Wireless Distribution

I have been playing with a TP-LINK AC 1750 repeater. The new steel siding on the house has affected the wireless range.

Here is what I have now:

Here is what I need at the farm:

What’s the difference?

eibgrad writes about WDS


We probably need to agree on the terminology to prevent confusion.

WDS *is* repeating. The generic technology is repeating, of which there are two common forms/implementations; WDS or Universal.

WDS is a NOT a wifi-certified protocol, so incompatibilities are very common. So common, in fact, that many ppl have abandoned it except in those few cases where they have 100% assurance the devices are compatible. That might be because they’re using literally the same devices (make & model), or because they’re from the same manufacturer (although even that’s not a guarantee, they sometimes change the implementation across product lines), or they know the devices are using the same firmware (e.g., dd-wrt, tomato, openwrt).

In contrast, Universal repeating uses wifi-certified protocols (B/G/N), so compatibility is not an issue (or at least it’s as compatible as anything else using those same protocols). The repeater establishes a common, ordinary wireless client connection over B/G/N to the remote AP, while simultaneously establishing its own AP using those same protocols. It couldn’t be simpler.

Ironically, WDS (when compatible) is generally considered the superior solution. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, it’s just a cleaner, more efficient solution, with fewer idiosyncrasies than universal bridging. But what always kills WDS is the incompatibilities.

So the bottom line is, as long as you know w/ 100% certainty you have compatibility, WDS is probably the better choice, and should work. In all other cases, universal repeating is your only other alternative.

TIP: A common problem occurs when you have a single WDS device, usually the router, but it’s not compatible w/ the WDS implementation in your other WAPs. So WDS is often abandoned. But nothing stops you from creating a “closed” WDS network among your WDS compatible WAPs and “wedging” that into the rest of your network as a sort of bridge. IOW, don’t get locked into believing *all* of your network devices must have compatible WDS support. You can create one or more of these “WDS networks” to bridge the various parts of your network. Of course, ideally you’d like compatibility everywhere, but it’s just not realistic in many cases, esp. within large systems with many existing devices. I know that sound obvious to some ppl, but you’d be surprised for how many ppl it’s not.

OK, that’s nice. I have my 1750 in Universal repeater mode, and it gives me great signal strength on the edge of the LAN router’s range. At the farm I need extended RANGE to reach the barn and garage buildings. WDS bridge mode seems the best way to accomplish this. The difference is the BRIDGE FUNCTION in the barn router.

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