WDS Bridges? New tack

Trying desperately to keep up, and running as fast as I can, herewith two questions, with preamble...

Reading the wikipedia entry on wireless bridges apparently originated by Jeff Lieberman, it appears a WDS bridge may accomplish my objective, which is:

See and select from various wifi APs with my wifi card-enabled laptop using some retransmission device at a higher location to enhance what my laptop could otherwise do by itself if it were in range of said APs.

This device has to be free-standing, no physical connection between my laptop or the APs. Ideally outdoor protected, but that can be worked out. Power can be provided; ideally 12V, but that can be worked out. Whether by my laptop's XP-provided, or the device-provided software, or some other means, my computer must be able to identify and select from various APs, whether of the same manufacture as the bridge or not.

Ideally, said device will have an amp in it to boost the signal, or have the ability to daisychain an amp between the output and the antenna; somewhere between 200 and 1000mw seems common.

I don't want to buy any more non-proven-to-purpose gear. I've got plenty of money and agonizingly more than plenty of time invested in non-productive solutions.

Question 1: Does a WDS bridge accomplish my end?

Question 2: And, if so, what do users of any of those have to recommend as the choice of make and model?



Reply to
Skip Gundlach
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Hi, and thanks for the response. Your English is entirely acceptable :{))

----- Original Message ----- From: "__spc__"

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So, "you" (the v2 connected to the ISP) are the equivalent of one of the APs I might see, and I infer that I'd be seeing the v1, as the "translator" letting my laptop talk (transparently) to your v2 which, if I were close enough, I could do without the v1.(?)

However, I can't see the v2, in the usual location of my laptop. Thus the separate device (your v1) needed. However, restating what you've said in my situation's parameters, the v1 would be my high-mounted item and the v2 would be some AP within range of the v1. If the v1 weren't inherently powerful enough, I could add amplification and antenna improvement.(?) My laptop could see the v1, and v1 could see the v2.

The 64000 dollar question (does anyone remember that show??), I guess, would be if the v1 can see not only your v2, but also other non-linksys APs in your neighborhood (just to introduce a potential problem, as it seems most manufacturers' equipment will cooperate, but not necessarily with someone else'), say, for example, DLink v3, Belkin v4, Senao v5, and others. If it's (only) the same maker or no-go, it doesn't meet the parameters. If it sees several, but can't determine which to associate with, or force-associates with (say) only the strongest, it doesn't meet the parameters. If it has to specify in advance (without having those available shown) a certain SSID/MAC, etc., it doesn't meet the parameters.

I'm not trying to be difficult - just precise, so please forgive me if this comes across in any other way than seeking info. It would thrill me to no end, given where I've been so far, if this were, in fact, the answer.

Thanks for the followup.



Reply to
Skip Gundlach

Various AP's??? Are these your AP's or do they belong to other people and organizations? Never mind the politics, it's the setup that will be a problem. WDS requires that the MAC addresses of all WDS bridges that are participating in this adventure be entered into the WDS configuration page. It's easy enough for you to enter everyone elses MAC address into your WDS bridge. However, convincing the local yaught club to do the same will be difficult (assuming they have WDS compatible hardware).

What methinks you're trying to do is build a range extender from the top of your mast, which I vaguely recall from a previous adventure. Is this correct?

If so, methinks a repeater would be more useful. The real benifit of a WDS bridge is that you can connect both wired and wireless devices to the WDS bridge. You don't need or want the wired device connections, just the wireless. That's an ordinary repeater.

The problem with repeaters is that the protocol for repeater operation was not clearly defined in 802.11b specs. The result is an assortment of proprietary and marginal implimentation. Chances are good that a repeater will work, but only if everything is from the same chipset (not necessarily from the same manufacturer). Any semblence to a crap shoot is strictly coincidental.

Well, permit me to ignore the power problem for now (because my office resembles a train station on Fridays with people coming and going continuously). I can do the calculations if you would like for some number of watts of power necessary to run a solar wi-fi repeater. There are also examples on the web. For example:

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Google for "solar power wi-fi".

To the best of my memory, there's no such switching device that will easily allow to you select a remote access point through a repeater. However, there are a few ugly tricks that come close. If you setup the repeater with an SSID=ANY the repeater will regurgitate literally any SSID. All you need to do is change the SSID on your laptop and it will connect to the remote system with that SSID. Just one big catch. The repeater will repeat packets from literally any radio include plenty that you don't want to hear or deal with. The amount of traffic that is generated can be truely monumental. I was involved in shutting down two such abominations in the downtown area specifically because of all the interference they were creating. Not recommended unless you have good defensive ordinance, a vicious dog, and an attorney on permanent retainer.

It's not bad enough that you want to generate huge amounts of useless traffic. Now you also want to build an alligator (big mouth, small ears)? I suggest you forget about using excessive power until you're certain that you're going to need it. Altitude and antenna gain are far more effective than power because they improve the path in BOTH directions. Alligators only work in one direction.

Money is not a good substitute for engineering. I can't offer anything that's been on the market long enought to be proven. In fact, I can't even guarantee that any of the commodity hardware has been around long enough to be proven. As soon as the product has been proven to be functional and reliable, it gets replaced by a cheaper equivalent, that has to fight the learning curve from scratch. Welcome customer tested product development.

Fast, reliable, cheap. Pick two.

Nope. Inability to enter the MAC address of your WDS bridge in the terminating access point's setup is a problem. Also, no guarantee that the terminating access point is WDS compatible or will work with a random wi-fi repeater.

How much money did you say you wanted to burn...er...spend? If you want quality, then buy Cisco, 3com, Symbol, Intermec, Sonicwall, and other boxes that sell for about $400 and up. However, I don't think any of their products will do what you want. At best, something might be thrown together out of a dual radio access point.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

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