Set up a WiFi-to-LAN Gateway
Do you have any devices with a LAN port but no WiFi (e.g. a TV or gaming console), yet you want to put them into places where you can’t install an Ethernet cable? There is a simple solution to this problem, and you get the extension of your WiFi coverage for free!
Extended WiFi coverage was a good hint to the solution, because actually the setup is this: you set up a second router/access point as a WiFi Repeater with WDS and then hook your LAN device into the router’s LAN port! Simple as that.
I implemented the solution for my parents who have an old computer which somehow refuses to connect to the WiFi network. An new router came with an upgrade of the DSL connection, so the old router was obsolete until I gave him new life as the WiFi-to-LAN gateway. The devices used were a Fritz!Box 7390 as the base station and a Fritz!Box 7050 as the repeater. If you use different models, you can this as a basic guide but the settings might differ.
The setup steps are as simple as this:
- Connect to the router you want to use as the base station (as usual) and find out the MAC address.
- Disconnect from the WiFi and connect your computer to the router you want to set up as a repeater via LAN cable.
- Open the repeater’s admin page. It’s now still available under fritz.box or 192.168.178.1, but that needs to be changed, otherwise both routers will have the same IP address.
- The repeater router doesn’t need its modem functionality, so set the Internet Access to LAN. (Note: In the Fritz!Box 7050 this option was confusingly called “Internet via LAN A” - the port which the computer is hooked up and thus is not the source of Internet connectivity - but it works fine!)
- Change the IP address from 192.168.178.1 to 192.168.178.2. The DHCP, default gateway and DNS is set to 192.168.178.1, the address of the base station.
- Set up a fixed WiFi channel and set the SSID and WPA2-Key to the same values as on the other router. Enable WDS and enter the MAC address of the router which you want to use as the base station. Be careful: If you accidentally enable WDS without setting up the proper authentication, your computer will get disconnected and can’t just connect again because there is no DHCP server. (If if happens, though, just set up a fixed IP address for your computer as a temporary fix.)
- Now configure the base station for WDS. The firmware of the 7390 automatically finds the repeater and allows you to select it. If it doesn’t find it you need to copy&paste the MAC address.
While the configuration is quite simple, you have to be careful to which network you are connected while configuring. Sometimes you have to disconnect and reconnect before you can access the Internet again.
One remark security: WDS allows only WEP encryption, if you use routers from different brands, since the WPA encryption implementation is vendor-specific. My example works since both routers are from AVM.