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Client disconnections in WDS

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by jowahl, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. jowahl

    jowahl Network Guru Member

    Hi all!

    I'm using WDS+AP to link Router 1 with Router 2. Both are WRT54GL with Tomato (1.17 or higher). Everything works fine on Router 2, but WLAN-clinets on Router 1 disconnect and reconnect every 1 - 2 minutes. I'm using WPA encryption, same SSID, same key, same channel and the "Link with ..." option of WDS. I've tried "G only", "Mixed", WDS instead of WDS+AP, but had no success.

    There are no other WLANs in the neighbourhood. the disconnections also occur when using Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 instead of Linksys WRT54GL, so i think it's a bug of the firmware?
    I don't want to flash back to Tomato earlier than 1.17 altough i think WDS ran stable before.

    Does anyone have ideas or a solution for this? Thank you!
  2. Duffman19

    Duffman19 Addicted to LI Member

    Have you tried switching to a different channel?
  3. jowahl

    jowahl Network Guru Member

    yes, changing the channel doesn't solve the problem. very strange: both routers are running in WDS+AP mode, but the disconnections only appear at one router ...
  4. bigclaw

    bigclaw Network Guru Member

    If you swap the two routers, which one continues to have the problem?
  5. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    My suggestions would be:

    1) A hard reset followed by manual reconfguration (no restore of saved configs), if you didn't do that when first flashing Tomato.

    2) You didn't mention if you're using TKIP or AES encryption. If you aren't using WPA PSK+AES encryption as suggested in the Tomato FAQ, then give it a try. I have found that to be the most stable encryption with my Tomato WDS network.

    Also, FYI, I've found mixed mode to be more stable than "G only" on my network
  6. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    I second Texas's suggestions. I need to emphasize: If your clients support AES, do not use anything other than that; it's faster (than TKIP) as it's a one-pass encryption; it's more secure; it's lighter on the router's CPU (and the client's CPU) as the encrypting is done via dedicated hardware, while TKIP is done in multiple passes by the router's (and client's) CPU.

    A bit of useless info: WPA is not encryption, it's an authentication and encryption _scheme_. The encryption is either AES (aka AES-CCMP), or TKIP.

    Also, some adapter drivers do not play nice. Do you get this [dis]connect with one particular client-, or clients with the same type of wireless card-, only? If still so after trying Texas's suggestions, try up/downgrading those drivers, or perhaps just tweaking the roaming settings or something on the clients.
  7. jowahl

    jowahl Network Guru Member

    Thank you all for the suggestions!
    I did a hard reset before flashing Tomato, but I'm using TKIP encryption instead of AES.
    At the moment wlan client connections get lost every 1 - 2 minutes. After switching off Router 2, everything is o.k. (Router 1 mode is still AP+WDS).
    I'll give AES a try and will post my results asap.
  8. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    What about after? :wink:
  9. jowahl

    jowahl Network Guru Member

    switching encryption to AES doesn't work at all: wlan-clients can not connect to the network (there are different laptops and wlan-usb-adapters).

    changing encryption to AES/TKIP: wlan-clients can connect, but the WDS between the routers doesn't work: i can see the wds in the device list, but am not able to ping the routers (and wired clients on Router 2 can not reach Router 1).

    as i only have wired clients on Router 2 i tried to configure it in Wireless Client Mode and alternativly in Wireless Ethernet Bridge: both without success.

    maybe i try to switch to DD-WRT ... the Repeater Mode seems to work better.
  10. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Note: added some numbers to correlate your message to my response.

    1) It's not clear to me if the clients can't connect because they don't support AES encryption or other reason, perhaps undetermined.

    2) Sounds right, in my experience, AES/TKIP encryption does not work right with WDS.

    3) I think that Wireless Ethernet Bridge, rather than Wireless Client Mode, sounds like the alternative you are looking for on router 2 here.

    4) DD-WRT has a lot of features and supports a lot of hardware. My experience has been that Tomato is easier to configure, has superior QOS and better stability. DD-WRT has more features and supports much more router hardware. Or maybe you just like the GUI of one over the other, etc, :grin:

    5) You never answered my earlier question as to if you did a reset to factory defaults or hard reset -after- loading Tomato.
  11. jowahl

    jowahl Network Guru Member

    Hi TexasFlood, thank you for your reply!

    All my routers run on Tomato. I'm very happy with it and don't want to change to DD-WRT if WDS runs stable under Tomato also ...

    Sorry for not answering your question about hard reset. No, as far as I remember I didn't reset the routers after flashing Tomato. I did a reset before flashing (with original Linksys firmware) but I don't see a reason to do this after? Or maybe I didn't notice this important step in the Tomato-HowTo's?
  12. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    It's good general practice when switching between firmwares. If you search this forum, or the DD-WRT forum & wiki, you'll find multiple such recommendations and reports of the issues resolved. There is a recommendation in the official Tomato FAQ to perform a complete reset when upgrading from another firmware. Tomato is forgiving in that the FAQ says you do not need to perform a reset when upgrading from an older version of Tomato unless indicated in the release notes. I can tell you from experience that this is not always the case with 3rd party firmware where even minor releases can require an nvram reset. I should add that even if you switch between Tomato and one of the Tomato "mod" builds, an nvram reset is most likely recommended before and after. Like "standard" Tomato, you should be able to upgrade to newer versions of the same build. Check the individual build threads to be sure of the recommendations for that build.
  13. jowahl

    jowahl Network Guru Member

    still no success. this is what i have done:

    1) hard reset on Router 1 (30 sec.) - power off - power on
    2) flashed new Tomato 1.21 (previous was 1.17)
    3) hard reset (30 sec.)
    4) setup manually to WDS -- Link with Router 2

    5) hard reset and flashing 1.21 on Router 2 (same procedure as Router 1)
    6) setup manually to AP + WDS -- Link with Router 1

    WDS is working perfectly, but WLAN-clients that are connected on Router 2 drop the connection after a few minutes. after reconnecting it works and clients disconnect again after few minutes.

    as you can see i've changed Router 1 to Router2, but the result is the same.
    i've tried Wireless Ethernet Bridge also, but here i don't get any connection between the routers.

    same effect occurs with two other WRT54G routers in WDS (another customer, Tomato 1.17) and also between two buffalo routers (Tomato 1.17).

    next i will try an older version of Tomato. and then i think i will give dd-wrt a chance ...
  14. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I'm at at a loss. Same basic config is working for me fine. Of course I'm using AES encryption. You said AES didn't work for you but it was unclear to me why.
  15. shadowoverthis

    shadowoverthis Network Guru Member

    Similar Problem

    I have three routers in WDS+AP using TKIP encryption. All are running Tomato 1.19 and were hard reset after the upgrade from a much older version (1.0something).

    Router 1 has the internet connection
    Routers 2 and 3 are progressively further away from router 1 and both have wired clients. DHCP disabled on 2+3.

    The WDS connection itself is rock solid and the only time it is EVER lost is when power is lost to all the routers or I do an upgrade, I once had a 400 day uptime on all three routers (wish I had taken screenshots).

    Most clients in the house are wired to the routers and have no issues, but all the wireless clients except for one using a linksys pci adapter and linksys software have disconnect issues. Two have the latest intel centrino adapters and one is an ancient thinkpad with a wm54g ripped out of a first gen WRT54G.

    EDIT: Didn't want to jump the gun, but after changing over all my routers and clients to AES the connections all seem stable. The laptops would all disconnect within a minute and cycle through and one would not connect at all saying the security key was wrong (it wasn't). Been about an hour.. we'll see.

    This clued me in: http://www.linksysinfo.org/forums/showthread.php?t=57410&highlight=TKIP+vs.+AES
  16. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Yes, I had some problems with TKIP encryption which went away when I switched to AES. My issues were periodic disconnects, not minutes apart, but hours. I could usually reconnect pretty quickly but sometimes not and would have to cycle my wireless card or reboot. It wasn't really bad but at a minimum would break my vpn connection and sometimes happened at very inconvient times.

    In my case I just happened to be reviewing the WDS section of the official Tomato FAQ and noticed that AES was in the example. Like magic, my problems went away, which is why I recommend it to others now.
  17. rhester72

    rhester72 Network Guru Member

    Looks like Tomato isn't the only WDS-nas/TKIP sufferer (maybe a bit more about root cause - net is that OpenWRT behaves the same way):


    I believe nas is a Linksys-supplied binary, so it's unlikely a bug like this can/will be fixed by OSS.


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