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Can a wireless bridge be used as an access point?

uscpsycho 9,659 18,139 December 8, 2010 at 11:57 PM
I bought the Cisco WET610N because the doofous at Best Buy told me that it was an access point, which is what I was looking for. And that's all they had.

However, turns out that it's a bridge, not an access point.

When I plug an individual wired device into it that device works fine. When I plug my switch into the WET610N my connected devices aren't getting internet access.

What I'm trying to do is provide wireless access to all the devices connected to my switch. I know that I should use an access point for that, but I've got this bridge now. Any way to make it work?

I've searched and searched online but everything I find it how to use a router or AP as a bridge. Nothing about using a bridge as an AP.

TIA for any help.

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#2
Well, it's a bridge and that's what it does.

I'd return it. It needs a firmware update to make it a little more reliable as a bridge, it's only purpose.
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#3
Quote from uscpsycho View Post :
What I'm trying to do is provide wireless access to all the devices connected to my switch. I know that I should use an access point for that, but I've got this bridge now. Any way to make it work?
It sounds like you actually do want a bridge.
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#4
what the OP needs is a wireless access point flashed with DD-WRT so that it will run in bridge mode. that way you can use the ports for devices or plug your switch into one of the ports.

that Cisco WET610N is only designed to take a wireless signal and turn it into one Ethernet port.
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#6
Quote from dhc014 View Post :
It sounds like you actually do want a bridge.
Yep.
Quote from greenmeansgoooo View Post :
what the OP needs is a wireless access point flashed with DD-WRT so that it will run in bridge mode. that way you can use the ports for devices or plug your switch into one of the ports.

that Cisco WET610N is only designed to take a wireless signal and turn it into one Ethernet port.
And it sounds like plugging a switch into that Ethernet port (so that multiple devices can get access) is not an option?
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#7
Quote from uscpsycho View Post :
And it sounds like plugging a switch into that Ethernet port (so that multiple devices can get access) is not an option?
when you plug the switch into the wet610 and just plug one device into the switch does that allow that one device to access the internet?

something tells me that the wet610 isnt able to act as a pass through for a switch needing multiple LAN IP addresses.

the wet610 is more of an endpoint for 1 device.

for the money that you spent on the wet610 you are better off getting a wireless router, then flashing it with WW-DRT (run it in bridge mode). check the WW-DRT website first as not all versions of a router model are flashable.

I have flashed a number of the linksys older style 54g units. sometimes you can find them at garage/yard sales and/or goodwill stores. i wouldn't pay more then $15-20 at the most for one. also only certain versions are flashable.
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Last edited by greenmeansgoooo December 9, 2010 at 03:18 AM.
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#8
Quote from uscpsycho View Post :
What I'm trying to do is provide wireless access to all the devices connected to my switch. I know that I should use an access point for that, but I've got this bridge now. Any way to make it work?
As dhc014 noted, it sounds like you do need a bridge, not an AP. If you have a wired device and want to effectively make it wireless, you need a wireless ethernet/client bridge.

[primary router]<-- wireless-->[wireless ethernet/client bridge]<-- wire -->[wired device]

In that respect, the WET610N will work. The trickier part is if the WET610N supports *multiple* wired devices when using a switch.

Any wireless ethernet/client bridge (WET610N included) must be specifically programmed to manage multiple MAC addresses behind its single LAN port. But not all do, esp. older devices. Because the wireless protocol only supports a single MAC address, any such bridge must "NAT" (for lack of a better term) or map its single MAC address to the multiple MAC addresses behind it, in much the same way your router NATs its single public IP to multiple local IP addresses behind its own switch. That way, only the single MAC address of the bridge ever hits the wireless connection. As I said, it's very similar to what your router does to support multiple IP addresses when in fact your ISP can only handle a single public IP. Of course, your router works because it's been programmed to handle that task. That's why it's called a NAT router. Similarly, your bridge needs the proper programming to manage that translation process at the MAC level.

All that said, I find it hard to believe a relatively modern and expensive device like the WET610N would not have such programming. It's usually older devices where you run into this problem (and unfortunately the manufacturer rarely tells you, you just have to try it and find out). But sometimes manufacturers surprise you. They sell an expensive piece of equipment, then short change you on the firmware. It's possible (if hard to believe) CISCO/Linksys bailed on the programming effort and limited the bridge to a single device.
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Last edited by eibgrad December 9, 2010 at 07:48 AM.
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#9
WET610N should do what you want it to

reset WET610N to defaults,
on WET610N, configure connection to wireless network (as set up in router) and that's ALL. i always use manual web-based config and only touch the CD that came with the router/ap/bridge to get it out of the way.
enable DHCP on router (if not already enabled).
configure devices connected to switch to use DHCP (or assign IPs within ROUTER's LAN space but outside its DHCP assignment range).
connect switch to WET610N
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#10
Appreciate the dd-wrt recommendations. Unfortunately I'm in a rush and want to get this set up ASAP. Seems like dd-wrt is best if you wait for a deal on a capable router. I'm going to have to buy a compatible router from Best Buy or Staples and I'm not sure how great a deal it's going to be.

I'm open to suggestions though if there are any good routers that are readily available at BB/Staples/Target which I can dd-wrt.
Quote from eibgrad View Post :
snip
Wow, fantastic response! Thanks so much!

Seems like Cisco has indeed skimped on the programming.
Quote from 2cheap4retail View Post :
WET610N should do what you want it to

reset WET610N to defaults,
on WET610N, configure connection to wireless network (as set up in router) and that's ALL. i always use manual web-based config and only touch the CD that came with the router/ap/bridge to get it out of the way.
enable DHCP on router (if not already enabled).
configure devices connected to switch to use DHCP (or assign IPs within ROUTER's LAN space but outside its DHCP assignment range).
connect switch to WET610N
I already tried all that.

Like you I never use those setup CDs they include. I like to control how everything is set up. And Cisco doesn't make this easy. This bridge doesn't officially have a web management page or, according to Cisco, even a default IP address. If you don't turn off DHCP it'll grap an IP address on its own as soon as you turn it on. Fortunately I found a good setup guide in an Amazon review that spared me the headache.

I can't believe something this expensive is only designed to support one device. What an overpriced POS.
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#11
Quote from greenmeansgoooo View Post :
I have flashed a number of the linksys older style 54g units. sometimes you can find them at garage/yard sales and/or goodwill stores. i wouldn't pay more then $15-20 at the most for one. also only certain versions are flashable.
This is what the OP needs to do, just be careful not to get stuck with one of the later models that didn't have enough on-board memory to handle 3rd party firmware. i got burned with that from a cheap microcenter refurb. The good news is that they finally got the E1000 firmware running with dd-wrt, which is often on sale for pretty cheap.
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#12
I spent some time researching dd-wrt and I'm not going down that road. I've already wasted too much time trying to get this working. It looks like bridge mode doesn't work right with non-linux routers with certain builds. Seems like there are too many variables that could lead to me wasting a lot more time.

I'm thinking I'll get this bridge which seems like a good deal compared to other options - http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=663.

This has a 4-port switch built in, so it's able to handle >1 device. Does this necessarily mean if I need more than four devices at some point I'll be able to plug in another switch and be good to go? Or can it be limited to handling four devices?
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#13
Quote from uscpsycho View Post :
I spent some time researching dd-wrt and I'm not going down that road. I've already wasted too much time trying to get this working. It looks like bridge mode doesn't work right with non-linux routers with certain builds. Seems like there are too many variables that could lead to me wasting a lot more time.

I'm thinking I'll get this bridge which seems like a good deal compared to other options - http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=663.

This has a 4-port switch built in, so it's able to handle >1 device. Does this necessarily mean if I need more than four devices at some point I'll be able to plug in another switch and be good to go? Or can it be limited to handling four devices?
you should be able to plug in as many switches as you want up to 254 total LAN IP's, including wi-fi.
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#14
I found a nifty little router/access point/bridge with 4 built in ports made by Buffalo for $30 today.

After fighting for it for a bit I called tech support. WOW! It took a long time to get help but the guy who answered was not outsourced and knew what he was talking about (unlike the idiots that work for Netgear).

Turns out to get this thing to work your router needs WDS which I do not have. He said most bridges requires WDS and most routers don't have this. He said what I need is an Ethernet converter.

WTF? Now to add to the confusion of AP's, repeaters & bridges we have a new category called Ethernet converters?

Can anyone explain the difference between a bridge & a converter, other than the fact that WDS is not required?
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#15
Quote from uscpsycho View Post :
I found a nifty little router/access point/bridge with 4 built in ports made by Buffalo for $30 today.

After fighting for it for a bit I called tech support. WOW! It took a long time to get help but the guy who answered was not outsourced and knew what he was talking about (unlike the idiots that work for Netgear).

Turns out to get this thing to work your router needs WDS which I do not have. He said most bridges requires WDS and most routers don't have this. He said what I need is an Ethernet converter.

WTF? Now to add to the confusion of AP's, repeaters & bridges we have a new category called Ethernet converters?

Can anyone explain the difference between a bridge & a converter, other than the fact that WDS is not required?
I have no idea what an Ethernet converter is. It's terminology he made up. I assume he means a wireless ethernet bridge. It converts (if you want to use his language) between wired and wireless.

WDS is the traditional wireless bridging technology, but has lots of problems. The first being, it's not a wifi certified protocol, so implementations vary, and that means compatible problems are common. About the only way you'll likely get a WDS wireless bridge working is if the devices are from the same manufacturer. And even then, sometimes compatibility is a problem across product lines.

WDS is pretty much worthless unless you've built your network w/ WDS in mind and made sure to maintain compatibility. That's why ppl now prefer "universal" wireless bridges. Such bridges connect as wireless clients using standard wireless protocols, hence no compatibility issues. So either you need a universal wireless Ethernet bridge if you only need wired clients at the bridge, OR, a universal wireless repeater if you need wired *and* wireless clients at the bridge.

The best solution imo is to find a good deal on a dd-wrt compatible router, then configure it for one of the two bridge types, as appropriate.
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