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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express Network
This question keeps popping up from time to time, and I originally posted these instructions on the Apple Discussions in June, 2005. Hope it helps. The following instructions will help you to extend the range of a Linksys WRT54G using an AirPort Express Base Station (AX). With minor modifications, these instructions should also work for an AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBS).

In order to add an AX to your existing Linksys WRT54G wireless network you should first take the following precautions:
  1. Disable or remove all firewalls on the computer on which you will be configuring the network. You should be able to re-establish your previous computer configuration after the network is set-up.
  2. You must be running at least Version 4.1 of the AirPort Software. Make sure all of you system software is up-to-date by running Software Update found in your Apple Menu. Repair Permissions both before and after updating your software.
  3. Perform a Factory Default Reset of the AX.
  4. Immediately before performing the configuration process, Restart the computer on which you will be performing the configuration. Ideally, you will also shut down any other devices connected to the wireless network, but you probably will be able to configure the network without doing so.
  5. Each step of the configuration process must be closely followed. Skip no steps, and perform no shortcuts.
Read on for the step-by-Step instructions.

Ready the Linksys WRT54G
  1. Log into your Linksys WRT54G administration web page. In a new browser window, type the router address (http://192.168.1.1. This step (and the following steps) assume that you have not changed the default router address. If you have changed it from the default, then use the address you have assigned. The default administration password is admin.
  2. Check the Firmware version of the router. You must be running Version level 3.01.3. The latest Linksys WRT54G Firmware can be found on Linksys' download page.
  3. If you need to update your router firmware, detailed instructions for updating can be found in the Users Guide, which essentially instructs you to open the Administration tab from your Linksys configuration page, choose the Firmware Upgrade option, and following the on-screen instructions. If you need to update your firmware, make sure you restart the router.
  4. While logged into the updated router using the instructions above, record the following information, which is found in the Wireless/Basic Wireless Settings:
    • Wireless Channel pulldown menu - make sure channel 11 is selected
    • SSID - (ie your network name), capitalization counts)
    • WEP Password (choose 128 bit, type in a passphrase, key the "Generate" button, and write down use the hexadecimal equivalent generated as Key 1)
    • Status Tab (make sure Wireless is selected) and record the MAC address listed here
Configuring the AirPort Express
  1. If you have not already performed a Factory Default Reset of the AX, do so now. This is accomplished very simply by holding in the reset button on your AirPort Express while plugging it in. Continue to hold the reset button until you see the yellow light flash green four times. This may take longer than the time recommended in the referenced instructions. Release the Reset Button and allow the unit a few seconds to cycle.
  2. Connect the AirPort Express to your a Linksys WRT54G LAN port using a CAT5 ethernet cable.
  3. Launch the AirPort Admin Utility (not the AirPort Set-up Assistant) located in the Utilities Folder in the Applications Folder on your computer hard drive. The AirPort Admin Utility should list the Default Address name of the AX you are adding to your network to extend the range of the network using WDS. Select the AX. The status light on the AX should flash.
  4. Click Configure, and choose the AirPort tab on the new window. Under the Base Station heading chose a name. This name will show up in the 'Select Base Station' window once your configuration is complete. Contact and Location are optional, and may be left blank.
  5. Under the Airport Network heading's pulldown menu choose 'Create a Wireless Network (Home Router).' In the Name field, enter the SSID you copied down per the above instructions (enter it exactly, or you will create a separate network).
  6. Click on Change Wireless Security. Select 128 bit WEP in the pulldown menu. Under Network Password, you're going to type in the Key 1 hexadecimal password proceeded by a dollar sign ($). Re-enter the hexadecimal password in the Verify box.
  7. Change to Channel 11.
  8. Under the Internet Tab in the pulldown menu Connect Using, Choose AirPort (WDS).
  9. In the MAC Address window, type in the number you recorded, as instructed above.
  10. Select 'Also Allow Wireless Client Computers.'
  11. Now, under Configure, you have a choice. Either select "Using DHCP, or Manually. Many people have had success using the DHCP option, however, a manual configuration is often used to overcome some networking anomalies. If you choose Manually, use the following information to configure the AX:
    • IP Address: 192.168.1.2
    • Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
    • Router Address: 192.168.1.1
  12. Under the Network tab, deselect Distribute IP addresses.
  13. Under the WDS tab, check 'Enable this Base Station as a WDS.' In the pulldown menu, select 'Remote Base Station.' Also select 'Allow Wireless Clients on this Base Station.' If all is working as expected, the Main AirPort ID box should automatically display the MAC number you entered in step five.
  14. Under the Music tab, if you'd like, select 'Enable AirTunes on this Base Station.' Under 'iTunes Speaker Name,' enter a name for your remote speakers. This name will show up in an iTunes pulldown menu once your configuration is complete.
  15. Click Update and load your new configuration into your AX.
  16. When the AX recycles, disconnect the ethernet cable between the WRT54G and the AX. Unplug your AX from the power, and move it to the remote location you have selected for extending your network. Plug it in to a wall outlet and after the AX resets it should display a solid Green light.
If you're using your extended network to distribute iTunes to remote speakers there are two additional steps to perform.
  1. You'll need to use an adapter cable to feed the mini jack out on your AX into your stereo or powered speakers. Launch iTunes and look in the lower right of the resulting window.
  2. There should now be a pulldown menu that offers you a choice of music destinations, either Computer, or the name you entered for your remote speakers. Select the remote speakers, and iTunes should stream to those speakers.
This User Contributed Tip could not have been written without the extensive efforts of Pete May who did most of the research required to create this tip and deserves all of the thanks. Thanks also to Henry B., Duane, and iFelix, without whose help it would not have been created.
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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: Idletask@mts.net on Jun 12, '06 07:09:54PM

Can this work with WPA "personal"?



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: fcanzo@comcast.n on Jun 12, '06 07:47:16PM

Yes.



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: thornrag on Jun 13, '06 09:28:21AM
There are even better instructions and extensive discussion here:

http://rgbdream.com/?p=44

128-bit WEP is not required. This procedure works with no encryption and also, with the more recent firmware from both Linksys and Apple, WPA Personal.

All the factory resetting, disabling firewalls, and rebooting your computer (?!) is a little overbearing, as is shutting down all your wireless clients. None of this is necessary for this to work. Also, it's not neuroscience; if you feel like it, feel free to experiment. The key points are:

1. All the stations in WDS must use the same channel, SSID, and encryption settings. Channel 11 is not required, just make sure it's the same channel on both the router and the express.
2. You want the Express to create a network, and to make its own connection via WDS.
3. You don't want the express to distribute IPs. Letting it get its own IP via DHCP though is totally fine; Airport Admin Utility uses rendezvous to find it. (If your network has "anomalies" you might have other problems).

All you're doing is configuring the Airport Express to join the Linksys network in WDS mode. I'd suggest factory reset for the airport express only if you've gotten it into an unreachable state.

See the comments on the page above for discussions of various user experiences. Overall, it's really painless.

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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: fogonthetyne on Dec 30, '06 05:21:38PM
Does anyone know if this method will work with the newer Linksys WRT54GS ??? I'm thinking of buying one as it's twice as fast as the Airport Express (and the above mentioned WRT54G). Also, I spotted another tip elsewhre that by switching users you can in fact stream 2 feeds to different stereos/speakers via Airport Express. Has anyone tried this?

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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: whodisbe on Jun 16, '06 08:35:38AM

I'm not sure if I missed something, but I have a WRT54G v5, and the latest firmware available was still in the 1.x series, not 3.01.3.

Is that just a typo, or did I completely miss something?



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: fcanzo@comcast.n on Jun 16, '06 07:02:13PM

When this was written in June of 2005, the WRT54G was at version 3. This tip should work for the versions 4-6 routers currently available from Linksys.



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: hkaplan131 on Aug 08, '06 12:53:27PM

I want to buy a new WRT54G router to use it to extend range to by Airport Express. Reagarding the firmware for the router, I do not see the revision you refer to.

There are models listed from V1.0 to V6.0 for the WRT54G. I am assuming if I buy a new unit it will be the latest V6.0 and the firmware listed for this one is:

Firmware Date: 5/16/2006
Firmware Release Version: 1.00.9 (.exe)
Firmware File Size: 2.36 MB


Firmware Date: 5/16/2006
Firmware Release Version: 1.00.9 (.bin)
Firmware File Size: 1.37 MB

Will this unit and firmware work?

Howard



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: squidleun4 on Aug 17, '06 08:36:02PM

This totally worked. Thanks so much. Although it might be seem like a lot of work, but it works and extended my linksys no problem.

I upgraded the firmware using the linksys site. The only issue of this article is one typo. The dollar sign ($) is to precede (not proceed) the WEP key. So, type in "$" before the WEP key.

Also, to extend beyond this using more Airport Express, simply use AirPort Setup Assistant to extend the network, using the Airport Express you just connected to Linksys as the base station, and voila!

Thanks.



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: squidleun4 on Aug 17, '06 08:37:15PM

This totally worked. Thanks so much. Although it might be seem like a lot of work, but it works and extended my linksys no problem.

I upgraded the firmware using the linksys site. The only issue of this article is one typo. The dollar sign ($) is to precede (not proceed) the WEP key. So, type in "$" before the WEP key.

Also, to extend beyond this using more Airport Express, simply use AirPort Setup Assistant to extend the network, using the Airport Express you just connected to Linksys as the base station, and voila!

Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: beakerma on Oct 03, '06 01:56:04PM

Question: I have a Linksys wireless gateway from Comcast (WCG200-CC) and am trying to extend my wireless home network using Apple's Airport Express... any advice on how to do that? The Airport Setup Assistant does not work! Thanks.



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: alacrity11 on Nov 14, '07 09:37:09PM

All I can say is "hot damn!!" it works! Thank you sir for the hint.
But I would add to the end, that the users check their itunes preference under the advanced tab and make sure they have selected (checked), " Look for remote speakers...."

Sometimes even my keen eye for the obvious fails miserably.......

Thanks again....



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: raptorphile on Feb 26, '08 12:28:34PM
Just wanted to say thanks for the great tutorial. I have an iBook G4 1.42GHz with the dreaded Airport card/logic board failure. Of course it happened 3 months out of AppleCare. Anyway, I was looking into an ethernet bridge to keep the iBook alive downstairs by the TV where we use it. I priced the Linksys WET54G bridge, about 89-99 bucks, and it had mixed reviews. Was mainly thinking Linksys because my router is a Linksys WRT54GS V2 (running Tomato firmware) and it seemed like they would talk well. Anyway, this hint made me decide to go with an Airport Express and I'm stoked I did. Setup was seamless, as per your tutorial, and now I have the added benefit of using Air Tunes which I've always wanted.

Just a few things to add...
I followed the directions here, NOT the ones posted on the Tomato site http://www.polarcloud.com/tomatofaq#how_do_i_use_wds

However, I did not use the "$" in front of the WEP Key. For some reason, when I typed in the $, the Airport Admin Utility would automatically default to 40 Hex. Without the $, everything worked great. In Tomato (on the WRT54GS) I had to check "Access Point + WDS", and followed your instructions from there.

Also, I was worried that with my iBook's Airport disabled, I would not be able to configure the Express with it. Actually, when I plugged the Express into my router, my iBook imediately found the Express (in the Admin utility) and I was able to configure everything via ethernet.

Thanks for this and all the other great tips here. GREAT RESOURCE!

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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: zeyad on Jun 14, '08 01:04:08PM

hey, great post man, honestly its fantastic, but iv got a problem, im running the leapord os and the latest firmware for the airport express, i think 6.4. my wireless network router is the linksys wag300n. i know your post is about another one, but do you think it will work?

my other problem is that when i try and rename the airport to the same name as the linksys' network, it shows up with an error not allowing me to go further because of the conflicting names

the problem i get after that is when i chose the wds settings, it asks to find other airport devices in range, obvioulsy there are non... please help lol... what do i do?



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Extend a Linksys WRT54G network via AirPort Express
Authored by: alboem on Apr 03, '09 11:27:42PM

I wanted to extend an existing wifi network of a Sagem router and all I did was to get into airport utility through my mac book (wirelessly) and just change the settings of the airport express to use the existing network, just add the passord and that's all.
Why bother reconfiguring the other router?

And still got my streaming music and my shared wifi printer...




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