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Bridge/Client/WDS mode questions

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by redsandvb, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. redsandvb

    redsandvb Network Guru Member

    I have set up a spare Netgear 3500L in Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode to connect a few wired devices to my primary router, an RT-N16, so they can have Internet access. Those devices (a couple of Blu-ray players and maybe a media streamer) aren't actually connected yet, as I'm using a wired PC to go through the setup/config. It seems to be working out except for something odd I'm seeing in the Primary router's Device List. I see the 3500L's MAC address with the IP address I gave it ( along with another entry with the same MAC and the IP address ( of the PC I'm using to set it up. There's a third entry with the PC's IP address ( and the PC's MAC. The two entries with the 3500L's MAC seem to disappear and re-appear every so often, or maybe it's just the one with the address that does. In any case, is that expected behavior? I remember reading something about MAC address funny business in WET/Bridge mode... I've also enabled Spanning-Tree Protocol, I think I was told that was needed for WPA2-AES?

    BTW both routers are using the old 1.28.9054 version of TomatoUSB. Would a Toastman, etc build provide me with anything else I need? I don't use any QoS stuff so I assumed I'm not missing too much using this old version.

    I also had the 3500L set up in Wireless Client mode for a short time. That seemed to work out OK. I didn't notice the strange things I mentioned above, but it was only set that way (Client) briefly. From what I've read, either Bridge, Client, or WDS mode would do what I want. Is that right? Would there be, or should there be any performance benefits or any other advantages of one mode over the other? I think I read that WDS wouldn't do WPA2-AES, so I haven't tried it.

    Thanks for reading...
  2. Mercjoe

    Mercjoe Network Guru Member

    WDS with WPA2-AES works fine. It is my standard setup.

    And yes, WEB causes all kinds of problems when MAC address's are used. It is better to use WDS and it keeps all the IP's/MAC's straight.

    Make sure you turn the DHCP server off on the remote router. That can cause issues as well.

    You can see my sig for hardware/firmware mix.
  3. redsandvb

    redsandvb Network Guru Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    A question about using WDS, what if I don't want anything wireless connecting to the Secondary router? I just want it for connecting it's wired devices to the main router to reach the Internet... Are there settings for that? I'll do some reading, but in the meantime, anyone?

  4. Mercjoe

    Mercjoe Network Guru Member

    The simply set the wireless mode on the remote router to WDS vs Access Point + WDS. Then no other wireless connections are allowed on the remote router.
  5. redsandvb

    redsandvb Network Guru Member

    Thanks again. Have my main router set to AP + WDS and the secondary to WDS and working with WPA2-AES enabled.


    About the build question, would I benefit from a newer build much? Toastman, Shibby, etc?
  6. Mercjoe

    Mercjoe Network Guru Member

    Some of the newer builds have some interesting additions that can be useful. There are also updates to the wireless drivers.

    All in all, if what you have works, there is no need to update unless you want to play with a new feature.

    I will say that the latest builds with the ingress QOS controls is well worth the upgrade. Just remember to reset your NVRAM when flashing. NOTE: If you are flashing a Toastman build, the DHCP server is disabled on the reset. You have to manually configure your connection to access the router and start things like DHCP first.

    I do not know if the Shibby builds have the new QOS features.
  7. redsandvb

    redsandvb Network Guru Member

    Got it, Thanks.
  8. redsandvb

    redsandvb Network Guru Member

    To update my situation...I moved the secondary router (3500L) over to connect to the Blu-ray players to the network. They could see the Internet fine, but then I tried streaming stuff to them from my PC... In WDS mode the throughput was much too slow, there was major stuttering. Switching to Bridge (WET) mode gave me what I needed speedwise, I can now stream some higher bitrate stuff without problems (so far). As for how the MAC handling affects things, I hope not too seriously. I guess I'll just have to find out, maybe when I try a firmware upgrade or something...

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