Who Needs Wires? Make A Wireless Bridge!

Assuming you followed my instructions on flashing your router with the latest fancy DD-WRT firmware, then you will be able to transform your router into a wireless bridge instead of an Access Point.  Have you ever needed to get internet or intranet to another spot further away from the main Access Point and don’t have the ability or the time to wire it up?

A simple bridge connection between two wireless routers can make that job simple and easy.  I was able to get mine set up in under an hour. Even the most inexperienced could get this procedure accomplished in less time than it would take to fully wire this out to another area.

Log In and Get Started

After we were able to flash our firmware, our initial default IP has stayed the same on our Linksys WRT54GL router, 192.168.1.1.  Using Internet Explorer again to log in, let’s try and get it set up to be an passive node on our internal network.  When it is totally functioning, we shouldn’t even be able to tell it exists outside of physically plugging into it.

turn dhcp off in dd-wrt

After seeing you can log in and that the router is up and running, our next step on the router is going to be turning off it’s ability to pass out IP addresses by turning off its DHCP functionality.

Since we are going to be doing that, we will have to set up a Static IP for our Host PC so it can still talk to the router after the DHCP is shut off.  Depending on what operating system you use, there are slightly different ways to do this but a simple Google search should show you how to do it on your particular OS.

After setting up our IP to 192.168.1.2 with a Class C Subnet, or 255.255.255.0, we should refresh our IE page to make sure we can still communicate with our router.  If the refresh is successful, proceed to shut off the DHCP through the “Setup” and “Basic Setup” Tabs.  It should be the first thing you can edit.  Change it to Disabled.

bridge settings in dd-wrt

Next, go to the “Wireless” “Basic Settings” Tab and change the Wireless Mode to “Client-Bridge.”  Doing so allows our router to pick up on other wireless signals in the area and in essence act as a repeater for that signal.  So when we plug into the Ethernet ports on the back of this router, we will actually be getting on the other extended network.

But we are not done just yet.  Right below the Wireless Mode selection is Wireless Network Mode.  It is defaulted to “Mixed” but this you would have to compare to the wireless router you are trying to connect with.  If it is set to “Mixed”, then leave it be.  Otherwise change it to “B” or “G” accordingly.

Finally on that page you will see Wireless Network SSID and will likely be set to “linksys.”  Just leave that alone for now as it will automatically change when we join the routers together in bridge mode later.  Also, make sure the “Network Configuration” radio button is set to “Bridged.”  You shouldn’t have to worry about anything else on this page such as the “Sensitivity Range” unless you have issues down the road with connections dropping.

set encryption in dd-wrt

Now while still under the “Wireless” Tab, click “Wireless Security” and select whatever type of security your main router is running.  In our case, we were running WPA with a TKIP Encryption.  Set up these according to whatever your main router is.  Once you have that, enter the Shared Key, or password.

Finally we are on to the “Status” “Wireless” Tabs to join our linksys to our main router and its network.  At the bottom of that page you should see a button labeled “Site Survey.”

Click it and you should see your network SSID along with the MAC address of whatever is broadcasting it.  Note that if you are in a tight neighborhood you may pick up your neighbor’s Wifi signal so make sure you click on the right one.

Now you should be successfully set up to run as a client bridge.

Go back and change your Network Settings on your Computer to dynamically assign an IP address and DNS server.  Unplug the network cord between your PC and the router and let it sit for 5 Seconds then plug it back in.  Give it a second to acquire a new IP from the main router and you are good to go.  If you ever need to log back into the linksys router to make any changes, its IP is still the default 192.168.1.1 so all you will have to do is manually change your PC IP to something in that range as we did before.