Setting up a wireless bridge

Two weeks ago I moved to a new flat. This means a lot of work - one of my tasks was to set up the home network (while my wife’s task was to think about the color of the curtains 😉

I had to connect five devices: workstation, notebook, XBOX, VDR and a Linux server. While the workstation and the notebook are situated in my workroom the others are placed in the living room.

I did not want to screw a lot of holes in walls and/or the floor so I decided to connect the two small LAN wireless. In my exiting network I already had a Linksys Access Point so I ordered a Linksys Router WRT45G to create my wireless network bridge.

There is a project called OpenWrt that provides a free open source firmware for this router (and many ohters). I downloaded the correct firmware as described here. In my case it was the latest White Russian for wrt54g.

After flashing my router through the original web interface the web interface of OpenWrt showed up, I set a root password and could connect to the device via ssh. Great!

I tried to configure the router for bridged client mode with WPA PSK encryption as described in the ClientModeHowto but I had no luck. After two hours playing around with various nvram variables and starting over again and again by resetting the router to the defaults (mtd -r erase nvram) I tried a different setup.

I configured my access point security to WEP and tried the routed client mode - and it worked! Here are the configuration changes I made:

nvram set wl0_mode=sta
nvram set lan_ifname=br0
nvram set lan_ifnames=vlan0
nvram set wan_ifname=eth1
nvram set lan_ipaddr=
nvram set lan_proto=static
nvram set wan_proto=dhcp

ifdown wan
nvram set wl0_ssid=MYSSID
nvram set wl0_channel=7
nvram set wl0_wep=enabled
nvram set wl0_key=1
nvram set wl0_key1=WEPKEY
ifup wan; /sbin/wifi

Seems like either WPA or bridged client mode was the problem or both or the combination.

I think I will give them a try when again when I have more time. WPA for security reasons and bridged client mode for easier network setup/communication.