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December 22, 2006

Apple AirPort Express review , work with dd-wrt and how to hack

Filed under: Uncategorized — manoftoday @ 12:35 am


Link to Apple AirPort Express review : Full Review


How to setup WDS between a wireless router and an AirPort Express

Posted Dec 14th 2006 11:00AM by Chris Brentano
Filed under: Features, Hardware, Macintosh, Open Source, How-Tos

WDS LoveThinking about expanding your wireless network but aren’t exactly sure how to go about it? Using my trusty Linksys WRT54G, a copy of DD-WRT and an AirPort Express, I was able to increase the range of my network, and also bridge my wife’s office upstairs with the network in the basement. Here’s how you can do it too.


  • 1 Linksys WRT54G running DD-WRT
  • 1 Apple AirPort Express
  • MAC addresses of both
  • 15-20 minutes of your time

For those who don’t know, WDS stands for Wireless Distribution System. It’s a simple system that allows you to interconnect multiple access points wirelessly. Wikipedia, as always, has more information on the subject.

Before we get started, as noted above, you need to have DD-WRT installed on your Linksys WRT54G, or on any AP/Router that supports it. Have a look at DD-WRT’s hardware compatibility list to see if your hardware is supported. If you don’t have DD-WRT installed, and are using a WRT54G, see these instructions on my personal blog on how to install DD-WRT. You’ll also need to have already configured your AirPort Express.

One important note: If you want to use WDS, you can’t use WPA or WPA2 encryption. This is because with WPA and WPA2 the MAC addresses of nodes are encrypted. WEP is your only option for any encryption, so go 128-bit. You may also want to consider other security precautions, such as MAC address filtering, since WEP is trivial for even a caffeinated monkey to crack.

1. Write down the MAC address of both your WRT54G and your AirPort Express. This will likely be on the underside of the WRT54G and on the side of the AirPort Express. MAC addresses are commonly printed as 01:23:45:67:89:ab, but can sometimes be printed with dashes or without any separators.

2. Go to the DD-WRT administration panel of your Linksys WRT54G and click on the Wireless tab. From there, click the WDS sub-tab. You’ll see a list of empty MAC addresses and some extra options.

DD-WRT Control Panel

3. For the first entry in the list, select “LAN” from the drop-down menu, and then type in the MAC address of your AirPort Express. Leave “Lazy WDS” and “WDS Subnet” disabled, and then click Save Settings.

4. Now, launch the AirPort Admin Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities), select your AirPort Express in the list, and click the Configure button. At the configuration window, click the WDS tab.

Airport Admin Utility

5. Select the “Enable this base station as a WDS” option, and from the drop-down menu select “remote base station”, and also select the “Allow wireless clients on this base station” option. For the Main AirPort ID, either type in the MAC address of your Linksys WRT54G (separated with colons) or click the select button, and in the sheet that appears, select your wireless network and click OK.

Select your AP

6. Once you’re back at the main AirPort Admin Utility window, click the Update button, and then wait as your AirPort Express restarts.


7. Almost done. Once your AirPort Express has finished restarting, it will reappear in the list in the AirPort Admin Utility. Click Configure again and verify a few settings:

  • on the Internet tab, make sure that “Connect Using” is set to AirPort (WDS)
  • on the Network tab, make sure that “Distribute IP addresses” is shut off if you are running another DHCP server, for example on the WRT54G
  • if you have a stereo connected to your AirPort Express, enable AirTunes on the Music tab!

And that’s it! Everything should be working. Your wireless network’s range will be increased, and if you plug in a laptop, computer, or other network device (hub or switch) to the Ethernet jack on the AirPort Express, it will be bridged automatically across the wireless network. Sweet!


4. Got it to work – it’s only slightly different configuring from a windows machine.
1 – On “Airport” tab,
for Wireless Mode select “Create a Wireless Network (Home Router).
In Network Name give it the same network name as your wireless network’s ssid.
Put it on the same channel as your wireless network.
Hit “Wireless Security” button, and replicate the same wireless settings you are using on your wireless network – remember has to be WEP.
2. WDS tab – same as above instructions.
My DD-WRT54GS assigned it an IP out of it’s DHCP range, which at first I thought was strange, but actually makes sense.



How to configure HyperWRT 2.1b1 with WDS – Version 2.0.
HyperWRT 2.1b1 is a custom firmware for Linksys’ WRT54G (and WRT54GS) router.  This firmware adds a few very helpful features.  Check out HyperWRT for more information.  Configuring WDS on HyperWRT is fairly straight forward and only requires a few steps.
**Note, this document assumes you are starting with a factory default configuration**
Here’s my topology:
                   Wireless Clients
Cable Modem—RouterA—–Wireless—–RouterB
                                |               WDS+WPA             |
                      Wired Clients                    Wired Clients
To get this up and running only RouterB needs to be running the HyperWRT software.  RouterA is running the stock Linksys 4.20.6 firmware.  I did it this way because I want to have the most up-to-date firmware on the router handling the Internet connection.  Thanks goes out to Traveller of the forums for his investigation of the nas4not command to allow WPA+WDS.
On both routers the following needs to be configured.  I suggest configuring each router separately, one at a time, with a wired client:
1.  Under the Wireless –> Basic Wireless Settings configuration be sure to set the following items to the same on both routers:

RouterA’s Configuration

RouterB’s Configuration

2.  Under the Wireless –> Wireless Security configuration be sure to set everything the same on both routers for the security mode you are using.  In my scenario I’m using WPA.

RouterA’s Configuration

RouterB’s Configuration

3.  Next, you need to determine the wireless MAC address of RouterA.  To do this goto Status –> Wireless.  Write this down for future reference.
RouterA’s Wireless MAC address

4.  Now you need to configure the WDS settings on RouterB.  I think the best way to do this is through a telnet window.  To start telnet click on Administration –> Telnet Daemon –> Start Telnet.  Once that it done, you need to connect to the router through telnet.  I use putty for telnet purposes.  Once you’ve connected you should see the following:
RouterB’s telnet window

In the telnet window, enter the following commands:

  • nvram set wl_mode=wds
  • nvram set wl0_mode=wds
  • nvram set wl_lazywds=0
  • nvram set wl0_lazywds=0
  • nvram set wl_wds=00:11:22:33:44:55      <–Notice this is the wireless MAC address of RouterA
  • nvram set wl0_wds=00:11:22:33:44:55    <–Notice this is the wireless MAC address of RouterA
  • nvram commit
  • reboot

The above settings hardcode RouterB for WDS mode to RouterA.  It also saves these values to nvram so that they will remain even after a reboot / power cycle.

5.  Also on RouterB we need to configure the WPA authentication program to run when the router boots up.  Under Administration –> Management –> Startup enter the following:
RouterB’s startup script

The command is “nas4not lan wds0.2 up supplicant aes psk password linksys”.  Be sure to replace “password” and “linksys” with the WPA password and SSID you are using.  Also, if you are using TKIP instead of AES, be sure to change “aes” to “tkip”.

6.  Now that we have all the wireless configuration completed we need to take care of the basic router configuration.  See the screenshots below to see how to configure each router.

RouterA’s Configuration

RouterB’s Configuration

Be sure to click Save Settings on both routers.
Now, just reboot each router.  If you were successful you should be able to ping from a wired client on RouterA to a wired client on RouterB.
If this works for you, please let me know.    Airport Update 4.2 (Airport Express v6.2)



How to stream music from iTunes to your PSP



  1. 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.

    Comment by wee — March 23, 2008 @ 8:08 am

  2. Thanks for the instructions on using DDWRT to make a WDS. One question- In these instructions, which device is plugged into the modem, the airport express or the linksys?

    Comment by Ethan — October 8, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

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