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How To: Setting up WDS Bridging / Repeating

So how do you know that your WDS link is working ? With both APs hardwired to your LAN’s Ethernet switch, your first indication will be the wildly flashing Link and Activity lights on your switch and the two APs. Even though you might think gremlins have invaded your LAN, this is a good sign and is caused by the redundant network connections (two MAC addresses for the same IP address) between the APs provided by the Ethernet and WDS connections.

As soon as you disconnect the Ethernet cable from the "remote" AP - the ASUS WL300g in this example - the flashing should stop. Now, leave the AP where it is, open up a Command prompt (DOS command window) and ping the remote AP’s IP address (192.168.3.230 in our example). If the WDS link is working, you should be rewarded with a series of ping replies. The WDS link is up !

Now fire up your wireless notebook, check that you can see the names of both your APs in the list of available wireless networks, then choose and connect to each AP in turn. (See why it’s handy to assign different SSID’s ?)

If that all works, you`re ready to power down the "remote" AP and move it to its desired location. Plug in the power, let it boot up, then repeat the tests. Congratulations ! You’ve just extended your wireless LAN’s range !

So that you can see the effect that a WDS "hop" has on wireless performance, I ran a few Chariot tests that are shown in Figure 5.

To take each measurement, I moved my test notebook with a NETGEAR WG511T 11g CardBus card so that I had a "5 bar" signal (as measured by WinXP’s Wireless Zero Config utility). I then associated with the AP and ran the test. The top trace shows the throughput through just the "root" Belkin AP ; the lower trace through the ASUS WL300g and Belkin AP.

Even though the throughput is reduced by approximately the predicted 50%, the almost 8Mbps average throughput through both APs is still about twice you’d get from a typical, decent 802.11b connection.