My Home, My WiFi Cloud
Apparently, my Linksys WRE54G wasn’t enough to improve the WiFi experience for my wife. While it did improve the WiFi signal somewhat, we still had more than our share of dropouts, making things less than desirable.
I had a second WRT54GS sitting in my router/switch box in my office, so I finally decided I’d do what some other people suggested: use two Linksys routers and implement WDS. Seemed silly, but it also brings an additional benefit: Ethernet ports at the location of the router.
I took my other WRT54GS down to my wife’s office and configured both routers according to the Tomato FAQ, except I used TKIP instead of AES for maximum compatibility. Initially, it worked, but it eventually stopped working.
After some Googling, it seems that WDS and WPA have some kind of bug related to it. Specifically, it seems to consistently fail when you are trying to link to a specific endpoint with WDS. When I switch everything to Automatic/Lazy mode, it starts working fairly consistently.
I am unsure what the security risks are of using WDS in Automatic mode, though I’m sure that it would also be helpful to the WRE54G, since there is no real place in the unit to configure which WDS endpoint to connect to.
This WDS thing has a bonus: in my wife’s office, she now has four Ethernet ports from the WRT54GS. Her computer and printer are now plugged into this. While my printer actually has WiFi, I was never able to make it work with my long WPA key. Now both her computer and printer can just speak Ethernet.
The downside, of course, is that if the wireless part of the link goes down, my wife won’t have any obvious way to find that out. However, the WiFi signal should be better now that a device with an external antenna is being used.
I’ll have to survey my house and see if I truly covered every square inch. If you’ve managed to configure something like this (or even if you didn’t), leave me a note in the comments telling me what you think.