Building a Wireless Ethernet Bridge

You can connect every piece of electronic equipment to a wireless network as long as it has an Ethernet port and you have built a wireless Ethernet bridge. For example, even if your laptop is not wireless, with a wireless Ethernet bridge it will be able to access the Internet wirelessly simply by accessing the wireless bridge.

Tools and Equipment

  • Two Routers (one must be DD-WRT compatible)
  • Firmware DD-WRT v23 for the compatible router
  • Ethernet Cable
  • PC/Laptop with an Ethernet port
  • Any Electronic Device with an Ethernet port

Step 1: Understanding the Router

One of the routers must run the firmware DD-WRT v23 (or higher). An example would be the Linksys WRT54G.

Technically, your DD-WRT router has two wireless modes of operation: client and bridge mode. The bridge mode is part of the same subnet as the primary router and this is required. Bridge mode takes two routers, but they act as one. The secondary router is seamlessly integrated with the primary router.

Step 2: Change LAN Properties

The primary router can be any router, you may have one already. The secondary router with the DD-WRT firmware is called the “Client Router.”

You now need to access the administrator interface on the client router. Using your laptop/PC, connect it using an Ethernet cable to a LAN port on the client router.

Disable wireless networking on the laptop temporarily (check the laptop manual), and configure it to have a static IP address, i.e. don’t use DHCP to assign the IP address. Use the IP address 192.168.1.2. You also need a subnet mask and default gateway so use 255.255.255.0 and 192.168.1.1. In XP this is found in the LAN properties/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Click to save the changes.

Step 3: Connect to Client’s Router

Open your PC/laptop’s internet browser to connect to the client router. Type the URL http://192.168.1.1. Enter default login “root” and password “admin.” The administrator page is now shown as a web page.

Step 4: Disable DHCP

Select Setup/Basic Setup. Then click on network address server settings (DHCP). Choose to disable DHCP. This stops the client router from assigning IP addresses, because this is the job of your primary router.

Step 5: Choose Client Bridge

Now select Wireless/Basic Settings. For wireless mode choose Client Bridge. Set Wireless Network Mode to “mixed.” Your primary router should also already be set to this as its default. Wireless security can be introduced later and should be the same on both routers in your wireless Ethernet bridge.

Step 6: Joining the Networking

You now need to associate the client router to your primary router to create a bridge. Click on Site Survey, and the wireless network SSID for primary router is shown. Click on Join to create the association. You’ve now successfully joined the network and created a bridge between client and primary routers.

Step 7: Test Bridge

To test if your wireless Ethernet bridge is receiving an IP address from the primary router, use Step 2 above and set your IP address back to DHCP. Unplug the network cable from your laptop and reconnect.

Your laptop will receive an IP address assigned by your primary router via the new wireless Ethernet bridge. You can now connect to the Internet wirelessly.

Any device can now connect wirelessly if it has an Ethernet port via the client router and then connect to the rest of your wireless network via the wireless Ethernet bridge.