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New TP-Link Archer C5 Dual Band Wireless AC Router as Wireless Bridge.
I figured while I'm thinking about it, I should replace our 801.11g and 802.11n wireless bridges with 802.11ac parts to have a reasonably fast and stable wireless setup for a while.

So I looked around and it seemed like these TP-Link C5 parts were most cost effective at $80 each. Since they're from the same manufacturer as the C9 WAP/Router/Switch, I figured it would be relatively painless.

If you read this FAQ, it sounds simple to use WDS to connect and bind to the C9 and have everything work fine. But if you use the 5 GHz channel, you'll spend a couple of days trying to figure out why it doesn't work. Use the 2.4 GHz channel and it works fine.

(I sent an e-mail to the TP-Link people to ask for their suggestions before I figured out my solution. It'll be interesting to see if they say something different.)

I got 3 of the C5s to use in our TV room (TV, Chromecast, bluray, laptops) and our two offices (4 printers, lots of computers). They're all talking happily now, after about 6 hours of work over the last couple of evenings.

One thing that seems a little strange is that if I'm close to 192.168.0.3 then I can talk to its web page and the C9 at 192.168.0.1 (the default route). But I can't see .0.2 and .0.4. Similarly if I'm close to 192.168.0.2 then I can't see 3 and 4. I have no trouble connecting to anything else, and all of them are set to talk to .0.1 first, so I'm not sure what's going on. But it's only an issue if I have to change their configurations.

I'm sure glad I don't do this for a living - I'd go broke as it seems like any change takes 2 days to figure out!

Cheers,
Scott.
New Something weird is going on. Can't do multiple WDS devices with C5s?
The TP-Link settings don't let you enter multiple MAC addresses to connect multiple WAPs to the main router via WDS. And when you tie one WAP to the main router via WDS, the WDS settings only show up at one end. The instructions say (in some places) that you don't have to tie them together at each end, so I figured that was normal.

So, I figured that I just needed to use WDS to tie the 3 C5 WAPs together in a linear fashion:

C9 = C5 = C5 = C5

It will let me set it up that way, and it seems to work for a couple of minutes, but then things go awry. Eventually broadcast channels (which have to be fixed under WDS) get scrambled and they stop talking to each other.

It seems to work fine for the C9 tied to one C5 via WDS, but more than that seems to have issues.

I've been meaning to run CAT5 cable to various 1G Ethernet switches in fixed locations and tie everything together except for laptops and be done with it. But I don't want to do that right now... :-(

Some web pages from ~ 10 years ago say that WDS only works with WEP not WAP2, but the TP-Link settings don't say anything like that. I tried restricting the broadcast from 802.11bgn to 802.11n and it didn't help.

It might be simpler to get something like this TP-Link TL-WA801ND 802.11n WAP/Bridge and use it with an Ethernet switch. It seems to be of a newer generation than the C5 and maybe that will help. Gotta read on it some more, though...

This WiFi stuff continues to be incredibly annoying.

It would be nice if there was some decent diagnostics that listed exactly how all the radios on the network were trying to talk to each other, if Winders didn't insist on deleting WAP2 passwords when settings are changed, if these boxes didn't arbitrarily change the broadcast channel without my knowledge, etc., etc.

I'm hoping to do something like the following:

Internet = C9 = C5 (other end of the house)
- WA801ND Wireless Bridge (office PCs, Macs, Printers)
- WA801ND Wireless Bridge (office PCs, Macs, Printers)

Wish me luck...

:-/

Cheers,
Scott.
New can you setup the devices as routers instead of bridges?
only have the main router 192.168.0.1 main router issue dhcp requests and lock down the macs there. Have all of the other devices act passively but set their addresses as static x.x.x.2 x.x.x.3 etc wth the default route going back to x.x.x.1
you can kill people for America at age 18 but need to be 21 to buy a beer
New Hmm...
Only the main C9 router (192.168.0.1) is serving DHCP. The 3 each C5s have static IPs, DHCP is turned off, and the gateway and DNS settings are 192.168.0.1.

The only bridge mode setting available is to use WDS and the implementation on the C9 apparently only allows a single MAC to be associated with it. The C5s are the same way - only a single WDS association to a single MAC seems possible.

If I don't turn on the WDS bridging, then I can't talk to the C5s - at least I couldn't earlier. But maybe the channels were different or something. I should recheck that... It does seem that I should not need to use the WDS functionality to simply have them talk to the main router.

I've been doing a bunch of reading about the advantages/disadvantages of having separate SSIDs for each WAP. (I've got all the WAPs on the same SSID at the moment for both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios.) That seems most convenient, but apparently the implementation is too stupid to switch between them until the connection is lost even if a much stronger/faster connection is available earlier.

If I were willing to run Ethernet between the C9 and each of the C5s, the problems would apparently go away.

These $70 boxes should be able to do what I want better than the $25 boxes mentioned earlier...

I think I'll go pull weeds now and let things sit a while before trying again.

Thanks very much.

Cheers,
Scott.
New No joy. Going to try some dedicated bridge boxes.
When just the C9 is on, things work fine. They also seem to work fine when the end C5 is on in WDS mode. Things go pear-shaped when the other two C5s are on in WAP-like mode (WDS off).

I'm going to try the cheap N bridges (above). I'll report back in a few days...

Cheers,
Scott.
New Question?
What does the C5 and C9 designate? I understand A, B, G, N designations. I remember OC3 and OC12 to be speed indicators. The C5 and C9 elude me.
"Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable."
~ AMBROSE BIERCE
(1842-1914)
New Sorry - too much Shorthand.
(Does anyone actually use Shorthand any more?)

The Archer C9 and Archer C5 boxes are pieces of TP-Link WiFi hardware that I'm trying to connect. They're just model numbers - no reference to any particular IEEE standard or whatnot.

Cheers,
Scott.
New not fer nutton but pro wire folks charge about $50 per drop
3 cat cables dropped at $150 is cheaper than buying more gear :-)
you can kill people for America at age 18 but need to be 21 to buy a beer
New That's assuming they can reach the relevant places.
Making a path in the basement would be a challenge at the moment... ;-)

I've reached the point that I'm willing to spend some money on hardware to save a few hours on aggravating tasks. If I tried to hire someone to wire the house, I'd have to spend days investigating installers, making paths in the basement, and probably would have to take off a day from work (as I assume they wouldn't work on the weekend).

Saving money vs. saving time is one choice that is fairly straight-forward when things go as expected. But it's not always clear how to reduce aggravation when it comes to things like this. Having an on-site IT department at home is one solution, I guess. ;-)

Once we win the lottery, everything will be great. No more compromises!!1

Cheers,
Scott.
New win the lottery heave all electronics into the bay
keep one lapper for bookeeping and chuck everything else including the phones. Loved having nothing electronic when I was up North.
you can kill people for America at age 18 but need to be 21 to buy a beer
New Yup. We'd probably travel and live out of a couple of suitcases and maybe a trunk.
For a few years anyway. At least if J had her way. :-)

Cheers,
Scott.
New Of course, that didn't solve the problem.
The $23 TL-WA801ND bridge/AP boxes were very easy to setup and configure, but the 3 of them don't work together with the C9. Sometimes ping times are very fast, sometimes they're over 500 ms. Sometimes I can connect to a different 801NDs, and sometimes I can't. WiFi connections from laptops, etc., to the internet work fine, but nothing attached to the 801NDs via Ethernet cables (via 8 port gigabit Ethernet switches) can be seen on the network.

:-(

What seems to be going on is that the C9 box apparently can't bridge to more than one additional wireless access point. I either need something that does point to multi-point bridging or it looks like I need to setup static routing.

Things might have been a little easier if I'd gotten this TL-ER604W business-friendly gigabit router instead of the C9, but it seems to be of an older design (maxes out at 802.11n and is a single band device and doesn't do 802.11ac). It doesn't explicitly list point to multi-point bridging, but shows diagrams of similar things so it apparently can be made to do it (and someone in a comment at Amazon says they did it).

Based on the C9 manual and the manuals for the $23 boxes, it looks like Static Routing is the way to go for the hardware I have. It looks like that's what I'll be working on over the long weekend.

Wish me luck! :-/

Cheers,
Scott.
New static routing is always the best way to go for smaller configurations
you can kill people for America at age 18 but need to be 21 to buy a beer
New Static Routing seems to require using the LAN or WAN ports. :-(
So, that won't work here, as I want to do things wirelessly.

But I got it fixed, finally! Woot!

The magic setting on the $23 boxes is to use "Universal Repeater" mode in the Wireless settings. Turning that on, clicking the Survey button, selecting the MAC of the C9 router's 2.4 GHz radio, and clicking Save takes care of the problem. I just had to do that 3 times, for the 3 cheap WAP boxes, and I'm done.

Our printers work again. Yay!

Our WiFi connections to our laptops still work. Yay!

Running arp -a > 151008-arp-a.txt shows everything I expect on our home network in that text file.

(Out of curiosity, I just looked at the manual for the TP-Link Archer C5 v2 (the client WAPs tried earlier in this thread) to see if there's a "Universal Repeater" mode or equivalent. There doesn't seem to be. So it looks like the WA801ND boxes (with an Ethernet switch) is the way to do "wireless bridging" with the C9 router).

Thanks for your help, Box. I appreciate it.

I hope this helps someone else out there. :-)

Cheers,
Scott.
(Who is happy to get his weekend back!)
New hmmm, not at home but think I can assign static ip to mac addys on the wireless
will check next week when I get up there. in any case glad your are SOLVED!
you can kill people for America at age 18 but need to be 21 to buy a beer
New Woot!
It has been a long haul for you.

Perseverence pays off!
Alex

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

-- Isaac Asimov
     TP-Link Archer C9 Dual Band Wireless AC Router, and other things. - (Another Scott) - (17)
         Good show! -NT - (a6l6e6x)
         TP-Link Archer C5 Dual Band Wireless AC Router as Wireless Bridge. - (Another Scott) - (15)
             Something weird is going on. Can't do multiple WDS devices with C5s? - (Another Scott) - (14)
                 can you setup the devices as routers instead of bridges? - (boxley) - (13)
                     Hmm... - (Another Scott) - (12)
                         No joy. Going to try some dedicated bridge boxes. - (Another Scott) - (11)
                             Question? - (hnick) - (1)
                                 Sorry - too much Shorthand. - (Another Scott)
                             not fer nutton but pro wire folks charge about $50 per drop - (boxley) - (3)
                                 That's assuming they can reach the relevant places. - (Another Scott) - (2)
                                     win the lottery heave all electronics into the bay - (boxley) - (1)
                                         Yup. We'd probably travel and live out of a couple of suitcases and maybe a trunk. - (Another Scott)
                             Of course, that didn't solve the problem. - (Another Scott) - (4)
                                 static routing is always the best way to go for smaller configurations -NT - (boxley) - (3)
                                     Static Routing seems to require using the LAN or WAN ports. :-( - (Another Scott) - (2)
                                         hmmm, not at home but think I can assign static ip to mac addys on the wireless - (boxley)
                                         Woot! - (a6l6e6x)

So I pulled into a Shell station. They said I'd blown a seal. I said, "Fix the damn thing and leave my private life out of it, OK, pal??"
86 ms