Linksys E4200 bridge mode

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by balforth, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. balforth

    balforth Occasional Visitor

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    Hi all. I just bought an E4200 and was considering purchasing a second one to use as a bridge. The latest version of firmware boasts a "bridge mode", but after asking over on the Cisco forums, I've been told that doesn't really mean that it becomes a wireless bridge.

    Can anybody here verify that? What else does bridge mode mean? Why would you use a well defined networking term for a functional capability if you really mean something entirely different???

    DD-WRT support for the E4200 seems spotty and doesn't support 5Ghz, so I wanted to stick with the manufacturer's firmware.

    Any other advice on creating a wireless bridge that is capable of connecting at 450Mbps?
     
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  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    I looked at your thread in the Cisco forums (next time, please provide a link to save time).
    The Ver.1.0.02 (Build 13) release notes are technically correct, but they are unclear because it doesn't state what is bridged. I would have written the release notes differently to say something like "added access point mode"....

    There are no 5 GHz three stream bridges yet. Trendnet has announced the TEW-680MB, but it's not shipping until fall.

    They are shipping a dual-band three stream USB adapter, though.

    The NETGEAR WNDR4000 is three-stream N on 5 GHz only, supports WDS bridging/repeating and IPv6.
     
  4. balforth

    balforth Occasional Visitor

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    Thank you sir for the info... sorry about the link (or lack thereof).

    So I guess I might as well go ahead an grab the Netgear router to form my bridge...

    Is there any reason why the routers should be matched, or should I be fine using the E4200 as my main router/wap and the netgear as the bridge? The distance will be very short, so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to keep the bridge at 5Ghz.

    That being said, I can still run a seperate N network on the 2.4Ghz band for other laptops/devices simultaneously, right? Actually, I'll probably have to run mixed mode since I still have a few older devices running G. OR.... should I use one of my old G routers as a G only WAP and run the 2.4Ghz radio on the E4200 as an N only WAP and keep them all on separate channels? There is very little 2.4Ghz traffic where I live. It seems I've heard some people saying that a lot of the current routers suffer in performance running mixed mode.

    Sorry for all the questions! But thanks in advance for sharing your expertise.
     
  5. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    The E4200 does not support WDS. You need products supporting WDS on both ends of the bridge to form one.

    With simultaneous dual-band routers that support WDS on each radio, you can form a bridge with one radio and the other is free for normal AP use. You can also elect to allow traffic on the bridging radio (repeating). But any repeated traffic will suffer a 50% throughput reduction because the single radio must receive, then retransmit.
     
  6. balforth

    balforth Occasional Visitor

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    Ugh. I guess I've taken for granted all these years that I run a client bridge with my Buffalo and Asus routers running Tomato firmware. I was actually hoping to stick with the manufacturer's firmware on whatever piece of hardware I end up with this time as everybody reports they're typically more stable/faster.

    Maybe I'll ditch the bridge altogether, pick up the Trendnet USB adapter for my HTPC for now and revert to the crappy built-in wireless adapter on the on the PS3 ...

    Hardware that is advertised as a bridge -- are those just basically client bridges? That is -- WDS can be vendor/implementation specific; should any generic 450mbps bridge that gets released in the future work with the E4200?

    BTW this site is my new reference for networking info. I've gotten more info here and learned more in a few days than I have over the whole internet in the past couple of weeks. Thanks! :)
     
  7. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    WDS (to me) is a no-standard for WiFi repeaters. IEEE 802.11 doesn't define a means for repeaters, so WDS is an irregular de facto standard with interoperability issues galore.

    This isn't a WiFi client bridge where there's a WiFi client that associates to a WiFi access point (WiFi router or AP), then layer-2 bridges the IP packets to/from WiFi to Ethernet 802.3 (cat5).

    I'd use a WiFi client bridge as a last resort - prefer to use MoCA or HomePlug AV to create a distant ethernet connection without using wireless.
     
  8. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Unfortunately, manufacturers don't always use terms correctly or consistently.

    You need to read the fine print and best case, download the user manual for any "bridge", that you are thinking of buying.

    Bridges that don't use WDS should work with any router.

    These two articles cover the topic pretty well.

    Everything You Need To Know About Wireless Bridging and Repeating - Part 1: WDS

    Everything You Need To Know About Wireless Bridging and Repeating - Part 2: No WDS Required
     
  9. balforth

    balforth Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks again guys....

    I've decided to hang on to the E4200. I'll run both channels on N only. I just ordered a Trendnet USB adapter to connect to my HTPC which I believe is the only 450Mbps adapter I'll have. The 2.4Ghz will be for the multitude of other laptops I have in my house. Finally, I"ll reuse my old Buffalo high power G router for my G network. I'll keep the channels as independent as possible.

    I'll have to test it out and see whether or not sharing my HTPC internet connection to my PS3 brings about better results than just using the awful wireless adapter in the ps3.

    I live in Germany at the moment, but I'll be moving back to the US by the end of the year. These Europeans don't put phone jacks or cable jacks all over the place like we do in the states... hell they hardly even put electrical outlets in the walls, so I can't invest in moca, and I don't want to invest in 220v european home plugs. For now, wireless is my only option. Once I get back to the states, I'll reevaluate. Hopefully when I'm back I'll be able to hardwire my main internet router to my HTPC (which is my biggest concern) and won't have to worry about bridging.

    It'll take me 1-2 weeks to get the new Trendnet USB adapter in. I've never run internal throughput tests on my network -- I will definitely do so before I install the E4200 so I can find out how much of a difference it makes -- then again when the Trendnet comes in. I"ll post back with my results.

    Thanks again to all!
     
  10. trek_520

    trek_520 Regular Contributor

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    So - not to beat a dead horse here, but...

    He could purchase another E4200 and use the "bridging no WDS required" article to make it happen right? Could he then not create a 450Mbs bridge?

    I am perhaps confused on WDS...

    Thanks
     
  11. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    No, he could not. The E4200 does not support bridging, either via WDS or otherwise.
     
  12. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    I can't recall seeing any consumer WiFi product that can do simultaneous client bridging and access point functions. It's hard do do. (where "bridging" is not a WDS repeater)

    I do recall seeing it in Cisco Aironet products.
     
  13. balforth

    balforth Occasional Visitor

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    It's unbelievably simple to do it with other firmwares... Tomato has been great for me. There is a drop down box that lets you select what wireless mode you want:

    [​IMG]

    Too bad the manufacturers don't support it though. It doesn't seem like it should be that difficult to implement.

    @trek_520: I've come to understand that the "bridge mode" that Linksys supports is kind of inverted from the wireless bridge that you and I are thinking of. From what I understand, you can hardwire the 2 routers together and they'll both serve as access points for the same SSID.

    However, if I could run ethernet to the location of my other router that I'm using as a wireless bridge, I wouldn't need the wireless bridge :)
     
  14. D34thbr1ng3r

    D34thbr1ng3r Occasional Visitor

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    so right now there's none wireless dual band range extender to use with the E4200?

    reading above I understand that bridging is different from a wireless repeater like my HWREN1.

    A bridge connect wireless to a router but cannot passthrough the wifi signal? only by ethernet?
     
  15. bwat1108

    bwat1108 New Around Here

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    I couldn't get a second E4200 to work on my network but I was able to integrate a Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H (access point mode).
     
  16. D34thbr1ng3r

    D34thbr1ng3r Occasional Visitor

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    to repeat de signal?
     
  17. bwat1108

    bwat1108 New Around Here

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    Now that I've read over the problem again - the solution I am using is different. I ran an Ethernet cable to my upstairs and was able to connect the Buffalo as an access point. I did not try to use it as a wireless bridge (although I did see instructions for doing so in the release notes).
     
  18. D34thbr1ng3r

    D34thbr1ng3r Occasional Visitor

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    but your new buffalo router is capable of only repeat the wifi 5ghz signal? (not as AP or bridge).
     
  19. bwat1108

    bwat1108 New Around Here

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    Not sure I'm understanding your question so I'll just share my setup with you.

    Provider=Charter
    Main router=Cisco E4200 (192.168.1.1) - DHCP Server
    Upstairs router=WZR-HP-AG300H

    WZR-HP-AG300H was flashed with Buffalo's 'user friendly' software not DD-WRT. Changed its IP to 192.168.1.2. Manually switched to Access Point Mode (DHCP disabled by default).

    SSID and passphrase are the same (both radios) and the two are linked via Cat7.

    Works like a charm. As stated before, there is a write-up in Buffalo's documentation to use the device as a wireless bridge.
     
  20. D34thbr1ng3r

    D34thbr1ng3r Occasional Visitor

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    Is there a repeater mode in the Buffalo? I mean, is there a way to connect both routers only by wireless? and the buffalo keep spreading the wifi signal...
     
  21. Dr Strangelove

    Dr Strangelove Occasional Visitor

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    Using a TP-Link WA730RE Range Extender with a Linksys E4200.
    The WiFi clients only see one SSID which means they attach to the MAC address of the router with the stronger signal. E4200 at one end of the house WA730RE at the other (due to location requirements).

    Works well (not brilliant) with Android smartphone, as mostly you check it and it's switched(reconnected) to the closest/strongest signal router.

    WA730RE is only 2.4GHz 150Mbps 802.11gn.
     

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