Best way to extend wireless network...

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by bhlonewolf, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. bhlonewolf

    bhlonewolf LI Guru Member

    I'm thinking of dropping in another access point to extend my wireless network (Wireless G, WPA). I don't think WDS is exactly what I want because I actually have a wired connection at each spot I'd potentially put an access point. (Unless WDS uses a wireless connection...)

    Given that my main router is an old WRT54G 2.2 running tomato, what is the best way to compliment this? Another router but hard wired? Or just an access point?

    Ideally I'd like to have the same SSID so the wireless clients just jump to the strongest access point. Having another router do the job may be overkill, but then again, it would be great to have an extra device for firmware installs and testing!

    Thanks for the help!
  2. 2001rotax800

    2001rotax800 LI Guru Member

    This is excacly what I am trying to do also. I got another wrt54g v4. I am going to install 3rd party firmware and run it as an access point as well, in wds+ap mode which will gine me wired and wireless access to it. I chose to get another wrt54g becuse of the different things you can do with it, unlike an access point only model. Just as I am sure you know watch out what version you get as all wrt54g are not compatable with 3rd party firmware
  3. bhlonewolf

    bhlonewolf LI Guru Member

    Thanks! That's exactly it -- I figure I'd rather do another router for redundancy or playing around with firmware -- with just one, I'm a bit hosed if I brick it!

    So, with WDS+AP, you can extend wireless via a wired connection? I'll look into this ...
  4. j.m.

    j.m. Network Guru Member

    WDS is for extending a wireless network wirelessly. You should just set the second router to "Access Point" mode in Tomato if you are going to hard wire it to your first router.
  5. bhlonewolf

    bhlonewolf LI Guru Member

    OK -- looks like there's a tradeoff with each based on what I've been reading online. With WDS, you take up to a 50% reduction in bandwidth, but don't need the hardwire and have a more seamless transition with roaming clients.

    With multiple APs, it looks like the transition may not be seamless as clients roam. (By clients I mainly mean ME!) Not sure if this was typical or just the experiences I've been reading about online, but if that's the case, that kind of stinks.
  6. j.m.

    j.m. Network Guru Member

    The 50% reduction is greatly misunderstood by most. It is not a flaw inherent to WDS but to the fact that most of these routers have only one radio. The halving effect is because the same radio in the WDS repeater has to communicate with the wireless client then pass it on to the main router. If you only want to browse the Internet with your wireless clients, the halving effect is likely not a big deal anyway with only one WDS hop (i.e. WDS1--router--WDS2). Half of your 802.11g throughput (and that is what is halved) is still likely as much or more than most people's Internet cap. Even if it is a little less, it is still a goodly amount for browsing purposes. Now, if you start using multiple WDS hops (i.e. router--WDS1---WDS2), then 50% at each hop starts to become an issue. By using two radios as your repeater (router--WDS1, where WDS1 is two routers wired back-to-back), you can eliminate the halving effect.

    As far as seamless roaming with multiple APs, I would think it would work just fine as long as all the APs are set to the same SSID, encryption settings, etc.
  7. MiseryQ

    MiseryQ Network Guru Member

    I have a GSv1 and a GSv4 both set up for AP+WDS.
    My speeds feel faster on the WDS router than it did connected to the AP two rooms over.

    My wifes notebook sits next to the 2nd router so I've plugged it in and it does get better speed.

    I used the instructions on the tomato site.

    Walking from one room to the other is seamless.
  8. hellwich

    hellwich Network Guru Member

    AP-mode is the way to extend your wireless connection via a wired connection, but don't forget to configure different channels on both accesspoints if they are close together, or else they could interfere with eachother..
    put router1 on channel 1
    put router2 on channel 11
  9. uffez

    uffez Network Guru Member

    Trying to set-up a wired connection between two APs. No 1 connects to ADSL-modem and is running OpenWrt, with a few wired and wireless clients. No 2 is supposed to be used for extending the wireless network, running Tomato 1.13. It is wire-connected to AP no 1. On No 2 I have disabled WAN and DHCP. Up-link is connected in LAN-port. I´m using same SSID, encryption and key on both APs. BUT, I´m unable to connect to No 2 with any wireless device.

    Have not found any tutorial or similar - hope for some hints from here....
  10. bhlonewolf

    bhlonewolf LI Guru Member

    Just to follow up -- I setup my second WRT54 as an access point only, disabling all the router features. I gave it the same settings for the wireless, moved it to a different channel, and it works great. On the device list screen (I put both the router/AP and AP up side by side), I can watch the laptop bounce from one to the other as I move around. So, it works! I'm not sure if this would interrupt connections in progress... but it's working, so thx for the tips!
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