How to set up a spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 as a wired access point network extender

Discussion in 'Linux Networking' started by Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. How to set up a spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 as a wired access point.

    I realize most of you home repair and wireless router gurus
    probably already know all of this; but, it took me quite a
    while to figure out (from various sources) how to set up
    a spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 home broadband router as a wired
    access point, so, I post my generic notes here for the
    benefit of whomever might need these details.

    How I set up a spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 as a wired access point:

    Note: The Linksys WRT54Gv2 can NOT be set up as a wireless AP
    without flashing the software with DD-WRT or equivalent; so I
    opted for the wired access point which required running a cable
    under the house from the main router wall plate to the spare router.

    - Connect the primary home broadband router numbered port to the wall plate
    - From the primary wall plate, run a cat5 cable to the secondary wall plate
    - The wiring order was as follows for both ends of all cables:
    (1) solid brown, (2) striped brown, (3) solid green, (4) striped blue,
    (5) solid blue, (6) striped green, (7) solid orange, (8) striped orange
    - Connect the secondary router numbered port to the secondary wall plate

    - The primary router SSID was FOOBAR
    - The spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 firmware was at Firmware Version v1.02.8
    - Disconnect all connections on the spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 router
    - Tape shut the Internet WAN port of the spare WRT54Gv2 router
    - Connect the power supply to the spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 router
    - Hold the reset button for 30 seconds (keep holding the reset button)
    - Remove the power for 30 seconds (keep holding the reset button)
    - Power the router back on for 30 seconds (keep holding the reset button)
    - Finally, let go of the reset button when the third 30 seconds are up
    NOTE: This is often termed the 30:30:30 factory-reset procedure.

    - Turn off the wireless NIC on the laptop (usually by a hardware switch)
    - Connect an Ethernet cat5 cable to the laptop eth0 port
    - Connect that cat5 cable to a numbered port on the WRT54Gv2 router
    - Set the laptop eth0 IP address to 192.168.1.X (anything higher than 1.1)
    (e.g., on Ubuntu, I used: $ sudo ifconfig eth0
    - Make a note of the MAC address of the laptop wlan0 network interface card
    (e.g., $ sudo ifconfig wlan0 | grep HWaddr) ==> 00:A0:00:9B:88:C1
    - Log into the WRT54Gv2 using (blank/admin)
    Make a note of the MAC address of the spare WRT54Gv2 router LAN ports
    (the sticker on the bottom of the spare WRT54Gv2 says 00:16:B6:88:A0:8A)
    (the spare WRT54Gv2 Setup->MAC Address Clone reports 00:16:B6:88:A0:8B)
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Internet Connection Type->Automatic Configuration - DHCP
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Network Setup->Router IP->Local IP Address=
    (where 200 is anything unused on the primary router's network, and also
    outside the primary router DHCP range of to
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Network Setup->Router IP->Subnet Mask=
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Network Setup->DHCP Server=(o)disable
    (This makes the primary router the only DHCP server, for all connections)
    - Wireless->Basic Wireless Settings->(set up the same as the primary router)
    (i.e., SSID = FOOBAR, Security = WPA2-PSK [AES] with the same passphrase)
    (If the primary router is on ch1, then put the secondary on ch6 or ch11)
    - Change the spare WRT54Gv2 default administrator name & password as needed.
    Administration->Router Password->Password=snafu (repeat)
    Note: There is no way to set a WRT54Gv2 username (i.e., use a blank username)
    - Disconnect the wires, and now the spare WRT54Gv2 is a wired access point

    - Turn on the wireless switch for the WiFi NIC on your laptop
    - Select the spare router SSID of FOOBAR
    Note this is the same as the primary router SSID of FOOBAR
    - No need to enter the passphrase if this is the same SSID as the primary router
    - Connect to the Internet, as desired!
    NOTE: The SSID & security is the same on both routers; so, the only difference
    is the signal srength and the channel. Your equipment should roam seamlessly.

    - While wirelessly connected to the spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 router ...
    - Using any web browser on the laptop, log into
    - Enter the previously set blank username and "snafu" administrator password
    - Check to ensure you're actually connected to the spare router SSID AP
    $ nm-tool
    Reports the primary access point SSID strength of 58 (84:1B:5E:AF:89:A4)
    Reports the secondary access point SSID strength of 100 (00:16:B6:88:A0:8F)
    Reports that I am connected to the (stronger) secondary access point SSID
    Note the asterisk next to the FOOBAR* SSID you're connected to.
    Note the two duplicate SSIDs will have different frequencies listed.
    Note the two duplicate SSIDs will have different MAC addresses listed.
    Note the two duplicate SSIDs will have different signal strengths listed.

    In summary, the procedure above will enable you to wire a spare Linksys WRT54Gv2
    router, using default Linksys firmware, as a wired access point. This extends
    your wifi range, and allows you to use the same SSID and passphrase for both
    routers, so that your equipment can roam seamlessly.

    Well, at least it did, for me. :)
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014
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  2. Liam O'Connor

    Dan Purgert Guest

    I might be reading this wrong, but it looks like you're not following
    the standards for wiring. This isn't a huge deal in a home environment
    (I mean, it works) ... but it's a nice thing to have when your network
    goes on the fritz (and/or for the next person who's in your house).

    Most integrated wall-plates (i.e. the ones where the jack is molded into
    the plate) and keystones (i.e. the ones where you buy a plate with
    1,2,4+ holes, and then jacks that snap in) have the proper color-scheme
    to match the standard 568-A/B wiring practices.
    The "MAC Address clone" is actually to clone the WAN port. It's kind of
    a "legacy" thing now -- but back in the day, ISPs would hard-lock a
    specific MAC address as the provisioned one ... so if you got a router
    (after having a PC directly connected to the ISP's modem), you couldn't
    get on anymore.

    So clone the MAC of the PC, and it all works again.
    Suggest that you make the "Access Point" router .1.2, and keep a
    "standard" for all your devices.

    For example, I keep all my network hardware (router, switches, AP) is in, servers (fileshare, streaming media, etc) are in,
    end-user devices (PCs phones, whatever) pull from DHCP and (for "untrusted" devices -- i.e. friends/family who want

    Good deal, setup like this should work until the heat death of the
    universe - those WRT54G routers are solid (best ones are the v1 blue
    bricks -- but the v2 black ones aren't terribad, either).
    Dan Purgert, Mar 8, 2014
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  3. Actually, I had made a mistake. I have the anemic (with respect
    to RAM) WRT54G V5 (and not the V2). It can't easily be flashed
    except with a "mini" DD-WRT, which I didn't do.

    So, I'm stuck with it acting as a wired range extender.

    BTW, I found a BETTER Ubuntu command than nm-tool.
    On Ubuntu, I just used "iwlist" as follows:
    $ sudo iwlist wlan0 scan

    This reports the SSID, channel, frequency, signal quality,
    the signal strength in decibels, the MAC address, etc.

    The key piece of data is the signal strength, such as
    -45 dBm, which allows me to compare the two duplicate
    SSID signal strengths apples to apples.

    In my situation, with a state-of-the art router as the
    primary router and the old Linksys WRT54G V5 as the
    secondary router, I get both (duplicate) SSIDs all
    over the house, but with vastly different power levels.

    For example, at a point roughly midway in distance
    between the two routers, the iwlist command reports:

    SSID=FOOBAR ch1 2.412GHz Quality= 42/70 Signal= -68dBm
    SSID=FOOBAR ch6 2.437GHz Quality= 59/70 Signal= -51dBm

    The difference of 17dB is astoundingly huge at 50
    times the energy level based on results from here:
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014
  4. Oh? I am very confused by these wiring "standards".

    I realize that what *really* matters most is that whatever
    color is used on one end, is used on the other end (since
    a wire is a wire, no matter what color it is insulated).

    However, I had *thought* I was using the standard
    color coding scheme.

    Oh well, too late now! :)
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014
  5. I was just using that as a "trick" to figure out the MAC
    address. Turns out there is a better way in the administrator
    area of the WRT54G V5 router, so, please strike the MAC
    clone part from the instructions! :)
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014
  6. This makes sense.

    The second router *can* be set up as 192.168.1.(anything that
    is not 0 or 1 or 255 or 100 to 150).

    Reading a bit more, I agree with you that most people put
    the secondary router on instead of
    like I did.

    Since the primary router is probably set up as a DHCP
    server, it reserves, by default, 100 to 150.

    Both 0 and 255 are reserved, and the primary router is
    usually on

    So, as long as nothing else is on at the time,
    it makes more sense to use for the primary
    router, and then for the secondary router.

    I will change it, and reboot the whole house. :)
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014
  7. Yes. I used the more expensive solid stuff.

    It's the pink plenum stuff. Not as pliable as patch cable.
    But more pliable than the shielded stuff (which I also have).

    I think, next time, I'll try the really thick stiff
    shielded stuff, and see if it makes a difference.
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 8, 2014
  8. Liam O'Connor

    Dan Purgert Guest

    Yeah, the color is just there so you know which wire you're talking
    about on both ends. If you had a problem on (for example) wire 7 it can
    be hard to diagnose -- "OK wire 7 should be the light brown ...
    (re-punch it) ... it's still not working!"

    Really it depends on the sticker on the keystone/wallplate -- looking at
    what you did, it's T568B, but looking at it from pins 8-1 (i.e. backwards).

    Standard left-to-right (1-8) pinouts for T568B wiring is

    "Light" Orange (i.e. with the white stripe)
    Light Green
    Light Blue
    Light Brown

    T568A swaps the Orange and Green pairs - which is what I tend to use.

    So it could be that the jacks you used did pins 8-1 on the back, so that
    when you look at it from the "front side" things are in the proper
    Dan Purgert, Mar 8, 2014
  9. Liam O'Connor

    Dan Purgert Guest

    Right --

    *.0 is the network address itself, reserved for when you're talking
    about the network as a whole (e.g. "" is a typical
    residential network, as given by most SOHO routers).

    *.255 is a broadcast address. This is used for stuff like your laptop
    sending out packets to the effect of "hey, who has". All
    devices (regardless of their IP address) listen on the *.255 address.
    Shouldn't need to reboot anything.

    DNS and DCHP are controlled by your main router, and the secondary
    router is ONLY acting as an AP. Worst case is that you'll need to flip
    the hardware switch on the wireless devices so they will re-look for the
    network after the second router comes back up -- and that's a "worst
    case" scenario.

    Dan Purgert, Mar 8, 2014
  10. Liam O'Connor

    Big Bad Bob Guest

    does the newest firmware support WDS? then you'd just configure all APs
    for WDS with the same SSID, and enable roaming on your client machine,
    and the client simply picks the best AP. I think that WDS will allow a
    remote AP to act as a client of the master, and route between them
    wirelessly. For most uses that would be good enough.

    found this link:
    Big Bad Bob, Mar 9, 2014
  11. It isn't sufficient that that the colors match. The pairs must be on
    the correct pins, or the cable will not work. (The wires in a pair
    shield each other.)

    Each color wire forms a pair with the wire with the white wire with a
    stripe of the same color.

    Pins 1 and 2 form a pair.
    Pins 3 and 6 form a pair.
    Pins 4 and 5 form a pair.
    Pins 7 and 8 form a pair.

    Scott Hemphill, Mar 9, 2014
  12. Hmmm. I guess I should have proofread this sentence after editing it.

    Each colored wire forms a pair with the white wire that has a stripe of
    the same color.
    Scott Hemphill, Mar 9, 2014
  13. Liam O'Connor

    Bit Twister Guest

    Up to a point. You do not want to split the wire pair. That can cause
    60 hz hum and/or cross talk. Pairs are twisted to reduce external emi.

    For anyone interested what the color pairs are for different plugs:
    Bit Twister, Mar 9, 2014
  14. What you said was exactly on target.

    All the wireless clients seemed to do just fine, with the
    exception of the ps3.

    The ps3 gave the error:
    An error occurred during communication with the server.
    This is a DNS error.

    I had to reboot the network, and re-adjust the settings on the PS3:
    Settings->Network Settings->Internet Connection Settings->Adjust

    You'd think the PS3 would be smarter, but it wasn't.

    The kids are still getting a random disconnect from PSN
    which they hadn't seen before.

    Googling, I had to disable the media server.
    Settings->Network Settings->Media Server Connection->Disabled
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 9, 2014

  15. Yes and the actual pair that gets put on those pins matter as well.
    The colors are not there merely for you to get the other end right.
    DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno, Mar 9, 2014

  16. NOT "up to a point". The actual wire pair used on each numbered pair
    DOES matter.
    DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno, Mar 9, 2014

  17. Thank you sir for that tid bit!

    I can now fix mine. Don't use my dang (broken) PSP with it anyway.
    DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno, Mar 9, 2014
  18. The original concept was Pair 1 on pins 4/5, Pair 2 on pins 3/6,
    Pair 3 on pins 2/7 and Pair 4 on pins 1/8. That works fine,
    just as stated, "up to a point"! For voice frequency or low
    speed data... but the distance between pins on the plug for
    Pairs 3 and 4 is too great for high speed data.

    At high bit rates the intention is to keep the Tip and Ring of
    each pair closer together than worst case.

    Hence pins 1/2 are a pair and pins 7/8 are a pair to maintain
    physical proximity on the plug. The significance is the length
    of conductor that is not twisted with it's mate. Higher
    frequency data requires a higher twist rate, but the physical
    construction of the plug means there is about 9/16" more with no
    twist. If the conductors are parallel to each other spaced only
    by the insulation that short distance matters less than if they
    are further separated. When they are 3/8" apart the effect is
    of two independant wires in space, rather than a parallel
    transmission line or twisted pair transmission line.

    The T568A/B standards use the pairs on pins 1/2 and 3/6. Up to
    a point that is close enough proximity, but it isn't the best
    that could be done with that physical socket/plug either.

    All that said, for the use described by the OP, it makes no
    difference in practice! I doubt that even Gigabit EtherNet
    would blink at different pin spacing of pairs in a typical
    environment. When the connection is to a 6 foot rack with
    nothing but jack fields and cables, it counts. Not in a home
    environment with only minor potential for crosstalk.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Mar 9, 2014
  19. Liam O'Connor

    Dan Purgert Guest

    I've got one that's ~20 feet (line of sight, even!) from the AP and it
    was DC'ing all the time. I'm thinking that there's just too much
    interference coming from the cable box, TV, etc. to actually keep a
    sustainable wifi connection going. I got lucky and it was really easy
    to just put a run thru the basement back over to the AP (i.e. under the
    floor, and back up).
    Dan Purgert, Mar 9, 2014
  20. At the risk of inserting myself into a conversation where I have
    no business being in due to my almost total lack of the history
    involved ... here's what happened ...

    0. Having never strung cabling before, I looked it up.
    1. I was surprised to see (at least) two main wiring standards.
    2. Looking at the difference, I realized the copper didn't care.
    3. That is, had the wires been bare, the copper is the same on both.
    4. The only difference was the color of the insulation on the wires.
    5. Still unsure, I checked all my patch cables lying around.
    6. It was hard to see inside connectors, even with a magnifying glass.
    7. However, all my patch cables (except xover) were the same scheme.
    8. So, that's the color scheme I ended up using! :)

    But, that's the full extent of my knowledge.

    What confused me is that, had all the wires been bare, they'd
    still be in the same arrangement as the colors that I had arranged.

    So, since color didn't seem to matter, functionally, I wondered *why*
    they had two main standards for me to choose from.

    But, I didn't delve further, so, that's the entire extent of both
    my knowledge, and experience.
    Liam O'Connor, Mar 9, 2014
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