HOW TO: TP-Link TL-WR1043ND Wireless Repeater

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Ratty
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Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:31    Post subject: HOW TO: TP-Link TL-WR1043ND Wireless Repeater Reply with quote
I have just spent 4 solid days of hell getting my TP-Link TL-WR1043ND (v1.8) router to work as a wireless, (and wired) repeater. Consequently, I decided to document it all here to spare others from this rather unpleasant process.

Firstly, don't bother looking at all the other wireless repeater postings for the Atheros / TP-Link TL-WR1043ND in these or any other forums. They are all wrong in at least one part. Refer to the instructions below: (These were gleaned from various places with a large chunk taken from here)

Quote:
Linking Routers: Client Bridged
-------------------------------

Assumptions:
------------
a.) Primary Wireless Router:
IP Address = 192.168.0.1
SSID = SSID1

b.) Secondary Wireless Router:
Make and Model = TP-Link WR1043ND
IP Address = 192.168.0.2
SSID = SSID2
Router Name = Bridge
Username = admin
Password = password

c.) Your Workstation
IP Address = 192.168.0.3


1. Download a recommended build for your router. (Don't use the router database page or else you will get a very old (broken) build.) Latest version at the time of writing is: ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2011/04-09-11-r16785/tplink_tl-wr1043nd/

2. Do a HARD reset on your router.

3. Connect a cable from your computer to the LAN port on your router.

4. Set your computer to a static IP address of 192.168.1.3

5. Set your browser to 192.168.1.1 and open the dd-wrt Web GUI.

6. You should be asked to change your password and username. Carefully type these in. If you aren't asked for a password and username, do a hard reset, this time doing it properly! Hit change password.

7. Go FIRST to "Wireless" => "Wireless Security" and enter the security type and key that matches your primary router. (You must use WEP or WPA2-AES to have DD-WRT work reliably. (mine works on WPA-TKIP?)

8. Hit SAVE, (or APPLY if you wish to)

9. Go to the "Wireless" => "Basic Settings" page and set the following settings:
"Wireless Mode" = "Client Bridge"
"Default GW Mode" = "Manual"
"Gateway" = "192.168.0.1"
"Wireless Network Name (SSID)" = "SSID1"
"Wireless SSID Broadcast" = "Enabled"
"Advanced" => "Regulatory Domain" = "YOUR COUNTRY"

10. Your wireless network mode should be set to the same as the primary router.

11. Set the wireless channel to match your primary router channel

12. If you are using N only or Mixed with N, set your wireless channel width to match your primary

13. Set the wireless network name to exactly the same as your primary router. Make sure spelling and capitalization match.

14. Hit SAVE at the bottom. Then hit APPLY.

15. Check to make sure all the configurations, including the mode, saved and the mode is still client bridge. If any changed, fix them, and SAVE again.

16. Goto "Setup" => Basic Setup" and set your "Router Name" = "Bridge". Enter a router Local IP address of 192.168.0.2. (Presuming your primary router is on the 192.168.0.x subnet. Client bridge must match the subnet of the primary router) Leave subnet mask at 255.255.255.0.

17. Set the Gateway IP to your primary router. (192.168.0.1)

18. Leave Local DNS blank

19. Check Assign WAN port to a switch, (if you wish to).

20. Change your Time Zone and DST to match where you are.

21. Hit APPLY.

22. Set your browser to 192.168.0.2 and login to your router

23. Goto Security, Firewall. Under Block Wan Requests, uncheck everything but "Filter Multicast" (Leave Filter multicast checked).

24. Hit SAVE

25. Disable SPI Firewall

26. Hit APPLY.

27. Go to "Setup" => "Advanced Routing" and change the operating mode from "Gateway" to "Router". Hit APPLY.

28. Set your browser to 192.168.0.2 and login to your router

29. Go to the "Wireless" => "Basic Settings" page and add a Virtual Interface with the following settings then Hit APPLY.
"Wireless Mode" = "AP"
"Wireless Network Name (SSID)" = "SSID2"
"Wireless SSID Broadcast" = "Enabled"

30. Telnet to 192.168.0.2, Username = "root", Password = "password" and execute the following command: "echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/br0/proxy_arp"

31. Set your computer back to auto IP and auto DNS.
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Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:17    Post subject: Reply with quote
To be frank the word "simple" is bandied about a lot in the various forums and in my experience is misleading. The concept is certainly "simple" but the practical application with disparate makes and models of routers certainly isn't.

FYI: during my 4 days of "Hell" I tried various WDS repeaters using 4 different distros, DD-WRT, TP-Link, Open-WRT and Gargoyle all without a satisfactory result.
Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 13:21    Post subject: Reply with quote
The configuration steps outlined in the original posting make no assumptions about the distro installed on "Unit 1". I agree that if both units are flashed with DD-WRT, (especially if they are identical hardware platforms), then your approach would probably work "out-of-the-box". I should clarify that I was looking for a repeater solution that would work with almost any pre-installed access point, ie. a genuinely "portable" solution.
Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
WDS bridges works best with identical hardware platforms. For a generic wireless bridge connecting to any access points, I get best results with Broadcom based routers. It's also very simple, just connect to an AP with client bridge mode.

Yep thats absolutely true, and I lost count of the number of times I thought if only I had purchased a Broadcom based router... Wink However, I had an Atheros based unit and this post was intended for all those poor souls who also had one, in particular the otherwise rather good value for money, TP-Link TL-WR1043ND.
sirfaliq
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 18:36    Post subject: Reply with quote
Great post, I had a quite few days of hell as well to get the 1043ND working as a repeater.

Now I can use this guide as reference instead of having to look at a certain youtube video that is actually meant for broadcom based routers since I don't memorize the steps. (I followed only some of the steps of course since it's not meant for Atheros)

Just 1 thing that I don't understand...
What does this command do?

Quote:
30. Telnet to 192.168.0.2, Username = "root", Password = "password" and execute the following command: "echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/br0/proxy_arp"


When I got mine to work I didn't do any telnet.

On a side note, how well is the WR1043ND working as repeater for you?
I can't get DHCP to work, a PC connected to it must manually assign a static IP address in order to use the internet.

My setup is as follows:
TP-Link TL-WR841ND (Gateway, stock firmware) <------> WR1043ND (Repeater, DDWRT)
Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 23:25    Post subject: Reply with quote
sirfaliq wrote:
Great post, I had a quite few days of hell as well to get the 1043ND working as a repeater.
Thanks, but in the end I couldn't realistically use it for commercial work since it was just too flakey, (see below).

Quote:
30. Telnet to 192.168.0.2, Username = "root", Password = "password" and execute the following command: "echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/br0/proxy_arp"

What does this command do?
This writes a "1" into the proxy_arp file for the bridge "br0", instructing it to pass all ARP requests through the bridge. This should allow DHCP requests etc to pass through transparently. You can read more about it here

Note: I also added this as a startup command in DD-WRT so that it was run automatically everytime the router was rebooted or powered up.

Quote:
On a side note, how well is the WR1043ND working as repeater for you?
It worked flawlessly for a week then I changed the client's SSID and somehow broke it Sad It hasn't worked since, so I'm about to trial a WRT54GL.

I even flashed it back to the original firmware and started from scratch, but it never recovered. I did however get it working by setting it up in Client mode with a Virtual AP running its own DHCP server. This worked well for a day or so and then once again I changed something and broke it.

Let me know how you get on... I have a new TL1043ND here that I can't use Wink

WRT54GL UPDATE:
The WRT54GL worked perfectly with the latest version of DD-WRT generic Broadcom, (8th May 2011) configured as a Repeater-Bridge with a Virtual AP on the client side, (diferent SSID).
sirfaliq
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 14:22    Post subject: Reply with quote
I see. Perhaps I should re-do my setup with your guide because currently it is having the following intermittent problems :

- Sudden lost of connection to the internet
- Sudden lost of wifi signal
- When at least 2 PCs is connected to the repeater, one may lose internet connectivity despite having a good signal.

From what I read somewhere in this Atheros section these problems are common?

The signal that I'm getting from the gateway is between 33 to 45%, but mostly it's consistent at 35%. Perhaps this is the problem?
sirfaliq
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 15:08    Post subject: Reply with quote
Forgot to mention that I'm using the DDWRT firmware from the main page.
Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:20    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well if like me, you eventually decide to purchase a WRT54GL replacement then this guide worked perfectly for me with this firmware.

ps. I wonder which router would be the next best option when Cisco EOL the WRT54GL?
sirfaliq
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 7:59    Post subject: Reply with quote
Speak of the devil. The wifi signal for my 1043ND was gone completely, even a reset to factory defaults could not get it to work.
So I decided to flash to the latest brainslayer ddwrt firmware.

From there I followed your guide to the letter.

DHCP now works!

Gonna give it a week to test the stability.
Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 22:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
Excellent...

Don't forget to add: "echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/br0/proxy_arp" as a startup command in DD-WRT so that it's run automatically everytime the router is rebooted or powered up.
sirfaliq
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 15:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am back on stock fw due to the intermittent wireless signal disappearing issue. Neutral
slan
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 10:27    Post subject: Reply with quote
sirfaliq wrote:
I am back on stock fw due to the intermittent wireless signal disappearing issue. Neutral


The new stock firmware from 29.04.2011 is very good, DLNA Streaming, FTP access. With many bugs: i can't delete guest account, accounts for FTP access max. 4 users limited, broken DLNA1.5/UNPN access with XBMC player.
lossaez
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 16 Jun 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 18:34    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hello

After more than two months trying with a lot of post for making working the 1043nd as a repeater, this is the most descriptive I found, but I tried it a lot of times, all the steps are fine but I can't have it working. I really don't know why.

Maybe is because of the router I'm trying to connect to that is impossible, but I'm new in this and I don't know, maybe you can help me...

I'm trying to connect with the TL-1043ND to a Thomson Speedtouch 580 (the one from the phone company, without dd-wrt), the connection is with WEP, and I'm trying to repeat without pass (I don't mind)

All the steps are working ok but I never see the Virtual wifi created and if I go also to Status-> Wireless, I only see the data that I put (The channel where is working is continiously changing, I can't put channel fixed to the one of the wifi I want to repeat)
The signal arrives to the 1043nd around 26 of signal using the Viviz survey, with other usb wifi card I connect without problems.

Does anyone knows where I'm making the mistake? or maybe is impossible what I'm trying?

Other info.
I downloaded today again the dd-wrt:
I have installed:
DD-WRT v24-sp2 (06/14/11) std
ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2011/06-14-11-r17201/tplink_tl-wr1043nd/


Thank you in advance.
Ratty
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:45    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi lossaez,

I eventually gave up on DD-WRT for the TL-1043ND... if you read my other postings in this topic, you will see that I got it working with a Linksys WRT54GL in the end.
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