DD-WRT Tutorial 2: Extend Range with WDS - Page 2

By Aaron Weiss

August 25, 2006

Step 3: Disable the Internet connection on Router 2 only. Click Setup/Basic Setup and under Internet Setup, set the Connection Type to "Disable."


Step 4: Disable the firewall on Router 2 only. You don't need this to be active because your second router is simply passing traffic to your primary router, whose firewall is active by default. Running both firewalls at the same time could cause unreliable behavior. Click Security/Firewall and check Disable beside SPI Firewall. Be sure to click "Save Settings" at the bottom of the page for this to stick.

Step 5: Set the wireless network mode, SSID and channel for both routers. Click Wireless/Basic Settings. Set your Wireless Mode to "AP" for both routers.

Choose a "G-only" network mode only if you do not need to support any B mode clients. Remember that if you choose a mixed or B-only network, you cannot use WPA security with WDS, and therefore must use either WEP security or none at all.

Set the SSID for each router. Remember that if you choose a G-only network and use WPA security, the SSID must be identical for both routers. Otherwise, opt for different SSIDs, as shown here. This ensures I can specify exactly which AP -- upstairs or downstairs -- to connect to.

Set the same wireless channel for both routers -- do not select "Auto." If you choose a G-only network, you must use the non-overlapping channels: 1, 6 or 11 only. If any unrelated wireless networks are nearby, you should choose a channel which doesn't conflict with it.


Step 6: Disable wireless security, even if just temporarily. Best to get your WDS up and running without security first -- fewer factors to troubleshoot. Click Wireless/Wireless Security and choose Security Mode "Disable."


Step 7: Now we can define the WDS associations between both routers. Click Wireless/WDS. This page shows a series of blank entries for WDS relationships.

On router 1, define the relationship with router 2. Select "LAN" from the drop-down menu. Enter the wireless MAC address for router 2, which you saved previously in the "You Need to Know" section. Optionally, enter a label for this WDS association.

On router 2, repeat the same procedure, entering the MAC address for router 1, and a label that is appropriate (or inappropriate -- hey, it's your router).

Be sure to click "Save Settings" at the very bottom of the page.


Fire It Up

Your WDS should be ready to go. As a first test, position both routers near one another so you are certain the signal strength is good. Using a client PC or portable computer, you should be able to associate with either router and access the Internet.

Next, position the second router toward the outer edge of the first router's range. It may take several experiments, moving incrementally farther, to find the best location for the second router. Ideally, it should be close enough to the first router that it receives a strong signal, yet far enough that it extends your wireless coverage appreciably -- which is, after all, the whole point of this WDS network.

When you confirm that your WDS is working, you can revisit enabling wireless security. Be sure to choose the exact same security protocol parameters for both routers. Remember that WDS on the DD-WRT firmware does not currently support WPA2, and only supports WPA in a G-only network.

Some users report problems with port forwarding from their primary router to wireless clients associated with their second router. If you use port forwarding and experience this, try adding your second router to your primary router's DMZ . Click Applications & Gaming/DMZ and enter the IP address of your second router, click Enable and "Save Settings."


And that should do it. Happy repeating.

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