Wireless repeater

Is there a good non-WDS repeater out there? I tried to add a Dlink DWL-800AP+ to an Ambit 60740EUW wireless cable router with WEP and it didn't work at all. Not sure what the problem was, but it worked with a linksys non-encripted AP.

Any suggestions?



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Stay within a manufacturer's family for routers, APs and repeaters. There are no standards for repeaters, so as you discovered, mixing manufacturers is a low percentage play.

OTOH, I was very sucessful in linking three buildings a half mile apart with no direct line of sight using an offset repeater. All Linksys gear though.

Keep in mind that with a repeater, you are trading range for throughput.

Reply to
Rick Blaine

Hi Rick,

I'd like to stay in the family, but Ambit is kind of an odd-ball wireless router. The trade off for speed is just fine. I guess I'll just keep buying and testing.

Anybody use the Airlink101 AP311w? It claims that it's universal.

Thanks again


Reply to

No. I think they all suck.

I just left todays nightmare installation. Local hotel that has a fairly large "campus". The underground conduit got flooded by the rain, soaking the CAT5, and taking out the wired part of the network. So, someone installed a Linksys WRE54G which actually worked quite for for some (not all) users. The problem was only for users that could see both the repeater and the connected access point. Users that could only see the repeater worked just fine with tolerable thruput. Some creative antenna juggling got most of the users working.

Then came the next problem. The QoS setup in the router had a rule set for the repeater. The result was that the total traffic for the repeater was configured for the same as a single user. The result was terrible thruput through the repeater. I didn't get to fix this because the dingbat that setup the repeater also changed the AP password and immediately left town for vacation. Next week, maybe.

Bottom line: I've never seen a store and forward repeater (including WDS and mesh networks) that work for all clients and under all conditions. Be prepared to do some tinkering. The only ones I've been able to make work reliably are with two radios back to back. One acts as an access point on perhaps channel 1. The other is a client ethernet bridge on Channel 1 and with a different SSID as the connected access point. CAT5 cable between them. Users can select whether they connect to either the main AP or the aformentioned AP. Ugly, messy, complex, expensive, but it works.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

As Jeff said, consumer "repeating" is nasty. It may be ok for just tossing typical internet traffic around, but for WLAN traffic it isn't efficient at all. I used to do WDS until looking at what was really going on with SNMP and wanting better pipes to stream WLAN multimedia traffic.

What I'm doing now achieves the same thing as a "repeater", without being nasty.

Get both a wireless-ethernet bridge and a second AP. Connect the second AP to the wireless-ethernet bridge (connected to the first AP over the air). Use the same SSID as the first AP on the second AP, but on a different channel.

Reply to

You suggested using a bridge attached to another access point.

Does the bridge act just like any other pc type client and gets an ip assigned by the router? If I add another AP, wouldn't it act independant of the original AP and treating the bridge just like a router? Does it matter what the SSID is for the second ap? Is the only IP the original AP sees is the bridge IP address or does it see the ips of both the bridge and destination pc/client?

This seems like a pretty bullet proof configuration unlike the use of a traditional repeater. Am i missing something?



Reply to

"dave" hath wroth:

Yep. It's the only way that's guaranteed to work under all conditions.

A bit of basics first. *ALL* 802.11 wireless is layer 2 bridging. There is no layer 3 routing involved. The IP addresses of the bridge and router boxes are used exclusively for configuration and are not involved in actual operation. Normally, both devices have static IP's that are pre-assigned during configuration.

I don't understand the question. Putting bridge and an access point in series does not create a router.

Sorta. The SSID of the bridge and the AP can be the same and it will function. However, this creates the situation I previously mentioned, where the wireless client (i.e. user) has no way to distinguish between connecting to the main AP or the new AP. I therefore suggest using two different SSID's.

None of the above. The main AP doesn't see any IP's as it's a bridge, not a router. It sees only MAC addresses.

If there's a router in the same box as the main AP, then it only sees the client IP addresses. The bridge and the 2nd AP are transparent to IP's and only care about MAC addresses.

Yeah, a few details. They should be on widely spaced channels. ch 1 and ch 11 will work. Also make some effort to isolate the antennas from each other. Even if they are on different channels, there's enough crud at the fringes of the spectra to spray garbage all over the 2.4GHz band. You might need an ethernet crossover cable depending on your selection of hardware. Some wireless bridge radios only pass one MAC address. See list at:

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Here you seem to regard an AP a bridge, which it isn't. However, amongst other functions, an AP bridges.

This is correct.

This is strange.

Here you _are_ regarding a bridge as an AP, which it isn't:

The F5D7330 (802.11b/g) is one bridge/gaming adapter mentioned on this link and I happen to be using one at the moment as an adapter so I wanted to check up on whether it could handle more that one computer - designated as "multi" (MAC addresses?) on the above link. There's no mention of it being able to do so from the information on the link.

I connected the cable from the F5D7330 to a hubs uplink port and from two other ports in the hub I ran cables to two computers.

The F5D7330 is associated with a TEW-510APB AP (802.11a/b/g) on the ISM (2.4 GHz) band. This TEW-510APB is again connected to a (NAT) router which in turn is connected to an ADSL modem connected to the internet.

Of course both computers got ip-addresses from the routers DHCP server and surfed the web.

To summerise: a bridge/gaming adapter doesn't care about the connected computers MAC addresses. It just passes packets along, like a cable.

BTW. Merry Christmas.

Reply to
Axel Hammerschmidt

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Axel Hammerschmidt) hath wroth:

Correct. An access point is a bridge. So is a ethernet wireless client adapter, game adapter, and every single last lousy piece of hardware that has 802.11 or Wi-Fi inscribed on it. Bridging is a layer 2 function which works on MAC addresses, not IP addresses. The IP addresses are not visible on 802.11 packet captures and are encapsulated along with the data inside the 802.11 packets.

I can supply chapter and verse if you want to debate the point.

Incidentally, I tried to organize the wireless bridge muddle with:

It's not perfect but it's close. The probem is that various manufactories and have used the term "bridge" to also mean ethernet client adapter. This is correct, but a bit like calling a pickup truck an automobile. Yes, a pickup truck is an automobile, but the description is insufficient if only the term automobile is used.

How is an AP NOT a wireless bridge? It does bridging. It connects to networks on either side of the bridge at layer 2 (MAC layer). Packets only cross the bridge if the destination MAC address is on the other side of the bridge. If it acts like a bridge, works like a bridge, functions like a bridge, perhaps it might be considered a bridge?

John Navas didn't test all of the items mentioned.

Wrong. It should only pass packets with a destination MAC address on the other side of the bridge. That's called bridging. It does NOT pass all packets. If it did, it would be polluted by all kinds of junk LAN traffic. For example, take the aformentioned setup and copy some big files between the two connected computers. The hub should insure that all the packets appear at the ethernet port of the F5D7330. Does the log file and monitor in the F5D7330 or TEW-510APB show that it has repeated all the taffic between the two computers? Probably not. The F3D7330 bridge should just sit there doing nothing as none of the traffic has a destination address across the bridge.

Bah Humbug.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann


Thanks for all the information. It's making things a little clearer for this clouded mind.

Been to Santa Cruz, it's a little piece of heaven on earth. Slept on the beach by the lighthouse back in the 70's.

Have a great holiday.


Reply to

Please do (try to).

Access points can perform the wireless-to-wired bridging function. However, access points perform a number of other functions in the distribution system together with the backbone system, like keeping track of stations and buffering packets to help stations save power.

That link is just plain confusing. I wish you (and others) would use

802.11 terms.

Say when two stations, associated with the same access point send packets to each other. The access point is part of the distribution system.

Correct (only cross the bridge if...).

Not it's an access point.

If only he to would use 802.11 terms. In the Wireless_Ethernet_Bridges part he uses something called "multi" (MAC addressing?) and by the looks of it, he is really talking about repeaters and not bridges/gaming adapters.

Hej! The only packets the bridge/gaming adapter passes are packets passed from/to cable. As soon as the packets hit the cable it's 802.3 (or 802.5) and not 802.11. A bridge/gaming adapter is not an access point.

It passes all 802.11 packets addressed to the bridge/gaming adapters MAC. No junk there.

Those are 802.3 (or 802.5) packets. Where should the wireless "bridge" come in?

No X-mas presents this year?

Reply to
Axel Hammerschmidt

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Axel Hammerschmidt) hath wroth:

What you're saying is that an access point is not a bridge because an access point does many other functions. I'll agree with that, but please note that the bridging function is still running inside the access point despite these other features. If you remove the non-802.11 features sometimes found in access points (MAC filters, DHCP server, performance enhancements), you end up with a very simple wireless bridge, that bridges 802.3 ethernet packets between two ports. More simply, you can't take the bridging feature out of an access point and still be able to call it an access point.

Sure. Management functions are a good thing. However, what the access point is doing under all this is bridging.

No way. I use commercial terms. If you have an objection to their use, please ask the marketing departments of the various wireless manufactories to change. Also, I suspect nobody would understand what I was explaining if I used the terms in the IEEE documents. My answers and explanations are not specifically for your sole benefit.

I agree that my link is confusing. I did the best I could to untangle the misuse of the term bridge and to distinguish the various types of wireless bridges. If you find an error or omission, you are welcome to login and make changes (as long as they are not vandalism). I see a few places where I could have been clearer and one omission.

I don't see "distribution system" in any of the IEEE docs. I also don't see it in any of the commercial offerings. WDS is close, but obviously not involved here. What exactly is a "distribution system" and how is it not wireless bridging (point to point or point to multipoint)? As far as I'm concerned it's *ALL* bridging.

Then what is it? Forget about "distribution system". That's far too vague to be useful.

Ask him. You might actually get your wish, but I doubt it.

Read the heading above that section. It's just a flag to indicate that the wireless ethernet bridge device will pass more than one MAC address. If you have a better way to identify this feature, I'm listening.

"from/to cable" means what? The 802.3 packets have a source and destination MAC address in the header. The wireless bridge decides if it should pass those packets. If the 802.3 ethernet packet does NOT have a destination MAC address across the bridge, the wireless bridge does nothing. If the destination address is across the bridge, the wireless bridge encapsulates the 802.3 packets into 802.11 packets, passes them across to the other end of the bridge, which reverses the process. This is called bridging. Where in the header do you find "from/to cable" or whatever you're mumbling about?

Correct. It passes all 802.11 packets. It does NOT pass all 802.3 ethernet packets. Only those 802.3 packets with destination MAC addresses that are across the bridge are encapsulated into 802.11 packets and transmitted.

However, that's for just a point to point bridge. In a point to multipoint bridging system (also known as a switch), each wireless bridge also has a MAC address. 802.11 multipoint bridging uses the same mechanism as 802.3 bridging. Only the destination 802.11 bridge with the destination MAC addresses decodes the packet and de-encapsulates it into an 802.3 packet. The other wireless bridges hear all the 802.11 packets, but only the destination decodes it.

Sorry, I wasn't specific enough. Take your ethernet hub. Plug in two ethernet connected computers. Connect a wireless client adapter to the hub. Setup a wireless connection to your access point or wireless router and eventually to the internet. Verify that both computers can talk to the internet and to each other. Now, copy a mess of files between the two computers. The wireless client adapter ethernet port will see all this traffic. Note that the traffic does NOT cross the wireless bridge to the access point or wireless router.

X-Mass: No present.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Suit yourself.

WDS _is_ a (wireless) distribution system. So is a wired network with

802.11 access points.

No. Just look at the muddle about wireless bridge types and repeaters on the Wiki.

So do I. And confusion will continue to reign there.

The F5D7330 (amongst others) is there.

The F5D7330 bridge/game adapter is connected by a cable to the X-box's/computer's ethernet port and "from/to cable" is trafik between bridge/game adapter and the X-box/computer on cable. The wireless bridge/gaming adapter does not decide anything, it just passes all packets.

Why would a wireless adapter, that is supposed to connect to only _one_ RJ45 jack and give say an X-box a wireless connection to an access point be concerned about MAC addresses?

Which is all packets that the bridge/game adapter receives.

Now you are talking about WDS (a distribution system) and repeaters/extenders.

Have you actually tried this with a bridge/game adapter, like the F5D7330?

I did and the activity light i the F5D7330 indicated that the bridge/gaming adapter was also (along with the hub) sending packets.

However, there was no activity in the light on the access point. This could be/probably is because the light there flashes when the access point (part of the destribution system) is sending packets down the wire to the switch in the router.

What is probably happening, is that the access point receives the wireless packet from the F5D7330, unencrypts (we are using WPA-TKIP) and strips the 802.11 encapsulations from the packet and after examining the

802.3 packet, drops the packet because the 802.3 MAC address doesn't match any station known to the access point (the access point doing the distribution system bit). Therefor, no activity in the light.

Bad Santa.

Reply to
Axel Hammerschmidt

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Axel Hammerschmidt) hath wroth:

I know it's a muddle. That's why I wrote it. I can't repair what a dozen companies marketing departments have abused for years.

What exactly is a "distribution system" and how is it not wireless bridging (point to point or point to multipoint)? As far as I'm concerned it's *ALL* bridging.

Amazing. So your Belkin F5D7330 passes *ALL* the traffic it sees on the ethernet port? None of my client bridges work that way. If that were true, it would be more like a wireless "hub" (what the RFC's call a repeater). What goes in one port, comes out the others. The wireless side of the system would be saturated with useless packets with no useful destination. The authors of IEEE 802.11 are not stupid. They made 802.11 a bridging function that's quite a bit smarter about what gets transmitted. The wireless transmitter only belches data if there's a destination MAC address in the packet on the other side of the bridge.

So it know what to send across the bridge. That's how an ethernet and how a wireless bridge works. I'll make it simple for you. If you setup your access point and your client bridge, and hide them inside a closed black box exposing only the ethernet ports, the black box would have 2 ethernet ports and act EXACTLY like an ethernet bridge (also known as a 2 port ethernet switch).

Nope. Not all packets. See definition of ethernet bridge.

No, you are. WDS has nothing to do with what I'm trying to hammer into your thick skull.

Of course. Literally hundreds of times. In a past consulting job, I was very concerned about encapsulation and traffic efficiency. If it didn't work that way, I would have had a big problem.

My desktop is temporarily connected to my network with a wireless client bridge (DLink DWL-900AP+ ver B1). I'm setting it up for a neighbor. I just stuck a 10baseT hub in between my desktop and the DWL-900AP+ so I can plug in my laptop. I just copied a mess of MP3's between the two machines. I'm also running continuous IPerf speed tests to see if QoS works. (It doesn't). There is very little traffic on the wireless link. It's mostly the SNMP monitor traffic on the WRT54GS v4 (new router), which shows only a few DNS lookups and hardly any other traffic. Certainly not the 600MBytes of MP3's I just copied.

Try the traffic monitor on your router instead. It won't show much traffic. I think (not sure) that the activity light on the Belkin F5D7330 bridge will show any packet that hits the ethernet port. That's going to happen with the hub you're using. If you replace it with an ethernet switch, you'll see much less flashing lights because none of the local traffic has a destination across the wireless bridge.

Yes, that's probably correct. Does the access point have an IP traffic counter? Better yet, does it do SNMP which will certainly have traffic counters (in and out).

Nope. See my explanation. The important point is that the wireless bridge (i.e. transmitter/receiver) does not pass anything unless it has a destination MAC address on the other end of the wireless link.

I'm not Santa. I'm Jewish.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

The DS (and WDS) in 802.11 is the set of services that connects access points together, that keeps track of which station is associated with which access point and for delivering frames appropriately.

Why is this amazing? A PCI or PCMCIA wirelse adapter does the same; pass all traffic. A bridge/gaming adapter (like the F5D7330) is just a wireless adapter that connects to an ethernet port.

(Just a thought. I wonder if it were possible to simulate something like this with Windows internet connection sharing on a PC? On a PC with both an ethernet- and wireless adapter)

In this case the traffic on the hub (half duplex, 3 ports in use) is transmitting packets at less than 3 Mbps to the F5D7330. The F5D7330 (and the TEW-510APB access point) is 802.11g and capable of 5 to 10 times this rate.

However, this is something one should certainly be aware of as fare as performance is concerned when considering using a bridge/gaming adapter like the F5D7330 to connect LANs.

A bridge/gaming adapter doesn't have to know what to send, because it resends every packet it receives on the cable on to the associated access point. Just like a PCI/PCMCIA card does.

formatting link
: Some bridges re-transmit every packet on the opposite port whether or : not the packet is heading to a station located on the opposite : network.

There is also a link to "Wireless LAN Distribution Systems" and farther down the page there is a section about "Bridges vs. Access Points".

Yes, because WDS and DS are all about MAC addresses.

formatting link
The DLink DWL-900AP+ ver B1 is a repeater! WDS and all that (keeps track of MAC addresses).

The traffic never reaches the router. The AP drops all frames, because they are (MAC) addressed (802.3) to the other computer connected to the hub.

It may have some sort of SNMP capability. I'll check up on that.

Which is precisely what the F5D7330 has; the MAC address of the AP to which it is associated. The only MAC address it knows about on the wireless link.

Santa Crus.

Reply to
Axel Hammerschmidt

I know this has been beaten to death, but one more question. The AMBIT wireless router only has 4 IP's available due to the way time warner configures the box. I'm running out of IP space due to print server and a few pc's being used.

If I use a wireless bridge with just an AP attached to it, then the Ambit wireless router will assign the pc client which is listening to the AP an ip. If I have two pc clients listening to the AP, then the Ambit wireless router will assign two ips.

If I replace the AP with another wireless router then I should be allowed to use multiple pc clients which are now talking to the wireless router which is attached to the bridge. The new wireless router will get an ip assigned by the Ambit wireless router and only one ip will be used at the Ambit wireless router. I should be able to attach as many clients to the second wireless router as ip's allowed and the clients will use the ip's assigned by the new router.

Am I correct in my assumptions.



Reply to

On Sun, 24 Dec 2006 17:43:44 -0800, Jeff Liebermann wrote in :

Correct. I based my assessment on information I deemed to be reliable.

Strictly speaking, a bridge _filters_ packets based on MAC addresses and ports (network topology). Low end bridges are generally limited in the number of MAC addresses they can handle at a given time, although they can in theory recycle remembered MAC addresses.

Reply to
John Navas

On Mon, 25 Dec 2006 15:44:40 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Axel Hammerschmidt) wrote in :

I use terms that I think are most meaningful to the intended audience.

Not true. Read more carefully, especially the first two items in "Wireless Bridge Types" and the Note under "Wireless Ethernet Bridges".

Reply to
John Navas

On Tue, 26 Dec 2006 15:34:37 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Axel Hammerschmidt) wrote in :

Mindlessly passing all traffic (instead of true bridging) would be a horrible abomination!

Those are adapters, not bridges, and that's what they are supposed to do. A network bridge is an entirely different animal.

Only if it's a client adapter, not a network bridge. But see :

802.11g Wireless ETHERNET BRIDGE [emphasis added]

The term "bridge" is used nearly 100 times in that document.

Windows ICS is routing, not bridging. Network Bridging is a separate Windows feature.

Irrelevant. It may be sharing that wireless bandwidth with many other devices.

You think? Or do you have something (anything) to back that up?

Reply to
John Navas

On 21 Dec 2006 16:29:54 -0800, "dave" wrote in :

There is no such thing in a literal sense. At most it's more "universal" than some others.

Reply to
John Navas

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