I have a wireless router (Billion BiPac 5200G-R4) providing wired connectivity for a couple of PC's and a print server device. On the wireless side it functions as a WAP for a roaming laptop.
The question at the moment is whether this Billion router - or any other router for that matter - can also provide a wireless bridge role to a planned second wired segment's wireless device concurrently with supporting the WAP role.
See WDs (wireless distribution service). Basically, it lets a wireless router, or wireless access point simultaneously act as an access point and a wireless bridge. Some potential problems are that all the access points in the system have to support WDS protocol and that your maximum throughput will be cut at least in half. Also, some hardware combinations will NOT work with WPA or WPA2 encryption, and will only function with insecure WEP.
Read all about WDS and see if resembles whatever you're trying to accomplish:
Nice illustration. It's easy. The "wireless client device" is actually called a "wireless ethernet client bridge" or "wireless workgroup adapter". You can plug a limited number of wired clients (and printers) into the "wireless ethernet client bridge" and they will all connect. You may need to add a 4 or 5 port ethernet switch as some of these only have a single RJ45 connector.
There's a slightly old list of suitable clients, and which ones will handle multiple MAC addresses in the FAQ at:
My favorite is the Buffalo WLI-TX4-G54HP which I think has been designated as obsolete. Oh well.
I've also been playing with a Netgear WGPS606 print server:
Although it's intended to be used as a print server, it can also act as a "wireless ethernet client bridge". However, I haven't tested it with multiple computers yet.
Tnx. What I should have included was that the "wireless client device" is soley to provide connectivity to/from the second wired segment, and the pictured laptop will ONLY connect wirelessly via the Billion. (The second segment is in a detached building).
that addresses the client device. The main thrust was regarding the Billion 5200G acting as a dual role device - WAP and ?bridge. I can't seem to extract from the user manual whether it can or can't, and looking in there for the term WDS hasn't helped.
Yep. That's what a "workgroup bridge" or "wireless ethernet client bridge" does. Unfortunately, there are many different types of bridging, with considerable overlap, which is an open invitation to confusion. I tried to organize the types as in:
One limiting factor is the maximum number of MAC addresses can the bridge pass (as limited by the size of the MAC address to port table). The choices are: 1 Client or game adapter 4-16 Workgroup bridge 254 Typical cheapo wireless router playing bridge 2024+ Cisco, 3Com, etc commercial wireless bridges. If you were trying to bridge two large networks together, and was running multiple layers of security that included MAC address authentication, then you would need a "transparent bridge". However, for just connecting a few workstations to a wireless router, anything will work. The problem is that at the bottom end, few of the manufacturers bother to specify how many MAC addresses they can bridge. Some wireless game adapters hint (but don't specify) that they will bridge only one machine, but in reality can do many more. That's so the vendors can sell more wireless game adapters, instead of a much cheaper ethernet switch.
The Non-Transparent bridging implemented in some wireless client adapters results in multiple IP's sharing a single MAC address resulting in something called "client bridging". This is what you'll probably end up using:
See the 3rd article from the top for the ARP table showing multiple IP's on a single MAC address.
As I previously mentioned, some configurations will not work with WPA/WPA2 encryption and will work only with WEP. I know DD-WRT v24 Pre-SP2 firmware works with WPA-TKIP-PSK. WPA2 should also work, but I haven't really tried it. (Please ignore the non-working comment at bottom. It's for v23, not v24).
The problem here is that many vendors and reviewers never bother to specify or even test for client bridging features and functions. For example, Dlink DWL-2100AP had a perfectly good working client mode, that was broken in various firmware updates. The only way you can be sure is to borrow a unit and test it.
No WDS involved, although it can be used with your topology. The main advantage is that you could connect via wireless to *EITHER* the Billion or the added WDS device. However, the Billion apparently does NOT support WDS, so unless you plan to replace it, don't bother with WDS. Your wireless router remains unchanged with client mode bridging.
As DanS mentioned, 802.11 wireless is *ALL* bridging as everything is done at the MAC address layer. No IP addresses involved except to configure and manage the device. If you replaced a wired ethernet switch with a wireless transparent bridge system, you could not tell the difference between wired and wireless with any common application. (Yeah, I know you can measure latency, full/half duplex, ARP table oddities with client mode bridging, etc).