wds WIRED mesh with AEBS?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mmcxiiad, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. mmcxiiad macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    #1
    I have 2 AEBS - one is acting as the router, the other has a wired connection to it on opposite sides of the house. What I want to do is have a mesh network so all of my devices can seamlessly connect to one big network. How does one set this up.

    I know how to set up a wds to act as a wireless extender when the second device is not connecting, but how do you do this when both AEBS have a wired connection?



    -------UPDATE--------------

    If anyone is interested in doing this, here are the steps to follow. Thanks to DoFoT9 and Intell for their advice. I couldn't have done this without both of their help. I have set this up and it seems to be working great.


    Instruction:
    1. Connect 2 or more wired AEBS.


    1. Connect 2 or more AEBS to a wired network.

    2. Open the Airport utility for the base station, In the Wireless tab, hold down the Option key as you click Wireless Mode. Choose "Participate in a WDS network". You should now have a new WDS tab.

    3. Next you have to set up the two routers to talk to each other. One needs to be the primary device. If one of the AEBS is configured as a router, make this master. If you are using 2 or more as access points, you can just pick any one to be the main.

    4. On the master AEBS, click the WDS tab, then set WDS to main. Set the AIRPORT id to the other AEBS's ETHERNET mac address. Check allow wireless clients. Then click update. After the base station reboots, it will be setup.

    5. On every additional AEBS, click the WDS tab, then set it as a WDS remote and set that AIRPORT id to the main AEBS's ETHERNET. address. Check allow wireless clients. Then click update. After the base station reboots, it will be setup.

    6. After the basestations reboot, you may get an amber light and this error: WDS ERROR - This Airport wireless device is set up as part of a WDS network but no other Airport wireless devices were found. Just check the box that says to ignore this issue.

    At this point everything should be working.

    Optionally, if you want to have another AEBS that you want to connect to the WDS wirelessly, Instead of adding it in using the ethernet mac addresses, use the airport ones. You have to add this additional AEBS's Airport address to the main's list and then the main's to the additional AEBS's list.
     
  2. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #2
    you can still do it the same as per normal i believe, set one up as the master, and one as a replay - they use MAC addresses to identify with each other so it should be ok.
     
  3. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    but will it send data back & forth to the master wirelessly or over the wired connection?
     
  4. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #4
    good question. if they are in range then it would be wirelessly unfortunately :(
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    I'm doing something along the same lines.

    You want the main WDS station to be set up as a main with it forwarding traffic to the remote's Ethernet port MAC. You then want to set up the remote WDS station to forward traffic to the main station's Ethernet MAC.

    If you have either of the two base stations forwarding traffic over WiFi you will cause a loop that will flood your network with empty data and cause it to crash.
     
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #6
    i knew there would be a way to do it! nice find :D

    that should work!
     
  7. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
    Thanks. I'm not sure if it really even forwards the data or if it just fills in the blanks to make WDS work while having the base stations working in bridge mode with WDS. But all I know is it's been working very well for the past seven months without a hitch and the speeds are much better then doing it wirelessly.
     
  8. waw74 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #8
    You don't need WDS

    Just set the remote extreme up in bridge mode. Give it the same SSID and security settings as the main, but a different channel.

    Your devices will automatically switch to the stronger of the 2 networks as you move around.
     
  9. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    that makes sense (about wds using ethernet mac address). I'll be testing this right now and report my results in a few minutes.

    *crossing fingers*
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #10
    That doesn't always work. Some older devices don't like to dynamically switch. They tend to get stuck on a network that isn't really there.
     
  11. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I used to have things set up like this and it didn't seem to switch seamlessly. I was always having to manually do it or having devices search for signals.
     
  12. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #12
    I'd have to look into it further for the actual explanation but it sounds as if it's doing proper WDS just with Ethernet - as you are using the Ethernet MAC. Wireless WDS is a total annoyance, I used to use it with 802.11g airports and my max intranet speeds went from ~3MBs to 1.5MBs!! These were all within 20m of each other too.
     
  13. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #13
    But here's the problem. In my system, a funky hybrid of wireless and wired, the main is not setup to send over the Ethernet. It just thinks it a WDS Main with no Remotes or Relays. Same with the wired Remote, it doesn't forward to the Ethernet.

    The halving of the speed is an inherit flaw of WDS. It is always done, it needs the overhead for the other base station. But if you plug a computer, via Ethernet, into a base station that is part of a WDS network then you get the full network speed, using the base station as a wireless bridge.
     
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #14
    I wonder if the station acts as a switch as well then? And then just forwards packets to the IP using its routing table.?

    Silly WDS speeds, you'd think that they could have made it better!
     
  15. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #15
    If it's an Extreme then yes. My UFO Extreme is providing wireless to one end of my house and one wired connection to my Mac Mini. The UFO's other Ethernet jack gets is connected to my Express N which then sends then data wirelessly to an Extreme N.

    The whole setup is fast and reliable.

    Oh, and the UFO is acting as a dialup connection server for those times away from home.
     
  16. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2002
    #16
    well, talk about 1 infinite loop!

    So it took just a few minutes to switch everything over to the router acting as the master and the other AEBS as the extended. Once I did, I watched my network start to replicate itself into a standstill. In fact it took 5 minutes to make the switch and the other 30 to fix it it. This was becouse the second AEBS wouldn't let me back in and I ended up having to do a hard reset.

    It also appears that the mac address linking isn't available in the newest AEBS's. Unless I am missing something it looks like all you have to do is say that the main one can share the network and that the other one(s) can act as extenders. This can't be right as it would be incredibly insecure.

    So unless I am just missing a step here, I am back to square one.
     
  17. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #17
    The newer base stations still have WDS, it's just hidden. In the Wireless tab, hold down the Option key as you click Wireless Mode. It'll present you with new options including WDS. To prevent the loop you must NOT enter the WiFi/Airport MAC address of the base stations in the WDS tab. Enter the Ethernet ones or make some up using all zeros.
     
  18. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    #18

    Thanks for the info. I have set it up the router to be the WDS main and set the airport id to the other AEBS's ethernet mac address. Then I set the second AEBS to WDS remote and set that airport id to the router's mac address. In both cases I checked allow remote clients. the wireless seems to be working, but after I reboot the AEBS, i get an amber light and this error:

    WDS ERROR - This Airport wireless device is set up as part of a WDS network but no other Airport wireless devices were found.

    I am not sure if this is a problem or just because the the WDS is looking for the mac address to be the airport's one. Any additional help is greatly appreciated.
     
  19. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #19
    Opps, I forgot about that. I also get that. I just checked the Ignore box and continued to use it without problems. Glad to see that you got it working.
     
  20. mmcxiiad thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    updated the first post to include the instructions to do this, thanks for all the help to do this!
     
  21. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #21
    Awsome glad it's working. Might need it one day soon haha
     
  22. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    is a state of mind.
    #22
    This seems to have worked for me. I have a Time Capsule that is connected to a remote Airport Express over Cat6 that runs through the walls of my house. To get around the problem in (6) I made sure that both networks were set to the same channel. Everything is happy.
     

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