DD-WRT Tutorial 5: Wireless Repeater - Page 2

By Aaron Weiss

January 19, 2007

At this point, you have essentially set up the DD-WRT router in wireless client mode. Your PC that is wired to the router should be able to access the Internet, assuming that the host router can.

The next step is to enable the DD-WRT router to behave as a wireless AP in addition to being a wireless client. That’s why they call it a repeater, mmmkay?

To perform this trick, you will create a Virtual Interface. This will behave as a software AP, broadcasting its own SSID and bridging external wireless clients to the router, which is itself a wireless client to the host router in this configuration.

Click the Add button and the page will refresh again, with new fields for configuring the Virtual Interface.

Fill in Wireless Network Name (SSID) with the name you want for the repeated wireless network. For best results, this should be different from the SSID for the host router. You will see this SSID available when your wireless clients scan for access points.

Leave the remaining fields at their default values as seen here, and be sure to click Save Settings.

Step 5. Click Wireless/Wireless Security. In repeater mode, you need to consider two dimensions of security:

First, is security enabled on the host router that you’re repeating? If yes, you’ll need to configure security on the DD-WRT router’s “physical interface” to match.

Second, do you want security between your repeater and local wireless clients? If so, you’ll need to configure the kind of security you want on the DD-WRT router’s “virtual interface” and, of course, on each individual wireless client that associates with the repeater.

In this example, we’re using WPA2 security to connect to the host router. Obviously, you must enter the correct shared key as configured on the host router.

We’re also using WPA2 security for the repeated signal. Note that on the Virtual Interface, we are choosing a shared key, one which we’ll need to use on each wireless client PC.

In theory, you can select a different security mode for your repeated network (the virtual interface) than you are using with the host router. You could choose to use no security on the host router, and secure only the repeated network; or you could use security only at the host router and none on the repeated network.

Users report varying success mixing and matching security modes, most likely due to DD-WRT V24 still being a maturing beta.

Ideally, you should initially set up your repeater with no security for either interface. This assumes that you have administrative access to your host router if it is currently secured. Once the repeater is verified as working, add each layer of security separately to best pinpoint any problems.

Step 6. Scan for a host router as an alternative to manually entering its SSID in Step 4.

Click on Status/Wireless and scroll to the very bottom of the page. There you can click on Site Survey, which will pop up a window showing available wireless networks.

In this example, the DD-WRT router detects one network with SSID bordella available. The router is open (no security), so to repeat it, simply click “Join” to create the association.

Troubleshooting

If you can’t seem to access the Internet from a client connected to the repeater, first check that the repeater is successfully connected to the host router.

Click Status/Router and scroll to the bottom of the page. There you will see a summary of the DD-WRT router’s WAN connection – has it received an IP address, DNS and gateway from the host router? If the IP is 0.0.0.0, it has not, and your client connection between the DD-WRT router and host router is not working.

Some people find it helpful to configure the DD-WRT as a simple wireless client first, before setting it up as a repeater. You can configure DD-WRT as a client on the Wireless/Basic page. As a client, you do not have a virtual interface, since the client can only share the host router through wired connections.

If client mode does not work, be sure to check the security arrangement between the host router and the DD-WRT router. Once client mode works with a wired PC, you can then change DD-WRT from “client” to “repeater” and add the virtual interface.

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