Extending Range with WDS / extender

Hi all,

My current config consist of four 3COM 3CRW554G72T (A-D below), and A is the base router. They connect to each other by 3Com WDS now, as cabling is not feasible for us.

A B C D X Y _____________________________^_______^ _____________________________| _______| _____________________________V_______ V _____________________________W Z

My office will be extended to a new zone beyond the AP D. By the size of current coverage, I estimate four new AP are required (W-Z). Anyone has experience with such large WDS configuration? Will it have any limitation / trouble for these long chains?

In other ways, I have also try to look for alternate methods. A promising one is the wireless repeater/extender from Linksys(WRE54G) or Belkin(F5D7132). But someone told me that only one could be used per wlan, so I won't be able to setup the config by extender.

Any comments on the repeaters / range extenders? or any other suggestion for my situtation? Thanks


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Repeating/WDS cuts your pipe in half and is nasty.

Run your WAP's as additional WAP's, not as "repeaters".

If you can't run cable, get the data to the WAP's by any other means possible. Put a wireless-ethernet adapter in front of them, run it through the powerlines with ethernet-powerline adapters, whatever it takes...

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Forgive me, but I don't understand your diagram. Do you really have 3 wireless hops between WDS bridge "D" and the router "A"? That's a huge performance hit. Max speed drops by at least 50% for each hop. Normally the various workgroup bridges connect directly via wireless to the central router.

Incidentally, what's the model number of the base router?

Perhaps it would be best if you scribble a drawing, labeling the wired and wireless hops individually, and post the JPG or PDF to some public web site.

Hell yes. They barely work. As I mentioned, max speed drops in half for every hop. A typical "good" wireless connection will connect at 25Mbits/sec. That yields a maximum TCP thruput of about 12Mbit/sec. Add another repeater hop, and your maximum goes down to 6Mbits/sec. Yet another hop is 3Mbits/sec max. If you've only got a

1.5Mbit/sec DSL connection, this may actually work. However my experience indicates that this is the theoretical best case. Reality is far worse. I've given demos of WDS bridges all running in the same room. After about 4 hops, traffic just simply stops and dies from all the packet collisions and retransmissions in the same airspace.

The WRE54G can also operate as a WDS bridge. I think what they meant is that you can't use more than one in the same airspace without seeing excessive collisions and retransmissions. I've used two of these to cover two sides of a building, where both repeaters could see the central wireless router, but could not see each other. That also required some rather exotic sector antennas. I would not recommend such a system for your office application.

Are you *SURE* that CAT5 and other wiring options are not available. Workgroup bridges work well for single hops, but I wouldn't try it for more than one.

I don't know anything about your situation except a diagram that I don't understand and an office application without any data. Some details would be helpful, but offhand, methinks you've already built what amounts to an indoor mesh network, which does not scale very well. Run the wires.


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Jeff Liebermann

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