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Wireless How To

Introduction

Linksys' WRE54G Wireless-G Range Expander [reviewed here] is a WDS-based 802.11b / g repeater. Its purpose is to receive a signal from an Linksys WAP54G access point or WRT54G and WRT54GS wireless router and relay it to extend a wireless LAN's range.

The Linksys WRE54G

The Linksys manuals make the setup sound easy. It is, if you have no security turned on, do not plan to use security and there is only one AP near by. If any of these criteria is not true, you will probably need to do a manual set up since the Auto-Configure button on the WRE54G will just not work with security enabled. Trying to use Auto-Configure with multiple APs in-range is also dicey and can waste loads of time.

Note!NOTES:

- The WRE54G's firmware has changed significantly from 2004, when our first How-To was published. This version reflects the Version 3.01.01 firmware that is current as of this writing. If your WRE54G’s firmware is pre-version 3, then refer to our original instructions.

- References to "AP" can be interpreted to mean access point or wireless router.

Most network gear can be initially installed where it will be used. But for a manual install, this is not true of the WRE54G. We recommend that you start setup with the WRE54G located next to the target AP and use a computer connected via Ethernet.

You will need to gather the following information before you can begin setting up the WRE54G:

  • The AP's IP address and gateway address (logon to the AP's control panel, usually at http://192.168.1.1). The first three numbers also give you the IP range of your LAN. So if your AP's address is 192.168.1.1, your IP Range is 192.168.1.XXX, where XXX is a number from 1 to 254.

  • If you have more than one AP, then you need the IP and MAC address of the AP that you want the WRE54G to connect to (a MAC address looks like 00:14:BF:7B:E7:84). If you only have one AP, don’t worry about the MAC address, but you will need to know the IP.

  • Your WLAN SSID (wireless network name). You will find it in the AP's control panel or in the wireless properties of a WLAN client.

  • The type of security the AP uses: WEP or WPA-PSK and the key used. This is also located somewhere in your AP's admin interface.

  • Make sure that the WRE54G's default address (192.168.1.240) is not in use. If you have a small LAN with only a few clients, you're probably ok. If you are using DHCP to assign client IP address information (most small LANs do), just check the list of DHCP clients that you can usually find in your AP's admin interface.

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