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WDS vs Repeater

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  • Wireless Network
  • Wireless Connections
  • Wireless Networking
Last response: in Wireless Networking
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August 2, 2012 12:24:33 PM

I am looking to install a seamless wireless network where I work, and I am looking into the best way to configure. I am using Engeniouseap9550 WAP's to cover the campus with wireless connections. Currently the system in place is divided into separate locations and I would like to turn it into one seamless connections through out our campus I am looking into a WDS system but I am having difficulty in getting the WAPS to communicate. I am wanting to know which application would be better a WDS system or a repeater system for functionality and performance.

More about : wds repeater

August 2, 2012 2:24:26 PM

We probably need to agree on the terminology to prevent confusion.

WDS *is* repeating. The generic technology is repeating, of which there are two common forms/implementations; WDS or Universal.

WDS is a NOT a wifi-certified protocol, so incompatibilities are very common. So common, in fact, that many ppl have abandoned it except in those few cases where they have 100% assurance the devices are compatible. That might be because they're using literally the same devices (make & model), or because they're from the same manufacturer (although even that’s not a guarantee, they sometimes change the implementation across product lines), or they know the devices are using the same firmware (e.g., dd-wrt, tomato, openwrt).

In contrast, Universal repeating uses wifi-certified protocols (B/G/N), so compatibility is not an issue (or at least it's as compatible as anything else using those same protocols). The repeater establishes a common, ordinary wireless client connection over B/G/N to the remote AP, while simultaneously establishing its own AP using those same protocols. It couldn’t be simpler.

Ironically, WDS (when compatible) is generally considered the superior solution. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, it's just a cleaner, more efficient solution, with fewer idiosyncrasies than universal bridging. But what always kills WDS is the incompatibilities.

So the bottom line is, as long as you know w/ 100% certainty you have compatibility, WDS is probably the better choice, and should work. In all other cases, universal repeating is your only other alternative.

TIP: A common problem occurs when you have a single WDS device, usually the router, but it's not compatible w/ the WDS implementation in your other WAPs. So WDS is often abandoned. But nothing stops you from creating a "closed" WDS network among your WDS compatible WAPs and “wedging” that into the rest of your network as a sort of bridge. IOW, don't get locked into believing *all* of your network devices must have compatible WDS support. You can create one or more of these “WDS networks” to bridge the various parts of your network. Of course, ideally you’d like compatibility everywhere, but it’s just not realistic in many cases, esp. within large systems with many existing devices. I know that sound obvious to some ppl, but you’d be surprised for how many ppl it’s not.
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August 2, 2012 2:54:45 PM

eibgrad said:
We probably need to agree on the terminology to prevent confusion.

WDS *is* repeating. The generic technology is repeating, of which there are two common forms/implementations; WDS or Universal.

WDS is a NOT a wifi-certified protocol, so incompatibilities are very common. So common, in fact, that many ppl have abandoned it except in those few cases where they have 100% assurance the devices are compatible. That might be because they're using literally the same devices (make & model), or because they're from the same manufacturer (although even that’s not a guarantee, they sometimes change the implementation across product lines), or they know the devices are using the same firmware (e.g., dd-wrt, tomato, openwrt).

In contrast, Universal repeating uses wifi-certified protocols (B/G/N), so compatibility is not an issue (or at least it's as compatible as anything else using those same protocols). The repeater establishes a common, ordinary wireless client connection over B/G/N to the remote AP, while simultaneously establishing its own AP using those same protocols. It couldn’t be simpler.

Ironically, WDS (when compatible) is generally considered the superior solution. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, it's just a cleaner, more efficient solution, with fewer idiosyncrasies than universal bridging. But what always kills WDS is the incompatibilities.

So the bottom line is, as long as you know w/ 100% certainty you have compatibility, WDS is probably the better choice, and should work. In all other cases, universal repeating is your only other alternative.

TIP: A common problem occurs when you have a single WDS device, usually the router, but it's not compatible w/ the WDS implementation in your other WAPs. So WDS is often abandoned. But nothing stops you from creating a "closed" WDS network among your WDS compatible WAPs and “wedging” that into the rest of your network as a sort of bridge. IOW, don't get locked into believing *all* of your network devices must have compatible WDS support. You can create one or more of these “WDS networks” to bridge the various parts of your network. Of course, ideally you’d like compatibility everywhere, but it’s just not realistic in many cases, esp. within large systems with many existing devices. I know that sound obvious to some ppl, but you’d be surprised for how many ppl it’s not.








Thanks for info. exactly what I needed to know. I have all same equipment the eapEngenious 9550's. I have looked everywhere for the proper configuration, and mostly have found that the AP and all of the other units have to be configured exactly the same. I have all configurations the same all but ip addresses used for administration on the WDS units. I am still unable to get a connection between devices. I can see both devices but they are acting like individual devices and are not providing a seamless connection ability. I am working towards being able to connect in one location of building and being able to move any where in building and still be connected to same wireless connection. I'm sure it is some small detail that I am missing, I'm just not sure what it could be.
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August 2, 2012 3:16:46 PM

Obviously when it comes to networking, the details matter. A slight misstep could lead to all kinds of problems. So I'm limited in helping anyone diagnose their network. All I can really suggest is trying not to chug the whole problem down in one big gulp, but sip it slowly.

For example, create a small test network, literally on a tabletop, say between two laptops. Get those laptops connected directly via wire (iow, peer to peer). Make sure everything works normally; you can ping, share files, etc. Now take two WDS APs, configure them to communicate w/ each other as a bridge (i.e., WDS-link) and patch each to one of the laptops. If done correctly, the laptops should be able to communicate without a hiccup, without a single change. Effectively you've created a "virtual wire" between them using a WDS bridge.

IOW, *learn* how to solve the simple problems first, then expand that knowledge and experience to the bigger problems. Perhaps take that same little experiment and try to add a third laptop, and a fourth, etc. In the process, you'll probably learn some idiosyncrasies about WDS too, or how the nature of the problem changes as it scales. For example, a common mistake as you expand the WDS framework is to NOT implement STP (spanning tree protocol). Without it, should one of the WDS links drop or be misconfigured, you could end up w/ an infinite routing loop, and then it all falls apart. But if you’re trying to deploy this without having developed an understanding of how this works, esp. as it scales, you end up befuddled as to what went wrong!

That's the biggest mistake I see ppl make. They try to solve the entire problem at once, then become overwhelmed and confused. Learn to crawl before you run!
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August 2, 2012 5:05:15 PM

eibgrad said:
Obviously when it comes to networking, the details matter. A slight misstep could lead to all kinds of problems. So I'm limited in helping anyone diagnose their network. All I can really suggest is trying not to chug the whole problem down in one big gulp, but sip it slowly.

For example, create a small test network, literally on a tabletop, say between two laptops. Get those laptops connected directly via wire (iow, peer to peer). Make sure everything works normally; you can ping, share files, etc. Now take two WDS APs, configure them to communicate w/ each other as a bridge (i.e., WDS-link) and patch each to one of the laptops. If done correctly, the laptops should be able to communicate without a hiccup, without a single change. Effectively you've created a "virtual wire" between them using a WDS bridge.

IOW, *learn* how to solve the simple problems first, then expand that knowledge and experience to the bigger problems. Perhaps take that same little experiment and try to add a third laptop, and a fourth, etc. In the process, you'll probably learn some idiosyncrasies about WDS too, or how the nature of the problem changes as it scales. For example, a common mistake as you expand the WDS framework is to NOT implement STP (spanning tree protocol). Without it, should one of the WDS links drop or be misconfigured, you could end up w/ an infinite routing loop, and then it all falls apart. But if you’re trying to deploy this without having developed an understanding of how this works, esp. as it scales, you end up befuddled as to what went wrong!

That's the biggest mistake I see ppl make. They try to solve the entire problem at once, then become overwhelmed and confused. Learn to crawl before you run!





Thanks for your time and knowledge, it is very much appreciated.
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