sexy baby and bad connection?
July 13, 2006 10:51 AM   Subscribe

can I turn a wireless router into a range extender/relay?

Im interested in extending the range of my wireless network throughout my house and yard. Currently have an Apple Airport Extreme hardwired to the modem and I would like to use a second router (this to be specific) to boost the range downstairs. Would the second router have to be hardwired or could I just get it to pick up the wifi signal and extend it? If having two networks set up is the solution that wouldn't be the end of the world, but I'd like to not have cables running through the halls.
posted by fidgets to Technology (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You want a wireless router that supports WDS (Wireless Distribution System) if you want to do relaying. CNET has a few listed with reviews and prices.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on July 13, 2006

Several vendors have proprietary equivalents to WDS, most of which require that all components in use, possibly including the end cards, be of the same brand.

I *think* OpenWRT on the WRT54G will do WDS, too. [checks] Yeah; apparently so.
posted by baylink at 11:06 AM on July 13, 2006

You might want to look into the (in)famous Linksys WRT54. Firmware replacements are available to boost the output and create a wireless bridge, though I think you have to have two similar routers to do the bridge.

At any rate, you might be able to boost the signal enough so that you could replace the Airport and just have one router.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:13 AM on July 13, 2006

You can flash the Belkin F5D7230-4 with DD-WRT firmware following the instructions here, which will add WDS support. According to the instructions, newer versions have a very small ROM, so you can only use the micro firmware, but that's good enough for your needs. DD-WRT also lets you increase the radio power for increased range.
posted by boaz at 11:23 AM on July 13, 2006

if i do this and mess up the router is cooked right?
thx for the help, ill get to haxxoring now.
posted by fidgets at 12:00 PM on July 13, 2006

Actually, I gather many of the targets into which you can flash OpenWRT (and derivative) firmware will let you recover from some attempts to 'brick' them, so you *still* might not be in trouble...

but I'd put the PC and the router on a UPS for the duration, if they're not already on one. Test it first.
posted by baylink at 12:46 PM on July 13, 2006

Mostly you need to make sure you follow the directions carefully, rather than worry about abberant power failures, although a UPS won't hurt.
posted by WetherMan at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2006

My understanding is that the Linksys WRT routers are pretty easy to debrick if something goes wrong, while others may be more difficult.
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:09 PM on July 13, 2006

if i do this and mess up the router is cooked right?

It's possible to brick them, but I've done some pretty stupid things flashing my WRT and have always been able to correct them as long as BOOT_WAIT is set to true. This means that the box takes an extra five seconds to boot, and spends those seconds waiting for a TFTP connection, over which you can supply a new firmware image.
posted by pompomtom at 7:07 PM on July 13, 2006

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