Setting up a wireless bridge

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by sealrock, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. sealrock

    sealrock New Around Here

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    This site is a fantastic resource, and I have learned a lot by reading the articles and reviews, but I don't feel 100% confident setting up this bridge and wanted to check.

    My 30 Mbps SMC cable modem/router is on the wrong wall in my 2-person office. All I need is a simple wireless bridge from the SMC to the LAN. I managed to set up a bridge using a pair of WRT54G's with the one on the LAN side using Tomato, but the speed isn't there - the most I get is about 10 Mbps to the Internet.

    I have ordered a couple of TP-Link TL-WR702N's to replace the WRT54G's. I think what I need to do to setup the bridge is:

    1. Configure the WAN unit in Access Point mode with a static IP outside the SMC's DHCP range.
    2. Configure the LAN unit in Client mode with another static IP, with the WAN unit's SSID as its gateway.
    3. Configure security on both units
    4. Connect the WAN unit to an Ethernet port on the SMC.
    5. Connect the LAN unit to the LAN switch.

    I have some questions and I hope the experts here don't mind my asking:

    1. Is that right? It seems odd to not be using "Bridge" mode for a bridge, but I don't need wireless repeating, which seems to be the purpose of "Bridge" mode.
    2. Should performance be adequate for my 30Mbps Internet connection? The units will be less than 15 feet apart.
    3. How will the orientation of the TP-Link units affect their signal strength? Can I stick them to the wall, or do they need to stand upright?
    4. Would I get better performance for the occasional wireless client by adding a higher-spec AP attached to the LAN switch?
    5. What is the best way to avoid interference? There are 14 wireless networks in range of my Samsung netbook!

    Thanks!
     
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  3. sealrock

    sealrock New Around Here

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    Well, 76 views and no replies. I guess that's what I get for working on my network during holiday season.

    The TP-Link units arrived so I went ahead and gave it a try.

    The TP-Link routers are a bit glitchy in accessing the setup screens but everything was pretty straightforward. The bridge works perfectly for accessing my high-speed Internet connection from the LAN, which is its primary purpose. I measured just under 82 Mbps doing a file copy from the WAN side to the LAN side with a wired connection to the SMC, so there's plenty of headroom for my 30 Mbps connection, at least on a quiet Sunday. Pretty good at under $20 each, including tax and shipping!

    The downside is that wireless clients connected to the access point can see and manipulate (rename etc.) resources in shared folders on the LAN side, but trying to copy a file to the LAN via a wireless connection results in errors. I set one of my WRT54G's up as an access point (using Tomato) on the LAN side and it works fine, albeit slowly. I suppose I will replace that with an N router at some point.
     
  4. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    Not clear what you're doing.. but
    Why not just put a WiFi client USB device on the PC that's 20 ft from the WiFi router?
    $10.

    The bridge scenario: just one new box: a WiFi client bridge. Produces an ethernet connection (or connections) for PCs.

    Or avoid WiFi and use a pair of HomePlug devices to move the IP over the AC power wiring.

    All this assumes you just cannot get a cat5 cable for that 20'. Even a flat cable under the carpet or some such.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  5. sealrock

    sealrock New Around Here

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    Thanks for responding, Steve. I guess I could have made clearer that I have multiple PC's, and a WHS on the LAN side.

    The carpet is a professional install that cost me $3k so I don't want to risk messing it up. It's a rented office so I can't run wires through the floor or ceiling. I had a wire running through a rubber cable protector but my wife/business partner kept tripping on it. Thus the need for wireless.

    I needed two new boxes because I wasn't getting enough speed from the two WRT54G's.

    It's working well so far, and at less than $40 for both routers the cost is less than getting a pro to pull a cable. Fingers crossed but I think I'm in business.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  6. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Very Senior Member

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    Are you certain that you need a bridge - any decent router/AP should be able to provide connectivity across two spaces/rooms - might have to hunt to find a decent channel - use iSSIDer or similar to find a decent channel.
     
  7. sealrock

    sealrock New Around Here

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    Read the OP or my most recent post for why I need a bridge. It's to connect my wired LAN to a high speed Internet connection in an inconvenient location.
     
  8. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Very Senior Member

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    That's cool - those little TP-Links you mentioned aren't going to do much for you... marginally faster perhaps than the WRT54G's, but likely not.

    I would get a decent AP and a dedicated bridge - Buffalo makes a couple that work extremely well - both are dual-band, so you could probably get away with moving things up into the 5GHz band to minimize interference.

    Suggested AP - WZR-600DHP

    Suggested Bridge - WLI-TX4-AG300N

    http://www.buffalotech.com/products/wireless

    They're sold on Amazon and other fine online retailers...
     
  9. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    how 'bout HomePlug?

    Can you get the Cable company at their cost to move the coax for the cable modem to the other side of the room?

    IMO: avoid WiFi for immobile heavily used PCs and NASes.
     
  10. sealrock

    sealrock New Around Here

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    Thanks for your suggestion. I'll check out the Buffalo when I decide to upgrade my wireless AP.

    The TP-Links are stable so far, and in my experience much better than marginally faster than the WRT54G's. A 686+MB file copy took over 6 minutes over the WRT54G's, and just over a minute on the TP-Links. So nearly six times faster. Unless interference or stability become problems I think I'm set. I like having the bridge on dedicated hardware, if there's an issue I can replace it with a cable until it's fixed without affecting my wireless clients.

    HomePlug looks cool but costly. I paid $17.99 for each of my two routers; HomePlug looks like about $50 per connection. Worth it if that's what it costs for the performance and reliability you need, but I see no reason to spend more if these little TP-Links do the job.

    Moving the coax would have been the best solution, but the cable company wanted big bucks.

    Agreed on connecting big immobile things with wires. The nice thing is, all my big immobile things can talk to each other through the gigabit switch; it's only their internet connection that goes through the air. Since that maxes out at 30Mbps, and I'm getting about 80 through the TP-Links, I don't think I'm losing anything by not over-buying. If it doesn't work out in the long run, one of the TP-Links will make a fine travel router and I might use the other at home. But so far, so good (~24h uptime).
     

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