Wireless Client or Wireless Ethernet Bridge?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by mikeserv, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    Ok, so I've had tomato installed on this router for a long time, but I really only used its most basic features. Now I've moved and my situation is a bit different.

    I've got a Belkin wireless router in a room across the hall at Two computers in the room across the hall connect to that router, one wired, one wireless. Their ips are typically (through DHCP). The Belkin router is configured with WPA 1 security.

    In this room I have two computers that currently connect wirelessly to the router across the hall, and an XBOX connected to one of those computers with ICS and a crossover cable. Transferring files between these two computers over the wireless network is slow and unwieldy. The connection strength isn't that great from here to the router - good enough for internet but hardly satisfactory for large-file transfer - so I'm seeking out an alternative solution.

    I would prefer to connect the tomato WRT54GL that I have to the internet router across the hall, share the internet with the three machines in here through that, and route all internal traffic (by which I mean the three computers in this room) over wire so that the transmission rate between the three internal computers is that much faster.

    Can this be done? If so, could someone please walk me through it? I've been fiddling with Wireless Ethernet Bridge and Wireless Client mode but can't get either to work.

    Thanks in advance for anyone with patience enough to help me out here.

  2. bripab007

    bripab007 Network Guru Member

    Wireless Ethernet Bridge is what you'd want to do for you proposed solution to your situation.

    What, exactly, can you not get to work?
  3. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    Well, I have tried to configure the tomato router as a Wireless Ethernet Bridge. I set the ip of the router as, I gave the tomato router the belkin router's channel, ssid, and wpa passkey, and I still get nothing. I'm able to continue to log in to the tomato router (at the new ip adress, of course) but I don't think the tomato router is connecting to the Belkin network. I have no internet access and I can't log in to the belkin router's admin page (at either.

    Any idea as to why?

  4. jsmiddleton4

    jsmiddleton4 Network Guru Member

    I found in practice that WDS works the best and easiest. Instructions are on Tomato's web site.
  5. bripab007

    bripab007 Network Guru Member

    Have you tried turning off encryption on the main router, to take that possible hiccup out of the loop?
  6. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    Ok, so I disabled security, enabled MAC address filtering, linked the two routers with WDS (which the Belkin router apparently supports, thank goodness) and now all is well. I still don't understand why the Wireless Ethernet Bridge didn't work at all, or why I couldn't even use the Tomato WRT54GL as a wireless client, but the truth is I barely care. So long as it works, I'm good.

    Also, I love the Static DHCP setup on the Tomato router - which is the reason I installed the Tomato firmware in the first place.

    Now I need to figure out QoS. I never could get a good grasp on that... I'd like to set Usenet and BitTorrent traffic as a lower priority than all the rest, that way I can still get HTTP traffic or Skype calls at quick speeds when the download clients are busy...

  7. K1nslayer

    K1nslayer LI Guru Member

    Ethernet Bridge doesn't support all security modes!

    This is briefly mentioned in the faq, but causes lots of problems for people.
    I use WPA1+AES and that is the strongest security mode that I have been able to get working. You want to use the Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode over WDS because WDS cuts your bandwidth in half.

  8. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    I had WPA+TKIP. But I need to try AES instead?

  9. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    Wireless Ethernet Bridge doesn't even work with NO security.

  10. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    Plus, it doesn't seem to have negatively affected my bandwidth at all. I only use the wireless for internet access: which maxes out at around 400kb/s anyway. The three computers (well, laptop, media server, and xbox) are all wired into the Tomato router, and the bandwidth through that is great. So I think this is fine. I still don't understand why the Wireless Ethernet Bridge doesn't work, but this is fine.

  11. Kiwi8

    Kiwi8 LI Guru Member

    I wish to correct u here. Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode will also cut the bandwidth in half in certain ways too.

    For example, if u have a main router A which is linked to routers B and C via Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode, communications between B and C will still be cut in half due to the retransmission required. This is the same even if u use WDS.

    For a normal 2-point connection between a main router A and router B, whether u use WDS or wireless ethernet bridge mode, it is the same.

    The main advantage of WDS is that the root bridge in the spanning tree protocol need not be the main router A.
  12. mikeserv

    mikeserv Addicted to LI Member

    When you talk about root bridge with WDS do you mean that in order for the three computers that I have connected to router b would have to communicate this way for file-transfers and other LAN applications between them: Computer A > Router B > Router A > Router B > Computer B?

    Because that's kinda what I was worried about with the Wireless Ethernet Bridge. I mean, from what I understand, with the WET each computer obtains its IP from Router A, so does that mean that all traffic would have to be routed through it as well, even when that traffic is local to computers only behind Router B? That would be terrible, and I am happy that this is not the case with the WDS setup. The three computers communicate fine with each other with great speed, and the internet is just as fast as it could be coming from router A considering the ISP's bandwidth restrictions.


    P.S. Thanks for your help, everyone.
  13. Kiwi8

    Kiwi8 LI Guru Member

    Yes. 3 routers cannot be connected together in a daisy chain due to the impact of broadcast storms which will overwhelm the traffic.

    For WET, the root bridge is limited to the main router, since all WET needs a main router to operate.

    For example: Main router A linked by WET to router B and router C.

    For WDS, u can shift the root bridge around by the use of bridge priorities.

    For example: Main router A linked by WDS to both router B and router C. If router B is designated as the root bridge, this will mean that any traffic between router A and router C will be retransmitted by router B.
  14. jsmiddleton4

    jsmiddleton4 Network Guru Member

    I use WPA+AES. No problems at all. Also while certain things can and may happen regarding bandwidth and WDS, in practice I've never once thought, "Hmmm, my internet or connection is slow, it must be WDS..."

    It looks like you are starting the learning curve. Good for you and I encourage you to read, posts, ask, etc. We all started somewhere.

    Once you get to multiple routers you'll want to start looking at spanning tree protocol by the way. You want to make sure you don't get all sorts of internal looping going on.

    I use three routers. I have one smart router, the rest "dumb". The one that does all the dhcp/dnc/etc. is the smart one, the others are dumb as they do nothing in terms of dhcp, dns, etc. For the dumb ones you can start disabling things to reduce their cpu load and memory usage.

    If you want different ssid's, separation of clients on different nodes, your setup will be different. I have one ssid and use multiple routers to increase coverage area in a home that also has 2 college students who need uninterrupted access in their rooms for on-line classes. Or maybe its because they have Wii's in their rooms? No that can't be it.....


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