Linksys Wireless Router

Linksys Wireless Router

Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in whom alone is Life.

My resolve to write on this very topic is predicated on my present recognition and awareness of  common difficulties many , both novices and even some networking professionals have experienced in setting up simple Local Area Networks, Access Points attached to such networks, and even how to bridge multiple wireless routers in the same network to ensure that they can communicate flawlessly. While this may seem simple, very simple mistakes can keep one gagged in frustration, spending hours and days on end chasing the wind. In this writeup, I intend first to show you how you can set up an Access Point or Wireless Hotspot on an already installed LAN at home or at work. Then I would talk about how to effectively secure you network without using passwords(which by far is the best way), and then finally, I would show you how you can connect(Bridge) two or more wireless routers in your local network.

Now, in this article, we would mostly be using the terms ‘Wireless Router’ and Access Point interchangeably. At this point however, It is vitally important to recognize that there is a bit of difference between the two in terms of hardware, but they do share technical convergence with regards to functionality. Generally, wireless routers seem more common, and are often cheaper in terms of price than wireless access points, and just like wireless routers, Wireless Access Points (APs or WAPs) are specially configured nodes on wireless local area networks (WLANs). Access points act as a central transmitter and receiver of WLAN radio signals. Access points used in home or small business networks are generally small, dedicated hardware devices featuring a built-in network adapter, antenna, and radio transmitter. Access points support Wi-Fi wireless communication standards just like wireless routers do.

Access Point

Access Point

Whichever you choose to purchase, configuring it to work within your wired network is what matters most.

So, let’s look at how to add an access point to a wired network already in place, or to one where the main NAT router is provided by your ISP. The new wireless router/access point you wish to add to the network needs to be configured to use an IP address that’s valid within your network range or subnet. The following are a breakdown of the steps to follow to add your wireless router to the existing network.

Step 1: Find the IP address of your existing Wired router. You need to find the internal IP address of your existing modem/gateway/router that connects your network to the internet. Under Windows, the easiest way to do this is drop to command prompt (Start > Run > type: cmd) and type: ipconfig

In this example, my ISP-provided router, otherwise termed the Default Gateway is set to 192.168.1.1. My client computer is at 192.168.1.101 Screenshot_1
The “IP address” line in the above figure shows your computer’s IP, while the “Default Gateway” is your main existing router that provides your internet connection. It is usually in the 192.168.x.x range.
You need to connect one of its Ethernet/LAN ports to the existing wired router used for the LAN.

Step 2: Connect to your router administration interface to find the DHCP range
By default, LAN clients are usually set to obtain their IPs automatically. What that means is, the router acts as a DHCP server, and serves IP addresses automatically as and when required, to the client computers. You need to find the range of IP addresses used for DHCP so you can later set your access point to use an IP address outside that range (but on the same subnet).
Login to your gateway’s admin interface using the ip address provided by the manufacturer usually by typing its IP address(usually located at the side or bottom of the router) in your web browser, and find the DHCP range. In this example, the DHCP range is from 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.200 Screenshot_2

Step 3: Connect a computer to the wireless router/AP

You need to connect a computer  to the new wireless router to be used as an access point by using a network cable.

– set your client computer to obtain its IP automatically which is actually the default behaviour in Windows)

connect it to a LAN port on the access point using a Cat5 network cable

You should get an ip address for your client PC. If it doesn’t happen, reboot the router or use the “ipconfig /renew” command in Command prompt to force it to get an IP address from the access point

Log into the admin page of the access point, and remember you can find it’s IP address just as you did for your main wired router earlier.Now simply type the IP address of the router in your browser’s address bar.

Step 4: Configure the wireless router / AP

After you log into the admin interface of the wireless router, you need to do two things. First, you need to change its internal/LAN IP address to an unused address in the same network as all your other LAN devices. Second, you need to disable the DHCP server on your new AP, so there is only one DHCP server on the network. In my case, my main LAN router is set to 192.168.1.1, and it is serving dynamic IP addresses via DHCP in the range 192.168.1.100 – 192.168.1.200. I have to use any other address in the 192.168.1.x range for the access point. So for my new wireless router/access point, I would use 192.168.1.25 as its IP address(notice that the address is within the 192.168.1.x network, and has 25 as its identifier, a value that is outside the DHCP range of my main router 100 – 200).Besides, I’ve disabled DHCP, so it will not interfere with the DHCP server from my main router. It is important to have only one device acting as a DHCP server, and that the IP address of the access point is in the same range as the main router, else both devices can’t communicate with each other.

Step 5: Connect the AP to the LAN

It is time to connect the reconfigured wireless access point to the network. Use a LAN port on the new wireless router, and connect it with a Cat5 network cable to one of the LAN ports of the existing gateway. Make sure not to use the “Internet/WAN” port on the wireless access point!

Connect your client computer to another LAN port of the main router (if you do not reboot, you will have to use “ipconfig /renew” in command prompt to obtain an IP address from your router just like you did earlier this lab)

Step 6: Test if admin page is reachable and secure the AP

Now that the new wireless access point is connected to our network, with a correct IP address in the same range and outside the DHCP range, we can test whether it’s reachable, and secure the wireless connection.
In the above example, I configured the wireless AP to use 192.168.1.25. Its administration interface should be reachable by typing this IP address in the browser.
Once connected, it is time to set the wireless security:
Use WPA2 if both your access point and clients support it. Set a strong key, and remember it – clients will need this to be able to connect to the wireless network. Try not to use WEP encryption – it can be cracked easily. The best way however to protect your wireless network is to create an access list or WLAN MAC filter, whereby only computers and devices whose MAC address are listed on the access-list can access the wireless network.

Step 7: Test the AP wireless connection

Start a wireless client and make sure it properly connects to the network. It should pull an IP address automatically from your existing main router (the DHCP server). If it opens a webpage, your setup has been successful. Done, you now have a wireless access point

Step 8 : Adding an additional wireless router to boost signal and extend network range

It’s always the case that most wireless routers and access points do not provide wide range wireless signals, and therefore it’s almost always necessary to extend the range of such a network.
To do this, an additional 1 or more wireless routers need to be introduced in the network. Now, to extend the range of wireless signals from your existing access point which you just configured using steps 1 through 7, you are going to have to change the ip address of your new additional wireless router ( call it Access Point 2) to an address within same network but outside the DHCP pool, just like you did for the Access Point 1 a while ago. When this is done, you would have to navigate to the WLAN(wireless LAN section on your AP 2, and change the mode of operation of the wireless router to WIRELESS BRIDGE, REPEATER, CLIENT or whatever name is provided by the routers Manufacturer. The common ones are what I just provided. Screenshot_3
Screenshot_4

At this point, you must know the MAC address of the AP 1 you intend to connect your AP 2 to. Additional settings that you must ensure are correct include the CHANNEL, ENCRYPTION TYPE, AND SSID. These settings on your AP2 have to be the same as what you have set on the AP1, else the connection would fail. The name of the wireless on AP1 that’s broadcast must correspond with that on the AP 2 you are now configuring. Same applies to the Channel number, the Channel width and the Authentication and Encryption on the AP1. Remember that, your AP 2 must have it’s original IP changed to an address that’s valid in the main LAN, outside the addresses served by the DHCP server(main wired router), and also ensure that the Default Gateway is set to correspond with the IP address of the main router through which connection to the internet is established. When this is properly done, you should have a beautiful network with multiple Access Points, hotspots and AP range extenders working in perfect harmony.

PS: I have received hundreds of emails seeking further indices with regards to my previous post Connecting Your Digital Satellite Decoder to the Internet. It appears to me that many misunderstand the purpose of the article, which was intended to enable persons with strong decoders to connect the decoder to the internet and access pre-installed web applications including YouTube, Weather, Maps etc. Most responses I have received indicate that, quite a number of folks misunderstand the post to be about how to browse the internet free using satellite. I’d like to reiterate that, the mentioned post has nothing to do with satellite internet (V-sat) commonly used by banks and large corporations to aid in Wide Area Networking implementations. The article only explains how to get your LAN-port enabled decoder to connect the internet and have access to what the decoder provides under entertainment. Mostly, this is termed IPtv( meaning using the internet to enjoy programs on a satellite decoder). I hope this update would clarify things to all readers and subscribers who have found difficulties understanding some of the procedures postulated in the post Connecting Your Digital Satellite Decoder to the Internet.

If this article has been informative enough for you, please leave a comment and post any questions you may have.
Jesus is Lord!!

Prince Kay
MD, Rhema Network Solutions

Advertisements