# Monday, 07 February 2005

Some time has passed since I first learned about the Wireless Distribution System protocol (WDS). I continue to be intrigued by the possibilities of the protocol which is the reason for this post. My experience of the area is that people don’t know much about what can be achieved using WDS. Pioneered by Apple and adopted by a few other companies such as Buffalo, Linksys, and D-Link, WDS is the protocol for coupling multiple wireless bridges in a single wireless network, thus extending the range of the network and enabling non-wireless hardware to connect to the wireless network via ethernet.

My interest in WDS was sparked by the purchase of a network DVD player from KISS which turned out to have a rather lacking wireless implementation causing the player to disconnect from the network from time to time, usually when watching a movie streamed across the wireless network. Needless to say that the experience was less than appealing. The quick fix was buying a bridge which handled the wireless network access on behalf of the DVD player.

However my wish was for a more flexible solution which would enable me to connect other buildings in my neighborhood to my network: Enter the Linksys WRT54GS. The Linksys WRT54GS is not WDS enabled by default but that is easily fixed using the Sveasoft Satori firmware. This does not only enable WDS but also a host of other useful features such as Quality of Service which comes in handy for IP telephony.

Now the setup of WDS is a bit complicated so here is a description of how I got it working. I named my routers INTERNET and BRIDGE for easy reference:

General:

1) Download the Sveasoft Satori firmware from LinksysInfo.org. Please note that two versions of the WRT54 exist: The G and GS. Be sure to get the compatible firmware or you will toast your router.

2) Flash both routers with the downloaded firmware using the Administration / Firmware Upgrade.

3) Note the wireless MAC address of both routers which is found in the Status / Wireless menu.

For BOTH routers:

4) In Wireless / Basic Settings set

    • Wireless Mode: AP
    • Wireless Network Mode: Mixed
    • Wireless Network Name: <some SSID>
    • Wireless Channel: <Choose a wireless channel (must be the same on both routers!)>
    • Wireless SSID Broadcast: Enable

5) In Wireless / Security set

    • Security Mode: WEP
    • WEP Key: Generate a key (again this must be the same key on BOTH routers!)

6) In Wireless / MAC Filter

    • Wireless MAC Filter: Disable

7) Advanced Settings set

    • Authentication Type: Auto
    • Basic Rate: Default
    • Transmission Rate: Auto
    • CTS Protection Mode: Disable
    • Frame Burst: Disable
    • Beacon Interval: 100
    • DTM Interval: 1
    • Fragmentation Threshold: 2346
    • RTS Threshold: 2347
    • TX Antenna: Auto
    • RX Antenna: Auto
    • Xmit Power: <set it as high as you dare, I use a value of 72>

On the INTERNET router:

8) In Setup / Basic Setup

    • DHCP Server: Disable
    • Local IP Address: 192.168.1.1
    • Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
    • Gateway: 0.0.0.0

9) In the Wireless / WDS

    • Choose LAN in the drop down list
    • Enter the MAC of the BRIDGE router which you jotted down earlier
    • Lazy WDS: Disable
    • WDS Subnet: Disable

On the BRIDGE router

10) In Basic Setup

    • DHCP Server: Disable
    • Local IP Address: 192.168.1.2
    • Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
    • Gateway: 192.168.1.1

11) In the Wireless / WDS

    • Choose LAN in the drop down list
    • Enter the MAC of the INTERNET router which you jotted down earlier
    • Lazy WDS: Disable
    • WDS Subnet: Disable
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