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How To: Setting up WDS Bridging / Repeating

Example 1: One-hop Repeater Setup

Figure 2 shows a simple "one hop" repeating setup that might be typically used to extend the range of a wireless LAN.

For this example, I’m using two Broadcom-based 802.11g Access points - Belkin’s F5D7130 [reviewed here] and ASUS’ WL300g [reviewed here]. Though both have very similar designs - including being based on Broadcom’s BCM4702 Wireless Network Processor - you’ll see below that they have different interfaces to their WDS features.

We’ll start by setting up WDS on the LAN-connected AP. Figure 3 shows the Wireless Bridge screen on the Belkin AP.

By the way, you should start out by connecting both APs to your Ethernet LAN while you’re setting them up. No sense complicating things by getting a wireless connection into the mix...

The top checkbox enables the WDS features, which are disabled by default. I’ve then checked the Enable ONLY specific Access Points to connect checkbox in keeping with my rule of not allowing "anonymous" WDS links and entered the MAC address of the AP to which I want to connect, i.e. the ASUS AP at the other end of the link.

The Disable ability for Wireless CLIENTS to connect checkbox is left unchecked because this WDS setup is being used to extend a wireless LAN, i.e. repeating. If I had checked this selection, then the Belkin would no longer function as an access point, i.e. wireless clients could not connect. It would only provide a wireless link to the listed WDS-enabled APs, connecting them back to the wired LAN, i.e. bridging.

Figure 4 shows the WDS settings for the ASUS WL300g that forms the other end of the WDS link.

The WL300g uses a graphic to illustrate the wireless connections supported in each of its three modes : AP only, WDS only and Hybrid. This makes things somewhat clearer, but I find the separate Connect to APs in Remote Bridge List ? and Allow Anonymous ? radio buttons more confusing than the Belkin’s single checkbox and associated MAC address entries.

At any rate, Figure 4 shows the proper WL300g settings for WDS-based repeating, including the MAC address of the Belkin AP in the Remote Bridge List. Note again, that if you just wanted to set up a wireless bridge between two wired LANs, you would change the WL300g’s AP Mode from Hybrid to WDS only. This setting would prevent wireless STAs from associating to the AP, but still connect the WL300g back to the Belkin AP via a wireless link.

With both ends of the bridge now set up, it’s time to see if we have lift-off !

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