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Set up Airport Express and third-party wireless
Authored by: edwardsx on Mar 10, '05 08:28:29AM

I have a WAP plugged into a NON wireless router. What changes do I have to make. I set up my airport express, but a few days it does not work again. I am tired of playing with the thing.



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Set up Airport Express and third-party wireless
Authored by: rbriber on Mar 10, '05 11:03:33PM

I have a Linksys WAP-54G (version 2) as my main wireless router connected to my cable modem. I have this upstairs in my house.

I have a Airport Express (AXP) downstairs acting as a WDS remote station extending the range of my wireless network to the downstairs. In the downstairs area I have a Ti PB connecting to the AXP wirelessly. The PB can both get on the network and send iTunes music streaming to the AXP (which is connected to my stereo). Also connected to the AXP through the ethernet port is my TiVo box via a USB to ethernet adapter. The TiVo box can also access the network. The AXP is both extending the range of the wireless network AND bridging non-wireless clients onto the wireless network and allowing them to connect to the internet via the wireless link to upstairs (I thought this was pretty cool).

Now with all this said, WDS is supposed to work only for the AXP with Apple Products (i.e. newer Apple Base Stations) but there is custom firmware released by Sveasoft you can download for the Linksys WAP-54G that allows the (modified) Linksys WAP-54G to work with the AXP in WDS mode.

Note that the Linksys uses firmware based on linux so they release the code periodically allowing people to make modifications (i.e. Sveasoft). Sveasoft has a public version of their Linksys firmware and a private (pay$) version. I used the public version and got everything to work.

As I recall there are some tricks, like explicilty putting the MAC address for the AXP into the Linksys WDS Sveasoft firmware WDS configuration page. Also it's tricky to get any password protection security working. I am running an open network at the moment, but I am still trying to figure out what security I can implement. I think there is also an issue with the "version" of the Linksys WAP-54G. The Sveasoft firmware works with a specific chip set and I think Linksys may have recently changed their WAP-54G to a different chip. I would recommend that you research this a bit (there are a number of forums, etc about these topics).

A bought my Linksys WAP-54G for $30 at a midnight madness sale at CompUSA (this price also required a rebate). I had previously tried with both D-Link and Netgear wireless routers unsuccessfully. (What's wrong with this picture?: Linksyst WAP-54G $30; Airport Extreme $199).

The Sveasoft "free" firmware has some other cool features such as being able to increase the power of the Linksys wireless signal by about 8X over the stock version.

Finally, there are other people modifying Linksys firmware besides Sveasoft (do some google-ing to find out more). I have no experience with these. Also I think there is modified firmware for some other routers floating around. Generally uploading these modified firmware is not too dangerous because it can be flashed back to the original version if you don't like it, though I suppose if it messes up your router to such an extent that you can't talk it, either with your browswer or tftp, you could be out of luck. For $30 for the Linksys I was willing to try ;-)

As always, your mileage may vary.

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