn off their DHCP (the HX50 would do that for the entire network) -- i.e., they would not act as routers just access points. Those two access points would thus need static ip addresses assigned in the network, but outside of the dynamic address range assigned by the HX50, so say like and .3; while the HX50 DHCP could assign dynamic addresses from to .254. For the two access points give them the same SSID and WPA passphrase, but use different radio channels on each to avoid interference, depending on how close together they are.

    There are many smart folks around here and hopefully they will give you additional thoughts and improve on my initial comments.
  2. Thank you for the response!
    I'm going to try and implement what you said. I'm curious to see how configurable the HX50 is since I can only find an installation guide and not a full manual.

    I know LAN = local area network and usually refers to devices hardlined via cable, right?
    And then wireless is obviously wireless.
    And WAN = wide area network but I don't see how it relates to the above two.
    On one of my routers there is a seperate settings page for LAN, WAN, and Wireless!
  3. after you configure the two routers as AP, connect them via one of the four LAN ports to the switch (do not use the WAN port)
  4. Would it be detrimental to replace the D-Link DGS-2205 with a router? That way I can use it instead of the HX50 to manage the entire network...? I imagine a router with DD-WRT or something more open will give me more options than the HX50 -- I'll take a look at it tonight.
  5. It wouldn't really be detrimental, but it sounds from what I've found that the HX50 is a good router full of features that will do as well as another router. The biggest problem is not being able to find a manual to give you any real specifics.

    Your LAN (local area network) is really the entire network, wired and wireless, if you configure it as a single network and use both of the routers just as access points/switches.

    As Emerald says -- you won't use the WAN port if you use the two current routers just as access points. If you do get a new router and turn off the DHCP in the HX50, you would connect the HX50 Ethernet to the WAN of the new router that would then control your network.

    Emerald can give you a lot more information than me on specific ways to isolate selected machines from the Internet and stuff like that, as he is more knowledgeable than me, I'm a small network guy. :)
  6. Ah, I had thought LAN just referred to things hard-lined.
    So does WAN still = wide-area network?

    What is the line between a small and a big network? To me, 13 people is huge! but to anybody working in a corporate environment that's probably small potatoes.

    The HX50 has an IP of
    I thought I had to unplug my computer from the router in my room and connect to the switch itself to be able to access the HX50, but apparently I can do it with no issues through my wireless router. I thought since I was working off the IP address-space of from my wireless router (with DHCP enabled), would be invisible or innaccessable. hmm

    At any rate, the HX50 may be feature-rich, but the UI is not tailored to the average user at all! There must be a hundred pages of statuses and configurations -- all of which seem to be read-only. I haven't yet figured out how to actually change any settings (like starting DHCP at so I can give static IP's to the routers). NAT is also disabled but I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

    I emailed the service provider's help desk to see if they can help me with the HX50.
  7. Hmmm, an email I received from my service provider states:

    The HX50 has no router functionality, it is just a modem and should be treated as such. We would recommend putting a full router between the HX50 and your network.

    So it appears I do need something more substantial than a switch in front of the HX50, yes?

    Thanks for your responses!
  8. sun-tracker said:
    Hmmm, an email I received from my service provider states:

    The HX50 has no router functionality, it is just a modem and should be treated as such. We would recommend putting a full router between the HX50 and your network.

    So it appears I do need something more substantial than a switch in front of the HX50, yes?

    Thanks for your responses!

    Very odd since every spec sheet extols its router functions, but then if that is true it would be best to get a good router to control the network.
  9. Yes, odd -- it's possible they just don't want to tell me anything.

    Can you recommend a router?

  10. The Linksys E4200 v1 is a very good feature rich router that is DD WRT compatible, with a guide HERE. The e4200v2 is also a great router, but I don't know if it supports dd-wrt yet.

    The Netgear WNDR3700 is also a great router, but the latest version, v3 is not yet dd-wrt supported AFAIK. Only v1 and v2 are so far, according to the database.
  11. Might be a silly question, but are you still able to order V1 when V2 is out? How do I know I'm getting V1? Thanks
  12. You would have to make it clear to the vendor. Cisco has the E4200v1 on sale on their website to clear out inventory now that the v2 is available. THIS is the Cisco Homestore, which has the V1 specifically listed.
  13. I ran into some internet-chatter about the Asus RT-N66U. Do you think I should still go with the E4200v1?
  14. The ASUS sounds like it will be a very good router, but it is about a week before it will be available and I don't know if it will have solid dd-wrt support for a while, although it looks like it will have support. I guess it depends if you want to wait.
  15. HERE is a good site with some specific techniques that might help with your network isolation need to cut some of the wireless access off from the Internet.
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