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"WDS" w/ wired Ethernet as link between WRT54Gs

Discussion in 'DD-WRT Firmware' started by Tomchu, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. Tomchu

    Tomchu Network Guru Member

    Hello everyone! I just recently bought a second WRT54G v4 to complement my first. I've got DD-WRT v23b2 mini 24.11.05 installed on one, and plan on installing it on the second today. I've been reading up about WDS and all of the related material, and I can't seem to find an answer to a key question of mine:

    Is it possible to have a "WDS" configuration (ie. seamless wireless between two WRT54Gs based on signal strength), but using wired Ethernet as the link between both routers?

    The layout of my house is a bit odd, and I'm planning to put one router on the bottom floor, and one on the top floor, which is 3 floors up. I've already got Ethernet cable running from the bottom to the top, and if I could link both routers together with that cable, but provide the seamless access, I would get excellent signal strength regardless of where I was in my house.

    This would also alleviate that 50% throughput hit when using WDS in repeater mode.

    Any ideas?

    PS: I resent the "Network Newbie" user title! :-P
  2. kubark42

    kubark42 Network Guru Member

    I'm not sure I exactly understand. You bought a second AP, and you want both to work in your house both off the same ADSL/Cable/Fiber link? If that's the case, don't make this more complicated than it needs to be!

    Give them both the same network name, the same encryption settings and passphrase, connect the two together throught ther LAN (and not WAN) ports, and then let windows/linux/mac do the rest. Oh, yeah, and don't forget to turn off the DHCP server in the new AP.

    Computers will automatically select and connect to the strongest network, so no worries there.

    WDS is what you do when you *can't* connect the two APs together by their LAN ports. It's no where near as good nor stable as a simple physical link.

    Or am I totally misunderstanding what you want to do?
  3. Tomchu

    Tomchu Network Guru Member

    No, you understand correctly. :-P What you described is exactly the setup I have now, however ...

    I was under the impression that with a WDS setup, as you move around the house with a laptop, you can seamlessly (without interruptions) hop from AP to AP and maintain all of your connections. The OS automatically connects to the strongest one.

    Right now, with the two-separate-AP setup, if I'm upstairs, I'll connect to the stronger one, but as I move downstairs, I'll still stay on the upstairs AP. If I want to switch to the downstairs one, I have to turn off my Airport momentarily, then reconnect, and OS X will get on the stronger one. I want the seamless hopping.

    Is this possible? Or did I get the wrong impression about WDS to start with? :-P
  4. sufrano63

    sufrano63 Network Guru Member

    With 1 AP you have wireless coverage 50% of your house adding a 2nd AP your wireless coverage would be the entire house. WDS will allow you to go where ever in your house without loosing wireless connectivity and you don't have to disconnect from 1 AP and connect to the other AP...... :thumb:
  5. Tomchu

    Tomchu Network Guru Member

    Err ... yeah. :-| That's exactly what I want. I don't want to use the wireless interface as the link between the two, though, because that cuts my bandwidth to like 40%. I want to use wired Ethernet as the "bridge" between both routers, but I want the seamless connectivity while roaming around in my house.
  6. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    What you have with the classic AP setup is in fact seamless roaming.

    Use same SSID, same encryption, separate channels out of 1, 6, and 11 to prevent overlap/interference issues.

    If you reboot the laptop, or toggle the network adapter on and off you will see it reassociate to the "nearest" one. Or if for example you turned off AP#1 it would then bind to AP#2.

    The bit of knowledge you are missing, is that Windows does not just casually and constantly reassociate. There are penalties associated with reassocation so it is not done unless it needs to be done. The obvious thing that would trigger it to do so, is if the signal becomes weak or zero to the one it is currently tied to.

    There are some client software utilities like Cisco that try to more constantly monitor the connection and pick which is best, but this is not the standard nor the original design.
  7. Tomchu

    Tomchu Network Guru Member

    Ohh I see ...

    How about OS X? I use my iBook a lot more than I use my other Windows XP laptop. It's probably got slightly less intrusive AP hopping -- would you happen to know?
  8. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I should have said that the basic design of most WiFi client software is this way, not just Windows.

    Even your cellphone is not as good at tower-switching as you would think in most designs. I've seen mine often go way down before it decides to switch to a nearby tower, and sometimes drop the call during the change.

    However, I would point out if you are WALKING upstairs with the laptop you should put it to sleep. When it wakes up it should reassociate, problem solved. If you are moving about with a laptop hard-drive still spinning, you are greatly increasing the chances of a head crash and failure.
  9. Tomchu

    Tomchu Network Guru Member

    Ah, alright. I guess it's not an issue then.

    I disagree about the hard drive though. :p Hard drives are sensitive, but they aren't *that* sensitive. Manufacturer specs of the hard drive in my iBook state that maximal operating shock is 200 Gs with a 2 millisecond half-sine wave.

    Walking around with it is fine. :grin:
  10. wooka92

    wooka92 Guest


    I don't think your question has been answered. I cannot answer it either at this point. But, I am in the process of planning an installation at my company this weekend. We will be using WDS via 5 WRT54GS v2.0 that are connected by copper. I am going to post the results as well as any major problems that we encounter. I can PM you with a copy of the post if you would like.

  11. Goknicks

    Goknicks Network Guru Member

    I just configured my 2 routers (wrt54gs v2.1 - host and WRT54G v4 as birdge/repeater). You have to use dd-wrt v23. I use dd-wrt v23 beta 2 mini for the WRT54G v4 and dd-wrt v23 standard for my wrt54gs v3. It works great.

    To configure you can follow the setup configuration at:

    Since I just got it working, I haven't tried using WPA, yet. However, using WEP it works great....
  12. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I have to be the guy who points out the terminology problem here.

    WDS is used when referring to a protocol used to WIRELESSLY bridge units. It usually includes definitions for a single-radio repeater mode. WDS here stands for Wireless Distribution System.

    When you run copper between the LAN ports, this is classic roaming AP setup, and has nothing to do with generally-used term WDS. Using a wired backbone is by the way always a superior solution as far as performance and reduces occurrence of the hidden-node problem.

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