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Wireless Point-to-Point Bridge - How do they work?

Posted on 2006-06-19
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Hello, I am thinking about setting up a wireless Point-to-Point bridge between two houses (The current access point doesn't send the signal far enough) I am a bit confused about how the bridge will work though. I will be using two access points (which I have not purchased yet). One will be plugged in to my existing wired network in one house and the other will be in the other house but will not be plugged in to a wired network, it will just be used for the wireless PC's in that house to connect to.

Will this work? Is a wireless bridge only used to connect two wired networks or can it also be used this way as well?


This is the access point I am planning to use to do this-
http://www.dsl-warehouse.co.uk/product.asp?pr=WAP54G
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Question by:acsell
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Acsell-

You are correct in thinking that bridging is only for connecting wired-network to wired-network, via wireless.  It is not what you are looking for.

The good news is this - the wireless device you have selected does do what you need it to do (if you purchase two of them).

Quoted from the webpage you link:

>3 additional modes
>
>    * Wireless repeating to other WAP54G access points
>   * Point to point wireless bridging
>    * Wireless Ethernet client

The first bullet point is what you are looking to do, sometimes referred to as "WDS".  This takes an existing wireless signal and rebroadcasts it for wireless clients.  

I must caution that if the second wireless device does not get a decent signal, it can not rebroadcast a decent signal.  Therefore make sure you place it in a spot that has good reception, and also you may want to look into the purchase of a different antenna that may boost it's reception.

I would also like you to be aware of the ability to load an opensource operating system onto your linksys that GREATLY expands it's abilities.  It is called WRT and information is available here:  http://wiki.openwrt.org/

One key point of the open firmware is the ability to boost the power to the antennas, as well as adding the WDS ability (last time I checked, I don't know if it was a possibility using Linksys stock f/w).

Best,

Justin
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by:v_karthik
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You can. See if this tutorial helps -

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2002/09/11/wet11.html

If you need more info, just google "wireless point-to-point bridge" and you'll get dozens of links.
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by:2hype
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Your Setup above sounds fine.

http://www.netgear.com/products/details/WG102.php

The WAP54G will work fine for what you are doing.  The setup is pretty straight forward.  I posted the link above because I have found it to be a good AP.  I have used some Dlink Models and some of them seem to be flaky.  You also can create a 108 Mbs connection between your houses.  The model above only gives you 54 Mbs (half the speed).

How far appart are the houses?  Are there lots of trees in the way that could degrade performace.

I would try to put the AP's as high up in the house as can.  The higher up the less obsticals in its way usually.  Replacing the standard attenna with a High gain antenna would also improve your signal quality and strength.  If you decide to purchase external antennas you would have to purchase one for both sides.  Purchase a Directional Antenna.
I purchase mine from http://www.hyperlinktech.com/web/antennas_2400_in.php they have good prices.

Also make sure you set up appropriate security on the AP's so no one can get into your networks.

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by:2hype
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Setting up the wireless bridge is pretty straight forward.  Log onto the Wireless router and select point to point bridge.  Enter the Mac address of the other router it will be connecting to.   Do this on both models and your done.
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by:snerkel
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Don't bother paying a premium for a much higher speed AP, as the distance increases so the speed needs to be reduced to allow a reliable connection, even 54Mbps is unlikely at any sort of distance.
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by:acsell
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Thanks for your comments.

>>  You are correct in thinking that bridging is only for connecting wired-network to wired-network, via wireless.
>>  Your Setup above sounds fine.

I'm a bit confused by these comment though.
Which is it?  : )

>>  How far appart are the houses?

Not very. I'm just getting very poor signal strength. Here is my current setup-
(I have since moved the access point into the house on the right because the signal got too weak. Even with the new 5dbi omni antenna)

http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/2646/wireless0bc.jpg
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by:2hype
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So your houses are right beside each other.

Did you just up the Access Point to a 5dbi antenna?  In order for you clients to see much of a singal strengh you would need to upgrade all the wireless stations to a external anttena.  Which would cost a bit.  If the 1 house's computers are all wireless this is what I would do.

I would put a WAP54G in both windows (1 in each house).  Configure the one in the left houseas the Main Access Point and configure the one in the right house as a Repeater.  You dont need bridge the two connections because all your computers in the house on the right are wireless.  You would only need to create a bridge if you had wired clients you needed to connect to the network.

Now the Repeater in the house on the right will be able to provide a wireless signal to the wireless computers in the house.  There should be good enough signal strenght.

If your AP's are in the window accross for each other with no obstacles in the way, 5 meters is a short distance to have to send the signal.  You should not need to upgrade the Antenna on either Access Point.
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by:acsell
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Thanks NYtechGuy and 2hype. That has made it a lot clearer for me. I will go and buy a couple WAP54G AP's tommorrow.

>>  I would also like you to be aware of the ability to load an opensource operating system onto your linksys

I was just wondering what the risks would be with doing this? For example could it "break" the access point if something went wrong with the upgrade?

>>  Did you just up the Access Point to a 5dbi antenna?

Yes, I was hoping it would make the signal stretch far enough. I might take it back though. It has a sma connector and I think the lynksys AP's use TNC ones so I wouldn't be able to re-use it.
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I wouldnt reccomend upgrading to the open source os unless you are good with wireless Access points and troubleshooting.  As soon as you put that OS on your Linksys it voids any warrenty and Tech Support.
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by:acsell
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Thanks. I bought the AP's today and I've just set them up. It's all working well and signal strengths are quite good.
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by:NYtechGuy
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acsell-

I have been running this OS for quite some time (1+ yr) without incident.  The reason this is possible is because Linksys wrote their OS using GPL code, so they had to release it.  It has then been modified by the open source community.

The only issue with uploading this firmware (or even the Linksys firmware) is "bricking" your router - essentially freezing it.  That is fixed by opening it up and turning a jumper switch "on" and reloading the f/w.  I have never had to do this in MANY firmware uploads, but there are easy instructions to do so.

MOST IMPORTANTLY to you, you are able to boost the transmission power of your AP - from the default unadjustable value of 64 to 253 !  It greatly enhances signal strength!

Here is a company that packages the firmware and makes it a little easier to deal with (for about $20 per year):  Sveasoft - http://sveasoft.com/

If you have questions, please let me know

/Justin
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good to hear.  Did you configure them as repeaters?
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 Thanks for that information NYtechGuy. I heard that linksys had to release their firmware as open source and that it has enabled many features to be added that are normally found in more expensive access points. It makes you wonder why Linksys didn't add these features themselves if the hardware is capable of it.  I may look into experimenting with that in the future (maybe after the waranty runs out) especially now I know that if something goes wrong that it can be un-done but since it seems to be working OK I might leave it alone for a while : )

>>  Did you configure them as repeaters?

Yes, I configured one as a repeater (right house) and the other just as an access point (left house).



I have noticed that the computer in house on the left (bottom left) is getting a low signal (20-30%) for some reason. It might be worth me getting a wireless adapter with a directional antenna for it.
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