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Help adding WAP to an existing network

I am trying to add a WAP to an existing network. The WAP is a linksys BEFW11S4 and all that I want it to do is relay traffic!

The problem is that all of the post's that I have read say that you must hook the WAP directly into the other router (the uplink port) unless I use two access points as a bridge, and attach the WAP to the bridge... meaning that I will have to get two more access points. Now here is the problem: The uplink port (on the router that is connected to my DSL modem, that I want to use for all DHCP services) is already being used for a switch that is connected to several other switches/hubs thought the network.

The WAP that I am trying to use is attached to a hub and is nowhere near the main router. I have disabled the DHCP on the WAP and have given it a static IP to match the network. And attached it to the network via the hub mentioned before, hoping that the wireless laptop that I have will travel through the WAP and get it's IP address from the main router, so it can connect via wireless or catV somewhere else on the network.

Am I just not doing something right or am I just trying to do too much for what I have? Any advice would be helpful.
Unless I have misunderstood you, I have to congratulate you. Never have I heard someone turn such a simple concept/situation into such a convoluted question :-) However, I think I can help.

From what you've said the following is the configuration and requirements of the current network and the network configuration that you're trying to achieve…

  • You have a DSL connection with a DSL modem
  • You have a DSL Router which is used to provide DHCP for the rest of the network. The DSL router uplink (WAN) port is connected to DSL modem.
  • The DSL router has a one (or more) Ethernet (LAN) ports which is (or are) connected to a series of switches.
  • You would like to use an access point to extend your network to a wireless client.

Now, it seems that you've read quite a few posts but may have been confused by a lot of the different terms that have been throw around by people who probably aren't sure exactly what they're doing themselves. Many people set up a home network with just a DSL modem, DSL router and then plug the AP directly into the DSL router – this scenario works very well.

The only difference between that scenario and yours is that you have a network of switches (or hubs) between the access point and the router - however this doesn't make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

You might see a few references to 'relaying' or 'bridging' but this isn't what you're after. When people talk about wireless relays they're talking about an access point which is not connected to the wired LAN but rather relays information between an access point that is connected to the wired LAN and a wireless client – effectively extending the reach of a wireless network beyond the distance obtainable with a single access point and without running more cable. A wireless bridge consists of 2 access points that are connected to two wired LANs and the wireless connection acts a network backbone (it doesn't support clients).

Example: Wireless Relay
LAN <-> AP <-> AP (Relay Mode) <-> Client

Example: Wireless Bridge
LAN <-> AP (Bridge Mode) <-> AP (Bridge Mode) <-> LAN

Whilst I'm not familiar with the actually Linksys product that you're working with, I'm assuming there is a single Ethernet port. All you need to do is configure access point so that it is NOT in relay or bridge mode. All you should need to do is give it an IP, configure the SSID (network name) and any security (40bit WEP, etc.)

To get the client to work all you should need to do is set it work DHCP, give it the same network name and security configuration and that's it – it's that simple.

Don't try and think of the wireless AP as 'relaying' traffic because that will only end up confusing you. Think of it like a wireless hub – traffic comes in one port (the Ethernet port) and is sent out the other port (the Radio port).

This was last published in August 2003

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