Help a noob network
March 5, 2010 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Help me use my wireless router to take advantage of the free wi-fi signal my complex offers.

So my new apartment complex offers free wi-fi and I would like to take advantage of it. I have a laptop with wireless and tried sharing the signal with my computer. This worked for about 2 hours then my laptop restarted and it won't link back up.
I installed dd-wrt so and turned my router into a bridge because I thought that's how I do it but I'm not able to specify which network to connect to. Help. Let me know if you need more info but I've been working on it for almost 2 hours and am at a loss. I have a Linksys WRT54G v2
posted by no bueno to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So your complex offers free wi-fi. You can connect to the wi-fi network with your laptop. What's the router for?
posted by reegmo at 1:00 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: Wow, sorry. My roommate and I each have a desktop that don't have wireless cards.
posted by no bueno at 1:03 PM on March 5, 2010

reegmo, read his post.

Did you accidentally turn your wireless card off on your laptop? Make sure your wireless card is active.

My suggestion is to investigate why your laptop won't connect directly to the complex's wifi. Do you have anything else that can connect to the net wirelessly? Smartphone? Nintendo DS or Wii?

How "won't it link back up"? what do you mean..?
posted by royalsong at 1:04 PM on March 5, 2010

ooh, i misunderstood as well. Sorry.
posted by royalsong at 1:06 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: I did a really poor job of explaining this. Let me try again.

The laptop will still connect to the network. I shared the signal of my laptop with my desktop (through an ethernet cable) that I'm trying to get online as well because the laptop is old.

The router is what won't pick up the wireless signal. I thought I should be able use the router as a wireless bridge and pick up the complex's free wi-fi then connect my desktop to the router using the signal from the complex or am I completely off base?
posted by no bueno at 1:08 PM on March 5, 2010

So you want use your Linksys WRT54G router with DD-WRT firmware as a bridge. Instructions for that are here.

Your laptop won't connect to the Linksys router in any way; it talks to the wireless network directly with its own wi-fi interface. The Linksys router connects to the wireless network and shares that connection to your two non-wireless computers.

Your laptop shouldn't see the Linksys router broadcasting any sort of SSID. You don't want to create another network, just extend the existing wireless network.
posted by reegmo at 1:11 PM on March 5, 2010

Sounds like you need a repeater bridge not just a normal bridge.
posted by tehdiplomat at 1:11 PM on March 5, 2010

I've never heard of that being done, so I'm not sure it's possible.

One option, if you can afford it, is to buy one of these. (Or it's kin)
posted by royalsong at 1:14 PM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: No, you want to set it to "Client-Bridge" not just bridge.

From that point you need to set the SSID and encryption correctly. Note that in the new version of dd-wrt you need to hit apply
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:16 PM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: tehdiplomat, according to your link, "The limitation with standard bridging is that it only allows wired clients to connect to your secondary router. Wireless clients cannot connect to your secondary router configured as a standard bridge."

The laptop can connect to the wireless network just fine. no bueno is solely concerned right now with connecting wired machines to the secondary router, so a standard client bridge should suffice.

no bueno, the link I provided included this image. You only have to configure the right-hand side of that image.
posted by reegmo at 1:18 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: damn dirty ape. i thought the same thing but i don't see where it gives me the option to enter the SSID and encryption. because i should be entering the SSID i need to log onto the apartments wi-fi correct?
posted by no bueno at 1:19 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: thanks guys. hopefully i can figure something out from this.
posted by no bueno at 1:21 PM on March 5, 2010

because i should be entering the SSID i need to log onto the apartments wi-fi correct?

You'll see a wireless tab in there after you log in as root. Just set it to the proper settings.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:37 PM on March 5, 2010

Just a reminder that as mentioned above you'll need to flash your router with the dd-wrt firmware before you'll see the wireless bridging options.
posted by white_devil at 1:45 PM on March 5, 2010

no bueno it would be much, much easier if you and your roommate just bought a couple of USB wifi adapters and connected to the apartment complex wifi directly. They cost a few dollars these days, would eliminate all this confusion and hassle over bridges etc, and you could even eBay your router to pay for them!

Sometimes it's just not worth the hassle of battling inappropriate hardware when you can immediately sort the problem with a new bit of kit.
posted by ruperto at 1:46 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: If i were keeping the internet here i would go buy wireless cards but we're getting qwest next thursday. I started out thinking it would be a fun day off project, as i've used a bridge to connect my old home network, but it has turned into something i just need to figure out now. i'm trying to set up the repeater bridge i got the ssid and everything configuerd properly and the router sees all of the wireless networks when i went under the wi-viz survey i can't figure out how to join the primary router. do i just click on it then we're joined? Also, i suppose i should have mentioned that the wi-fi is free to residents only so they do have a hex key set up.
posted by no bueno at 2:04 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: wowwwww. i'm slow today. figured out how to join the network.
posted by no bueno at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: success!!! client bridge works! almost thought i wasted half my afternoon on my day off!
posted by no bueno at 2:33 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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