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In an office of ~15-17 people, we upgraded our old router to a Cisco Small Business RV 220W Wireless-N to handle the load of roughly 18-24 devices online at all times smoothly. The major problem with this router (and apparently, within reason, Cisco's entire above-consumer range) is that it is not dual band.

We're running the router in N-only mode, which is fine, all of the equipment can handle that just fine. However, we have ro run it at only 2.4GHz, which is absurd given the 5GHz spectrum is, as I understand it, one of the biggest avantages N wireless has over G. We have to have it on 2.4GHz as things stand, because iPhones can't connect to 5GHz N networks - only 2.4 (based on our trials). We're all on iPhones so that's problematic.

I've confirmed with Cisco that the router (as their others anywhere near our price range are) are incapable of dual-band operation, as mentioned above, which seems insane to me but there you have it.

The only solution I can dream up is switching the Cisco router into 5GHz broadcast mode, and using an access point to broadcast the signal in 2.4GHz simultaneously. I'm wondering if that alone is at all possible, and then whether a Linksys WRT54GL is capable of handling that (given DD-WRT or another firmware option).

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Rather than running it as a repeater - which i believe would only work were the cisco broadcasting at 2.4 mhz, you might consider simply connecting the WRT to the cisco router as a second AP.

To connect up the WRT to the cisco router, do the following things

  1. set a static ip address for it in the range the cisco gives out
  2. turn off DHCP
  3. Set an appropriate ssid
  4. connect a regular network port (NOT THE 'internet' port!) on the WRT to the cisco

Once this is done, you can use the cisco in pure 5ghz mode, and the WRT in pure 2.4 ghz mode

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Exactly, a wired AP is my intention - so that would work? I know it will work as an AP, I guess it's the ability to broadcast in another mode that I'm unsure of. The WRT54GL is only capable of 2.4, so I guess if it is capable of being an AP on a 5GHz-only router, that makes sense. Since it would be using a wired interface, I suppose it;s very logical that it should be able to broadcast in 2.4 - can you confirm that's right? – Gavin Nov 16 '11 at 23:08
Actually, that's the other thing, would the Linksys have its OWN SSID, then? Would it be able to broadcast the same one as the Cisco and the iPhone would connect to the 2.4? Still a little confused there! – Gavin Nov 16 '11 at 23:21
It will very definately work - i've done it at various times with a pair of consumer grade routers- but i believe the linksys would have its own SSID, or you'd just set it up with the same SSID and encryption keys. It would be very much like having two independent APs, but connected to the same lan/network – Journeyman Geek Nov 16 '11 at 23:29
Great! I'll see if I can set this up in the morning, I think it should be fine based on what you've said. Cheers! – Gavin Nov 16 '11 at 23:44

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