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Wireless Bridges?

Our PC network has a mixture of wireless & hard-cabled communication.  It is not easy to extend the cabling to a particular area of our project because it would mean digging up concrete or taking cable at height to the area.  The latter option is impractical because we have HGV vehicles using that area.

I've got a couple of wireless bridges, but can't seem to successfully configure them, yet I've managed with reasonable success to install wireless network cards in PCs and configure them to work with our wireless network.

Any suggestions?  Is there a 'line of sight' type device on the market?  Is there an easy bridge to configure?!?

Many thanks
Ben
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DeenCityFarm
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DeenCityFarm
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1 Solution
 
ElrondCTCommented:
How much distance are you looking to cover? What is the make & model of the wireless bridges you're trying to use?

I've used Linksys's WRE54G Range Expander, which simply repeats a wireless signal. However, that's an 802.11g system. If you need several hundred feet of distance, which it sounds like you might, you'll really need to either use an 802.11n setup or a focused wireless system.

Some prior threads with some possibilities for extended distances:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Networking_Hardware/Wireless/Q_24075220.html
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Networking_Hardware/Wireless/Q_23355532.html
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Misc/Q_20994185.html
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Hi ElrondCT

Thanks for kicking off the help dialogue.

I only need to cover about 40ft from the wireless router (a DLink DSL 2740B).  It's just across a concrete path, but I'd rather do it this way than dig up the concrete.

I've got two bits of hardware, namely a CNet 54Mbps Wireless-G Access Point, CWA-854 and a Wireless Ethernet Bridge 2.4Ghz WET11.  I was hoping that I'd just connect this to a PC, configure it and then basically extend the network over the path and beyond.

Maybe I should conect one of the devices to a PC and try again?  Which would you suggest, if either?

Many thanks.
Ben

PS  If we get this to work, it will make a big difference to where I work (a charity).
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JohnjcesCommented:
Most bridges like to work with same equipment and you also ahve to set the devices, IF AP or other such things, specifically into bridge mode. You will generally have to associate each others MAC address in bridge mode as well.

Do you have any specific bridges in mind? Do you need them to be outdoors? What is your budget?

40 feet is pretty trivial, and most any bridge/AP will work fine for you.

John
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ElrondCTCommented:
Assuming the WET11 is the Linksys model with that number, I see the following guide for setting up a bridge using it:

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

Do you have the WAP working for wireless access on its own (i.e., can a laptop get a signal off it and connect to the network)? You should make sure that's running properly first before setting up the bridge. Once that's in place (which it may be already from your comments), the link above should tell you what you need. If you run into a roadblock, post again.

The page linked above is several years old, so there may be some changes in the WET11's software, but it'll probably be quite similar. Note that the page mentions that the Ethernet port can be either crossover or straight through. I would expect you'll want crossover if you're going to plug a router into it, straight for a single PC. (If you can't get the WET11 to respond to you when you try to plug into it, you may need to do a factory reset; there's probably a recessed button on the back of the device.)
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Hi ElrondCT

Finally had a chance to try this, but not having much luck.  I didn't have a setup disk so I located one on the Linksys website.

The instructions (see http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/support/WET11/download) suggest that I should connect the bridge into our network switch, power-up and then click set up.  It then says that it can't find the Wireless Bridge on our network...  I tried a factory reset without success.  I must be missing something...

I also tried plugging it directly into my PC (which meant disconnecting my PC from the network) but again, no joy.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
Ben

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ElrondCTCommented:
I assume you've tried flipping the X-II switch both ways (that's what sets the Cat5 connection for straight through or crossover).

The Quick Installation manual says that its default IP address is 192.168.1.225. However, that may not be the IP address range that the rest of your network is using, which can cause connection problems. Can you check the IP address of your PC when it's connected to the network? If it doesn't start with 192.168.1, then we need to adjust the bridge's IP address.

You'll need to plug the bridge directly into the PC for that, and you'll probably need to temporarily set a static IP address for the PC; 192.168.1.210 should work well. Set the X-II switch on the bridge to X (crossover). Now you should be able to use the setup program; change the IP address to something that's in the same series (192.168.x.y, where x matches what's used on your network and y is a number that won't conflict with anything else on the network). As soon as you change the IP address, you'll probably lose the connection with your PC, but at that time you can plug it into the router and it should be recognized with the new address. Set the X-II switch back to II, change your PC's IP address back to either dynamic or its network static IP (whatever it had before we messed with it), and you should be in business.

If not, stop back and tell us what happened.
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Have to admit that it's been a struggle to the extent that I removed the security from the wireless router to see if that might get it working, but no joy.

Tried also plugging the bridge directly to my PC and using 192.168.1.225, but it couldn't find it whereas it did find it earlier on!  So I reset it, and still no joy.  I'll try again tomorrow.

I am wondering, however, if it would be easier to have two identical (or almost identical) DLink wireless routers, each with hubs/switches wired to PCs etc. and see if these two can 'bridge' the physical gap I need them to bridge.  Would it be normal for two wireless routers to enable to networks to talk to each other?

Thanks.
Ben
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ElrondCTCommented:
Just to make sure: when you plugged the PC into the bridge, the bridge would have have had IP address 192.168.1.225, and you gave the PC a static IP address of 192.168.1.x, where x is anything other than 225. You set the X-II switch to X (crossover). Did you try a PING 192.168.1.225, and get no response?

While I think I've seen some routers that can work in bridge mode, not all of them do. I think you're going to find it easier(!) to use a device that's specifically intended to work that way. Is your WET-11 newly purchased? If so, I'd suggest calling Linksys's tech support and have them walk you through the installation process. It's always possible there's a problem with the hardware, and they're going to be more familiar with usage of their equipment than I am.
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Hi again

Just to update you that I did have a long conversation with Linksys and sadly didn't get the result we needed.  In case it gives you divine inspiration, to summarise:

I unplug my PC from our network (it is hard-cabled in to the switch) and connect the WET11.  The II-X is on X.  A Browser session (192,168.1.225) can't see the WET11 until I set the PC to a static IP address of anything other than .225, as per your instruction to date with a gateway of 192.168.1.225.

I can then view the settings.  I rename the SSL to "Farm_Dllink", ie the same name as on our wireless network.  I've removed security from the network so that shouldn't interfere.  I can't change the bridge to a DHCP address (it won't accept that change when I click apply).

On the status page, it shows the Farm's wireless network, so I then try to use the bridge to connect to our network or to an internet session, but have no success.

If this doesn't trigger any flashes of inspiration, then please let me know if you can think of any way our wireless network (D-Link - DSL2740B) can connect wirelessly to separate switch and, for example, a couple of PCs connected to that switch by Cat5 cable.

Many thanks.
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ElrondCTCommented:
What is the IP address of your router? Does it start with 192.168.1? Since it's a D-Link router, I would normally expect it to be 192.168.0.n, with n probably 1. If that's the case, can you change the WET11's IP address to 192.168.0.225 (static), or something else in the 192.168.0 series? I'm not sure if that will do anything, since you are seeing the wireless network from the bridge, but it's quite possible that the inconsistent IP addresses are preventing a connection.

An alternative method, if you can't get the WET11 going, would be to get a bridge from D-Link. Their DAP-1522 is intended "to connect multiple wired devices to an existing wireless network." (http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=663) That's what the WET11 is supposed to do as well, but while equipment is supposed to be interoperable between vendors, sometimes it's easier to avoid the fingerpointing games by getting all the equipment from the same maker.
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Here's the update after a frustrating week only some of which was working on this problem!
The WET11 is sitting to one side now and I have a DLink DWL2100 (from memory) and a free one someone kindly sent me DWL800+ (I think).

I've managed to configure both as Wireless AP's (as opposed to choosing the "AP Bridge" option, specifically on the 2100) and both work fine.  Success!  BUT both devices don't currently like connecting to a 5-port switch and properly bridging the network.  My two remaining thoughts are (a) to try a crossover cable or (b) use a simple hub (rather than a switch) and see if that helps.

Any other ideas?  Could it be that neither should be a Wireless AP but something else instead?

Thank you for your patience with me on this one.

Ben
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ElrondCTCommented:
Based on the information I see on DLink's web site, I don't think the DWL800+ can be used as a bridge. Can you try using the DWL2100 in bridge mode and the WET11? I noted that the DWL2100 manual says that it needs to have the MAC address of the other AP that's serving as a bridge (which in this case would be the WET11). Presumably that's a security measure to prevent others from slipping into your network. I don't know if the WET11 has a similar setting.
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
I think I meant DWL 810+ instead of 800.  Both devices are working fine, but the DWL2100 options other than "Wireless AP" but I went for this because that was what D-Link support said when I phoned them and I didn't want to explore other options that would risk losing the current connection.

The problem is that both bridges won't work with a second or third network device which is what I attempt by connecting the bridge to a switch via a patch lead.

I'll try using a crossover cable and I will try changing the type from Wireless AP to something else and let you know.  Will introduce the WET11 too so I have three of the devices at work.

Ben
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ElrondCTCommented:
The DWL-810+ is intended to work with a single Ethernet device like a PC or gaming console, so if you want to connect it to a switch, I think you're correct that you would need a crossover cable. Though the Quick Install Guide suggests using a computer connected to a switch when configuring the DWL-810+, which seems odd. Some equipment, however, can autosense whether it needs straight through or crossover cabling and adjust accordingly. In any case, it's not particularly designed to work as a bridge, so I don't know if that's where your problem is coming from. I'm sorry I can't offer more ideas.
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
I've got both bridges connected to our network now with one device on each.  The devices are network cameras and the frames per second speed is hugely variable.  Will keep playing.

Disappointing that it doesn't seem possible, even with a very modern bridge (ie the DWL 2100) to get something that connects at a decent speed to a switch, etc.

Thanks for doing your best.
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