tomato router to handle g, airport express to handle n. How do I do it?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by onlyshawn, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. onlyshawn

    onlyshawn Addicted to LI Member

    I'm...something like an experienced novice in these fields. I've been running tomato on my wrt54g for years, and have all sorts of QoS set up that I LOVE and can't do w/o. however, I now would like to incorporate N & Gigabit connections b/t a couple different computers in the house, b/c I'm handling time machine backups and serious data transfer b/t the front and back of my house (mac mini HTPC and Mac Pro as my work computer + eyetv "tivo", transferring recordings over to mac mini for watching on the big screen), and having wired connections just won't cut it. (I'm renting, and the wife would not be happy w/ cables running throughout the house)

    What I'd like to have:

    Main goal is maximum (possible) 'n' speed between two mac computers, one wired and one wireless, to transfer large video files (possibly even stream them, if the network will handle it) and expedite backups to the wireless machine (1.5tb internal hard drive) from the wired machine and 2 laptops. Similar to this setup:

    1) front room of the house: (containing mac mini as HTPC, ps3)

    *dsl modem
    *linksys wrt54g w/ tomato (handling DHCP, QoS, port forwarding, and wireless G access for iPhones and my older macbook pro...serves G through most of the house; it won't reach to the back)
    *new apple airport extreme (handling gigabit local network connections to mac mini and PS3 and serving wireless N connections throughout the house)

    2) back of the house: (mac pro as main office computer, eyetv hybrid 'tivo', and torrent machine)
    *airport express connected to mac pro via ethernet cord: this is essentially an external wireless card...not sure of the exact terminology of what this would be called, but it just receives the N signal from the Airport Extreme and feeds it to the mac pro. The mac pro didn't come w/ an internal network card, so this is my solution.


    I have the brand new airport extreme router w/ the dual-band, but I want it ONLY running in N to get maximum transfer speed b/t the mac pro and mac mini. I have somewhat confirmed via apple that if it runs in dual mode, it will slow down a bit from max n speed...I say somewhat b/c the person from apple wasn't too sure, and after recommending a couple wrong things, had to ask someone else--but I think we finally settled on the 'correct' answer.

    I think my only question is how to set up the tomato router to make this work correctly. I don't think I want 'bridge' mode, as I'd then lose wireless capabilities from the tomato router, no?

    I'm going to fiddle around w/ it for a bit, but I know someone out there knows the answer, so hopefully once I'm frustrated, I can come back and *poof*, there's the answer.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    I don't have an N router. But assuming it has a function to accept N only connections, your WRT accept only B/G mixed - then perhaps the WRT connects to the web as usual, the N router connected as an extra wired AP, if you want speed.
  3. onlyshawn

    onlyshawn Addicted to LI Member

    toastman, I'm afraid I don't quite understand. Maybe it's the 'ap'...I know that means 'access point', but I don't know what it *means*, you know? :)
  4. gingernut

    gingernut LI Guru Member

    I think what you want is to add a wireless N access point using your new Airport Extreme to your existing network.

    Easy to do and recommended as you get N speeds in your network and still have Tomato routing all the traffic.

    You connect your Apple router to your main Tomato router or switch with a lan cable from lan port to lan port and give it a static IP address on the same subnet as your main Tomato router but outside of it's DHCP server IP range so you don't get conflicting IP addresses in your network.

    Disable the DHCP server on the Apple router as your main router will still be passing out the IP addresses to your network.

    My setup:

    Modem -
    Tomato main network router linked to modem from lan port wan port-
    Cable connected AP to Tomato router from lan port to lan port -
    Other WDS node linked to AP -

    the other computers, netbooks and Iphones in my network start from and up but it dosen't really matter the IP order.

    I have it this way so I can remember the IP addresses of the router and APs easier.

    Hope this helps.
  5. stud.beefpile

    stud.beefpile Addicted to LI Member

    Hope it works out

    I hope you have good luck using the Airport Express as a wireless client for the Mac Pro.

    I tried to use one to create an additional n band for use with my laptops, and the Airport Express just didn't have the muscle to maintain connections well, even from 10-15 feet away. My Tomato router in the basement could hold the wireless connection, but the Airport Express couldn't hold it from 10 feet away in the same room upstairs.

    Maybe I had a faulty one, although Apple troubleshooting assured me that it was just that there was too much interference based on a troubleshooting phone call.
  6. onlyshawn

    onlyshawn Addicted to LI Member

    well, it seems like i had it hooked up right the first time I tried it; nothing needed to be changed on the tomato router: the problem was with a firewall on the mac mini--i had noobproof (replacement firewall with a lot more configuration options) set up, and it was blocking the airport admin ports. Once I allowed those through (don't remember the port #'s, as it was a selection in the "common services" section of noobproof), the mini saw the airport extreme, and setup was easy. (following instructions based on the previous post I linked for AEBS bridge mode, etc.)

    Well...setup was easy, except for what senor beefpile said. I couldn't get an N connection to make it to the back of the house. I'm going to return the airport express, move the AEBS and Tomato router to the middle of the house, and just run a wired connection out one window and back in another one to the mac pro. At least then i'll get the fastest connection/transfer speeds possible, and now I just need to convince the wife that having the cat5 cable running along the baseboard is a necessary evil (since I'll have to run it up to the mini in the front of the house).

    I was also avoiding this b/c I thought I'd have to buy a switch to serve the mini and the PS3, but then realized that I don't need gigabit to the ps3, and so I can just run it wireless, and connect to the tomato router. No problem.

    Cost is probably a wash, as a 50' and 25' cable will probably cost the same as the refurb airport express.

    @gingernut: thanks a lot for the ip suggestions. I like your thinking there. I've got a lot of directed traffic that I need sent specific places, so I need static IP's (torrent traffic and VNC, especially) Also, a dyndns account lets me get in to my network from anywhere in the world (which has helped a time or two), so i need to know IPs for that.

    I'd like to use WDS, but I'm pretty sure that knocks down speeds, so I won't be doing so.

    Wired really is the way to go...I should have done so in the first place. Should be better for keeping mounted volumes on remote machines too, though the speed really is the determining factor.
  7. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor Network Guru Member

    I'm looking at doing a rather similar setup. Don't have the AEBS yet, was considering a Time Capsule to do same thing and provide network backup. A few questions I have:

    So you have two wireless networks, right? A G network (tomato router) and an N network (AEBS)?
    Do they have the same SSID or different?
    Am I correct in saying the clients all get IP addresses via static DHCP from the tomato router?
    So you just tell which client to connect to which network, in order to specify whether it's connecting to the G or N network?
    And a client on one network can connect (for file sharing etc) to a client on the other network, if need be?
    Are you using MAC-Address filtering at all? If so how do you have that setup?

  8. gingernut

    gingernut LI Guru Member

    The Netgear WNDR3700 is supposed to have one of the best wireless range for a dual band N router just in case you rethink the cat cable thing.
  9. gbimmer3

    gbimmer3 Addicted to LI Member

    You could also give powerline a shot. Depends on how old the house is, but I've had good luck with them. I have an XAVB101 and it reads 170Mb/s almost constantly. They also have gigabit ones now.
  10. onlyshawn

    onlyshawn Addicted to LI Member

    @gingernut...i ran the cat cable today. no big deal. the cable-along-baseboard looks even better than it used to. In case anyone's wondering, 1/2" plastic 'cable staples' from home depot hold a coax cable and ethernet cable perfectly side-by-side. it's a little plastic loop with 2 nails on each side.

    @occam...yes, you're right. two networks (read the link I posted's completely the same, just when it says "old router" (or whatever terminology they use), you think "tomato router.") :)

    different ssid's (mactastic network, and mactastic high speed. there's also a mactastic high speed '5mhz' that you can create from w/in the AEBS setups, so if you want to allow something to only connect to the AEBS when it can connect via 5mhz, that's your ssid. I BELIEVE that that would only be the 'n' wireless, but I could be wrong on that one)

    yes, I can connect to clients connected to different SSID's, no least, I'm 99% sure I can. I'll make sure I can connect in all the different flavors and get back to you.

    No, no mac address filtering as of yet. I'm not even sure what that would do for me; would you use that to limit connection ability (like, say, if you wanted the kids off the network at 11 or something)?

    @gbimmer...I considered that; but this house is OLD, and I don't even have a ground in the front of the house. It is at least breakers, not fuses, but I'd be VERY surprised if powerline would work. good call, though, for others.

    @all....especially occam: feel free to do that (time capsule), but if you have an always-on server, I'd suggest looking into an offsite backup for your backups--services like mozy and carbonite (what I'm going to use) are really quite cheap, and if you've got all your data on one computer, you can pay for the one-computer license (from carbonite...not sure how mozy does it) and have all your time machine backups sitting on their server. it would suck to lose not only your computer hard drive, but also your backups (fire, theft). I never got the price premium on time capsules, but then if you don't have an always-on computer, I guess that would be your best bet.
  11. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor Network Guru Member

    Thanks for the info.... Online backups aren't really viable for me as the fastest internet upload I can get is 1mbps, it'd just be too slow for the amount of data I'm backing up. I have multiple hard drive backups anyway. I do have an always-on Mac Mini server, the problem is it's the older PPC model with only 100mb, not gigabit, ethernet so is a bit slow.
  12. onlyshawn

    onlyshawn Addicted to LI Member

    ...they are incremental backups, so you'd only have the long one the first time, right?
  13. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor Network Guru Member

    True, but I deal with a lot of photos, often 1 to 4GB+ new photos per day, it would add up quickly and saturate my internet connection when I'm needing to use it. Not to mention I'd need to keep my laptop connected at home for that time instead of out and about where I need it.
    Also, if I needed to restore my laptop, downloading say 250Gb of data would take... ermm... too long.
    I'm not knocking the value of online backups, I can see they are very useful in some cases, just for me they are too slow to be useful.
    PS - To be honest I mostly prefer a straight clone, as opposed to Time Machine, because it's quicker to restore, and bootable even, although I'm starting to use TM now for some of my machines.
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