Network Help (Bridging or Repeater?)

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by kirky29, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. kirky29 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Lincolnshire, England
    So basically I would like one wireless network.

    At the moment we have Router A then that connects to Router B. Both are wireless and work perfectly fine but in the yard when the signal gets weak we have to go into settings and change the wifi network to eg Router B if that makes sense.

    Is it possible to combine Router A+B to create one single Wireless network so we don't have to keep switching? You know, like in the supermarkets and offices etc.

    If it's possible, what would that be called? Is it fairly easy to do?

    Both Routers are TP-Link.

    Thank you!
  2. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Depending on software version second router needs to join existing network.

    I think now you have a double nat on the outside router

    Extending via wifi is extremely inefficient and gringos your throughput down by half.

    Is it possible to run Ethernet between routers? Maybe place the other one in different area?

    Also look into channels. Try to eliminate interference. Noise in the signal will bring throughout down and cause repeats.
  3. kirky29 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Lincolnshire, England
    Hi, thanks for your reply!

    So basically Router 1 connects to Router 2 via an ethernet cable but things like our iPads and iPhones are all wireless so we connect to the closest routers wireless, if that makes sense?
  4. LiveM macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2015
    If you use Airport routers, as an example, you will never have to manually change connection, either the router or the frequency.
  5. thisismyusername, Dec 29, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015

    thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    Yes. Configure Router B to work in bridge mode (you're basically turning it into a wireless access point with all the router stuff turned off) and then set up its wireless network to have the same SSID, wireless security method and password as Router A's wireless network. Wireless devices should then be able to jump from router A to router B and vice-versa seamlessly. I used to do this in my house with an Apple Airport Extreme and a Netgear router.

    Here's a link to an article that goes into more detail about this sort of thing:
  6. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Yes. You need to put router 2 into bridge mode and set it to use identical wireless network information (network name, password, security type, etc.) but choose a different channel.
  7. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    Despite fixing your wireless bridge setup, the problem you are likely to encounter using consumer wifi gear is that your client devices will likely not "roam" between the the two access points the way you expect.

    Most devices, once they are connected to a particular access point will stay connected to that AP until the signal is unusable, then look for another connection. So, say you connect your device in the house and it connects to access point A and has 100% signal. Then you walk out into the yard and, even though access point B has a much stronger and better signal and is using the same SSID (network name), your device is still going to stick with A even though the signal strength is like 20%. You will have to go completely out of range of A, or cycle wifi off/on on the device to get it to survey it's options and connect tot the better signal.

    For wifi devices to seamlessly roam, your wifi access points have to have the specific ability to communicate and hand off clients between each other. Usually via a central controller device or server. That is how businesses/enterprise environments pull it off, with a platform similar to this:
  8. LiveM macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2015
    Which is one big advantage of Apple Airport routers. It is seamless and automatic.
  9. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    AirPort does not do any sort of active roaming where the Base stations are actively negotiating. It is still up to the device to decide when to roam from one access point to the next. The wifi drivers in Macs tend to be a little smarter than most other devices and will roam much more actively when they see multiple SSIDs of the same name regardless of whether or not the wifi gear is Apple. Most other devices, including the iPhone and iPad are not like this and function much more passively and will hold on to whatever signal they have until the last moment.
  10. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    The functionality that @sevoneone is referencing is Zero-Handoff Roaming, which makes all APs appear as one to the client and the controller backend handles roaming. In a situation without Zero-Handoff, you would want to adjust the transmit power of both routers so that there is not too much "overlap" in the signal areas from each router.
  11. devinci99 macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2008
    Before I share what I've learn and done, there is a caveat that was pointed out by another poster.

    Most modern devices with wifi these days has drivers which looks at signal strength and figure out when to switch over to another saved wifi profile and varying thresholds. Some older devices has less intelligent methods to switch and could hold on to a wifi AP as long as there is even a little signal. The finally there are some devices that doesn't know which AP to use if both AP has the same name (SSID). Among these I discover are Nest devices. They cant connect correctly when more than 1 AP are around with the same name (I worked around that).

    But for the most part you need at least 1 NAT router where you share your internet point to other devices. These days, NAT routers are combined with WIFI AP capability. My setup is just a NAT router without any WIFI (I turned it off). I then Have 3 additional WIFI routers to create 3 APs with the same name BUT different channel -- make sure the channel is different!

    For example:

    2.4G SSID : 2.4G_WIFI = AP1 chan1, AP2 chan2, AP3 chan3
    5G SSID: 5G_WIFI = AP1 chan4, AP2 chan5, AP3 chan6

    Each APX represent a uniq and supported channel band.

    For example on AP1, AP2, and AP3, the 2.4G network must to configured exactly the same in every way except for then channel number. Same for the 5G network.

    These AP are connected via ethernet cable to my router and are set up as Access points only. Make sure you buy devices that allows you to configure them as Access points. Most wifi routers has this capability. Be careful not to configure them as routers.

    For my Nest device, the workaround requires your AP to support an advance feature to additional virtual access points. I created an access point using different names such as:



    While I configure my phone, and tablet to use the common SSID such as 5G_WIFI, because the Nest cannot do this, I have to pick the best AP closes to each Nest device.

    In my use I went with cable and access point because I got lucky in my setup where I can fish a cable inside my drywalls to where I need them to be.

    You can also use wifi-repeaters if you cannot get a cable there; but you will lose half your bandwidth to support repeat mode. Half will serve your clients, the other half is used to communicate with the Access point it is task to forward to. This needs to be consider as you 'design' or architect your home wifi setup. If you're using a old and slower wifi router such as 54 mbits, that would mean less than 27 mbits shared between clients. This may not cut it if you hope to watch videos in that part of the house. If you need to use a repeater and get good speed, you may need to upgrade BOTH routers to AC, so you can get somewhere like 900 mbits/2 theoretical speed to support the speed you need.

    If you're just checking email and webpages without videos, maybe you don't need a pair of AC access points for it.

    My hardware setup:

    pFsense firewall/router (Cisco E4200 backup)
    Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (with dd-wrt) central wifi (middle of my house); wired to my pfSense
    Edimax AC1200 in Garage. wired to my pFsense. Gives coverage to my garage and front of my house.
    Edimax AC1200 in basement, far side.

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