WDS Linked router network

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WDS (Wireless Distribution Service) creates a wireless backbone link between multiple access points that are part of the same wireless network. This allows a wireless network to be expanded using multiple access points without the need for a wired backbone to link them, as is traditionally required. The WDS-enabled access points can accept wireless clients (e.g. wireless laptop users) just as traditional APs would.

Also take note of the fact that all repeaters, including this WDS Repeater mode, will sacrifice half of the bandwidth available from the primary router for clients wirelessly connected to the repeater. This is a result of the repeater taking turns talking to not just one partner, but to two, and having to relay the traffic between them. As long as your bandwidth requirements are within this halved bandwidth amount there will be little or no reduction in "speed".

Important Note:

Be aware that WDS is NOT a certified standard of the IEEE and that every vendor that provides WDS is doing so via its own implementation. In general, this results in incompatibility between different HW vendors devices e.g. Ralink, Atheros, Broadcom. In other words, this result in much trouble connecting units, even of the same OEM, when they use different HW. So, this is not a bug in DD-WRT. Its just a design problem and we're not responsible for it.

Atheros Based Devices and WIFI cards

There is not much to know. just a few facts to follow since it works different from other WDS stuff!

General FAQ

  • WDS between different chip vendors (atheros, broadcom, ralink) will not work morst of the time since its INCOMPATIBLE and no we will NOT fix it
  • WDS-Sta will not work as AP simultaneously. This is not possible @ atheros. For this you need to add a Virtual Access Point.
  • Don't set MAC's to the WDS-Table. This always causes trouble so stay away from it. It won't work.


  • Only set the ap to "wds ap" and the clients to "wds station". Put all on the same SSID and set your prefered wireless encryption.
  • NO WDS support for connecting current DD-WRT MadWIFI <-> DD-WRT MadWIFI-N

DD-WRT to Ubiquiti WDS

  • AirOS <=3.X <-> DD-WRT: set AirOS to WDS-AP <-> DD-WRT v.24 (or higher) to WDS-Sta. Put all on the same SSID and set your prefered wireless encryption.
  • NO WDS support for connecting current AirOS 3.x <-> DD-WRT MadWIFI-N and AirOS 5.X <-> DD-WRT MadWIFI/DD-WRT MadWIFI-N


  • Connect as DD-WRT WDS-Sta to an MTik AP. Set DD-WRT MTik compability to on. The other way round should work, too. Put all on the same SSID and set your prefered wireless encryption.

Broadcom to Atheros that maybe works sometimes

  • Wireless mode: "G-only" (in both routers).
  • And in advanced options: Preamble: Short (in both routers).
  • In Wireless Security: Open , Shared Key and WEP (64/128 bit). Remember to put the same security in both routers.

(note: You can hide your wireless hardware SSID (for security purposes) and add a virtual interface whit AP Isolation activated, then you can put a better security encription algorithm.

Broadcom Based Devices

In regards to integration with DD-WRT, it is confirmed working with WEP, WPA, and WPA2.

Working Broadcom Based Devices

  • 3Com OfficeConnect,3CRWE454G72, in Repeater Mode
  • Alcatel Speedtouch 580
  • Apple Airport Express
  • Asus WL-500g
  • Asus WL-520gU
  • Asus WL-500g Premium (v1 and v2)
  • Asus WL500W (K24 all and K26 builds up to 15314)
  • Asus RT-N12
  • Asus RT-N16
  • Belkin F5D7130 Wireless Range Extender/Access Point
  • Belkin F5D7230-4 802.11g Wireless DSL/Cable Gateway Router
  • Belkin F5D7231-4
  • Buffalo WHR-G54S
  • Buffalo WHR-G125
  • Buffalo WBR2-G54
  • Buffalo WHR-HP-G54
  • Buffalo WLI-TX4-G54HP
  • Buffalo WZR-HP-G54
  • CompUSA SKU#333628 54Mbps Wireless Broadband Router (aka Edimax br-6204WG) [upgrade firmware]
  • CompuShack SWA-103 (Waveline Micro AccessPoint) AP+Repeater Mode (only with static IP or DHCP over LAN - not WLAN)
  • Comtrend 536+
  • D-link DGL-4300
  • Fujitsu Siemens AP-600RP
  • HighGainAntennas 8186HP CPE [8186HP]
  • Linksys WRE54G Wireless Range Expander
  • Linksys WRT54G v1, v2, v3, v4, v5, v6, v8
  • Linksys WRT54G-TM (client) to WRT54GL (server).
  • Linksys WRT54G2 v1.0
  • Linksys WRT54GL v1.1
  • Linksys WRT54GS v1.0, v1.1, v2.0, v4, v5
  • Linksys WRT150N
  • Linksys WRT160N
  • Linksys WRT300N
  • Linksys WRT310N
  • Linksys WRT320N
  • Linksys WRT350N
  • Linksys WRT600N v1.1 (K24 only)
  • Linksys WRT610N v1 (K24 or K26)
  • Linksys WRT610N v2 (K26 Only)
  • Linksys E2000
  • Linksys E3000
  • Motorola WR850G v2, v3
  • Netfaster Iad
  • Netgear WG602 v3 Repeater Mode
  • Netgear WNR2000 v2
  • Netgear WNR834B
  • Netgear WNR834B v2
  • Netgear WNDR3300
  • Siemens Gigaset SE505
  • Siemens Gigaset Repeater
  • Sinus 154 Basic SE
  • Sinus 1054 DSL
  • Thomson ST780
  • USRobotics 5450 (AP Client mode)
  • USRobotics USR5461 (Client mode, AP, G-Only and WAP Personal)
  • Billion BiPAC 7402VGO
  • Billion BiPAC 7402VGP
  • Billion BiPAC 7404VGP

Non-working Broadcom Based Products

If you found a dd-wrt supported device that doesn't work with WDS (and you're certain), please list it here.

  • combination Linksys WRT150N and FONERA+ (FON2201) doesn't work !
 -> Linksys WRT150n works as described, but signal of Fonera= 0
 -> FONERA+ doesn't show any 'WDS Nodes'

Setup/Configuration for Broadcom Based Devices

Standard terminology for a two router setup:

  • The client router is the router which does not have an internet connection.
  • The host router is the router which does have the internet connection and is going to share it with other routers.

Setup for two or more WRT54G / WRT54GS / WRT54GL / WTR54GS boxes

  1. (Recommended) Save the current configurations of both routers: Administration -> Backup. Click the Backup button and follow prompts so save NVRAM backup files, i.e. nvram_host.bin, and nvram_client.bin. These configurations can be restored if the new setup doesn't work and you need to quickly revert to the previous (working) configuration.
  2. Reset the client router to its factory default state to eliminate the potential of conflict from other settings. Either use the router's reset button or reset via the GUI: Administration -> Factory Defaults -> Reset router settings -> Restore Factory Defaults - select Yes (radio button), then click Apply Settings button and wait for the router to reboot. (Optional) Unless it is impractical, e.g. the host is part of a working network, reset the host router to its factory default state as well to simplify debugging the new setup.
  3. Change the WAN Connection Type to Disabled on the client router. Setup -> Basic Setup -> WAN Setup -> WAN Connection Type
  4. Set the client router's Local IP Address to one in the same subnet as the host router, i.e. (host/internet gateway) and (client router). If the host router has been reset, set its Local IP Address as well. Set the Gateway and Local DNS IP addresses of the client router to the Local IP Address of the host router. Setup -> Basic Setup -> Network Setup -> Router IP
  5. For the client router, disable the DHCP server. This allows the host router to perform DHCP services. There can only be one DHCP server on any subnet (network) for reliable operation. Setup -> Basic Setup -> Network Address Server Settings (DHCP)
  6. (Optional) Disable the firewall on the client router. Security -> Firewall -> Firewall Protection -> SPI Firewall
  7. For both host and client routers, set the Wireless Mode to AP and make sure the Wireless Channel is the same. For Wireless Network Mode, select Mixed or G-Only (for WDS to work, B-Only must not be selected). Set the Wireless Network Name (SSID) to your liking. For WPA WDS, the SSID for the routers must be the same; for WEP, or when debugging without security enabled, different SSIDs can make troubleshooting easier. Wireless -> Basic Settings
  8. Disable wireless security on both routers (this should already be done if you reset both routers to factory defaults). Security can be re-enabled after all other steps are complete, but in order to minimize troubleshooting, it's best to get things set up with no security active. If this is impractical, e.g. the host is part of a working network, make certain that all security settings on the client match those of the host exactly. Wireless -> Wireless Security -> Wireless Security wl0
  9. Important: Disable MAC address filtering on the host router (this should already be done if you reset both routers to factory defaults). If this is impractical, e.g. the host is part of a working network, add the wireless MAC address of the client router (see Status -> Sys-Info) to the MAC Filter List of the host router. Wireless -> MAC Filter
  10. Open the WDS configuration page for both routers. For each router, you will see its wireless MAC address (Wireless MAC) at the top of the page. Note that this MAC address is different from the one that may be printed on the case. In the first open row of the table, select LAN from the dropdown list and enter each router's wireless MAC address into the table of the other router. It is not necessary to enable Lazy WDS or WDS Subnet on either router. If necessary, consult WDS - configuration for more than two routers for some helpful info. Wireless -> WDS -> WDS Settings
  11. (Optional) Configure static routing: for Destination LAN NET for the client router enter the IP address of the host router. Use the same settings for Subnet Mask and Gateway that are used by host router. For Interface, select LAN & WLAN. This step ensures that the bridge is given a static IP route. Setup > Advanced Routing -> Static Routing
  12. Check the wireless status page of each router to see that the other is present in the WDS Nodes section. Make sure signal strength for each is not zero. Status -> Wireless -> Wireless Nodes -> WDS Nodes
  13. Test that you can ping the host from the client. Note that it may take a short amount of time for the WDS link to be established, and you may need to reboot either the client or host router (or both).
  14. If disabled, enable wireless security now (highly recommended). If you set the SSID of the client router to be different from that of the host router, you need to make them the same in order to enable WPA encryption security. Using WPA encryption also requires STP to be enabled on all routers for a reliable link.

Multiple router setup

See WDS multiple router setup

Apple Airport Express

Verified with DD-WRT v2.3 (12/25/05) and AirPort Express v6.20 [1-21-2006]

Information updated for AirPort Express v6.3 and AirPort Utility v5.3.1 [3-16-2008]

DD-WRT (Save settings after each step)

  1. Wireless -> Basic Settings" Set the channel on the DD-WRT to 1.
    1. Wireless -> WDS: Select "LAN" option and enter the Airport Express's "AirPort ID" (can be found on the underside of the AirPort Express itself - be careful not to choose the "Ethernet ID").
    2. Set Lazy WDS and WDS subnet to disable
  2. Administration -> Management: Set Loopback to disable.
  3. Security -> Firewall: Turn off "Block Anonymous Internet Requests."

AirPort Express

  1. Open AirPort Utility (found in /Applications/Utilities), select your AirPort Express from the left panel, and click "Manual Setup"
  2. In the "AirPort" section:
    1. Select "Wireless" tab
      1. Select "Participate in WDS network"
      2. Set Network name to your wireless SSID name
      3. Set the wireless channel to 1
      4. Choose your security (only WEP will work wirelessly - if you want WPA on your network, you're going to have to connect the AirPort via an ethernet cable)
    2. Select "WDS" tab
      1. Set "WDS mode" as "WDS remote"
      2. In the Main Aiport ID section enter your DD-WRT wireless MAC (can get this in Status -> Wireless)
  3. In the "Music" section (if you want to use AirTunes):
    1. Make sure "Enable AirTunes" is selected
    2. Name and password-protect your speakers
  4. Click "update"

If it works then there will be a solid green light (may take a couple of minutes) . If it does not work, you should connect Airport Express and WRT54G/GS using a CAT-5 cable and set up it. It might work.

This information is from AirTunes, AirPort Express, and the WRT54G at ryanschwartz.net - and has since been edited to update information.

Also note that the above configuration with the Airport Express works with either no encryption or WEP encryption. When using WEP encryption, make sure you enter your WEP key into the Airport Express exactly how it is entered into the WRT54G, but add a $ to the beginning of the key. $ key is meant for hex (WEP). If you're not using hex, then you can leave it blank as normal.

In addition, also note that the wireless channel does not need to be 1, but it must be the same for both the DD-WRT and Airport Express. I have both units set to channel 11 and WDS works perfectly.

WPA/WPA2 encryption does not appear to work over WDS (but will work when the Airport Express is configured in client mode - but in client mode, the RJ45 connection is not usable). The error that the WRT54G reports back when the Airport Express is trying to associate via WPA over WDS is: eapol_sup_dispatch wds0.49153: unknown EPOL type 3 . EPOL has to do with WPA, so perhaps if this issue can be resolved, then the two devices could associate. [EDIT: WPA2 seems to work just fine with the above configuration, as of March 16 2008.]

Warning: This guide does not work for Atheros-based DD-WRT routers, such as the D-Link DIR-300. Airport Express will not be able to participate in the WDS network.

Troubleshooting: Make sure that you disable the "AP Watchdog" daemon. If you have a wireless endpoint (like a laptop) which connects to the Airport station (because you use WDS) then the Linksys does not see any clients connected and restarts the wireless network over and over. You also could change other channel apart from 1, if you're having problems and you don't have to disable loopback.


  • In some cases it may help to put the IP of the client router as a DMZ'd machine in the host router. Of course, this only works with a WDS between 2 routers.
  • The source material for this list comes primarily from the following DD-WRT forum posts:
  • If you're using encryption, remember to configure it on all routers!
  • Set encryption after you got a running WDS.
  • On the main Status page and the Wireless Status you can see the signal strength for any other routers in the WDS. If they are showing 0 then you're not connecting to them for some reason (wrong MAC address or, for WPA links, wrong SSID).
    • NOTE: Some security works with some dd-wrt and not with others. Lately (2010) the only security that has worked reliably is WEP and WPA2-AES. WPA2-AES is the ONLY security that should be used with N routers if you wish to have N speed.
  • If you want to use more than 2 repeaters with WDS and define multiple WDS paths for redundancy then you MUST enable STP or the network will loop back on itself and destroy all functionality. [Quote from GeeTek]
  • Make sure you use a proper forum recommended build for broadcom. See the announcements in the broadcom forum and read this thread: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=51486

WDS Bridging without Access Point Function

(NOTE: This appears to be broke with v24 Final. It will brick a WAP54G v3.1.)

Sometimes you just want to bridge two points together. WDS has the advantage of correctly passing MAC addresses so either end could be the host (Internet connection on the LAN side).

  1. Set up your WDS routers as you wish
  2. Turn off the AP function using the following commands in the shell
nvram set wl0_mode=wds
nvram commit

You may also need to issue an additional command of

nvram set wl_mode=wds

to turn off the AP.

  1. After it reboots you'll have a WDS bridge which doesn't allow wireless clients.


WDS between DD-WRT v23 and DD-WRT v24 is imposible, thats a broadcom driver issue! by Meex info by BrainSlayer

Same LAN MAC Address Problem

If you are using two WRT54G V5V6 with same firmware version, you may end up on that both router use exactly same MAC address on its LAN, WAN, Wireless. Although you can change WAN and Wireless MAC address at WEB interface, it is hard to change LAN MAC address.

If both router use same LAN MAC address on WDS, you will see that: you can Ping any computer on both router, but you can NOT ping either router's IP, it will show "Destination Host Unreachable".

To fix this, please refer thread:


I have to revert one of my router back to Linksys version, then flash it again with custom build killer file.

Info by Victor

Constantly losing connection to Samba/Shared folder

If you notice that you constantly lose connection to your machine while streaming a video or transferring a file from a Samba/Shared folder over your WDS, you might want try underclocking your routers to the same CPU speed. Some Linksys WRT54G/GS are set as 216mhz (factory default), even after flashing dd-wrt. Try underclocking them to 200mhz under Administration -> Management -> Overclocking, in the dd-wrt administrative console. For a detailed list of which versions of Linksys WRT54G/GS run at what speed, please check the Wikipedia link to Linksys WRT54G Series

Note: This may not be necessary, if you experience this problem it might be worth trying but don't do it unless you have a problem. Changing the clock speed is somewhat of a risk and could damage your router.

Ralink Based Devices

--This section could use some work--

DIR-600 b1 to DIR-600 b2: Use encryption and the wlan WDS table freely.

Also, Atheros <-> Ralink and Broadcom <-> Ralink works in WDS (not use wpa/wpa2 between Atheros and Ralink, it does't work); (Ralink to Broadcom works but only "open", until you use Kernel 2.6 in broadcom -Ralink is k2.6-).

Also (maybe it's not to be mentiond here, but someone have's to write it...):

Atheros at WDS AP -> Ralink in Client Mode (not bridged), works using wpa/wpa2 Mix/g/ng-mix/n-only. I only get G Speeds, but any encryption worked. Just set NG-Mix / 40 Mhz and turn short preamble on at atheros, and set Ralink to mixed or N-Only, 40 mhz and turn short preamble on. Use any encryption you desire.

Working Ralink Based Devices

  • Buffalo WHR-G300N^

^This does not work through the Physical interface (wireless), BUT it does work through the Virtual interface (for me anyway - Just followed all the other instructions as written, and added a virtual Interface). Perhaps someone with more network savy can explain why and avoid the extra SSID. The other router used was a non-buffalo/non-dd-wrt router, the WDS mode set to "Repeater Mode". Obviously I hid the extra SSID. Hope this helps someone. So Can't be sure it works with other Buffalo WHR-G300N routers (I only have one).

  • D-Link DIR-615^

^As with the Buffalo, you have to create a virtual wireless interface on the client, too. In my setup, I was using 2 DIR-615.

Note: 01/12/2010: The above information is not entirely correct

I've got it working on multiple DIR-615's without needing to use the virtual interface. However, if using the "physical" interface, you will need to manually add the wireless interface (ra0) to the network bridge. Even though it claims ra0 is already part of the bridge, you still need to add it again, otherwise you will have no connectivity when connecting to it (which may be the problem the two users above describe). This seems to be a bug as of build 14929.

To do this, go to Setup => Networking => Assign to Bridge => Add => Select "br0", Interface "ra0" => Apply Settings

With the DIR-615's WDS works in full 300 mbps mode up to and including build 14929 (after this, 40Mhz (HT) breaks). You can get at least 160mbps throughput under good conditions.

External Links

Wikipedia's WDS entry