Point-to-Point Bridge?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Karl in NY, May 29, 2009.

  1. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member

    I've been using Tomato on WRT54GL routers for several months. My new project is to use two WRT54GL routers to set-up a point-to-point bridge, and I'm looking for suggestions.

    I basically want the two routers to operate only as a dedicated, transparent bridge, essentially a virtual length of CAT5e cable.
    Neither end of the bridge will be accepting connections from wireless clients, but only communicating with each other.

    I originally thought this was going to be done in wireless ethernet bridge mode, but everything I'm reading suggests that WDS bridge mode will be simpler and better. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    My thoughts on configuration (for WDS):

    SSID the same for each router, but different from the rest of my wireless network.
    Channel the same for each router, but different from the rest of my wireless network.
    WPA2 PSK with AES encryption enabled.
    WAN ports on both devices disabled.
    Static IP addresses on both devices, within my present subnet (but outside DHCP assignment- range) so I can access the configuration pages easier.
    DHCP disabled on both routers.
    One antenna on each router disabled, transmit/receive enabled for remaining antenna port (external directional antennas on both routers is planned).

    Does this all sound right? Anything forgotten?

    I'm reading conflicting info on:
    With WPA2 enabled, I must use G-only network, not mixed G/B...
    With an exclusive G-only network, I can only use channel 1, 6, or 11...
    Any truth to either of these?

    Also, what is probably a stupid and naive question:

    I assume I connect to one LAN port on each end of the bridge, and ignore the WAN ports.
    But can I connect to more than one LAN port at each end, and bridge multiple devices simultaneously? I’m thinking “noâ€, but I really can’t visualize this situation at all…

    Sorry this was so long and rambling, but I have read everything I could locate and am still fairly confused.

  2. SgtPepperKSU

    SgtPepperKSU Network Guru Member

    Sounds right.
    No, neither is necessary. G-only will improve your performance. Those channels are recommended so three different signals can coexist with minimal interference (the signals bleed over onto adjacent channels).
    Sure; connect as many as you like. With the latest version of tomato, you can even turn that WAN port into another LAN port.
  3. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member

    Thanks for the quick reply...I expected that I would have been way off base on some of my configuration, but maybe I nailed it the first time just with a lot of reading and searching...

    There have been DD-WRT folks who claim WDS is a poor choice for long-distance point-to-point bridging...they don't seem to relate it to the firmware, but rather to the WDS protocol itself...

    I'm going to be bridging about half a mile, line of sight, using ~12dbi directional antennas at both ends...is there any reason that wireless ethernet bridge mode would in some way be superior to WDS bridging?

    Many of the packaged bridge kits seem to use WDS, some use regular 802.11g, some use proprietary protocols...

    I'm really just trying to duplicate:


    But, for free, using hardware I already own, and using Tomato, which I feel comfortable with.

    Again, thank you-
  4. Kiwi8

    Kiwi8 LI Guru Member

    U can only use WPA and not WPA2 for WDS or WEB.
  5. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member

    No Joy Bridge...

    My first attempts (3 hours this morning) to establish a WDS bridge were failures.
    Using Tomoto on both routers (one WRT54GL, one WRT54GS).

    Same SSID on each router, same channel. WPA/AES on both with matched passwords, with the other router's MAC entered in each. The bridge failed to connect. I could ping the close end of the bridge connected to the LAN, could not ping the remote end of the bridge. I triple-checked MAC settings, passwords, channels and security settings on both routers and found no errors. IP addresses are consecutive, within my subnet, and outside my main router's DHCP range. DHCP disabled on both both bridge routers...

    Then, went back in to both bridge routers, disabled security, and chose "WDS Auto" to see if that would help. Saved settings, rebooted both bridge routers, rebooted entire network including computer, main router, and switches.

    Then, still no success. Still can only ping the LAN-connected bridge router, and not the remote one. I then physically swapped both bridge routers to see if it was a hardware issue, then I could still ping only the LAN-connected one, even though it was the "other" one.

    Am I overlooking something obvious here? BTW, all of the above has been "WDS" mode, not "Access Point + WDS"...and, the two bridge routers were in the same room together, so it isn't a problem with signal strength either...

    I need to get to a WA meeting (Wireless Anonymous)...
  6. jsmiddleton4

    jsmiddleton4 Network Guru Member

    Its seems you are making it harder than it needs to be.

    I followed the step by step guideline on Tomato's web site, got connected first without any security, added WPA AES and it works. If I remember correctly WDS tkip did not.
  7. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member

    The FAQ is for a totally different WDS configuration, "Access Point + WDS"...
    with DHCP enabled.

    I am trying to implement a transparent bridge for point-to-point use, without DHCP, and without AP.
  8. Kiwi8

    Kiwi8 LI Guru Member

    No, that FAQ still applies for a "WDS only" network with DHCP disabled. U must have done something wrong in the settings.
  9. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member

    MAC address?

    I think my problem is with the MAC addresses entered for WDS bridging.

    I was using the MAC address printed on the label on the bottom of each router.
    However, Tomato reports a different MAC address for each WRT54GL, exactly one digit higher in value.

    I tried searching the forum, and found: http://www.linksysinfo.org/forums/showthread.php?p=286155

    For WDS bridging, exactly what MAC address should be entered, the LAN, the WAN, or the wireless MAC? If the wireless, how do I even discover that?
  10. SgtPepperKSU

    SgtPepperKSU Network Guru Member

    That'd do it. Since you connecting with the wireless interface, you'll need to use the wireless MAC. You can find it on the overview page of the GUI.
  11. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member

    OK, got it. Before 15 minutes ago, I did not even know that a wireless router actually has three MAC addresses...I thought the one on the label was "it".

    Will try the bridge config. again with this new information.

    Also, there is stuff floating around suggesting that only certain channels will work with Tomato WDS mode, likewise "G-only" rather than "mixed" mode, or maybe the otherway around...

    I feel like I'm just learning to crawl...
  12. Karl in NY

    Karl in NY Addicted to LI Member


    OK, using the wireless MAC addresses rather than the MAC on the sticker, the WDS bridge is now functional, even with WPA/AES encryption enabled. The bridges are on channel 11, the rest of my network on channel 1...the bridges only talk to each other and don't accept other connections, exactly my goal.

    Performance seems good, even with streaming video from six network cameras. Haven't tried BitTorrent via bridge yet, though.

    Once it was finally working, for fun I tried to also get it working in the wireless ethernet bridge mode, with no success. I'm not sure if WDS is the more desireable mode, but since that is what is working for me, that's what I'll be using.

    One final question: each bridge will be using a high gain dish antenna, so I want to disable one antenna port and diversity reception...which antenna jack on the WRT54GL is "A" and which is "B"?

    Also, many thanks for the help I've gotten here.
  13. dvaskelis

    dvaskelis Network Guru Member

    Wireless EThernet (WET) bridge is simple, but different. One end would be in regular Access Point (AP) mode, presumably with your same SSID, and the bridged end is in WET mode.
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