I've always had trouble understanding networking and routing. I mean, I know what an IP address is, I know what a mask is, I know what a subnet is, but aside from configuring internet access in basic scenarios I get confused and lost.

Such as the following scenario, which I figured might be a good starting point to get my bearings.

I've got a wireless router acting, basically, as an access point. As such, by default, you cannot access the routers configuration page. Here's why that is so (i.e. how the network looks like):

  • main network is, with a Windows Server acting as DHCP and gateway on this network
  • the routers configuration has been left almost unchanged - it's using
  • I can access the router configuration page if I manually assign my laptop an IP in the range (rather than use the DHCP).

I wanted to try and use the Windows ROUTE command for once. I tried route add mask (the last bit is my own IP in the in the main network), but I got a parameter is incorrect error.

What am I missing? How should the command look? Is there any good resource to get learn some more about networking (possibly with some exercises simulating real-world scenarios)?


Unfortunately what you are trying to do won't work because the Access point does not have knowledge of how to get to the subnet. There are a few solutions - The most obvious is to change the IP address associated with the access point to be in the same subnet as your router. Harder alternatives (if supported) include having your router add a virtual interface on the range on the Ethernet side in addition to the normal range, or adding a second (virtual) interface to your computer which is on the network so that the AP and your PC are on the same network.

  • Thanks for the answer. I am a bit perplexed however. I thought that by adding a route on my Windows machine, then I'm teaching... well, my machine how to get somewhere, and the fact that the AP doesn't know how to access the main network shouldn't matter. – Shaamaan Sep 2 '13 at 11:23
  • Well, Yes, YOUR machine will know how to reach the AP, but neither the AP nor router will not know how to reach your machine. Because the machines are not on the same subnet (typically speaking, there are horrible hacks around it) they need a gateway to go through, or a second interface which it recognizes. – davidgo Sep 2 '13 at 17:36

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