I had my PS3 and Linkstation on a wired gigabit subnet because I wanted the PS3 to be able to stream HD content from the Linkstation. But I also needed the PS3 to have Internet access and the Linkstation to be accessible by wireless devices.
First, I tried connecting my Huawei D100 router to the switch but it couldn’t find any HSDPA signal. Sun’s signal is still spotty and weak in some areas and finicky elsewhere. So I guess the D100 has to be in the bedroom where the signal is strongest.
Next, I bought a Tenda W311R+ Wireless-N router and connected it to the gigabit switch. That let wireless devices get either Internet access or Linkstation access depending on whether they’re connected to the D100 or the Tenda. But how do I provide both Internet access and wireless accessibility to all devices? I definitely don’t want to run a wire from the living room to the bedroom.
The answer is Wireless Distribution System (WDS).WDS “is a system that enables the wireless interconnection of access points in an IEEE 802.11 network. It 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.” Now that’s exactly what I need!
Before we proceed, there are a few key WDS concepts that needs to be understood:
- Access Point – accepts connections from wireless clients, bridges, and repeaters; This is the normal mode of wireless routers and access points (duh!)
- Bridge – connects to an access point or another bridge but does not accept connections from wireless clients.
- Repeater – acts as an access point and a repeater but with a performance penalty.
The D100 can act as either access point or bridge while the Tenda can act as access point, bridge, or repeater.
Since the Tenda is in a central location, I decided it will be the access point. The house area is small so there’s no need for multiple access points. So I set the D100 to act a a bridge and added the MAC address of the Tenda into it’s peer list. I also want clients to use the D100 as the gateway so I enabled its DHCP server (and disabled that of the Tenda).
It didn’t work. I fiddled around with the settings before I finally disabled security and set network to 802.11b/g only on both routers. They connected! But, unfortunately, their link is not secure! Not good.
Fortunately, the Tenda has separate security settings for the access point and WDS. I enabled security for the access point. Now, although the WDS connection is not secure, wireless clients connecting to the Tenda still have to authenticate and is secure. Final problem more or less solved and I now have Internet access and wireless accessibility to all network devices.