Need help configuring multiple WRT54GL's w/ Tomato 1.28

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by sikko10, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. sikko10

    sikko10 Networkin' Nut Member

    Hi there - first off I apologize in advance for what is to probably be a long question!

    Anyhow I am trying to help my parents get a better signal in their house, which is a 4000 sq ft ranch style home. Currently they just have one (or should I say had) WRT54GL with stock firmware, unfortunately located at the far end of the house. On the other side of their house, and on the back deck, they get terrible reception. This weekend, I got them a 2nd GL v1.1, and flashed both to Tomato 1.28. I set them up according to the guide found here, however I can't seem to get it working correctly. I am not sure if WDS is the best choice or not, and then if it is, what I did wrong in setting it up.

    First, for their setup, both locations where the access points will go are hard wired with Cat6. Router 1, which is the primary router connected to the cable modem, has a gigabit switch connected to it, and the computer in that office is connected to that switch, which then goes to the main gigabit switch in the basement. Basically the goal is to have everything with a gigabit backbone for file transfers between all the pc's, and then have the wireless routers mainly for laptops/tablets to have internet access (not concerned about transferring files - so speed is not a primary concern on wifi, just signal strength). The main thing I would like is for them to have one SSID and security key, so they don't manually have to select a network with the strongest signal.

    So I set the main router with static IP, left all the other stuff at default, up until the wireless section where I set the mode to Access Point + WDS, set the SSID, channel, security, and set the Link With to the wireless MAC of the secondary router. On the secondary router, configured eveyrthing the exact same, except the IP is, and then disabled DHCP on that one, and of course set the Link With to the wireless MAC of the primary router. At this point I should also mention their is a 5 port gigabit switch at location 2, so there is nothing physically connected to Router 2 other than the gigabit switch. The computer in that location is connected to the 5 port switch.

    I then rebooted the cable modem and and the primary router, and tested to make sure everything was working, which it was. I then plugged in the secondary router, and everything appeared to be working, however when I walked around with the laptop I think it got on the 2nd router's wifi connection, it was 'connected' but had no internet access. As soon as I unplugged that router, and then rebooted the laptop, everything was working fine again.

    So I guess my real question is, is the Access Point + WDS on both routers the best option for what we are trying to accomplish? I am by no means a networking expert, so really don't know if what I am doing is correct. Just searching through all kinds of forums, I gathered this is was the best choice. From what I read, WDS cuts your bandwidth in half - which from 54mb/s is not that much of a concern if the internet is only 12mbs.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. fubdap

    fubdap LI Guru Member

    Try this:

    On Router2:
    -Disable DHCP
    -Use an IP address outside of the DHCP pool of Router1, but in the same subnet
    -Use the same Subnet Mask as Router1
    -Use Router1 IP for the Gateway
    -Leave DNS blank (Not used)
    -Choose AccessPoint for wireless for both routers
    -Match all of your wireless settings exactly on both, except for the wireless channel. Use Ch:6 for Router1 and Ch:11 for Router2 or vice-versa.
    -Plug routers into each other using the LAN ports or into a switch. You will not use the WAN port of Router2.
  3. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Yes, I would agree with fubdap's suggestion as WDS is notoriously unreliable, it would make life much simpler just to connect your AP to the router by CAT5e and run it as a simple AP. WDS *CAN* work well, but experience tells me that much of the time, it's very troublesome.

    Back to the WDS - the router and the remote WDS AP must be connected to each other, if they are you should be able to see them in the Device List page. Can you see them both?
  4. sikko10

    sikko10 Networkin' Nut Member

    Awesome, thanks for your responses! I will head over there this afternoon and give those settings a try. I didn't have the exact settings I used in front of me since the routers are at their house, but now that I think about it, I believe I had set DNS on the 2nd router set to, following some other guide I had read. I wonder if that was part of the problem? But as long as it isn't going to hurt anything to set them both to straight Access Points, I will definitely give that a whirl. On a related note, I read somewhere that WDS has an issue using WPA2-PSK, so avoided that yesterday, but in setting them both as Access Points, can I safely set them to WPA2-PSK? And one last question, any advantage/disadvantage to using TKIP or AES?
  5. ntest7

    ntest7 Network Guru Member

    Always use AES unless you have antique WiFi devices that don't support it, in which case you're forced to use TKIP.

    TKIP is an older standard that is not as secure and may take more resources.
  6. mvsgeek

    mvsgeek LI Guru Member

    When you're connected to the secondary but have no internet connection, can you ping the main router? If so, can you ping a well-known IP address? (I use for this). If yes, I'd say DNS is the culprit. Try setting DNS on the secondary to IP of the main - - I do this for another reason (see below).

    I've been using WDS for a couple of years in my little rural network, because the routers/AP's are too widely scattered to run cat5 cable. WDS is tricky to set up, and adding new AP's is not trivial. All 12 routers are WRT54GL's, and I'm currently upgrading everything to Tomato-Toastman 1.28-7625, right now it's a kludge(sp?) of different firmwares, but at least it all works:)

    Here's the config:

    Main router ( - Tomato 1.28 (not Toastman) - WPA/WPA2 PSK + AES.
    Secondary routers/AP's are a mixture of Sveasoft Talisman 1.3.7 and Tomato-Toastman 1.28-7625.
    All secondary routers use WPA/WPA2 PSK + AES.

    I've found that unless I set DNS on the secondaries to, the time doesn't get updated.

    Some houses in the neighbourhood have a cat5-wired AP in addition to the wireless AP, in order to provide a stronger signal throughout the house, since the wireless AP's antenna is directional and pointing at the main router up to half a mile away, so anything behind the antenna doesn't get much of a signal.

    These 'tertiary' AP's are defined as AP (no WDS), WPA/WPA2 PSK + AES. Some of them even have a different SSID and channel from the main and secondaries. Once again, they all have DNS set to in order to get the time set correctly.

    The entire network is G only, so older B (and newer N) devices don't get to play! Maybe one day N will be possible...
  7. sikko10

    sikko10 Networkin' Nut Member

    Sorry guys, I have spent the majority of the last couple of days dealing with a major data recovery issue and havent followed up. Anyhow, I got everything working just using them both as Access Point mode. For whatever reason, my dad's Asus Eeepc netbook would not connect to either AP when AES mode was selected, so I had to set it to TKIP. But everything seems to be working great now - I really appreciate the help!
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