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I've got a problem with my network setup that at first seemed pretty easy to solve, but the more I read online the more confused I get ...

I have a modem which pretty much acts as the "center of the network": DHCP server + router + WiFi AP. If only WiFi was required, I could already live with this single device as the coverage is very good in every room of the building. However, I also do have a few network devices that can only be connected to the network via Ethernet (no WiFi), like Philips Hue Bridge first generation. Unfortunately, all of those devices are too far away from the modem to simply plug them in there ...

My first attempt of a solution was to (mis)use a TP-Link TL-WA701ND_v2 running on LEDE as some kind of "WiFi AP-bridge" (if that is the correct term), which would be a WiFi client to the modem and an AP to all WiFi network devices. A simple switch that I connected to the only Ethernet Port of the TL-WA701ND_v2 would provide the non-WiFi-capable devices with network access. This solution did actually work, however, it required having two different WiFi networks (one from the modem, another from the TL-WA701ND_v2). And for some reason that I don't understand, both modem and AP had to have DHCP enabled for this setup to work. Now, while this setup, albeit everything but pretty in its design, did work, unfortunately the TL-WA701ND_v2 could only provide very poor WiFi coverage compared to the modem WiFi. So I got frustrated soon and started looking for another, better solution ...

And that's where I am right now, not quite sure what I actually need, and hoping you guys can help me.

What I want is this: https://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/recipes/bridgedclient One big network, including the modem and the TL-WA701ND_v2. Both should be APs (same SSID, security settings, etc.), but only the modem should be a DHCP server. And devices, obviously, should connect to whichever AP is providing the stronger connection.

^^ Problem is, I can't seem to go with that solution since none of my devices support the legacy WDS (for Atheros chipset).

What I believe I can have is that: https://lede-project.org/docs/user-guide/relay_configuration

^^ Problem is, as far as I understand this setup, while the WiFi would form one big subnet, I would "lose" the LAN port on the TL-WA701ND_v2, effectively putting all devices connected to the switch (which is connected to that LAN port) in another subnet?!

???

So, what solution do I actually need to get what I want?

PS: Please let's try to find one that doesn't involve buying new devices, and instead uses the ones I already have.

Any help is greatly appreciated! Many thanks!

  • Is there any reason why you can't use powerline ethernet to provide backhaul from your wired switch? – marctxk Jun 8 '17 at 11:08
  • Yes, there are multiple different power circuits in the building. Unfortunately, the modem is in a room that belongs to a different circuit than the room in which the switch is placed. – ci7i2en4 Jun 8 '17 at 11:09
  • Can't you just turn off the wireless AP functionality of the TL-WA701ND_v2 and only use the "client" side so that it connects to your preferred wireless? – Kinnectus Jun 8 '17 at 13:56
  • Use directional antenas? – user3528438 Jun 8 '17 at 14:31
  • Simulating a bridge with relayd was the right solution (lede-project.org/docs/user-guide/relay_configuration). I just tried it and everything works perfectly fine. I even added a second TL-WA701ND_v2, which means I have three APs now, perfect WiFi coverage in the whole building, and the option to connect as many Ethernet devices to the subnet as my switches (connected to the TP-Link APs) have ports. – ci7i2en4 Jun 8 '17 at 21:44
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There is always the low-fi method: long ethernet cables.

I've been trying out Steam home streaming recently and wifi just wasn't cutting it. I now have a cable running from the ground floor up two flights of stairs and across the house.

Yes, it requires some cable management to make it tidy, but you do get the benefit of simplicity, better bandwidth and reliability, leading to lower latency too, if those matter to you.

Wireless is nice and all, but you can't beat a wire sometimes.

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The first solution you tried is the recommended solution [creating a bridged AP], however unless both routers support AC [wireless], you're going to have a fairly slow LAN connection limited to 450Mbit/s or 300Mbit/s, depending on the age of hardware.

The best place to find the appropriate help to get your required solution up and running is to either browse the OpenWrt and/or LEDE forums, or create a new thread and copy your post on here to the new thread on the OpenWrt forum

  • FWIW, OpenWrt will be merging with LEDE, and many of us recommend going with LEDE over OpenWrt (as OpenWrt hasn't had a commit in sometime), however since all devices are different, check out what other users are recommending under your router's thread on OpenWrt's & LEDE's forum.

I also recommend building your own LEDE image, as you can then truly customize the image to your specific needs.

  • I created a LEDE build environment setup script a while back that will automate most of the manual steps involved in setting up the build environment. I wrote the script for Ubuntu x64 (preconfigured for 16.04, 16.10, or 17.04)

    1. Line 11: user="<username>"
    2. Line 67: $ag install $PR1xxx
      • Where xxx is equal to the variable on lines 48, 51, or 54
    3. Lines 116 - 133: Comment out, unless your router uses the Marvell-Cesa crypto driver
  • Reference:

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