Wednesday, July 08, 2009

WDS Linked router network

Standard terminology for a two router setup:

  • The client router is the router which does not have an internet connection.
  • The host router is the router which does have the internet connection and is going to share it with other routers.

[edit] Setup

[edit] Two or more WRT54G / WRT54GS / WRT54GL / WTR54GS boxes

  1. (Recommended) Save the current configurations of both routers: Administration -> Backup. Click the Backup button and follow prompts so save NVRAM backup files, i.e. nvram_host.bin, and nvram_client.bin. These configurations can be restored if the new setup doesn't work and you need to quickly revert to the previous (working) configuration.
  2. Reset the client router to its factory default state to eliminate the potential of conflict from other settings. Either use the router's reset button or reset via the GUI: Administration -> Factory Defaults -> Reset router settings -> Restore Factory Defaults - select Yes (radio button), then click Apply Settings button and wait for the router to reboot. (Optional) Unless it is impractical, e.g. the host is part of a working network, reset the host router to its factory default state as well to simplify debugging the new setup.
  3. Change the WAN Connection Type to Disabled on the client router. Setup -> Basic Setup -> WAN Setup -> WAN Connection Type
  4. Set the client router's Local IP Address to one in the same subnet as the host router, i.e. (host/internet gateway) and (client router). If the host router has been reset, set its Local IP Address as well. Set the Gateway and Local DNS IP addresses of the client router to the Local IP Address of the host router. Setup -> Basic Setup -> Network Setup -> Router IP
  5. For the client router, disable the DHCP server (or enable DHCP forwarder) and enter the IP address of the host router as the DHCP server. This allows the host router to perform DHCP services. There can only be one DHCP server on any subnet (network) for reliable operation. Setup -> Basic Setup -> Network Address Server Settings (DHCP)
  6. (Optional) Disable the firewall on the client router. Security -> Firewall -> Firewall Protection -> SPI Firewall
  7. For both host and client routers, set the Wireless Mode to AP and make sure the Wireless Channel is the same. For Wireless Network Mode, select Mixed or G-Only (for WDS to work, B-Only must not be selected). Set the Wireless Network Name (SSID) to your liking. For WPA WDS, the SSID for the routers must be the same; for WEP, or when debugging without security enabled, different SSIDs can make troubleshooting easier. Wireless -> Basic Settings
  8. Disable wireless security on both routers (this should already be done if you reset both routers to factory defaults). Security can be re-enabled after all other steps are complete, but in order to minimize troubleshooting, it's best to get things set up with no security active. If this is impractical, e.g. the host is part of a working network, make certain that all security settings on the client match those of the host exactly. Wireless -> Wireless Security -> Wireless Security wl0
  9. Important: Disable MAC address filtering on the host router (this should already be done if you reset both routers to factory defaults). If this is impractical, e.g. the host is part of a working network, add the wireless MAC address of the client router (see Status -> Sys-Info) to the MAC Filter List of the host router. Wireless -> MAC Filter
  10. Open the WDS configuration page for both routers. For each router, you will see its wireless MAC address (Wireless MAC) at the top of the page. Note that this MAC address is different from the one that may be printed on the case. In the first open row of the table, select LAN from the dropdown list and enter each router's wireless MAC address into the table of the other router. It is not necessary to enable Lazy WDS or WDS Subnet on either router. If necessary, consult WDS - configuration for more than two routers for some helpful info. Wireless -> WDS -> WDS Settings
  11. (Optional) Configure static routing: for Destination LAN NET for the client router enter the IP address of the host router. Use the same settings for Subnet Mask and Gateway that are used by host router. For Interface, select LAN & WLAN. This step ensures that the bridge is given a static IP route. Setup > Advanced Routing -> Static Routing
  12. Check the wireless status page of each router to see that the other is present in the WDS Nodes section. Make sure signal strength for each is not zero. Status -> Wireless -> Wireless Nodes -> WDS Nodes
  13. Test that you can ping the host from the client. Note that it may take a short amount of time for the WDS link to be established, and you may need to reboot either the client or host router (or both).
  14. If disabled, enable wireless security now (highly recommended). If you set the SSID of the client router to be different from that of the host router, you may need to make them the same in order to enable WPA encryption security.

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