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Standard User Dranok
(newbie) Wed 16-Mar-11 17:29:08
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Yet another DG834GT WDS/Bridge-mode problem


[link to this post]
 
After extensive research on this and many other forums out there, it's clear that the DG834GT causes more connectivity issues than any other model from any other manufacturer in the 20 years of my hardware support and network management career @!#

Can anyone tell me what blindingly obvious setting I have missed that is preventing a pair of DG834GT's from talking wirelessly to each other? Even though someone on Netgear's own forum says it's "not supported", other folk *say* they have done so, so I'm inclined to believe it is at least possible...

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the scenario:
* Three or four PC's (of sufficiently old technology in a charity with sufficiently restricted funding to preclude adding wireless cards or USB dongles to each) need to connect to a LAN (for resource-sharing and Internet connection) but are physically separated by an internal partition (for which permission has been denied to drill through).
* These two routers have been acquired for the task (at a price the charity can afford!), the plan being to plug the PC's into one on one side of the partition, and plug the other into the LAN on the other side (in this instance, directly into the ISP's router -- a standard BT Business Broadband ADSL router/switch).

I updated the firmware on both (to 1.03.23). After failed experiments, I "upgraded" to DGTeam's revision of 1.03.22 (the build with the .023o ADSL driver).

> I started by trying to configure everything manually (providing DNS IP's, disabling NAT and DHCP, that sort of malarkey) but finally tried the advice of several people on these forums and set both routers to Modem-only mode. (Mainly this was a paranoia-check to ensure there aren't OS-only settings not accessible to the web front-end, but I've left both in this mode for ease.)
> In both of those modes I then tried the following:

> > I set the Advanced Wireless settings with Wireless Bridging set to Point-to-Point on both, Repeater With Client on both, and one Point-to-Point one Repeater. On each router, the only MAC listed is that of the other router.
> > With each of those three settings, I then tried:

> > > The SSId of each router was given a unique name, and when that didn't work, they were set to be same. (Security is Disabled, not even WEP at this point.)

So each method has been tried in every permutation. The devices have been powered down for long times between several of these attempts, there are no recognized connections or static routes to get in the way, and every other page has been scoured for interfering settings.

Every time set both routers to operate, there is no hint that they are trying to communicate by wireless. (Admittedly I haven't been religiously rebooting the routers every time, and I'm hoping lamely that I haven't happened across the only working solution and lost it because I failed to reboot that occasion.) They're still doing their basic switching function, because out of frustration with continually changing settings I've taken to daisy-chaining them and my machine can still see the Internet through both routers.

What's wrong with my diagnostic process? Is something wrong with my list of assumptions? Am I just an incompetent senile booby who shouldn't be doing this job any longer? frown

The truly annoying thing is that, just now, I don't even have access to a simple wireless-enabled device to ensure that the wireless adapter on both router is functioning at all, but I trust the provenance of the devices and have no particular reason to suspect that either is faulty.

(It's possible I exaggerate very slightly here, but I can't call to mind any other device that has wasted so much of my billable time that, in 20:20 hindsight, could have been invested in more appropriate kit -- even Taiwanese and Chinese "cheap-jack" products from ZyXel and Huawei have proven far superior devices in regard, but I'm not here to sell other companies' products so I'll try to keep my personal opinions out of it. Oops, too late!)

Help!

Thank you for reading this far -- I await any hints with bated breath...
"Yours, Cunfoozed of Wiltshire." =:-#
Graham

------
G.J.E.
Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Wed 16-Mar-11 18:19:48
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Re: Yet another DG834GT WDS/Bridge-mode problem


[re: Dranok] [link to this post]
 
The DG834GT doesn't support WDS.



______________________________________________________________________________attack_the_post_not_the_poster__________________
Standard User prlzx
(committed) Wed 16-Mar-11 22:58:41
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Re: Yet another DG834GT WDS/Bridge-mode problem


[re: Dranok] [link to this post]
 
Firstly, the charity is really limiting their options in not drilling a discreet hole!

It's no more obtrusive than a telephone extension - or is it the landlord being unreasonable?. If is is the charity's decision they should face facts and realise that if budget is the driving factor then one hole and a basic switch is the only sensible way.

If you are going to persevere, I'd figure you need to configure the Netgear on the side with internet as an access point, and the other Netgear as a station (client). But the manual for Netgear's firmware does not show an option for a station / client mode that I can see so that side would need the custom firmware.

The access point side should be easy enough, like you say just:
- make sure it is not doing DHCP or NAT (because that is what the broadband router should be doing)
- don't configure an Internet Connection on it
- make a note of the wi-fi settings that you have chosen
- plug one of the LAN ports into the broadband router

At that point a wi-fi device should be able to get online.

The other side of the link is the problem if even with the custom firmware you can't make it go into client+bridge mode. This client does not need to relay the wireless signal (act as client and repeater access point at the same time).

You needed something different, usually sold as a wireless bridge, and these often come with only 1 ethernet port so you would need a cheap and cheerful switch too.

Here is an example:
NSLM2 UBIQUITI NanoStation Loco M2

The Loco M2 and Loco 2 can both do a station mode (WDS optional) and bridge that to the LAN interface to hang the PCs off. The M2 is newer hardware and firmware, worth the extra £3. But I'm sure other forum users know of a cheaper bridge device.

Otherwise 4x USB wi-fi sticks are under a tenner even new so that might still be a better option unless the old PCs are running older than Windows 2000 (in which case the charity has bigger problems around the corner: trying to secure them for use online).

If they are XP then most USB devices still have drivers for that (by download if necessary).

I'm assuming the BT router did not have wi-fi either?



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on n e w n e t Max ADSL

Edited by prlzx (Wed 16-Mar-11 23:05:21)


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Standard User Dranok
(newbie) Thu 17-Mar-11 01:29:05
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Re: Yet another DG834GT WDS/Bridge-mode problem


[re: prlzx] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by prlzx:
prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G

That's just wrong, on so many levels -- you're a naughty, naughty boy...
...OK, the BOfH in me says:
Prompt llformat c: /i:3 /y$_Ready to low level format drive C.$_Interleave factor 1:3 selected$_All data will be lost. Are you sure (Y/N)? Y$_Press any key to continue...

Anyway, back to business:
In reply to a post by prlzx:
Firstly, the charity is really limiting their options in not drilling a discreet hole!

Unfortunately it's defined as a firewall and the arsey landlord refuses permission even when presented with our obvious intent to restore its fire-protective status with intumescent sealant, according to statutory building reg's.

In reply to a post by prlzx:
<---snip: bit of basic network config that a professional knows about--->
The other side of the link is the problem if even with the custom firmware you can't make it go into client+bridge mode. This client does not need to relay the wireless signal (act as client and repeater access point at the same time).

No, but I tried both modes any way, just in case bridge-only was a mis-nomer or had a firmware bug.

In reply to a post by prlzx:
You needed something different, usually sold as a wireless bridge, and these often come with only 1 ethernet port so you would need a cheap and cheerful switch too.
<---snip: example given, kept for future ref. but not useful here--->

Yeah, problem is, they already spent money on a second Netgear on the basis of web research that suggested it was capable of doing exactly that -- several people on forums discussing how they managed it, or why it failed. No one said it's not supported until now *after* they invested money!
Nice example of dedicated simple kit, thanks for that, but £96 (I presume they come singly) is way out of the budget just now.

In reply to a post by prlzx:
Otherwise 4x USB wi-fi sticks are under a tenner even new
<---snip--->

Like hell! They had two of exactly that grade cheap-jack technology bought from Curry's and ended up throwing them away they were that useless. Probably fine for people at home in a quiet residential area with wood and stone all around, but move to an office block in the town centre with a dozen networks vying for channel space and reflected signal corruption from metal-framed buildings all around, and even their own personal laptops couldn't connect to their BT Router more than once a day. The two staff that needed dongles ended up buying themselves "proper" kit (one of them was a Netgear stick ironically!) for £48 and £54 and suddenly then have full signal strength to 8 different networks as well as their own. Just goes to show, you really do get what you pay for.

Anyway, the "technology" problem I alluded to is that the old fashioned donated PCs (all running WinXP, after I officially "upgraded" to a "proper working" OS the one machine running Vista) consist of two with USB1.1 (and I've yet to find a wireless dongle that functions on less than USB2, and USB2 cards that run on PCI2.1 cost more than a new motherboard) and two with no USB (so you can guess one is PCI2.0, the other, get this, is EISA!!!)

In reply to a post by prlzx:
I'm assuming the BT router did not have wi-fi either?

Oh yes, it's a standard BT Business Broadband 4-port + wi-fi so they can extend their BT OpenZone infrastructure free of charge to them, but, due to manufacturer incompatibilities on how they think it "should be done" in firmware, WDS will only ever work with manufacturer-specific kit (until they ratify the coming wi-fi standard on that issue -- long do we await with bated breath). Hence the purchase of a matching pair. (They already had one old DG834 from a previous ISP, so that guided their research and purchase.)

I fear I'm just going to have to go to a few of their corporate neighbours and beg for a couple of donations for a worthy cause... frown

------
"My other Winchester is a Rodine..."


------
G.J.E.
Standard User prlzx
(committed) Thu 17-Mar-11 22:24:44
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Re: Yet another DG834GT WDS/Bridge-mode problem


[re: Dranok] [link to this post]
 
Hmm,

Still not sure why it needs to be WDS if you are not trying to relay the wi-fi on again at the station side?

If either the BT router or one of the Netgears can also be a bog-standard access point you only need a bridge device and they do not need to be a matched pair (what people report is they might not be able to use WPA in WDS mode if the devices are not the same make).

Yes the Ubiquiti devices are sold singly (£48 from that site). You can buy pairs but they are not "matched" nor is the config preset/locked. So as far as I can tell, with the kit you already have you don't need 2 to complete the link.

Although it can operate in a proprietary Airmax mode (where it does need another Ubquiti box to talk to), with that turned off it's doing standard b/g/n stuff.

The only reason I've used them as an example is that I know from experience what modes/roles they can run in; but I agree they are over-spec for your needs; being outdoor rated (we use some Ubiquiti stuff both indoors and out, and no I'm not on commission !) which is why I thought there would be better value bridge units out there (TP-Link or Edimax seem likely).

The wi-fi can be in one of 4 roles (access point, access point +WDS, station, station +WDS)
and at the same time the network interfaces can be in one of 3 modes (bridge, router, router+ NAT),
so it should be able to take any role in a link.

Normally you would have a pair in access point WDS <> station WDS, being fully at transparent layer 2.

In your situation it really depends on whether the access point (BT or Netgear) objects to the same "station" having multiple MAC addresses (the station itself plus the PCs behind it).

Depending on what wi-fi role it is, layer 2 will be transparent or using ProxyARP. Iin the latter case you might have a problem with DHCP not reaching the PCs).

In that case there is still the fallback option to put the station into NAT router mode, hence an inner "subnet" behind it on the wired interface. This will be fine for PCs needing general Intranet/internet access, not good for accessing LAN file shares or participating in a domain.

BTW on the USB sticks I meant a tenner each not in total, but yes if the PCs are too old to do USB2 then not much point.

Anyway I hope you find a working answer in custom firmware for your Netgears.



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on n e w n e t Max ADSL

Edited by prlzx (Thu 17-Mar-11 22:26:20)

Standard User prlzx
(committed) Thu 17-Mar-11 22:51:02
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Re: Yet another DG834GT WDS/Bridge-mode problem


[re: Dranok] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Dranok:
In reply to a post by prlzx:
prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G

That's just wrong, on so many levels -- you're a naughty, naughty boy...


Yes sometimes people spot it's not quite right compared with what the error message looked like when the current drive has gone away.

In my defence I never left anyone alone with that, just a quick change if they popped out of the room, and just long enough to see their face change...

I did consider using it to "reserve" a PC on the University library cluster if I needed to pop out. This was back in '92 when Windows was just a low-down option on a DOS network menu, and when most students did not have their own PC (let alone laptop) so might hog a cluster PC all day to write up their paper (mmm actually they were more likely to be doing some IRC / Archie or Veronica in Gopherspace).

But somehow I didn't think the library techs would appreciate being called in to fix a "drive missing" error.



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on n e w n e t Max ADSL
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