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WRT54GX as an Access Point and Switch/Hub?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by Tahuna, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Tahuna

    Tahuna LI Guru Member

    Here's the setup...
    Basement has a wireless router (serves as the firewall and DHCP server) with a wired switch/hub connected to it. The switch/hub used to be the Wired Router/DHCP server but I configured it to just be a wired switch/hub (static IP, etc.) once I added the wireless router. The wireless serves me very well for a connection in the basement or first floor. The wired switch/hub supplies my cat5 network in the basement and 2nd floor.

    Now the situation....
    Son is home from college and brings his laptop. He wants to connect to the wireless from his bedroom (2nd floor) which also contains a wired desktop. Our other son has a wireless desktop in his bedroom (also 2nd floor). Reception on the 2nd floor from the basement is obviously poor with the wireless router in the basement. To address the situation, I bought (at what I felt was a great price) a WRT54GX. After thinking about it, I decided I would use this as an Access Point on the 2nd floor to improve reception. I have read a few posts on configuring the WRT54GX as an Access Point and it seems pretty straight forward - especially since I cut my teeth on such a configuration when I made the wired router a switch/hub. I plan on putting the WRT54GX in my son's room with the wired desktop. I will take the wired connection from the desktop and put it in a LAN port on the WRT54GX (after it is configured as an Access Point). I think I read somewhere that the WRT54GX doesn't require a crossover wire that it has auto-detection. My assumption is now that his wireless laptop and my other son's wireless desktop should now have excellent reception. My original wireless router in the basement will feed my basement and first floor wireless needs while the WRT54GX (Access Point) will serve the 2nd floor's wireless needs.

    All this and now comes my question! Can I use another LAN port on the WRT54GX (Access Point) to feed the wired desktop (in the college son's bedroom on the 2nd floor) too? Basically turning it into an Access Point and Switch/hub. Any insight/experiences (from any of this configuration) would be greatly appreciated!
  2. silentaccord

    silentaccord Network Guru Member

    While I've never used a WRT54GX, I've done exactly what you're describing with other Linksys routers and I think it should work with the GX too. The answer to your question about the LAN ports is yes. When using a wireless router as an access point, it also functions as a wired switch. I recently described the procedure in another thread so I'll refer you to that for more information rather than duplicating it here. The instructions are written for the WRT54GL but the GX should be similar if not identical:

    Also, since you'll have two wireless access points with overlapping coverage, you should set them up with the same network name and security settings but with different wireless channels so they don't interfere with each other. It will appear as though there is just one wireless network and clients will automatically connect to the access point with a stronger signal. Pick two channels that have at least 4 unused channels between them (e.g., 1 & 6, 6 & 11) to prevent interference.
  3. 747pilot

    747pilot LI Guru Member

    I'm going to try your suggestion and see how it goes. My basement router, the main one that feeds the wired outlets, is not a linksys. The one that I would like to make a switch/access point is a linksys WRT54G. Do you think that mixing brands will casue any problems?
  4. Tahuna

    Tahuna LI Guru Member

    OK, let me explain my experience. Got the WRT54GX and had my plan of attack all ready to go. Hooked up a computer directly to 1 of the ports and accessed the configuration page via Only blip I hit during configuration was when I assigned the IP address to 192.168.xxx.xx. Once I saved the config, I couldn't access the router from IE at the 192.168.xxx.xx. However, once I hooked up the LAN to the router, I was able to access it. I assume I wasn't able to access the new IP while only connected to the router was due to the different subnet. I didn't do too much investigation since when I connected the LAN to the router, I was off and running! Next, I started configuring the router for WEP, SSID , no DHCP and different channel. So far so good!

    When I got everything as I wanted, I started checking the wireless connections from my sons' computers. When looking at the "available wireless networks", the same SSID showed up twice (the basement and the upstairs). As it worked out, when configuring the WRT54GX upstairs, I typed my SSID in CAPITAL LETTERS, which differentiated it from the basement which was in lowercase. Configured the computers to connect to the CAPS SSID and everything was great!!!!! Signal strength, as expected, upstairs was "Excellent" and Speed was 54.0!!!!! Just what I wanted!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now, here's the rub... Everything is going great and I start fine tuning ("tinkering" with) the router. Remember, everything is working great and I'm pretty much finished at 4:30 pm. Now it is around 8:30 or so and I notice that the firmware of the WRT54GX (v2) is at 2.00.14. I check and the latest firmware available is 2.00.20. What do I decide to do? Yep, upgrade the firmware. I go through the process documented in the manual for upgrading through the configuration utility. After a few minutes, I get the "Upgrade are Failed" message. Besides laughing at the message I start trying to figure out how to get things going again. I try everything... Reset button 30 seconds, TFTP utility and more combinations of the reset button. All I can see is the power light blinking! I'm reading all kinds of web entries and still trying everything to no avail. I can not get to the configuration utility I can not get to anything. Bottom line - my WRT54GX is now a BRICK. It is now 1:30 am and I am TICKED. So, I get the return set up for the router and repackage it. I send it back the next day for a replacement. Looks like it will be 2 weeks or so before the replacement gets sent back to me and I've learned my lesson - maybe......

    I kind of feel better for having vented!
  5. silentaccord

    silentaccord Network Guru Member

    In theory, there shouldn't be any problem mixing different brands.

    Tahuna: I'm sorry to hear about all the trouble you had. The same thing happened to me once and I know how frustrating it can be. When you get your new router, if the firmware needs to be updated, do that before you make any changes to the configuration. As a general rule, it's a good idea to reset the router to the factory defaults before trying to upgrade the firmware.
  6. Tahuna

    Tahuna LI Guru Member

    Thanks for the sympathy and advice... I'm not sure if I'll update depending on what firmware I receive. 2.00.14 seemed OK but as a lot of us like to do, bringing it up to the latest firmware is something that is hard to leave alone!!!!

    As far as mixing brands? That is exactly what I was doing. Asante' in the basement and Linksys upstairs!

    I'll post once again when I'm finished configuring the new one whenever it gets here!

    Thanks again for all of the help....
  7. Tahuna

    Tahuna LI Guru Member

    Received the WRT54GX replacement. First thing I noticed when I hooked it directly to a computer for configuring and logging in was that this router was also at firmware 2.00.14. Being a glutton for punishment, I decided I would try to do the firmware update (I had the newest firmware and was advised that it should be done before configuration). I used the TFTP utility and gave it a shot. I got a reply that the server (router) could not be reached. Gave it 1 more try (risking another fiasco, I know) and got the same message. So, I told myself that the WRT54GX was NOT SUPPOSED to be upgraded to firmware 2.00.20. END OF STORY!!!!

    I went about my configuration as I had done the first time and was up and running within 15 minutes. VOILA!

    Will I attempt a firmware update in the future? Probably only as a last resort to who knows what! Anyway, speed and coverage is GREAT!!!!!!

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