Difference between Wireless Ethernet Bridge and WDS?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by SebastianM, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. SebastianM

    SebastianM Networkin' Nut Member

    Hi guys,
    at the moment, I am running 2 WRT54 devices. One is configured as "access point", and the second one runs as "wireless ethernet bridge", in order to connect a Xbox to the internet. It works excellent.

    Now, I found the faq-article about setting up a WDS.
    In my eyes, this does exactly the same as my setup ("Quote : Once you configure #2, you can hook up wired computers on it or .......").

    So where exactly are the differences between "access point & wireless ethernet bridge" and two devices with "Access Point + WDS" mode ?

    I think this is very cofusing ^^

    thx in advance
  2. dvaskelis

    dvaskelis Network Guru Member


    Check out this wireless bridging article on SmallNetBuilder.
  3. RonWessels

    RonWessels Network Guru Member

    There is no requirement that either end of a WDS link must also be an access point. You can just as easily use WDS to bridge a wireless network with a wired one. In fact, it's a better solution, as I will explain below.

    For 99% of the cases, if all you want to do is connect a single wired-only device (eg. XBox) to a wireless network, Wireless Ethernet Bridge (WET mode) will behave identically to WDS mode connections. The differences are as follows:

    1) For WDS mode, you need support from the access point that you are connecting to. In other words, you must configure the access point for the WDS connection. For WET mode, the connection looks just like another wireless client, so there is no access point support required.

    2) For WET mode, the Ethernet MAC address in any forwarded Ethernet packets is replaced by the MAC address of the WET-mode router. For WDS mode, the protocol sends the original MAC address of the packet which is then replaced on the receiving end.

    3) For WDS mode, the existing Broadcom driver allows simultaneous WDS connections and access point functionality. To get the same functionality using WET mode, you need a more advanced solution like OpenWRT.

    4) IIRC, there are some differences in the security types (WPA/AES, etc) supported by the existing Broadcom driver between the two modes.

    For point (2), if you are only connecting up one device, there really is no issue. If you are connecting multiple wired devices, connections that rely on MAC addresses being unique (eg. some DHCP servers) will fail since all the wired devices attached to the WET device will appear to have the same MAC address. Fortunately most DHCP servers are smart enough to also use the declared identifier (hostname) to disambiguate the different devices.
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