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Wireless roaming with Linksys routers/APs

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by jqdurham, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. jqdurham

    jqdurham Network Guru Member

    I'm not sure what model router/ap I will buy. I'll leave that up to you guys.

    My company provides telephone equipment and handles some degree of data equipment and service. We have a client that wants a 40,000 sq ft church to have wireless access.

    The church is new and contains cat5 cabling throughout. Can I just throw several Linksys routers throughout the church and have them handoff if a user walks between routers/aps? Is this reliable enough for me to put my companies reputation on it?

    When I searched the forum, I got lots of threads with people having issues getting this to work. Is there an accepted method and piece(es) of equipment that will handle this?

    Our only other option is a managed Sonicwall solution which would likely double or triple the cost.

    Thanks in advance! :thumbup:
  2. MarkInDavis

    MarkInDavis Network Guru Member

    This setup works fine for me in my very large house. I am only using 2 WRT54G's. If you go beyond 3 WRT54G's, you may have an issue with overlapping channels. 1, 6, and 11 will get you 3 without any overlap, but beyond that there would be some overlap. The routers are all connected via cat 5, one router routs and the others functions as AP/switches.
  3. jqdurham

    jqdurham Network Guru Member

    How big of a house?

    Anybody doing this for businesses? This customer doesn't have the budget for Symbol or Sonicwall equipment.
  4. Team140

    Team140 Network Guru Member

    I think just a slew of access points (not routers) will do the job nicely. If you need internet access, one WRT54G in the mix or even a non-wireless router would work as well.

    Go buy a router and set it up for internet access as normal. Buy one access point and plug it into one of the many jacks you mentioned the building is already wired with and find it's range. Once you found it's limit, mark it and move the AP down further to where you're just now coming into range. That should give you an idea of how many you'll need.

    With all the APs set up identical (with different IPs if Linksys APs use IPs of course) with the same SSID, channel and security, it should mesh together seemlessly and the user would only have to associate to the network once. Other than a random tooltip balloon in XP, the user would never have to connect to a specific AP.
  5. MarkInDavis

    MarkInDavis Network Guru Member

    6000 sq. ft single story

    My understanding is you wire all your routers together LAN to LAN with internet connection coming into WAN port of the single router being used as router. DHCP service disabled on all but the one router. All routers have same ssid, security settings and passkeys but run on different channels. I originally had mine setup on same channel without problem, but I understand it is better to use separate channels - preferably nonoverlapping.

    I prefer using routers over access points as cost is usually same - sometimes routers even cheaper, and you'll have more flexibility and backup routers if the one should fail.
  6. danielhaden

    danielhaden Network Guru Member

    For a 4 radio system, use channels 1, 4, 8, and 11.
    Have exactly the same SSID.
    Have exactly the same WDS password.

    The ordering of channels should actually be 1, 8, 4, 11 regarding the placement of the radio units.

    Avoid the version 5 linksys WRT54G. All of the GS seem to work just fine. Identify linksys products by the first four characters of the serial number. If ordering, order only the GS. If shopping in a store, review the serial numbers to find the V4 and earlier WRT54G models.
    Linksysinfo.org contains a table listing models corresponding to their serial numbers. ;)

    Avoid the V5. Not only can you not change the firmware on the V5, the Linksys provided firmware does not work well. If you are hard pressed between a WRT V5 and a different choice, choose the Edimax EW7203APG or EW7206APG AP units instead of a V5 Linksys product.

    Version 4 (both G and GS are exactly the same machine, so use GS firmwares) routers are very difficult to load firmware on, but you may load DD-WRT V23 Basic Generic and then you may load Thibor's HyperWRT. After loading HyperWRT (of any flavor) crank the antenna power to 84 mw on the manual setting.

    For WRT54G V3 and ealier, and for WRT54GS v2.2 and earlier, you may use Avenger's 21b1 original HyperWRT for an elegantly simple, yet powerful, experience. Once again, see the tables at this site to be able to identify the various models. If ordering (and you never know what model you get that way), order only a WRT54GS or WRT54GL.

    Have one of the WRT54G or WRT54GS units set up normally as the router whereby it introduces internet into your network for wired and wireless access.
    It will provide DHCP and Internet for your entire network.

    For the other three WRT54G(S), disable DHCP and do not use the WAN port. This is because there may be only one DHCP service per network. Connect these to the switch (computer) ports because that automatically engages AP mode.

    If the church is a two story building, locate the radio units on the first floor, on top of a high shelf. In other words, try to get the radio units as close as possible to the clients served.

    Should you need more than 4 radio units to cover the area, just repeat the channel pattern, keeping nearby channels seperated (by farthest distance) as much as possible.

    Think of the channel numbers as a grid and use in the following way:
    1, 8 , 4 , 11
    11, 4, 8, 1
    1, 8, 4 , 11
    11, 4, 8, 1

    Set your Lan IP addresses this way:
    Main router=
    others as follows
    On any computer or device where you have assigned the IP address (such as the linksys products in our example) put a sticker onto them indicating their IP address. Otherwise, you can lose control of them.

    You get the picture there. DHCP starts (in this case) serving computers at

    You must manually assign the IP addresses of the LAN side of your radio units so that you can easily contact them in order to do maintenance. Just dial the appropriate IP address into your web browser.

    When configuring WRT54G(s) for this task, plug it in directly to a computer. You may need to right click on the connection and choose the "repair" option whenever changing the IP addresses of these units. This way, your computer (the one you're using for configuration) can get served the correct IP address. Oh, by the way, disable DHCP on the AP-Only units as the last step. ;)

    Have all of the computers in your network on the same workgroup name (xp networking wizard--set work group name). This makes sharing printers and resources much easier.

    Despite not being as powerful as. . .oh say a V2.1GS or V3G with Avenger's HyperWRT, . . . everybody that has used a WAP54G has reported being in love with the thing. So, a few of those may be a nice option for you.
  7. jqdurham

    jqdurham Network Guru Member

    Wow, thanks for all the helpful information! :thumbup:

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