How to Set Up Linksys WRT54GS as a Second Access Point

by Jacob Andrew

Deploying two access points in your home or business can significantly increase the reach of your wireless network. The WRT54GS, manufactured by Linksys, is a commonly available, cost-effective wireless-G router. With the proper configuration, it can forward traffic from any clients connected to it over to your first, primary wireless router.

Assign a Static IP Address to the Network Adapter on the WRT54GS Subnet

1

Click the Search charm from the charm bar and type "Network Connection" in the search box. Click "Settings" below the search box.

2

Click “View Network Connections.” In the box that appears, right-click your wired, Ethernet connection and select “Properties” from the context menu.

3

Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” in the This Connection Uses the Following Items box. Click or tap the “Properties” button to continue.

4

Click or tap “Use the Following IP Address.” In the fields below, enter an IP address unique to your WRT54GS network. Enter the same subnet as your router. The most common subnet mask is “255.255.255.0”. For the gateway, enter the IP address of the router to which you are connected. Click “OK.” Click “OK” in the next window to finish.

Configure Routers for WDS

1

Plug your laptop or computer directly to the WRT54GS using an Ethernet cable. Make sure the Ethernet cable is plugged into a LAN port and not the WAN port.

2

Log in to the WRT54GS management interface by opening a Web browser and typing "192.168.1.1" (omit quotes here and throughout). This is the default address for the WRT54GS. When prompted for a username and password, leave the username field blank and enter “admin” as the password.

3

Click on the “Setup” tab and give the WRT54GS an IP address within the same subnet as your first wireless access point. For example, if your main wireless router has an IP of 192.168.2.1 and a subnet of 255.255.255.0, give your access point an IP of 192.168.2.253 and a subnet of 255.255.255.0. Set the gateway to the address of your first wireless router. After clicking on the “Save Settings” button to complete, you’ll need to change your network adapter’s IP address to one within the new subnet and reconnect to the WRT54GS by typing its new IP in the browser address bar. Click on the “Save Settings” button to complete.

4

Click on “Basic Settings” under the “Wireless” tab. Set the “Wireless Mode,” “Wireless Network Mode,” “Wireless Network Name (SSID)” and “Wireless Network Channel” all to the same settings as on the first router. Click on the “Save Settings” button to complete.

5

Click on “Security” under “Wireless” and set this to the same security type and key as your first wireless router. Click on the “Save Settings” button to complete.

6

Click on “WDS” under “Wireless” and set the first pull-down box to “LAN.” In the following fields, add the MAC address of your first wireless access point.

7

Click on “Basic Setup” under the “Setup” tab and set the DHCP server to “Disable.” Click on the “Save Settings” button to complete.

8

Log in to the first wireless router. Type the MAC address of your WRT54GS into the first field of its WDS setting. Set the interface type to “LAN.” This step may vary slightly depending on the type and model of your first router.

9

Change your network adapter IP from static to dynamic and test the connection. The best way to test the connection is to issue a “ping” command to both the first and second router IP addresses. Open a command window and type “ping [IP Address]” without quotes, where [IP address] is the address of the router. For more on issuing a “ping” in Windows, see Resources.

Tip

  • check Third-party firmware -- such as Tomato, OpenWRT or DD-WRT -- unlocks specific repeater and bridge functions in your WRT54GS. Repeater mode, for example, enables you to connect the two access points through wireless instead of a wired connection.

Warnings

  • close Double-check all IP settings are correct before clicking “Save Settings.” Incorrect IP settings may prevent you from reconnecting to the second router and fixing the mistake.
  • close Make sure you’re connected via wire and have a statically assigned IP address throughout the process. This prevents you from losing your connection to the router during key configuration points.
  • close Using third-party firmware may void your warranty and, if improperly done, break your WRT54GS.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jacob Andrew previously worked as an A+ and CCNA-certified technology specialist. After receiving his BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2012, he turned his focus towards writing about travel, politics and current technology.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images