Just wanted to ask your opinion about this method, and if it has a different name or something.
I have a wireless network on a group of bungalows, but the range easn't enough, so I installed 2 repeaters. The problem was that the comunication was slow, I tough it would be for a few reasons, first we have to use WEP, and second, the repeater has to receive signal from the main AP and send it to the clients, a lot of load for a single device.
So this is what I did.. I installed a wireless bridge on each repeating spot, receiving the signal from the main AP, and then conected the bridge to an AP with ehternet cable, and then configured it as an AP. So Bridge has an Antena, the AP has another, and i guess now the load is much less..
If I am not mistaken when you use WDS each jump causes the bandwidth to drop by a factor of 2. This may explain your performance drop. 2 jumps would be a reduction of 4x on the basic rate...
It sounds like you've come up with a solution.
There are several alternatives:
If the range is not far between the buildings then you could try a single access point with a High gain antenna. You will want to locate the antenna in a central location. High gain uni-directional antenna
The best solution would be to have a wired connection to each building with a dedicated access point at each building. But this means running wires...burial grade cat5 is not that expensive. Make sure to use different channels for each access point. (I recommend 1,6,11 in the US)
I think that your previous solution could be made to work better, if the main router is centrally located. I think buffalo-tech has an article on the best way to set up WDS. If I remember right, the central router is set up as normal, the others are set up as repeaters only??? To avoid speed penalties, only one jump/repeater should be made to the main router.
Note that the signal will be strongly degraded by going from in one building, out and back into the next building. This makes option 2 the best by far.
This solution I'm using is to avoid that loss factor of 2... The thing is not to set up repeaters, but instead bridges with access points.. So normally you connect an AP to a ethernet line.. most of the times to a router.. and then you give conectivity to wireless clients, but with this method, you bridge the ethernet conector into wireless, and connect to a remote central AP wich has the Internet conection...
From the main access point to each bridge there is about 60 meters... the central AP has an omnidirectional antena, a big one.. not the factory one.. and bridges have directional antenas pointing straight to the central AP. the APs conected to the bridges have omnidirectional antenas also..