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Recommended Wireless Router Settings w/ City-wide Wireless ISP

Posted on 2008-06-19
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Hello Experts,
I am a new subscriber to our cities new wireless ISP. Now I'm the first person to say something like: "Don't jump on something new without a chance for bugs to be worked out..." - but the price per year compared to our cable provider was just too much to look past. I'm having a few small issues that I hope you can help me with.
Q: 2 PCs connect at my house - and the ISP recommends some home router configurations which are not sitting with me right (having a bit of experience in enterprise and home networks). I currently have both of the wireless PC's connecting to the wireless router (DHCP enabled, different channel than wireless modem, etc)  and the connection is good, but could the ISP recommendations be better for me? They recommend this:
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Plug your computer into the wireless router using an Ethernet cable. Do not plug into the "Internet" port.

Turn DHCP off.

Set the LAN IP address to 192.168.30.2 255.255.255.0.

The router needs to be broadcasting on a different wireless channel than the Ruckus uses. We already determined what channel the Ruckus was using in step 3 of the previous section. If the Ruckus is on channel 6, then the router needs to be on a channel other than 6. It's best to set the channel of the router to be far from the channel of the Ruckus. For example, if your Ruckus is on channel 6, then you would want to set the router to either channel 1, 2, 10, or 11.

Create an SSID and turn on a security password. This is very important. We recommend WPA2 for the type encryption if your router supports it. Please consult your router's documentation.

Unplug your computer from the wireless router.

Plug a 20' (or longer) Ethernet cable from the Ruckus into one of the ports on your wireless router. Do not plug it into the "Internet" port of the router.

You can now turn your computer's wireless card back on. You should be able to see the wireless network SSID you created in step 5 in your list of available wireless networks and connect to it. If you followed our suggestion by creating a WPA2 encrypted security password, this is where you'll have to enter it in.
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What I'm confused on a bit, is how 2 computers are going to connect to DHCP? If I'm reading this correctly, my router is basically configured as a switch, and each computer will connect to the ISP DHCP. But with my experience, every time I disconnect/connect a different PC to a modem (through a switch even), the modem must be power-cycled and reset&

Am I missing something maybe? Should I be following their rules for better performance??  

Note: please feel free to be technical with your answers, but I would rather not see posts which read only "Always follow the ISP recommendations." ;-)
Thanks for your time!
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Question by:ottobock
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> Set the LAN IP address to 192.168.30.2 255.255.255.0.

This intruction must be specific to you, or their network would be getting 'IP Conflict' errors from everyone configuring their systems thusly.


> 1, 2, 10, or 11.

Make that 1 or 11.
Channels 2 and 10 both overlap channel 6 on the 2.4GHz ISM band. 1, 6 and 11 are the only non-overlapping channels for WiFi B and G.
When many people start blasting 40MHz-wide 2.4GHz 802.11n channels through neighborhoods, B and G will have only channel 11 to use.

You never mentioned which model of Ruckus you have... (it's not entirely clear that you even have a Ruckus)... is it a MediaFlex? MetroFlex? something else?
Why do those instructions refer to both a router and a Ruckus? Where did the 'router' (not to mention the Ruckus router) come from? i.e... where do either of them get their connection to the Internet?


> What I'm confused on a bit, is how 2 computers are going to connect to DHCP?

Thousands of computers can get IPs from a single DHCP server, depending on the scope of addresses available. Though the only reason I can think of for the provider to want that is so they can keep track of how many real connections there are to the network... otherwise a dozen computers at your house hidden behind a router would appear to be just one connection. In practice I think they'll find out those instructions will cause a lot more broadcast traffic than they're going to want.


> If I'm reading this correctly, my router is basically configured as a switch,

A switch, wired; it's called an access point in wireless terms.


>  and each computer will connect to the ISP DHCP.

They don't ''connect'' so much as shout (to everyone) 'hey! I need an address.' Hence the extra 'broadcast' traffic mentioned above.


> Am I missing something maybe? Should I be following their rules for better performance??

I think we're missing a bit of information to give complete answers. Can you give us a better picture of what your local network looks like now compared to what it will look like after you switch over following those instructions?
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Hello,
Wow - thanks for all of the great information.

The modem is a Rukus MetroFlex 2211-ext, which was supplied by the WISP. The router is my own. Currently, I have this configuration:

[MetroFlex, inbound ch6 from ISP, 192.168.30.1]-----[Linksys wireless router, ch11, 192.168.1.1]
- PC1 and PC2 then connect wirelessly to the Linksys, and are assigned 192.168.1.# from the Linksys DHCP.

You just mentioned a marvelous point which I never thought of:
> "Though the only reason I can think of for the provider to want that is so they can keep track of how many real connections there are to the network..."

I never considered this, and I bet you're right on! My previous cable-highspeed ISP would only allow 1 IP address, which is why I would have to reset the modem every time a different PC was directly connected to the modem (before the router obviously). With this new WISP, I think they allow 2 IP's - which I am not used to, so I never considered it.

I know this will be a bit of speculation on your part, but do you think it will be beneficial to try and configure my Linksys router to match their specs, and hence increase they're network traffic? Do you think there would be really any gain on my end?

Thanks again - and let me know if my network config is still hazy to you in any way. I can easily provide more info!
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by:ottobock
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BTW - I forgot to put a smiley by "and increase their network traffic." :-) I was joking a bit, but I'm still curious if I would benefit at all... Thanks again.
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I don't find the 2211-ext listed on http://ruckuswireless.com - is it mounted outside?  (guessing the 'ext' means it's capable of exterior mounting.)

> My previous cable-highspeed ISP would only allow 1 IP address, which is why I would
> have to reset the modem every time a different PC was directly connected to the modem

Usually that's because they use a MAC-based Access Control List (ACL).


> do you think it will be beneficial to try and configure my Linksys router to match their specs,
> and hence increase they're network traffic?

I think I would leave it just like you have it now:
Ruckus talking to WISP on ch6, with its WAN port connected to the Linksys WAN/Internet port.
Ruckus = 192.168.30.1 / 255.255.255.0 static, DHCP disabled.
Linksys = 192.168.1.1 / 255.255.255.0 static, talking on channel 1 or 11, DHCP server enabled, WPA2-AES.
Allow your devices to get their IP addresses from the Linksys. WZC connects to any channel it finds; if the clients have a more-sophisticated wireless utility, it may require creating/editing a profile to change channels.

If none of your computers has a site monitor function in its wireless utility (usually computers using windows zero config do not have such a utility), you could use a tool like netstumbler 0.4.0 (http://stumbler.net or http://netstumbler.com) to ensure nobody else nearby is using either of those channels. If there are a multiple systems on both channels nearby, consider switching to 802.11a - it has a little less range than 802.11g, but far less interference from other devices using the 5GHz band (and there are a dozen non-overlapping channels even if everyone nearby switched to 11a).


> Do you think there would be really any gain on my end?

Only if you are currently using channel 6 on the Linksys. But you don't need to implement all the other changes to fix that.
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by:ottobock
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Thanks for all of the great technical information, advice, and breakdowns!!! I think I understand much better where I want to go with this network setup. Thanks again!
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