WDS Linked router network

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# Set up your WDS routers as you wish # Set up your WDS routers as you wish
# Turn off the AP function using the following commands in the shell # Turn off the AP function using the following commands in the shell
-##nvram set wl0_mode=wds+<pre>nvram set wl0_mode=wds
-##nvram commit+nvram commit
-#After it reboots you'll have a WDS bridge which doesn't allow wireless clients. +#After it reboots you'll have a WDS bridge which doesn't allow wireless clients.
==Setting up WDS between a DD-WRT router and an Apple Airport Express== ==Setting up WDS between a DD-WRT router and an Apple Airport Express==

Revision as of 19:16, 8 August 2006



WDS (Wireless Distribution Service) creates a wireless backbone link between multiple access points that are part of the same wireless network. This allows a wireless network to be expanded using multiple access points without the need for a wired backbone to link them, as is traditionally required. The WDS-enabled access points can accept wireless clients (e.g. wireless laptop users) just as traditional APs would. There is no free lunch, however: WDS consumes wireless bandwidth normally available to wireless clients.

Additional background information is available at Wikipedia's WDS entry.

Current Status for DD-WRT

DD-WRT v22: R2 seems to be working well.

DD-WRT v23: Works with WEP and WPA. WPA2 is not supported, see [1]. WDS+WPA/WPA2 is known to fail after a firmware upgrade if a hard reset is not performed after the upgrade (a recommended procedure anyway).

Confirmed Working Products

  • Apple Airport Express
  • Belkin F5D7130 Wireless Range Extender/Access Point
  • Belkin F5D7230-4 802.11g Wireless DSL/Cable Gateway Router
  • Belkin F5D7231-4
  • Buffalo WBR2-G54
  • Buffalo WHR-HP-G54
  • CompUSA SKU#333628 54Mbps Wireless Broadband Router (aka Edimax br-6204WG)

To upgrade this to the newest edimax BR-6204Wg firmware go to http://www.edimax.com.tw/html/english/frames/b-download.htm

  • CompuShack SWA-103 (Waveline Micro AccessPoint) Repeater Mode
  • Comtrend 536+
  • D-link 2000AP+
  • D-link DGL-4300
  • Fujitsu Siemens AP-600RP
  • Linksys WRE54G Wireless Range Expander
  • Netgear WG602 v3 Repeater Mode
  • Siemens Gigaset Repeater
  • Sinus 154 Basic SE
  • Sinus 1054 DSL
  • USRobotics 5450 (AP Client mode)
  • Billion BiPAC 7402VGO
  • Billion BiPAC 7402VGP


Standard terminology for a two router setup:

  • The client router is the router which does not have an internet connection.
  • The host router is the router which does have the internet connection and is going to share it with other routers.

Two or more WRT54G / WRT54GS boxes


  1. Save the configuration on both routers: Administration -> Backup. Click "Backup" button and follow prompts so save nvram backup files, i.e. nvram_host.bin, and nvram_client.bin. The configurations can be restored if the setup doesn't work out and you need to quickly get back to a different (working) configuration.
  2. Reset both routers to factory default settings so other settings will not have a possible conflict: Administration -> Factory Default - select yes - click "Save Settings" button.
  3. Give both the routers a different IP address, i.e. (host/internet gateway) and ("client router") (On the same subnet?)
  4. Turn off security on both routers. Security can be re-enabled after all other steps are complete, but in order to minimize troubleshooting, it's best to get things setup with no security active. Wireless -> Wireless Security -> Security Mode -> Disabled
  5. Put both routers into AP mode and on the same channel. Wireless -> Basic Settings
  6. Under Wireless -> Basic Settings, set the SSID to your liking. For WPA WDS, the SSID for the routers needs to be the same. For WEP, different SSIDs can make troubleshooting easier.
  7. For each router, under Setup -> Basic Setup -- Network Address Server Settings (DHCP) -- Start IP Address, you may want to set different starting address for the different routers. For example host starts DHCP at 100 and client starts at 200. This will allow you to enable DHCP on both routers and know which router you are connecting to. This is helpful when connecting to your network with a wireless laptop so you know which router it is connecting to and for changing wireless power settings (both laptop and routers).
  8. On the client router, under Setup -> Basic Setup -- Network Address Server Settings (DHCP)-- Static DNS 1,2,3 enter the DNS settings provided by your ISP. These can also be found from the host router under Status -> Router -- Internet.
  9. Select G-only for WPA links. You cannot use B-only with WDS.
  10. Open WDS configuration on both routers. Wireless -> WDS
  11. On each router, you will see at the top of the page its wireless MAC address. Put each router's MAC into the table of the other router, and select LAN for the type. Wireless -> WDS
  12. There is no need to enable Lazy WDS or WDS subnet on either router.
  13. Turn off the firewall on the client router. Security -> Firewall -> Firewall Protection -> Disable
  14. Change the Internet Connection Type to Disable on the client router. Setup -> Basic Setup -> Internet Setup -> Internet Connection Type -> Disable
  15. Set the Gateway IP address of the client router to the LAN IP address of the host router. Setup -> Basic Setup -> Network Setup -> Router IP -> Gateway
  16. Disable DHCP on the client router if you wish to have the host router serve all IP addresses.
  17. Enable encryption now, if you like (highly recommended).
  18. (DNS settings on the client router need to be entered)


WDS Bridging without Access Point function

Sometimes you just want to bridge to points together. WDS has the advantage of correctly passing MAC addresses so either end could be the host (Internet connection on the LAN side).

  1. Set up your WDS routers as you wish
  2. Turn off the AP function using the following commands in the shell
nvram set wl0_mode=wds
nvram commit
  1. After it reboots you'll have a WDS bridge which doesn't allow wireless clients.

Setting up WDS between a DD-WRT router and an Apple Airport Express

Verified with DD-WRT v2.3 (12/25/05) and Airport Express v6.20 [1-21-2006]

  1. Set the channel on the DD-WRT to 1. Wireless -> Basic Settings
    1. Select "LAN" option and enter the Airport Express's AIRPORT id. Wireless -> WDS
    2. Set Lazy WDS and WDS subnet to disable
  2. Set Loopback to disable. Administration -> Management
  3. Turn off "Block Anonymous Internet Requests." Security -> Firewall
  4. Open Airport admin utility and find the new express, then double click it
  5. In the airport tab:
    1. Select "Create Wireless Network"
    2. Set Network name to your wireless SSID
    3. Set the wireless channel to 1
  6. WDS tab:
    1. Enable this base station
    2. Set base station as "remote base station"
    3. In the Main Aiport ID section enter your DD-WRT wireless MAC (can get this in Status -> Wireless)
  7. Click "update"

If it works then there will be a solid green light (may take a couple of minutes) . If it does not work, you should connect Airport Express and WRT54G/GS using a CAT-5 cable and set up it. It might work

This information is from AirTunes, AirPort Express, and the WRT54G at ryanschwartz.net.

Also note that the above configuration with the Airport Express works with either no encryption or WEP encryption. When using WEP encryption, make sure you enter your WEP key into the Airport Express exactly how it is entered into the WRT54G, but add a $ to the beginning of the key. $ key is meant for hex (WEP). If you're not using hex, then you can leave it blank as normal.

In addition, also note that the wireless channel does not need to be 1, but it must be the same for both the DD-WRT and Airport Express. I have both units set to channel 11 and WDS works perfectly.

WPA/WPA2 encryption does not appear to work over WDS (but will work when the Airport Express is configured in client mode - but in client mode, the RJ45 connection is not usable). The error that the WRT54G reports back when the Airport Express is trying to associate via WPA over WDS is: eapol_sup_dispatch wds0.49153: unknown EPOL type 3 . EPOL has to do with WPA, so perhaps if this issue can be resolved, then the two devices could associate.

Troubleshooting: Make sure that you disable the "AP Watchdog" daemon. If you have a wireless endpoint (like a laptop) which connects to the Airport station (because you use WDS) then the Linksys does not see any clients connected and restarts the wireless network over and over. You also could change other channel apart from 1, if you're having problems and you don't have to disable loopback.