Help Constructing Wireless-to-Wireless Bridge

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Tony Whitman
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 21:14    Post subject: Help Constructing Wireless-to-Wireless Bridge Reply with quote
Using my neighbor's WiFi. I have Tp-Link Archer C59 all configured and working as a wireless bridge. Two wireless connections working (phones), one desktop working (via LAN), DHCP is "Off" on the C59, manual local IP Addresses configured, everything is cherry except for...

Except for the wireless signal is weak due to the fact that the signal is travelling through 2 exterior walls and maybe 4 interior walls. The C59 is connected to the Desktop, so I can't move it closer to the neighbor's house.

I want to add my Linksys WRT54G (ver. 1.1) with dd-wrt.v24-9517_VINT_openvpn.bin apparently successfully flashed and working. I saw "apparently" because it's complex, I haven't fully tested it yet, don't know enough on how to test it, but I can do everything I've tried with it. I assume it works and is fully-functional, and have no reason to think otherwise. I'd like to place the WRT54G at the farthest point from the Tp-Link, and the closest point (inside the house) to the neighbor's wireless modem, where the signal is very strong (I've checked).

I tried to follow some directions I saw on a Youtube video, but I never got internet through the WRT54G. The Tp-Link Archer C59 has explicit, proactive instructions in the GUI to help set-up the wireless bridge (you enter the SSID, and password, etc...) and the WRT54G is very non-intuitive.

One concern is the fact that I have DHCP turned off on all devices. Since I assume the neighbor's cable modem is the DHCP server, I don't want to create problems and conflicts with his use of it, so I made everything manual IP Addresses, and it all works well.

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eibgrad
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Sep 2010
Posts: 8034

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 18:10    Post subject: Reply with quote
If you want to use the WRT54G as a wireless bridge between the TP-Link and the neighbor's AP, I suppose you can. You'd need to configure the WRT54G as a repeater bridge.

One thing *I* would do in the above situation is configure the TP-Link in repeater (routed) mode, NOT repeater bridge. Using repeater bridge places you and the neighbor on the same ethernet/IP network, which can lead to the problems you're concerned about, like you and the neighbor assigning the same *static* IPs (should you decide to do so). In fact, in the current situation, you're at the mercy of the neighbor for supporting static leases, if again, that would be of interest to you. And the neighbor has access to your own devices.

By using repeater (routed) mode, the neighbor has only *one* IP from his network in use by you, and it's assigned to the virtual WAN of the TP-Link. You maintain your own separate ethernet/IP network on the LAN side of the TP-Link. You might even implement a VPN client on the TP-Link to protect your privacy as traffic travels through the neighbor's network. And you can even have your own port forwarding capability by having the neighbor assign a static lease to your TP-Link's WAN, then placing that IP in the DMZ of the neighbor's router. Now anything the neighbor isn't using for his own port forwarding is automatically forwarded to the TP-Link.

When dealing w/a neighbor, unless you ***really*** trust that neighbor (e.g., it's your brother), the best relationship is for each of you to maintain your own local ethernet/IP networks, and *only* use the neighbor's network as a gateway to the internet. By you and the neighbor placing all your devices on the same ethernet/IP network, you're opening yourself to numerous potential problems, from simple administrative tasks, to privacy concerns.

_________________
DD-WRT: DNS Leak Detection w/ VPNs (updated 6/5/19)
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-mount-usb-drives.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-blacklist-domains.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-ovpn-remote-access.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-pptp-policy-based-routing.sh
Tony Whitman
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 19:07    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok first thank you very much for the reply.

First could/should I get the WRT54G configured as a repeater bridge first, and then change the local IP "subnet"?

In general I get the idea that the neighbor's local IP is 192.168.0.something, and you are suggesting that I should have the TP-link convert that to something else, like 192.168.1.something. As an experiment, I switched the Tp-Link's "Internet Connection Type" from from "Dynamic IP" to "Static IP"; figuring now we've locked the Tp-Link into the 192.168.1.something range (see attached pic). Everything seems to work, but I don't understand why. I can always change it back.

In terms of the neighbor, they have zero technical sophistication. Someone from the ISP set the whole thing up, and I doubt they could even access the settings of the modem. However, in the interests of "good computing", I'd like to implement basic computer security for general purpose reasons, at some point.

I've looked through the Tp-Link's settings and finding nothing similar to the WRT54G's "Router" vs. "Gateway" options, so I assumed setting the Local IP to "Static" might be the thing to do. Pure guesswork.

Under Tp-Link>Network>Advanced Routing>System Routing Table, the 192.169.0.0 Local IP Address is enumerated as (Interface) "Wan". I assume this is the "root" of the neighbor's router, and this is the "virtual Wan" you referred to in your post. I can screenshot and post anything you need.

Also, in case it's important, I have "ARP Binding" enabled. I did this because after I set everything up, I noticed my P2P was seeing less than 10% of the seeds, and for some reason I decided that "binding" the desktop's Local IP Address (192.168.0.41) to (whatever, I have no clue, maybe it binds the local IP to the Mac Address) would be a good thing, and as soon as I did this, the P2P software started working normally.

I have to go research some of these terms you've used, "repeater bridge". One problem is that it seems all the instructions I read are aimed at people setting up a "repeater bridge" interfacing directly to a modem, and not as a bridge between two wireless routers. Sometimes I wonder if I'm simply building something called a "range extender". These terms change and the meanings are out-of-context for me, so knowledge takes a long time to "stick".

Another question is the use of the term "subnet", which I always understood to be the "255.255.255.etc..." data fields, but I never understood what it was, what it was for, etc... and then sometimes I see people refering to the Local IP Address "subnet" (192.168.0.x vs. 192.168.1.x), which is what you seem to be doing here, in the interests of preventing a computer from one (Local IP) "subnet" from having access to another computer on a different (Local IP) "subnet". It gets very confusing.

Quote:
"You might even implement a VPN client on the TP-Link to protect your privacy as traffic travels through the neighbor's network. And you can even have your own port forwarding capability by having the neighbor assign a static lease to your TP-Link's WAN, then placing that IP in the DMZ of the neighbor's router. Now anything the neighbor isn't using for his own port forwarding is automatically forwarded to the TP-Link."


I have to take all of this "under advisement" and think about it. I've never really understood the idea of a "WAN", except that's the thing you never mess with when connecting cables, and if you plug something into it, things won't work. So "virtual WAN" throws me. I have a lot to learn, and thank you.

Finally, I'm lucky the neighbor has been kind enough to let me use his WiFi, and would never ask to get access to any of his modem's settings, nor do I think he's capable of doing anything there either. I'd like to maximize what I have, and remain as invisible and unobtrusive as possible.

Also "Finally, Part 2" is that I see the "DNS Server" field with the standard 8.8.8.8, etc... of Google's DNS, but some instructions have you put the DHCP Server's local IP Address in there instead, or the "gateway", IDK. This also gets confusing. So I just plug the 8's in there whenever I'm supposed to put something in.



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eibgrad
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Sep 2010
Posts: 8034

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 23:50    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok, let's back up a second and make sure I understand the *current* config. Because your diagram at least suggests the TP-Link is connected via wireless to the neighbor's AP. But I don't see how that's possible since, AFAIK, the TP-Link (when using OEM firmware) is only capable of using its wireless radios as APs, NOT as a wireless client that can connect to the neighbor's AP. That's why I had assumed the TP-Link has been updated w/ dd-wrt firmware, where you *could* convert one of the AP's into a wireless client that then connected to the neighbor's AP, by using repeater bridge mode.

So again, how is it that the TP-Link has its own APs to which devices like smartphones are connected, *and* is connected to the neighbor's AP? All I can imagine is that the *neighbor* is establishing a wireless connection back to your TP-Link's AP, just like those smartphones. Is this the case?

_________________
DD-WRT: DNS Leak Detection w/ VPNs (updated 6/5/19)
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-mount-usb-drives.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-blacklist-domains.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-ovpn-remote-access.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-pptp-policy-based-routing.sh
Tony Whitman
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:47    Post subject: Reply with quote
Note: I'm trying to keep the image files from pushing the column width past 80?, but if I reduce the pixel width (in Windows Paint) AT ALL, the text in the image becomes illegible. It's a PNG file. Not sure if I'll get better results if I conver to JPG. I've never seen this happen before. Just a note to let people know I'm aware it's a problem and I cannot seem to find a way to fix it.


eibgrad wrote:
Ok, let's back up a second and make sure I understand the *current* config. Because your diagram at least suggests the TP-Link is connected via wireless to the neighbor's AP. But I don't see how that's possible since, AFAIK, the TP-Link (when using OEM firmware) is only capable of using its wireless radios as APs, NOT as a wireless client that can connect to the neighbor's AP. That's why I had assumed the TP-Link has been updated w/ dd-wrt firmware, where you *could* convert one of the AP's into a wireless client that then connected to the neighbor's AP, by using repeater bridge mode.

So again, how is it that the TP-Link has its own APs to which devices like smartphones are connected, *and* is connected to the neighbor's AP? All I can imagine is that the *neighbor* is establishing a wireless connection back to your TP-Link's AP, just like those smartphones. Is this the case?


The Tp-Link GUI has a section where you enter the name of the wireless network you want it to bridge, along with the wireless password. Tp-Link>System Tools>System Parameters>2.4Ghz (see attached image). Now that I look at this and think about it, I wonder if the fact that it's "WDS Bridging" is significant.


The Tp-Link is using stock, factory, OEM software/firmware. I removed it new from the box myself.

Quote:
All I can imagine is that the *neighbor* is establishing a wireless connection back to your TP-Link's AP, just like those smartphones. Is this the case?


The neighbor is a house painter, doesn't speak any English, and has zero knowledge of computer tech. The only thing the neighbor has done is given me the network SSID (it's openly broadcasted), and the wireless password.

The whole system works, except the signal strength is weak, due to the fact that the Tp-Link is more than 40 feet away from the Neighbor's Wireless Cable modem (Ubee, from Spectrum), through two exterior walls and 3 or 4 interior walls.

What I want to do is insert the WRT54G with dd-wrt firmware in between the Neighbor's Wireless Cable modem in a place where the signal strength is strong (the garage) and just let it "repeat" the connection to the Tp-Link which sits on my desk, connected to my desktop via LAN cable.

Or, as an alternative, put the Tp-Link in the garage, and install the WRT54G near the desktop, to be connected via LAN cable.



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ian5142
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 23 Oct 2013
Posts: 2038
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:53    Post subject: Linking Routers page and Router Mode comparision table Reply with quote
Have you read these two pages: https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linking_Routers

https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Repeating_Mode_Comparisons#Router_Mode_Comparison_Table

Also, is there anyway that the TP-Link router can run DD-WRT? What model and revision is it?

WDS will not work between the TP-Link and the WRT54G (Atheros vs Broadcom). Repeater or Client modes will. I would suggest repeater mode for the router going in your neighbour's garage.

_________________
Before asking a question on the forums, update dd-wrt: Where do I download firmware? I suggest reading it all.

Some dd-wrt wiki pages are up to date, others are not. PM me if you find an old one, I am trying to update them.

Atheros:
TP-Link Archer C7 v2 x2 - WDS AP, WDS Station
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 v1 - WDS Station
TP-Link 841nd v8 - WDS Station
Linksys WRT400N - bricked
D-Link 615 C1 x 4 - not used
D-Link 615 E3 x 2 - not used
D-Link 825 B1 - WDS Station
D-Link 862L A1 x2 - WDS Station
Netgear WNDR3700v2 - WDS Station
TP-Link 1043nd v1, inactive, unstable hardware
UBNT loco M2 x2 - airOS

Broadcom
Asus N66U - backup Gateway
Netgear r6300 v1 - AP
Linksys E2500 - not used
Linksys EA2700 - not used
Linksys 160N v3 x2 - not used
Netgear WNDR3700v3 - not used
MediaTek
UBNT EdgeRouter X - Gateway, DHCP, QoS
kbocek
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 15:48    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ditto to Ian on the Linking_Routers page. I just setup an ancient Dlink DIR-632A as a bridged router to provide better coverage in my back yard. That page made the process pretty clear.
eibgrad
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Sep 2010
Posts: 8034

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 16:02    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well now things seem to be getting more interesting.

So what you're telling me is that you are connected to the neighbor's AP using WDS? That seems very implausible given the fact that WDS is NOT a wifi standard, but is actually proprietary, and as such, compatibility is a huge problem. You almost never see WDS work unless the two (or more) members of the WDS network are using the exact same hardware and firmware. And each member has to be configured w/ WDS as well. You can't normally have a standard AP configured on the neighbor's router, then just decide to enable WDS on your side and have it get connected. Normally the neighbor would have to specifically enable WDS on his side too, and usually need the MAC address of *your* router to make the connection work.

[neighbor]<--wds-->[tp-link]

So I wasn't expecting WDS to be part of this config. And if that is the case, you're probably going to have problems getting the WRT54G into the configuration because it too will need to become part of the WDS network. And you now face the issue I discussed above; compatibility.

[neighbor]<--wds-->[wrt54g]<--wds-->[tp-link]

So I suppose you could try it, but if you insist on using the current configuration, where you are bridged to the neighbor's network (again, something I do NOT recommend), then you'll probably have to configure the WRT54 as a client bridge and dump the use of WDS. But that's not going to solve the range problem in and of itself. It just changes the wireless connection between the neighbor and your TP-Link from WDS to standard wifi.

[neighbor]<--wifi-->[wrt54g (client bridge)](lan)<--wire-->(lan)[tp-link]

To solve the range problem, you would need to either add a repeater bridge, OR, perhaps using other bridging technologies between the TP-Link and the WRT54G, such as MoCA or powerline, that would let you get the WRT54G closer to the neighbor's AP.

[neighbor]<--wifi-->[wrt54g (client bridge)](lan)<--wire-->(lan)[powerline adapter #1]<--powerline-->[powerline adapter #2](lan)<--wire-->(lan)[tp-link]

_________________
DD-WRT: DNS Leak Detection w/ VPNs (updated 6/5/19)
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-mount-usb-drives.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-blacklist-domains.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-ovpn-remote-access.sh
NEW SCRIPT!: ddwrt-pptp-policy-based-routing.sh
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