Network architecture question: using two tomato routers on the same network/SSID

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by darksky, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    To date, I never had a need to have two routers on the same network. I currently have a netgear WNR3500L/U/v2 running Toastman's mod just fine, but due to the fact that the router is on the extreme end of the house and thick walls, I cannot connect when I am in the far end of the house. I propose the following and would like some feedback from people as it its sanity and how to setup the routers:

    Modem <---> [WNR3500L] <----------------- long cat5e run ---------------> [Asus RT-N16]

    So since both routers are connected with a hard wire, how would I configure them to use the same SSID etc. so that from the wireless device's perspective, there is in effect just one network? So If I am out of range of the WNR3500L, the device will connect to the RT-N16 and vice-versa.

  2. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

  3. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    I'm wondering if there's also a tutorial on how to set this up for WLAN with guest SSID/VLAN.
    I did try sometime ago but got stuck at the VLAN trunking stage...
    Did anybody try this at home before? :)
  4. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    @toastman - Thank you for the links. I will give it a shot.
  5. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Incidentally, just to make things a bit clearer. Although we do tend to refer to the box as a "router" even when it isn't really "routing" - it isn't correct to say you want "two routers on the same network". The second box is just ticking over and is used only as an access point. Access points are generally wired with cable to the router itself.

    So, "How to add an access point" would be more correct.

    Good luck!
  6. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    For simplicity it would likely be easier to have two ethernet runs, one for guest, another for primary, and bind the two VLANs to two different ethernet ports. You should be able to do trunking (tagging and untagging) and use a single port on each end, but that's inserting an extra layer of complexity into the mix that a second ethernet run avoids. All things being equal, the simpler the system is, the less chance for something to go (horribly) wrong.
  7. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    I agree with that but routers have LAN 4 ports and there are other non wireless devices around e.g. internet tv, printers and so on. I know trunking is still experimental but a clarification on how to make it working would help (bugs or not bugs)
  8. Malitiacurt

    Malitiacurt Networkin' Nut Member

    Vlan tagging+trunking on tomato worked fine here.

    A few months ago I had 2 vlans trunked into one LAN port on a Tomato E3200 and connected to the LAN port of a dd-wrt loaded E4200. I had them split into the 2 ports on the E4200 with one vlan connected to a switch while the other vlan was connected to another router which was being used as a wireless AP.

    I did this for testing a potential setup at an off-site location and was working for about 5 days before I removed it. In the end I had to link them wirelessly instead cause it wasn't feasible to snake long Ethernet cables at that location.

    Granted I simply used the vlans as passthroughs on the E4200 and didn't bridge any to create a guest wifi, but I imagine it would simply involve setting up a bridge with an IP on the vlan's subnet, creating a VAP and bridging it.

    It adds to the complexity having dd-wrt in the middle of it but it does indicate Tomato's implementation follows the 802.11q vlan tagging 'standard'.
  9. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    10/100/1000 switches are available for $25 and under. I've got an 8-port switch hanging off my router because I want traffic within that switch to not spam the router (well, within reason). At one location I have a 16-port gigabit switch to stitch the LAN side together, including multiple servers that are connected via Ethernet runs.
  10. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    When I walk around the house with my wireless device initially connected to the Gateway, it never tries to connect itself to the AP. Perhaps I did something incorrect?

    • I have a cat5e cable connected on the LAN port of the Gateway which runs to the AP again connected to a LAN port. I did not connect the cat5e to the WAN port on either box.
    • When I go to Status>Device List on the Gateway, I see the AP in there so I know it's connected.
    • When I go to Status>Device List on the AP, I see the Gateway in there so I know it's connected.
    Gateway ( = original router directly connected to cable modem.
    AP ( = new router connected via long cat5e to gateway.

    On Gateway:
    WAN/Internet: Type = DHCP
    LAN: IP Address =

    Wireless (2.4 GHz):
    Wireless mode = Access Point
    Channel = 1
    Wireless Network Mode = N Only
    Security = WPA2 Personal
    Encryption = AES

    Miscellaneous: Mode = Gateway

    On AP:
    WAN/Internet: Type = Disabled
    IP Address =
    Subnet Mask =
    Default Gateway =
    Static DNS =

    IP Address =
    Netmask =
    DHCP = Disabled
    Static DNS=

    Wireless (2.4 GHz):
    Wireless mode = Access Point
    Channel = 11
    Wireless enabled and using the same SSID and auth mode and password as on the gateway.

    Miscellaneous: Mode = Router
  11. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    It will stick with the same AP as long as you have a reasonably strong signal. You can change the roaming characteristics on the wireless clients to be more or less likely to switch APs. In Windows, for example, it's done through the adapter settings in the control panel.
  12. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    My main question is did I setup the AP correctly. If I did, the wireless device using this network mainly is an ipad. It does not have the ability to select a preferred wifi. My understanding is that iOS devices will select wireless sources based on alphabetical order.

    Question: Can I give the AP a different SIDD that is alphabetically before the gateway while leaving it configured as above? Since the AP is located in a central room in the house, it should provide the most coverage; the gateway is unfortunately located at an extreme end of the house and cannot be easily moved.
  13. bluecar

    bluecar LI Guru Member


    On your AP why do you have your WAN set to 'static'? Shouldn't this be set to 'disabled'? Otherwise your settings and cabling look similar to mine (gateway and 2 APs) and all our devices roam just fine. Ensure your SSID and security settings are the same on the gateway and AP - only the channel is variable.

    OT, you might find better results if you stick to standard 1, 6 & 11 WiFi channels and avoid the others...

  14. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    @blue - I found conflicting advice out there.. perhaps toastman can comment: shall I set the WAN to 'static' or to 'disabled' to accomplish this task?
  15. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    In my experience most devices absolutely refuse to roam to a closer AP unless they absolutely positively cannot talk to the original AP. If you disable wireless and enable wireless it should - should - forget which AP it had previously connected to and just connect to the one with the strongest signal.

    I would change WAN to Disabled and make sure all the Advanced -> Wireless settings match between APs. You should stick to channels 1, 6, 11 since 9 basically gets the worst of all worlds by getting interference from both 6 and 11.

    Worst case, assuming you have an ethernet-connectable device within range of either router, you can try disabling wireless on the gateway device and force all devices to roam to the new AP. If nothing roams to the new AP then you know something in its configuration doesn't match the other's configuration.
  16. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    WAN Static is if you have a static IP address assigned to the WAN port. If you don't have a static IP assigned to the WAN port, that's being used to route traffic out to the internet or at least the network on the WAN port, then the WAN port configuration should match your intended setup. In this case since you're not using the WAN port it should be set to disabled.

    Did you go into Advanced -> Routing and change the Mode from Gateway to Router?
  17. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    OK... I switched it from static to disabled and from gateway to router. I will edit my post above to avoid confusion for others finding this thread. I just switched the channels to auto-let the os figure out which one is best. I also went with asymmetrical SSIDs due to the stupid iOS limitation. Again, the AP has a SSID that starts with the letter "A" and the gateway has a SIDD that starts with the letter "R."
  18. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    I highly recommend manual channel selection, 1, 6, or 11. You cannot trust the wifi driver to choose appropriately. Otherwise your settings should be fine.
  19. darksky

    darksky Addicted to LI Member

    OK... I actually switched the radio off on the gateway since the AP gives me 100 % coverage. Manually set to channel 11. Thanks.
  20. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    That's good news. I've got a fairly large building with about 75% coverage on one floor (upstairs/downstairs is separated by corrugated metal sheeting which usually spells death for WiFi, so it barely pokes through on the other floor) from a single RT-N16 with a couple sets of 5dBi antennas transplanted from a pair of RT-N12B1s. ASUS did a good job with the RT-N16, the only real downside is 2.4Ghz interference. A pair of RT-N12s on each end of the building stitched together via LAN ports completes that network.

    Note that if your SSIDs are different you will never "roam" between APs. The only time you can adequately roam between APs is when the SSIDs are identical (and even then most devices really, really, really like to stay with the AP they know and love and only switch when it gets ridiculously weak - this is why professional wireless setups come with a "controller" that forcibly removes devices from weak APs so they'll reassociate to stronger ones).
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