Gray Flannel Dwarf



So today’s project was to figure out how to get two wireles routers to talk to each other. My wife has been complaining about the occasional drop in service to her laptop in the other room, and with the re-arrangement we’ll be doing here soon, the existing WRT54G will be even further away, I decided to drop the $$ to get another one and learn how to bridge them.

It wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be, but after several attempts, I got it going.

Attempt one: Try bridging via a WET11 bridge I already had. In other words…

(Internet)–Modem ::eth:: WRT54G#1 ::wireless:: WET11 ::eth:: WRT54G#2

I thought, “huh, this bridge (WET11) can connect to my old router, I can just plug that into the outgoing traffic port on the new one, right?” I went ahead and upgraded my old router to a newer, cooler firmware. I chose HyperWRT Thibor, which turned out to be a pretty cool upgrade from my previous HyperWRT firmware.

After trying for quite some time, however — including trying to get the WET11 back to a usable state from whence it had previously existed in a modified configuration for another network — I gave up on that approach. Besides, the WET11 is only 802.11b, I think, so that wouldn’t be the most desirable configuration.

Next I decided to try what I found here. This didn’t seem to be too bad. I did download a new flash — but opted for DD-WRT instead of the Sveasoft crap they’d mentioned. For anyone reading, if you want to go this route, a flash different from the stock linksys firmware is required, as you need something else to give you a place to change the gateway address. Anyway, this took a while — upgrading the WRT54g v4 or higher requires, at least initially, a three-part flashing process. Afterwards, though, following those instructions were just as easy, and this gave what appeared to be:

(Internet)–Modem ::eth:: WRT54G#1 ::wireless:: WRT54G#2 ::wireless:: Wife’s computer

However, in reality the aforementioned configuration only grants wired access to the second router. In other words:

(Internet)–Modem ::eth:: WRT54G#1 ::wireless:: WRT54G#2 ::eth:: Wife’s computer

Now, this isn’t what I wanted either. So, trying to figure out what I could do, I began flipping through the tabs in the DD-WRT configuration panel when I found the help page for WDS (more info here).

And then the lightbulb went on.

From here, it was pretty easy following the instructions in the aforementioned DD-WRT help panel. The only caveats are:

  • Read it carefully and follow the directions carefully to assure you get the wireless MAC addresses for each WRT54G — not the regular ones.
  • Where the instructions say “Make sure you are using the same Wireless Settings on both routers” — you don’t want the same wireless settings, at least not down to the IP. Having both set to didn’t work. Setting the remote one in the other room to something else did work, however.
  • When linking the MAC addresses on two routers with the differing firmwares, it should be noted that the DD-WRT config does have a much nicer WDS page, more convenient help making it overall easier/more confident in set up, at least moreso than the Thibor. Regardless, as long as you paste the wireless MAC in the right place on the Thibor page, you shouldn’t have to worry too much.

In any case — things seem to be working well now. Plus, now I know how to set up WDS, so this should be easier in the future.

Oh, and re: DD-WRT, I will probably upgrade my old router (version 2) to it eventually, but I was noticing problems with Firefox during the all-important flash process on the new one. Not a time you want your browser to flake out, so swallowed my pride, used IE to configure the one in that room. Anyway, I’ll probably wait till they work some of those kinks out before I flash the old one to DD-WRT.

Tags: , , , , , , , , — cswiii @ 7:10 pm