Newbie Warning (help with setting up WDS)... I think.

Discussion in 'Networking Issues' started by teknomedic, May 3, 2007.

  1. teknomedic

    teknomedic LI Guru Member


    Hello... I think I'm trying to setup WDS... but take it easy as this is the first time even hearing those three letters put together. Now I'm not 100% green and I do know my way around some more advanced settings... but I'm no network wizard... so here we go...

    What I'm trying to do and the hardware I have:
    1x WRT54GS v1.0 (with 4.71.1 firmware)
    1x WRT54GS v7.0 (with 7.50.0 firmware)

    I have the v1 setup as my main router for my network... I'm using it for wired PCs and a few wireless things (printer, Laptop, Nintendo Wii). I just built a WinMCE PC that's over by the TV. What I want to do is plug that PC in with a network cable to the new v7 router and have that router wirelessly access the net through the v1 router that's connected to the internet. From my reading I think this is called WDS.

    You might ask, "Why not just buy a PCI wireless card for the Media Center PC?". Well... I did... there's some huge compatibility problem with it and PCI Wifi cards (probably motherboard related)... I've tried to get that working for over a week with no luck so it's simply not an option. ((yes I even called Linksys's outsourced tech help I got so desperate!)). Also, I'd prefer to stick with a "full router" and not simply buy an "access point".

    I did read this guide and found it confusing:

    I also found this and still didn't find enough info for this greenbean to figure out:

    I'd prefer not to use 3rd party firmware and by the looks of it maybe I don't have to anymore?... but I'm willing to go that route (hehe) if needed.

    Oh.. and to make things harder (probably)... I want to use WAP TKIP as that's the best some of my hardware supports currently.

    Thanks for any help and I'm will to answer any questions,
  2. teknomedic

    teknomedic LI Guru Member

    I guess I'm wondering if what I'm doing is even possible.... or better yet, if it's possible with a v7 router considering how much linksys has cut the memory of the things.
  3. ifican

    ifican Network Guru Member

    No it should be doable. I am not well versed in WDS but i know there are many folks around here that are. Something else to think about and i believe it less complicated then WDS is to put the router next to the TV in bridging mode. And that way it works just like an external wireless adapter for the PC in question.
  4. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    It's easy to implement WDS with 3rd party firmware as most of them have not only WDS support but menus that give you full ability to configure it.

    I've got Tomato loaded on my Linksys WRT54G and Motorola WR850Gs now and linking both WR850Gs back to the WRT54G. One of mine doesn't act as an access point but simply a WDS bridge to support a wired printer and NAS device - somewhat similar to what you're trying to do. I've used WPA/TKIP and it worked although I did have some issues that went away since switching to WPA2/WPA mixed mode which I can't recall if available or not with stock Linksys firmware. On dd-wrt and tomato, the router nas daemon was dying with WPA on WDS remote access point routers causing clients to freeze up so keep that in mind if you see that symptom.

    I remember back in 2005 that Linksys added support for WDS but didn't advertise it, as described in the rgbdream article. I found it in the firmware release notes for my WRT54G but not in a straigtforward way. It said that Firmware revision 2.02.2 that "Adds support to allow WAP54G connect as a repeater". This actually means that "lazy" WDS support was added but with no ability to configure or control it. Whether this feature continues in the WRT54GS v1 & v7 I don't know.

    If so it means that if you set them up as if you had WDS, i.e. same subnet, security settings, same ssid, wireless channel, etc, but different IPs on the same sunbet, that if they are in range of each other they will find each other and lnk up via the "lazy" or "automatic" WDS. From a quick look on the Linksys forums, it looks like this should work, I found a few mentions of linking WRT54GS to WRT54G and WAP54G models as repeaters.

    If your v1 is the main router and working, then don't mess with it. Take your v7, you won't need the WAN port, I forget if you can disable or not. If the V1 is set to, set the v7 to (assuming it is unused), set the security, SSID, wireless channel all the same. You'll want to disable DHCP on it as well. If you disable DHCP on the v7 immediately and something doesn't work, then you will have to set a static IP (pick un un-used IP in the subnet range, 192.168.10.x in this example, out of the DHCP range) and plug in with a wire to debug. If everything goes right, you should get a layer 2 link between them, pick up DHCP from the v1 router and have access to the v1 router and your ISP through it. Might take some debugging, don't give up too soon if you have problems as near as I can tell it should work.

    If it doesn't work, you'll have to try 3rd party firmware. There are advantages. You very likely can get the Linksys firmware to link up but only with 3rd party software (currently Tomato for me) can I control the topology of the WDS links and have some routers act as WDS access points while others are simply WDS bridges that don't accept wireless clients. Note that part of what I had to do to get a stable wireless network was to not have more than one strong access point available to my client computers, seemed to confuse them and result in unstable links. Tomato, dd-wrt, etc, should all load on your v1 if you decide to go that route. The V7 is another matter. You might have to stick with the Linksys firmware or might get a micro build of dd-wrt on it. I'm not sure, you'd have to ask around either on the dd-wrt forum here or on the forum on the dd-wrt web site.
  5. teknomedic

    teknomedic LI Guru Member

    thanks for the info... for the time being I think the problem is solved... I bought a d-link PCI card and it works without a hitch.... huh. Sorry linksys.

    Anyway... I'm still interested in knowing how best to do this WDS as my ultimate plan still requires another router or two so I can extend the range of my wifi to the whole house (upstairs, basement, etc).

    I think I'll be returning the the v7 router since I've learned about how much they've reduced the memory on the inside.

    Any thoughts on a good (reasonable price too) router that supports WDS right out of the box for ease of setup?

    Also... do I have to reconfig both routers or can I simply config the new router once I find one? Like you said, my v1 router works great ((have to reset from time to time but nothing big)).

    Thanks again!!!
  6. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    If you're going to use the "lazy" WDS then I don't think you'd have to touch the v1 router, not certain but thinking so. As far as a new router that supports WDS with factory firmware, you might look at the Buffalo WHR-G54S or WHR-HP-G54, I've heard good things about them although never had one myself. It's my understanding that they support WDS out of the box but also run most of the popular 3rd party software that your WRT54GS v1 would, should you decide to go that route at some point. I have Linksys and Motorola. I like them but there have been negative changes in Linksys and Motorola quit the market. The Buffalo products look like good choices in the current market. My sister called me up asking for a quick recommendation for a wireless router to take on a trip she was about to take. I told her about the Buffalo products, she got one and had no complaints. Much better than the old Micro$oft junk she bought earlier against my advice, :) Note that I haven't heard as positive feedback on other Buffalo models such as the WLI-TX4-G54HP. Just started reading that Buffalo has some new models coming out and might be running sales on the current models. Sometimes new is good but doesn't always seem to be the case in consumer routers.
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