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Replacing my HomePlug AV link with a Wireless Client Bridge

I had a Homeplug AV link between my router and and network enabled devices (Raspberry Pi running Raspbmc and a LG-DP1B Media player) in my bedroom. I used the Western Digital Livewire AV Network Kit, which conforms to the Homeplug AV standard. When I moved to a new apartment the performance of the Livewire AV link was degraded significantly. I used to have a consistent  throughput around 40Mbps before (out of the maximum possible 200Mbps) in the previous apartment. But with a very old power-circuit in the current apartment and also due to the fact, the living-room, where the router is installed, and the bedroom are connected to two different power-circuits, the sustained throughput obtainable was only around 15Mbps. (Which is actually lower than a good quality 802.11g link)

So I thought of making use of my TP-Link TL-MR3420 lying around unused. I have Asus RT-N56U as my main router which operates in 40Mhz mode in both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. TL-MR3420 provides WDS bridging functionality out of the box with stock firmware. Which actually performs very well with another Atheros based router configured with WDS. (have tested this with my old WNDR3700V1 running DD-WRT WDS).

But since my current router RT-N56U is a Ralink based device, WDS bridging with TL-MR3420 is out of the question. So I decided to use Client bridge mode in TL-MR3420. In order to do this TL-MR3420 should be flashed with latest dd-wrt firmware. This dd-wrt forum thread related to TL-MR3420 has more information. You can download the firmware here:

ftp://dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2012/07-20-12-r19519/tplink_tl-mr3420/

If you want to revert back to stock firmware you can find the web-revert files here:

Running a Wireles client bridged link has certain disadvantages compared to a WDS bridged link. But it works between routers with different chip-sets and also there is no need to configure the main router. The main disadvantage of the current implementation of dd-wrt wireless client bridge is, it doesn’t pass UPNP multicast packets. So any device relying on UPNP multicast advertisements will not work. This includes DLNA & UPNP-AV devices, Apple Bonjour based devices, WSD printers/Scanners and  UPNP based port forwarding of the routers etc.

The following pictures have the Wireless client bridge settings for TL-MR3420. And the result is much faster link between livingroom and bedroom. Now I have a sustained throughput around 50-60Mbps.

Ip Address of the Main Router:                 192.168.1.1
Ip address of the Client Bridged TL-MR3420:    192.168.1.2

In above page if you also want wireless repeating functionality also you can add a Virtual interface with preferably another SSID.

If you add a Virtual Interface in above step to have wireless repeating functionality you also  have to configure the security settings for that interface here. Using the same WPA2 security with the same password worked for me.

The wireless status page of the TL-Mr3420 running dd-wrt wireless client bridge.

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