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Thanks to Malvagia for this submission.
Physical Connections: The wireless router should have a plug for a power cord, a WAN port, and a switch. The power cord should be plugged into a known good outlet. The WAN port will usually be connected to the modem using straight-through patch cable. The switch may be used for connecting workstations, additional switches, etc. Most routers now have auto-sensing MDI/MDIX ports, so use of a cross-over cable is rarely needed.
Logging into Router: The settings for the router will most likely be accessible via a web-based interface. The default IP address of the router can be found in its manual. Enter this IP address into the address bar of a web browser to access the web based configuration. The default username and password should also be listed in the manual.
WAN Settings: One of the options in the routers firmware should be for the WAN settings. These settings determine how the router will make a connection with the modem/internet. Most users will choose a Dynamic Connection, meaning that their IP address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, and DNS addresses will be supplied automatically by the ISP. The major distinction will be in whether the ISP is a DSL, Cable, or Satellite provider.
DSL: Most DSL connections use PPPoE. There should be an option for this in the WAN settings, which will allow the user to enter a username and password, for the DSL connection. Entering this information correctly is critical to establishing the connection with the internet, and is the most common error made in PPPoE setups. If any PPPoE software is installed on the workstations, it will need to be disabled or uninstalled, as it will conflict with the routers settings. There may also be a setting under PPPoE for the MTU. The default MTU for PPPoE is 1492. This should be left alone for the most part, unless one or more workstations are exhibiting behaviors concurrent with a non-optimum MTU setting.
Cable: Most cable internet connections do not require any username or password. There are a few that require what is known as a C-Name or Host Name, but this is fairly uncommon. There should be a setting in the routers WAN settings that will be labeled something along the lines of Cable, Dynamic, etc. Generally this is the default setting of the router. For this reason, many routers will work with a cable internet connection without configuring anything in the router at all. Some cable ISPs register a MAC address that is allowed to obtain an IP from its network. This is becoming more and more uncommon, but the most routers still allow for it. There should be an area where the user can input the MAC address that the ISP has registered (probably the MAC of the NIC in the computer that was last connected directly to the modem). This is referred to as Cloning or Spoofing the MAC address. For the most part, simply power cycling the modem for a sufficient amount of time should negate the need for cloning the MAC.
Satellite: Most satellite connections can be setup in the same fashion as a Cable connection. Some satellite ISPs also require a C-Name or MAC address.
The other type of WAN configuration, is a Static setup. In this scenario, the user must manually enter the IP address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, and DNS addresses, as provided by the ISP. If it is a DSL connection, a PPPoE username and password may also be required.
LAN Settings: The router should have another area in its firmware for the LAN settings. In this area, the user will be able to alter the default settings for IP address, Subnet Mask, and Gateway. This section may also include settings for DHCP. If the user wishes to have the router automatically assign IP addresses to the workstations, then DHCP should be enabled (usually the default setting).
Wireless Settings: A third area in the firmware should be devoted to the wireless settings. This will allow the user to set the SSID, Channel, and Encryption settings.
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
Thanks to Malvagia for this submission
Every wireless adapter comes with its own software client, for use in managing the settings for the connection. There is usually an executable file that will install the software onto the system. The user should follow the instructions in the manual for device specific instructions. Many USB and PC Card adapters prefer to have the software installed before the hardware is connected. This varies for different adapters, so it is best to look at the manual to see how the manufacturer suggests the install be completed.
Once the software, drivers, and hardware are all installed, the user is ready to configure the software. Most wireless utilities will place an icon in the system tray when the software is running. The icon will most likely give some indication as to the status and possibly as to the quality of the connection. Double-clicking on the icon should open a window with the settings for the wireless adapter.
The first place to look, within the software client, is at the site survey. This will give the user the ability to scan for available wireless networks. After scanning, the utility will report back with a list of available connections, and a few pieces of information about each of them. This information includes the SSID, BSSID, Channel, Encryption Status, and Signal Strength. The user can identify the network to which they wish to connect by examining this information. Usually double-clicking on the network will connect to it; there may also be a connect button. If all is well, this will allow the user to connect to the network.
Lets take a closer look at each of the pieces of information that are provided by the site survey.
SSID: The SSID is kind of like a workgroup name for wireless networks. All devices that wish to communicate wirelessly will need to have the same SSID. The user will specify the SSID in the settings of the AP (unless it is an ad-hoc network, in which case the SSID will be entered manually in the software client settings). The software client will automatically detect the SSID that is being broadcast by the AP, and will connect the adapter to it. In some cases it will be necessary to manually enter the SSID into the software client settings for the adapter. This is usually the case if the AP is setup so as not to broadcast its SSID. Manually entering the SSID may also help to prevent the adapter from connecting to non-preferred wireless networks.
BSSID: The BSSID is the MAC address of the device broadcasting the SSID, as detected by the site survey. This is helpful in situations such as wireless repeating in which there may be two identical SSIDs available. The BSSID will allow the user to distinguish between the two. Having this information is also useful if the user wishes to deploy any sort of filtering via MAC addresses.
Channel: The available channels for use on a wireless network will depend on the type of equipment being used. The site survey will automatically detect the channel on which the wireless signal is being broadcast, and allow the adapter to connect to it. If the user wishes to change the channel, they will need to do so in the AP settings (unless it is an ad-hoc network, in which case the channel will be set manually in the settings of the software client).
Encryption Status: This will usually be a simple yes or no, to indicate as to whether or not any type of encryption is in use on the wireless network. If the value says no, then the user need do nothing; the network is not secure. If the value says yes, then user will need to enter the same key that was specified in the AP settings. The user will need to know whether the network is using WEP or WPA, and will also need to know the key. The software client may prompt for the key upon trying to connect, or there may be a separate area within its settings, that allows the configuration of the security information.
Signal Strength: The site survey will return a value indicating the strength of the wireless connection. This is somewhat helpful in determining whether or not the user is likely to be successful in establishing the wireless link. However, the signal strength as reported by the site survey, is usually just a static capture of the signal at the moment the survey was initiated. So, it is not the most accurate judge of true signal strength. Once the user has connected to the wireless network, there should be another area within the software client that will give a dynamic report of the signal strength and link quality.
Once the software client has established a wireless link, it is up to the operating system to negotiate an IP address for the workstation. This is done through the TCP/IP settings in the OS. It is fully possible for the wireless adapters software client to report a good connection to the network, and the workstation not yet have a valid IP address.
Aside from using the software client that came with the adapter, the user may choose to use the Windows XP wireless utility (if using XP), or a third party software solution.
The essential settings needed to establish a wireless connection are the same for any O/S. ESSID, mode, transmission rate, channel, encryption type and key are all used by a Linux client just as they are in Windows.
For the wireless device to function, you need to have the proper driver installed and loaded.
Finally, getting the wireless to connect is a great first step. Basic network parameters still need to be configured. Whether you use DHCP or manually configure it, the interface needs an IP address, DNS info and a gateway to talk to the outside world.
A lot. Linux doesn't hold your hand on a wizard-guided journey for other things. Why would it do so with wireless? You'll interact differently to set it up and, probably, use it.
What do I need?
For a laptop, the Card Services and Wireless Tools packages.
Card Services package:
This package is the engine for the PCMCIA portion of a system - usually a laptop. Most Linux distributions will load this when they detect it, but not always. Make sure that Card Services is loaded for your installation.
This software provides essential commands for controlling your wireless device.
Is my card compatible?
Probably. There are open source or proprietary drivers for most wireless devices. The trick is usually knowing what you have.
Not all wireless devices are the same. Even cards of the same make and model may contain different innards. The chipset used in the device determines the driver you'll need.
What chipset do I have?
Use the command ls (or ls -v for more details) to list the devices on a particular bus.
For Mini-PCI or Cardbus devices: lspci
For USB: lsusb
For PC Cards (PCMCIA): cardctl ident
Probably the most complete list of wireless clients and the chipsets in them is at Absolute Value Systems: »www.linux-wlan.org/docs/wlan_ada···.html.gz . Note that this site recommends the wlan_ng drive for many of the cards for which other options exist. See the drivers section for more on this.
What driver do I need?
Often called the kernel drivers since they are included with the Card Services package, David Hinds' orinoco drivers are something of a standard. Don't let the name fool you, these drivers work with a variety of chipsets and with PCI as well as PCMCIA.
The wlan_ng are designed to take advantage of Prism chipset features. They are more complicated to install than some drivers and "break" wireless tools, but work reliably for many folks. If you're using Prism USB, they may be your only option.
These are obsoleted by the orinoco drivers and only work with one group of (now ancient) cards. Don't bother.
For Atmel chipsets, you have two choices:
For Atheros-based cards, you'll need the MadWiFi driver. Building and loading this driver can be a bit tricky. Check the Wiki and the FAQ as well as the driver documentation.
Some companies have refused to develop their own Linux drivers or release enough information to the community to allow open source development, Broadcom and Intel chief among them. For these cases, putting a Linux "wrapper" around the Windows drivers provides Linux functionality. Linuxant has a commercial offering. Ndiswrapper is an open source alternative.
Some wireless applications require patched drivers to operate fully in certain modes; Kismet and Airsnort, for example.
The Host AP driver was originally designed for using Prism cards for access point applications (and can still be used for that). It is also a fine alternative to orinoco and wlan_ng for Prism-based devices.
How do I configure the client?
man iwconfig will list the entire command set for the wireless tools package. Note that not all cards support all functions such as limiting transmit power or promiscuous mode. Use these commands to change the wireless parameters on your device such as WEP key, mode and SSID.
How do I make the configuration changes permanent?
Using wireless tools will change the card settings, but they'll be lost on reboot unless you set them in a configuration file. The exact location will vary by distro, but two examples:
Slackware - /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts
Red Hat - /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
Can I make my own wireless access point?
Tools & Links
KwiFiManager - a task bar utility for KDE that mimics the ORiNOCO client utility. Works with wireless tools.
Kismet - NetStumbler on steroids.
Airsnort - Wireless Sniffer with a simple GUI.
Linux Wireless Page - Still the best and should be your first stop.
LinuxQuestions Hardware Compatibility List - Real folks posting real experiences.
FreeRADIUS - Using Linux to secure wireless networks.
EAP Wireless HOWTO
Cisco Whitepaper on EAP-TLS
Wireless On Linux Guides
Thanks to Malvagia for this submission.
Wireless Access Point:
Physical Connections: This will depend largely on the mode in which the Access Point is being used. In its most basic function, Access Point mode, the AP must be plugged into a known good outlet, and connected via straight-through patch cable to a switch.
Logging into AP: The settings for the AP will most likely be accessible via a web-based interface. The default IP address of the AP can be found in its manual. Enter this IP address into the address bar of a web browser to access the web based configuration. The default username and password should also be listed in the manual. If the AP is configured for Access Point mode, then this can be done via a wireless connection or from a computer that is on the same wired LAN segment. If the AP is being used in other modes, then it will most likely need to be setup from a computer on the same wired LAN segment.
LAN Settings: The AP should have an area in its firmware for the LAN settings. In this area, the user will be able to alter the default settings for IP address, Subnet Mask, and Gateway.
Wireless Settings: Another area in the firmware should be devoted to the wireless settings. This will allow the user to set the SSID, Channel, and Encryption settings. This is also where the settings for AP mode may be located. In addition to being used as an Access Point, many APs now support use as a Repeater, Bridge, Multi-point Bridge, or Wireless Client.
Access Point Mode: In this mode, the AP functions as a wireless hub to which wireless clients can connect. There is no special wireless settings required. The clients must make sure that they are configured to match the APs wireless settings. The AP must be connected to a switch or other LAN segment via patch cable.
Repeater Mode: In repeater mode, the AP functions to extend the range of the wireless network. It receives a signal wirelessly from another AP, and then passes it on to its own wireless clients. The repeater must have its SSID, Channel, and Encryption settings the exact same as the AP whose signal it is to repeat. The user must also enter the LAN MAC address of the main AP. The repeater does not need to be hardwired to anything (except a power source; at least until we get wireless power ). Wireless repeating is often a proprietary solution, and may not work in a mixed brand environment.
Bridge Mode: In bridge mode, the AP serves to create a wireless link between two separate LAN segments. The AP is dedicated to this task alone, and cannot serve any wireless clients. The AP must have its SSID, Channel, and Encryption settings the same as its companion AP that will be on the other end of the wireless link. The user will need to enter the MAC address of the other AP into each access point. The user will also need to make sure to change the default IP of one of the APs, so that there is no IP conflict. Bridging is often a proprietary solution, and may not work in a mixed brand, or even model, environment.
Multi-Point Bridge: A multi-point bridge consists of three or more APs forming a dedicated wireless link between separate LAN segments. Each AP must be set to the same SSID, Channel, and Encryption Key. The user also needs to adjust the IP addresses to avoid IP conflicts. Multi-point bridging is often a proprietary solution, and may not work in a mixed brand, or even model, environment.
Wireless Client Mode: A wireless client serves to wirelessly connect a LAN segment to another AP. The main AP is in access point mode, and the second AP is in client mode. The wireless client needs to have the same SSID, Channel, and Encryption settings as the main AP. The user may need to change the default IP to avoid IP conflicts. Wireless clients are often a proprietary solution, and may not work in a mixed brand, or even model, environment.
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
Thanks to Malvagia for this submission.
Interfaces: There are currently three types of wireless adapter: USB, PC Card, and PCI Card.
Drivers: The user will need to make sure that the wireless adapter they choose has a driver for the OS they intend to use it with. Some cards work with generic drivers, that are based on the cards chipset.
Wireless Settings: The wireless adapter will need to have some sort of software utility to manage its wireless settings. Primarily, the adapter will need to have the same SSID, Channel, and Encryption settings as the device it is trying to connect to. It will also need to have an IP address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, and DNS addresses, that are compatible with the rest of the LAN. The wireless adapter may be configured in either infrastructure or ad-hoc mode.
Both ends are running DLink 900AP+ access points ($109 Canadian each) and provided power with DLink DWL-P100 ($55 Canadian each) POE Adapters. Best firmware I have found thus far for the radios is version 2.5 .... the others work but I find it less stable than what I am currently running. Both radios are configured in Bridge Mode to give the illusion of a long wire! Speed from radio to radio is 22 Mbps ... 0 packet loss. I suspect that I am losing packets at the switch or from a bad CAT5 cable I have somewhere. Just a little lazy to search for it right now.
The access points are connected to 2 grid antennas that I had shipped from the USA and landed in Canada for approximately $55 a piece Canadian. The pigtails I made for about $12 a piece Canadian. These are 4 feet in length which means I loose minimal power from the radios!
On the DSL side, I have a DI-604 router (that I will be replacing with a Linksys router ... for better VPN functionality). The Dlink router cost me $39 Canadian. I'm trading it for the linksys so no additional costs will be seen.
The radio on the remote side is mounted in a weatherproof PVC Box ($29 Canadian). The other radio is mounted in my storage shed.
Thus total cost is:
2 x Radios @ $109 = $218
2 x POE Adapters @ $55 = $110
2 x Pigtails @ $12 = $24
2 x Antenna @ $55 = $110
1 x Router @ $39 = $39
1 x PVC Box @ $29 = $29
Throw in some miscellaneous connectors, some gas, etc etc etc, I did it all for around $600 Canadian
Some additional comments from kibiByte :
Just noticing this is the only FAQ on sharing WiFi, and if you want to go just to your next door neighbour it can be accomplished very inexpensively with a single router each, and maybe some custom firmware (OpenWRT or DD-WRT for instance.)
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
»Update on my wireless link to get broadband
»Lorex wireless camera and 802.11b :-(
»Problem with lost packets AP-900+
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
1. Using a PC wired into the current router, unplug it from the wired connection and plug into a LAN port on the secondary router. Access the secondary router using your browser via its default LAN IP address and default password. Since the PC was attached to the previous router you will have tell the PC to obtain a LAN IP from the new device. Use 'winipcfg' in win9x or 'ipconfig release/renew' with W2K/XP on the PC.
2. On the secondary router (hereafter called the AP)
a. change the default password to a minimum combination of 8 letters/numbers/symbols.
b. Change the ESSID to a unique name and make all the necessary wireless configurations.
Note: If attaching a WiFi router as an AP/switch to an existing wifi network, one should keep the ESSIDs the same for seamless roaming, or separate if one wants to manually decide which AP to connect to. If you decide to use the existing ESSID as your existing wireless network, your security settings should be the same. Also, ensure channel separation (1-6-11 common for three devices). Two wireless AP on the same channel does not work very well.
3. In the AP, go to the LAN setup page:
a. Turn DHCP serving OFF on the AP (i.e secondary router being configured as AP). This is necessary so that your DHCP clients obtain correct settings (with correct gateway) from the primary router instead of the incomplete/erroneous one from the AP.
b. Change the LAN IP of the AP from its default so that it lies within the subnet of the primary router but preferably outside the dynamic LAN IP range of the primary router. (examples below) Note: This is not a requirement, but keeping everything in the same IP range can make administration and file sharing easier.
c. Disable or turn RIP off, if there is that option.
d. Disable or turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support (if any).
4. Plug the PC back into the wired connection and repeat the process of getting new LAN IP. A reboot of the PC may be needed.
5. Plug the AP into the primary router, LAN port TO LAN port directly or via switch/patch panel etc. Leave the WAN port of AP disconnected.
6. It may be necessary to reboot one or both routers but one should be able to assign LAN IPs wirelessly and connect at this point, ensuring WiFi card setup properly.
LAN IP 192.168.1.1
old Dynamic DHCP Pool 192.168.1.2 - 192.168.1.xx
subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Will need to change Dynamic DHCP pool
new DCHP Pool 192.168.1.33 - 192.168.1.xx (for example)
Subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Secondary Router (our Access Point)
old LAN IP 192.168.0.1 -or any other default
Will need to change LAN IP to be within subnet of primary.
new LAN IP 192.168.1.2
Subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Thanks to Anav for these instructions, to GeekNJ and Shootist for their similar threads and to SipSizzurp for additional clarity.
Thanks to Bill for this dandy example diagram. »i.dslr.net/pics/faqs/image93081.jpg
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
1) Do I have line of sight? "Line of sight" is literally being able to see the target you want to provide connectivity to, without obstruction.
2) How far apart are the two locations that I want to link? Equipment that's needed for a 500 foot link is much different than that for a one mile link.
3) How much money am I willing to spend on this project? Long-range wireless solutions can cost lots of money. You need to plan how much you're going to spend for each part before you start the project. You don't want to start the project, then not have enough money to finish it.
4) What kind of equipment am I going to use? Are you going to be using consumer-grade equipment or are you willing to use business-level equipment. There is a big difference in the two types. Reliability and support are typically gained, with the price being the trade-off.
5) How much time am I willing to spend trying to get this to work? If you don't want to spend more than a few hours on this project, you probably shouldn't start it. It's going to take days, even weeks to get long range solutions setup and working properly. Don't think it will take thirty minutes and everything will work just like you planned.
6) How do I want to link the two buildings? There are so many different options in how to link buildings. You can provide one AP on each end, or just simply try to broadcast the wireless signal into the building so one machine can use the signal.
Now that you've thought about those questions, I'll explain the different types of long range wireless links (and later offer some solutions for each type).
1) "Home to Home". This is in reference to linking two homes together. Usually people will want to do this when they have a friend next door, or a few houses down, and they want to share files and network resources. (For this setup I will assume the distance is less than 500 feet)
2) "Building to Building". Often companies want to link two buildings. For this sort of setup, you're going to want a very reliable connection and can't cut corners. You don't want your boss firing you because he can't access his files in the other office. (For this setup I will assume the distance is around 800 feet between buildings)
"Home to Home" procedure
First, you want to make sure there is minimal interference between the two houses. If the houses are in an urban area, and there are multiple houses in the way or adjacent to your link, there will most likely be lots of interference from other wireless devices. Wireless networks and phones can both lead to interference and cut down drastically on your range. You can check for wireless networks by using Netstumbler and walking the sidewalk from one point on your proposed link to the other. Make sure to save the list after you're done walking so you can refer to it later on. Netstumbler will report which channels the other networks were on. You're going to want to put your network on a different channel than all these other networks you find. If you left it on the same channel, you'd see interference and either not be able to complete your link, or notice very slow speeds.
After you've picked an appropriate channel, find where you're going to setup the wireless AP that will be broadcasting the signal to the other house. Preferably, place it near a window or somewhere that has direct line of sight with the other house. If you don't have line of sight, you might run into problems down the line.
Your first decision is whether to place an AP/bridge at the second house, or just try to broadcast a wireless signal to the other home's computer. If you want to put one AP on each side of the link, you're going to want to get an access point that's capable of "WDS", which will allow you to connect two APs together. Another option would be to put a wireless bridge in each home (preferably in line of sight with each other) and connect that way. If you just want to try and broadcast the wireless signal from your home to the other home (with no AP/bridge on the other end), you're probably going to want a wireless router that will support boosting the transmit power, via third-party firmware. Currently few routers support this, two of which are the WRT54G and WRT54GS.
After you've chosen which way you'd like to link the two homes, try it out. See if it works.
If it doesn't work, make sure you've still got line of sight and everything is setup properly.
If everything is setup correctly and you're still not getting the full range, you're going to want to look into buying a directional antenna. You want at least one directional antenna on each end pointing directly at each other. It's preferred to have directional antennas because they send the signal in one direction, compared to omni-directional antennas which send in all directions.
But in order for the directional antennas to work, your AP's current antennas have to be detachable. Most modern routers do have detachable antennas because many more people want to put more powerful antennas on. If you're not sure if yours are detachable, see your vendor specific forum and ask if they are detachable, and if so, what sort of antenna connector they take.
After you've figured out which type of connector your router takes, try going to a local computer store and finding a suitable antenna (preferably greater than 5dB, the greater dB, the more powerful). If you're unable to find the antenna type at a local store, you can try eBay or searching Google for compatible antennas.
After you've gotten your antennas and hooked them up, make sure the antennas in both homes are pointing directly at each other for best performance.
If you've setup everything correctly, you should easily be able to hold a constant connection at less than 300 feet with line of sight.
"Building to Building" procedure
You're basically going to want to follow the same procedure as the "Home to Home" but with a few added steps to achieve more reliable connections.
When you place the antennas, try to place them on the roofs of both buildings. This will help minimize interference between the two links.
You may want to consider highly-directional antennas to ensure a consistent signal. You can't afford downtime in your network. (A side benefit is increased security due to the narrow radio beam).
Also, when setting up a "Building to Building" network for a business, try getting higher powered APs. It'd be looked down upon to be using two Linksys WRT's on both ends of a business network. You're going to want to use Cisco or another business class vendors AP. They will be higher powered and provide stronger signals.
Now, if you've read through all of this and your network still doesn't work, here are some things to check:
1) Do you have line of sight? This is key. If you don't have it and you want to setup a link at more than 500 feet, you're going to have problems.
2) Do you live in a neighborhood with lots of homes? This could very easily be causing the problem. With lots of homes between/surrounding your link, you're likely getting tons of interference. If you followed the guide, you would have already checked for wireless networks that were in the way, but that doesn't account for wireless phones. Almost everyone has a wireless phone these days. Most of which operate at 2.4GHz (the same as 802.11b/g). The way you could get around this, would be to buy 802.11a equipment, which operates at a different frequency. Wireless security systems and even microwave ovens can also interfere with your wireless signal.
3) Have you read all the other threads that talk about setting up wireless links?
Take a look at these threads:
»Extended Range Connection
»Extending a wirless network
»[wireless] Options to Extend My Wireless Connection
»[wireless] WRT54G Range Problems
»[wireless] How to?: Long range 802.11g
»Need Help with extending wireless Range
»Wireless Range - Indoor - Help
»Confused about how to extend my wireless signal
»home wireless network with 3 blocks or more range?
»extending wireless coverage
Also see the FAQ entry /faq/10944
Thanks to Bill for this great FAQ.
If you don't want to share your internet connection, this should get you up-and-running.
If you do want to share your internet connection, follow these steps:
Also, keep in mind, when sharing your internet connection over an ad-hoc network, the host computer must be on, and connected to the internet, if you want the second machine to be able to access the internet.
To test connectivity:
Regular filesharing setup and problems still apply to ad-hoc networking. Be sure to take a look at /faq/11841 if you run into filesharing problems.
You can also find an additional guide here
This stems from a basic misunderstanding of what those ports are for.
Correct solution, don't be such a skinflint:
Use 1st AP with directional for p-t-p link, all TX/RX set to single antenna.
Use 2nd AP for local coverage.
The 2 ports you will notice, ship from the factory with IDENTICAL antenna installed. The reason we have 2 ports is for something termed "diversity", which in this usage means that the SINGLE radio looks at which antenna sees the strongest signal for the current client and uses that one. This helps with indoor multipath reflection issues in that it each timeslice it can evaluate which antenna is best and switch to it. It's a small but real improvement is solving indoor WiFi usage that costs little for the manufacturer to implement. Works well in a setup with a couple of low or medium-gain omni antenna.
Let's get back to the SINGLE radio point here. In practice, only one antenna is being used during a given time interval. The radio does not transmit or receive on both ports at once or anything crazy like that. So, what you are asking it do is WAY outside the design intention for the 2 ports. If the radio is very busy trafficking with YOU the local client, it is not going to be doing much with the dish connection. The vice-versa applies, if the point-to-point traffic is heavy then the local omni antenna will be largely ignored.
In practical usage, some people have done this very setup. The rule of thumb is that if both the p-t-p and the local clients are above -80 dBm signal strength it is what we would call "usable". Note that it is not IDEAL as there is still much neglect of one partner or the other, retransmits due to no response, etc. Most people find that the throughput suffers badly with a 50-75% reduction.
You may get it to kinda-sort work, and your usage may be sufficiently forgiving of its actual drawbacks to notice what a lousy hack it is. Good luck with that, but many find they are later having to add a 2nd AP to solve the issues.
So you just got an EV-DO, GPRS or EDGE or some other cell-modem card for your laptop. Now you have the idea to share it around.
Okay fine, you can certainly do that.
You may find it impractical because in the final analysis, a usually expensive laptop has to be running, patched, etc. all the time to do the simple packet-switching job we typically do with a cheap router.
There are many ways to solve this problem.
The first and most obvious way for most users is always PC-centric. (Give a man a hammer and everything looks like a nail on which you must use that hammer. Anyhow ...)
You do not HAVE to use a laptop for this role, you can use a desktop. You can get PCMCIA adapters that will fit in your PCI slots on a regular desktop PC. Get a PCMCIA-PCI adapter unit and scavenge an older modest PC, the job of packet-switching does not demand much CPU or memory.
The simplest way to provide WiFi broadcast is not to do it with a WiFi card in the PC. The reason is that WiFi cards are meant to be end-point devices not to be base-stations providing central service. Yes, there are certain cards and software you can get around this on, or use Adhoc mode but these may be more complex than needed for most people.
I usually recommend the use of an Ethernet adapter on the PC, connected to an external Access Point unit such as the Linksys WAP54G. It doesn't really need to do anything other than bridge the LAN to WiFi and act as that base-station unit. An AP will be a better solution than Adhoc because it can be located anywhere central that is good for spreading WiFi signal around your structure. The only needed connection is an Ethernet run. This solution is also more flexible since if you need a little more coverage all you need to do is add an ethernet switch, and run Ethernet cable to another AP for the additional area.
So as far as the PC is concerned, we are doing something fairly simple - sharing Internet coming in on one adapter (the cell-modem) out to another adapter (the ethernet port). For this we can easily use ICS, the MS-approved Internet Connection Sharing program that has been built-in on Windows for some years now. Plenty of tutorials and FAQs for this, the Networking Forum FAQ being a great place to start. See sections 2.2 and 2.3 about connection sharing, link below:
»Networking Forum FAQ
The second obvious way would be to use a commercial proxy software which is a fancier and more featured version of the same PC-centered idea. Wingate and many software out there.
The third way would be to buy a dedicated router device; these do exist which accept a cell-modem and handle the router job for you. They are not cheap, but usually a lot cheaper than a laptop and are meant to be left on 24x7. A bit of Googling should find you a product that will do the job. Example I found quickly for EV-DO would be the Kyocera KR1 router. Another, less expensive alternative in the UK is the Linksys WRT54G3G.
I would also check around on some cellphone forums, you are more likely to find some vendor-specific examples there.
If you wish to switch between your manufacturer's Wireless Configuration Utility and the Windows Wireless Zero Configuration service:
1. Go to Network Connections (from the left panel of My Network Places)
2. Right click on the icon for your wireless network card, and choose Properties
3. In the Properties dialog box, choose the middle "Wireless Networks" tab
4. Check or Uncheck the box on the top that enables Windows management of wireless connections
5. Click OK
A reboot is recommended. If you are using any form of WPA or 802.1X security, you will likely need to reboot the computer before you will be able to access your wireless Access Point -- even if it is configured correctly.
Even when both the manufacturer's software and the Wireless Zero Configuration services are running, the Configuration Utility should detect when Windows is not managing the connection and give you access to its own configuration options.
Likewise, Windows should detect when it is not enabled to control the wireless network configuration, and disable access to the Windows configuration options.
Before proceeding, be sure to download a local copy of the manufacturer's software and driver should you find yourself with a disabled network card and a need to reinstall the software.
A. If you suspect that Windows is interfering with your wireless network, regardless of the setting, you can disable the underlying service. If the Wireless Zero Configuration service is disabled, Windows will not be able to manage the wireless network -- regardless of any setting. To permanently disable the Wireless Zero Configuration service, click Start, Run, and input services.msc and press Enter. In the Services window that follows, find the Wireless Zero Configuration service, double-click it, and change the startup option to Disabled. Reboot. If you still have issues, uninstall and reinstall your manufacturer's software now that the Wireless Zero Configuration Service is disabled. It should set itself up correctly now.
B. If the Manufacturer's configuration software is interfering with Windows' management of your wireless card, consider uninstalling your Manufacturer's software. Windows only needs the driver in order to communicate with your card and manage the wireless network. Everything else is optional. Remove the software from Add/Remove programs. The uninstall program might give you an option to uninstall everything except for the driver, or it might have separate Add/Remove Program entries for the utility. If it does not, then reinstall the software using the local copy you downloaded and look for an option that installs only the driver.
If what you want is to extend your range, consider your options in this order:
1) High-gain antenna on the primary AP.
In most cases you can increase your coverage with a single AP by 50-100% *without* supporting a new piece of WiFi network hardware.
If you have a big square and flat structure like a ranch-house, and the AP is near the center, then a medium or high-gain omni will spread the signal in the right directions.
If you have a tall structure, you might consider the omni but lay it on its side, the strong signal zone is perpendicular to the side of the antenna. Or you could buy a directional antenna, or build your own following directions like those found at »www.freeantennas.com/ Particularly if most of your clients are in one direction, you want a directional antenna on the AP.
2) Setup a 2nd AP
Run a *hardline* to the 2nd AP. This could be ethernet or it could be powerline-networking bridges. This is your next best option as far as performance, cost, and simplicity of operation. Set the 2nd AP to same SSID and encryption, but 5 channels different from the first one to avoid interference. If you have a "WiFi-router" you should turn it into a simple AP unit or it, directions are in the FAQ here »Wireless Networking Forum FAQ »Using a Wireless Router as an Access Point
3) Setup "repeater" node.
For non-networking WiFi geeks, this is the most difficult to do. In the sense that many devices do not support it. So you need to find ones that do. And *BOTH* devices must support a compatible version, these protocols are not as standard as they should be and do not always work when crossing vendors lines. The best thing you can do is ask on the VENDOR forums, not Wireless Networking, if your models support WDS which stands for Wireless Distribution System.
If you decide to go this route, there are some gotchas:
*1 Throughput drop: A single-radio repeater has to get some signal to work with. Usually it is located at some midpoint where it's signal is not 100% either. Now it has to spend half of its time repeating a degraded signal. Your reception of this repeated signal may be less than 100% also. So the net is that by the time it gets down to real numbers you can lose 1/2 or more of your throughput.
*2 Interference: Both WDS units must operate on same channel; there will be increase of interference and hidden-node issues.
*3 Setup: Assuming you get two devices which both support a compatible version of WDS, you then have to set it up. This setup is going to vary quite a lot by firmware. No firmware I have found, has a simple "find partner and link-up" button.
I will attempt to outline the basics of WDS here only, and look towards doing a new FAQ entry with more specifics.
You will need the MAC address of the WLAN device on each unit. On my Linksys WRT54GS this is found on the Status page under the Wireless tab. This MAC address is NOT the same as the WAN or LAN address found on the bottom of the unit or other status pages. Then you find the WDS setup tab in your firmware, and tell each unit the MAC address of it's WDS peer. In most cases it is really just that simple to setup a basic home WDS network. Make sure encryption keys match of course....
So they ask:
Q: "Can I go faster if I dedicate left to TX and right to RX?"
Um, no you can't.
First off, this would violate the intent of the rather primitive diversity mechanism used in most WiFi Access Points.
The point of diversity is that during a given time-slice, the AP makes some sort of judgement about which is the best antenna for the client it's talking to, and prefers using that one. Later it judges again. By selecting one antenna element, you effectively prevent the access point from potentially making a better choice. For most household uses, this will probably slightly degrade your operations. It's not evil, you just aren't helping matters any and might be limiting the AP's ability to do job as designed.
But what people are really asking is about tricking the unit into full-duplex operation - sending and receiving at the same time by using both antennas. Can you do that?
No, you cannot.
See those posts aren't attached to different radios, they go to a single radio. And the single-radio is half-duplex, it cannot receive while transmitting. Think of a walkie-talkie or a speakerphone vs. a standard telephone conversation, which would be full-duplex. Full-duplex is simply not possible with the single-radio setup in consumer grade wireless.
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The factory firmware for my WRT54G did not have a "client" option.
Sw Bill found a nice guide:
Details are in this thread:
»Use my wireless router as a wireless client?
I am now all warm and fuzzy, as it is working great!
Note: the process is specific to certain versions of this particular Linksys router.
Although 802.11b and 802.11g devices are designed to share the airwaves with neighboring networks, it is best to find a clear channel for several reasons, chief among these:
1. When your neighbors' networks are busy, there is less available bandwidth on those frequencies for your data, reducing your performance
2. Your Access Point (AP) and wireless devices may not hear your neighbor's weaker wireless signals, causing degraded performance due to collisions
3. Your neighbor's networks may not be entirely 802.11b or 802.11g compliant. Some "advanced" technologies are known to interfere with 802.11-compliant systems instead of sharing the airwaves with them.
In order to find a completely clear channel, you need to choose a channel that is 5 or more channel numbers away from your neighbors. This is not always possible, particularly in heavily populated areas. So do your best. Tools such as Vistumbler or inSSIDer can help you visualize the WiFi landscape.
You need to understand that the wireless channels translate to a radio frequency. Channel 6, for example, is 2.437 GHz (or 2437 MHz). Each channel up or down is 5 MHz away. However, and this is key, Wi-Fi signals are 20 MHz wide! So when you set your Wi-Fi device to channel 6, you actually are using the frequencies of channels 5, 6, 7, and half of 4 and 8.
So consider the situation below when 3 wireless networks are on 3 different, but adjacent channels, 5, 6, and 7. They may be different channels, but they are using much of the same spectrum and, as a result, they will contend with each other.
This is why it is recommended to try to be at least 5 channels (25 MHz) away from your neighboring networks. By doing so, you avoid overlapping the frequency spectrum that their networks use. By moving the network 5 channels away (6 minus 5 equals 1, or 6 plus 5 equals 11), you avoid any overlap. As follows:
Notes: The channels available are governed by local regulations. You may have different channels available to you.
ed: Some tests have shown that the minor overlapping of channels does not degrade performance of Wi-Fi systems, allowing for four nearby networks to share the available spectrum. This article discusses both three and 4-channel placement:
Feedback received on this FAQ entry: