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Old 07-01-2011, 06:41 AM
balforth balforth is offline
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Default Linksys E4200 bridge mode

Hi all. I just bought an E4200 and was considering purchasing a second one to use as a bridge. The latest version of firmware boasts a "bridge mode", but after asking over on the Cisco forums, I've been told that doesn't really mean that it becomes a wireless bridge.

Can anybody here verify that? What else does bridge mode mean? Why would you use a well defined networking term for a functional capability if you really mean something entirely different???

DD-WRT support for the E4200 seems spotty and doesn't support 5Ghz, so I wanted to stick with the manufacturer's firmware.

Any other advice on creating a wireless bridge that is capable of connecting at 450Mbps?
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:43 AM
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I looked at your thread in the Cisco forums (next time, please provide a link to save time).
The Ver.1.0.02 (Build 13) release notes are technically correct, but they are unclear because it doesn't state what is bridged. I would have written the release notes differently to say something like "added access point mode"....

There are no 5 GHz three stream bridges yet. Trendnet has announced the TEW-680MB, but it's not shipping until fall.

They are shipping a dual-band three stream USB adapter, though.

The NETGEAR WNDR4000 is three-stream N on 5 GHz only, supports WDS bridging/repeating and IPv6.
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:20 AM
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Thank you sir for the info... sorry about the link (or lack thereof).

So I guess I might as well go ahead an grab the Netgear router to form my bridge...

Is there any reason why the routers should be matched, or should I be fine using the E4200 as my main router/wap and the netgear as the bridge? The distance will be very short, so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to keep the bridge at 5Ghz.

That being said, I can still run a seperate N network on the 2.4Ghz band for other laptops/devices simultaneously, right? Actually, I'll probably have to run mixed mode since I still have a few older devices running G. OR.... should I use one of my old G routers as a G only WAP and run the 2.4Ghz radio on the E4200 as an N only WAP and keep them all on separate channels? There is very little 2.4Ghz traffic where I live. It seems I've heard some people saying that a lot of the current routers suffer in performance running mixed mode.

Sorry for all the questions! But thanks in advance for sharing your expertise.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:47 AM
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The E4200 does not support WDS. You need products supporting WDS on both ends of the bridge to form one.

With simultaneous dual-band routers that support WDS on each radio, you can form a bridge with one radio and the other is free for normal AP use. You can also elect to allow traffic on the bridging radio (repeating). But any repeated traffic will suffer a 50% throughput reduction because the single radio must receive, then retransmit.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:08 PM
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Ugh. I guess I've taken for granted all these years that I run a client bridge with my Buffalo and Asus routers running Tomato firmware. I was actually hoping to stick with the manufacturer's firmware on whatever piece of hardware I end up with this time as everybody reports they're typically more stable/faster.

Maybe I'll ditch the bridge altogether, pick up the Trendnet USB adapter for my HTPC for now and revert to the crappy built-in wireless adapter on the on the PS3 ...

Hardware that is advertised as a bridge -- are those just basically client bridges? That is -- WDS can be vendor/implementation specific; should any generic 450mbps bridge that gets released in the future work with the E4200?

BTW this site is my new reference for networking info. I've gotten more info here and learned more in a few days than I have over the whole internet in the past couple of weeks. Thanks!
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Old 07-02-2011, 04:13 PM
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WDS (to me) is a no-standard for WiFi repeaters. IEEE 802.11 doesn't define a means for repeaters, so WDS is an irregular de facto standard with interoperability issues galore.

This isn't a WiFi client bridge where there's a WiFi client that associates to a WiFi access point (WiFi router or AP), then layer-2 bridges the IP packets to/from WiFi to Ethernet 802.3 (cat5).

I'd use a WiFi client bridge as a last resort - prefer to use MoCA or HomePlug AV to create a distant ethernet connection without using wireless.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balforth View Post
Hardware that is advertised as a bridge -- are those just basically client bridges? That is -- WDS can be vendor/implementation specific; should any generic 450mbps bridge that gets released in the future work with the E4200?
Unfortunately, manufacturers don't always use terms correctly or consistently.

You need to read the fine print and best case, download the user manual for any "bridge", that you are thinking of buying.

Bridges that don't use WDS should work with any router.

These two articles cover the topic pretty well.

Everything You Need To Know About Wireless Bridging and Repeating - Part 1: WDS

Everything You Need To Know About Wireless Bridging and Repeating - Part 2: No WDS Required
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:47 PM
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Thanks again guys....

I've decided to hang on to the E4200. I'll run both channels on N only. I just ordered a Trendnet USB adapter to connect to my HTPC which I believe is the only 450Mbps adapter I'll have. The 2.4Ghz will be for the multitude of other laptops I have in my house. Finally, I"ll reuse my old Buffalo high power G router for my G network. I'll keep the channels as independent as possible.

I'll have to test it out and see whether or not sharing my HTPC internet connection to my PS3 brings about better results than just using the awful wireless adapter in the ps3.

I live in Germany at the moment, but I'll be moving back to the US by the end of the year. These Europeans don't put phone jacks or cable jacks all over the place like we do in the states... hell they hardly even put electrical outlets in the walls, so I can't invest in moca, and I don't want to invest in 220v european home plugs. For now, wireless is my only option. Once I get back to the states, I'll reevaluate. Hopefully when I'm back I'll be able to hardwire my main internet router to my HTPC (which is my biggest concern) and won't have to worry about bridging.

It'll take me 1-2 weeks to get the new Trendnet USB adapter in. I've never run internal throughput tests on my network -- I will definitely do so before I install the E4200 so I can find out how much of a difference it makes -- then again when the Trendnet comes in. I"ll post back with my results.

Thanks again to all!
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:39 PM
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So - not to beat a dead horse here, but...

He could purchase another E4200 and use the "bridging no WDS required" article to make it happen right? Could he then not create a 450Mbs bridge?

I am perhaps confused on WDS...

Thanks
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trek_520 View Post
He could purchase another E4200 and use the "bridging no WDS required" article to make it happen right? Could he then not create a 450Mbs bridge?
No, he could not. The E4200 does not support bridging, either via WDS or otherwise.
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