I have a question about connecting two wireless modem routers (or wireless access points, it's the same thing - if not the same, please let me know the difference). If I want to expand the range of a wireless network with a second router, I have searched a lot in the web and read a lot of articles and pages, and I have no question about setting up the two routers. Their SSIDs, security types, IP address range, etc. The only question I have is the following:
I have read everywhere that, after setting up each one of the two routers, you must connect the with an ethernet cable. If I want to connect them not with a cable, but wirelessly, how can I do that? Could you please help me?
There are two basic scenarios when it comes to 'connecting' two routers or access points:
1) Expand the range of your Wireless network
2) Connect two points between each other
Let's take a quick look at the requirements for each:
Expand the range of your Wireless network
In order to expand your wireless network, you need one access point (AP) to act as a repeater. An AP acting as a repeater needs to be configured to connect to the primary AP and then re-transmit the WiFi SSID locally. Depending on the type of AP you have, it might require one or two radio modules within the AP (One to connect to the main AP and the other two broadcast locally the WiFi signal).
Perhaps one of the most popular software that will allow you to do this, is dd-wrt. This software replaces your vendor's software and provides a great amount of enhancements for your router or AP. You should check also the compatibility list to ensure your router/AP is supported.
One thing you should be aware of is that when using WiFi repeaters, bandwidth drops by approx. 50% per hop (AP Repeater), so its not considered a very scalable solution.
Connect two points between each other
The second scenario is wanting to connect Point A with Point B, creating a wi-fi link between the two. In this case you need to have APs or router that allow you to place the AP in Bridge mode. An AP in such a mode, is like running a UTP cable between the two APs. Broadcasts and every other type of traffic is eligible to pass through the Point-to-Point link.
Again, dd-wrt is also capable of providing this functionality.
When configuring two APs or routers in Bridge mode, you need to set the first node (main one) as a Root, while the remote end is usually setup as a Client. You shoud be aware that in Bridge mode, everything will triverse the Wi-Fi link. This means you can e.g run a DHCP service at headquarters, while the remote end's DHCP service is located at headquarters.
Finally, when configuring Bridge mode, you should take extra care to encrypt the Wi-fi password an also lock each AP with the other end's MAC address.
I hope this helps clear things for you.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions.