Author Topic: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room  (Read 2175 times)

Offline Cobra951

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In effect, this (where each access point is a wireless router):



The article I stole this image from says it can't be done.  What I want is a virtual ethernet cable going from one part of the house to another, and hooking up to a router which then distributes the connection to wired (ethernet) devices.

Not being a networking expert, I can't understand why this should not be doable.  The idea is that if I end up moving all my stuff to Sandy's, I'll be able to hook it all up to my current router as it already is, even though the room it would be going into doesn't have the cable modem.  That's across the house, and running a wire that far in an aesthetic way is probably not going to happen.  Neither my PC nor my Xbox can go online wirelessly, and I'm not about to fork over the money that enhancement would require.

So, is it doable?  I'm thinking of Scott here, but anyone who can shed some light is welcome.

Offline scottws

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Re: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room
« Reply #1 on: Thursday, January 07, 2010, 04:44:49 PM »
Can't be done?  Nonsense.  Look into WDS or wireless bridging.  I use WDS at my house to connect my Xbox 360 to the Internet after I sold my Xbox 360 wireless adapter.

The only downsides to WDS are that wireless clients (not talking about the APs themselves here) get half the normal bandwidth and you can't use WPA2 encryption (with some wireless routers, you can't even use WPA).

Offline Xessive

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Re: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room
« Reply #2 on: Thursday, January 07, 2010, 05:47:11 PM »
I was able to do with my Siemens Modem/Router and my Belkin Router (back when I had DSL set up in one side of the apartment and I needed wifi on the other end). In my case I had to manually set my Belkin to "Access Point Mode" which was a feature in its config screen.

It might depend on the hardware you have but it should be possible.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room
« Reply #3 on: Friday, January 08, 2010, 06:41:50 AM »
OK, I looked into WDS a bit, and my head is still spinning.  I take it I would need that DD-WRT custom firmware for the Linksys WRT54G.  I think then the 2nd router (in the far room) would be used in some sort of client mode.  I have no intention of using it as a wireless access point for other LAN devices.  Wireless communication from it would only go to the main router near the cable modem.  Wireless LAN devices would still talk to the main router only.  That should make things easier, and prevent halving of bandwidth to wireless devices, no?

One more question.  Could I get away with leaving the main router's firmware alone?  Its operation should be basically unmodified in this setup, I think.  All of this is preliminary anyway.  I'm not planning on moving my stuff here just yet.  I'm trying to get a handle on what it would take ahead of time.

Offline scottws

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Re: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room
« Reply #4 on: Friday, January 08, 2010, 08:15:54 AM »
The wording is all different with different firmwares.  I have two Linksys WRT54GL routers, both running Tomato firmware.  On my main one that hooks up to the Internet and is also my wireless access point, I have it set to Access Point + WDS.  I'll call this one WAP-A.  One the one in the basement that my 360 is hooked to, I have it set to WDS only.  This is WAP-B.

On WAP-A, I have to put in the wireless adapter MAC address of WAP-B in a WDS section.  I have to do the same on WAP-B for WAP-A's MAC address.  If I remember correctly, all the wireless settings and security details have to be identical, even the channel.  The only thing I'm hazy on is the channel.  Channel might have to be different.  And speaking of security, the best I can do is WPA-AES even though my router and the Tomato firmware supports WPA2.  Can't do WPA2 with WDS.

As far as your second question, I'm pretty sure that with WDS, both routers'/WAPs' operating systems must support it.  If one or the other doesn't then you need to put firmware on that does, replace the unit, or look into some other solution.  I think some WAP's can act as wireless clients themselves.  This is similar to WDS but I've had problems with it where DHCP won't make it through and you have to use a static IP address.  WDS is the easiest thing I've found.

This link is for Tomato, but it might help you sort out how WDS works:  http://www.polarcloud.com/tomatofaq#how_do_i_use_wds

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room
« Reply #5 on: Friday, January 08, 2010, 09:27:04 AM »
The only reason I was trying to keep the first router's firmware the same is that it was a bitch to configure it for a wireless printer server.  The process ended up in a call to Linksys support.  I didn't want to mess with that again.  But that printserver is in the same room my stuff would be going into, so I could just hook the printer up to my PC instead, and make it a network printer from there.

Of course if either of these linksys routers doesn't support custom firmware, then all bets are off.  WDS is clearly the ideal way to go, barring an actual ethernet cable between the rooms.  (Getting CATV into that room and moving the cable modem there would also work wonders.)

That page you linked does call for the same channel on both routers, BTW.  Thanks for the help.  I hope if and when the day comes, I can put it into practice.

Edit:  The Tomato 7z file seems to have versions across the board for the routers.  The webpage interface for this router identifies it only as WRT54G.  I assume the firmware revision doesn't matter, only the hardware version, which I don't see here.  I'll examine the unit itself sometime.
« Last Edit: Friday, January 08, 2010, 09:57:34 AM by Cobra951 »

Offline scottws

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Re: Setting up 2nd wireless router as an access point for ethernet to a remote room
« Reply #6 on: Friday, January 08, 2010, 03:46:28 PM »
The only reason I was trying to keep the first router's firmware the same is that it was a bitch to configure it for a wireless printer server.  The process ended up in a call to Linksys support.  I didn't want to mess with that again.  But that printserver is in the same room my stuff would be going into, so I could just hook the printer up to my PC instead, and make it a network printer from there.
I understand this completely.  I hate wireless printers and print servers.  I refuse to deal with them entirely.  For printing, I highly recommend sticking to IEEE1284, USB, or regular Ethernet.

Of course if either of these linksys routers doesn't support custom firmware, then all bets are off.

...

Edit:  The Tomato 7z file seems to have versions across the board for the routers.  The webpage interface for this router identifies it only as WRT54G.  I assume the firmware revision doesn't matter, only the hardware version, which I don't see here.  I'll examine the unit itself sometime.
I know for sure that DD-WRT and Tomato both work on WRT54G's up to version 4.0 and the WRT54GL (which is basically a WRT54G v4.0).  I think the WRT54G is on like v8.2 now.  After v4.0, Linksys reduced the size of the RAM and flash RAM to make the WRT54G cheaper to manufacture.  Suddenly, DD-WRT wouldn't fit on it anymore.  I think the DD-WRT project has released support for later hardware revisions, just with a reduced feature set.  They have also expanded support to a ton of other routers, mostly those that are Broadcom-based.  There is DD-WRT firmware for Linksys' new simultaneous dual-band, gigabit WRT610N v2.0.

Tomato only supports the WRT54G, the WRT54GL, and some Buffalo one (WHR-something).  For the WRT54G, I'm not sure if Tomato supports anything beyond v4.0.

DD-WRT has a much broader feature set than Tomato, but I found that Tomato's QoS works a lot better, at least compared to DD-WRT v23 SP2.  I also liked the monitoring and reporting features of Tomato better.  I've never tried v24, so I can't comment on it at all.  Tomato does everything I need it to do, and seems to do it pretty well.  I have no need for creating a public hotspot that has an authentication webpage, or having my router double as a VPN concentrator or anything like that.

Edit:  I just looked and saw I was wrong about Tomato's hardware support.  It's a bit broader than I stated, but still not close to DD-WRT's supported hardware list.  But yes it looks like Tomato only supports WRT54G up to v4.0.