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Hooking up WAP to my Linksys router?(Paging SpeedRacer!)

11/27/2004 11:42 AM
Steve A.
Hooking up WAP to my Linksys router?(Paging SpeedRacer!)
    I just got a new notebook computer for $500 and want to hook it up (wirelessly) to my Linksys BEFSR41 router. I was looking on their site and see that I could plug a WAP54G wireless access point into my router but I am already using all 4 ports on my BEFSR41. :(  
    I do have an older 4 port switch (Linksys EZXS55W) and was wondering if I can use it to add extra ports to my BEFSR41? 2 of my computers don't usually connect to the internet (except for software updates) so I would want to connect 2 of my computers and my notebook to the internet via my cable modem.  
    If I need to buy another router that's okay but was just wondering if my 4 port switch can be used.  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. The Linksys site has detailed directions for setting the IP addresses, etc., for hooking up multiple routers and switches- 3 cheers for them! But I'm unclear about what a router does that a switch doesn't do. :(
11/27/2004 12:15 PM
SpeedRacer Re: Hooking up WAP to my Linksys router?(Paging SpeedRac
1 - yes you can use the old switch. You need to use a cross over cable to run switch to router (or switch to switch..) Cross over cables are also how you could connect two PC's back to back. Alternately, some switches have a special port that acts as a cross over port (linksys may have one of these)  
2 - routers vs switches - traditionally switches work at layer 2, meaning they don't know about IP addresses, they know about MAC addresses. Routers by definition connect networks, they are layer 3 devices and therefore understand IP addressing and subnetting. Switches vs hubs are another matter altogether.  
hope that's clear as mud! ;)
11/27/2004 12:40 PM
Steve A.

Speed said:  
traditionally switches work at layer 2, meaning they don't know about IP addresses, they know about MAC addresses. Routers by definition connect networks, they are layer 3 devices and therefore understand IP addressing and subnetting.  
    So once I manually assign the MAC addresses to the computers connected to the switch does that mean that they will have the unique IP addresses needed to connect to the internet independently? Or will they all share the same IP address as the port on the router to which the switch is plugged into? Does it make a difference which computer is plugged into the router and which is plugged into the switch?  
Here is my line-up:  
Connected to the internet:  
Notebook (w/ WPC54G wireless adaptor)  
Not usually connected to the internet:  
BEFSR41 router  
EZXS55W switch  
WAP54G wireless access point  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. Linksys has a special "Uplink" port for interconnecting their equipment- so that would have the same pins reversed as on a crossover cable? Hmmm...
11/27/2004 6:30 PM
Don Symes

MAC addresses are typically assigned by the NIC (Network Interface Card) mfr - get a COMMAND prompt up and type  
on a connected box and it will show you the current MAC and IP address(es) assigned to all network ports in that box. Some adapters allow manual reassignment, though.  
The UPLINK port is as you assumed - a pre-reversed port to get you around the need for a special cable (only use an UPLINK port at ONE end of any given cable).  
Consider a WRT55AG instead of the WAP54 - it has 4 ethernet ports (give one of them to your existing switch's UPLINK port) and bang - 7 available wired ports, 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g coverage - though I think mixing b and g will slow the g down to b speeds.  
-- Rely on Speed, though, he actually knows whereof he speaks.
11/27/2004 6:51 PM
So once I manually assign the MAC addresses to the computers connected to the switch does that mean that they will have the unique IP addresses needed to connect to the internet independently?  
Not exactly. Unless you are on Sun hardware (perhaps some others as well) your MAC address by default is the MAC that your NIC gets from it's mfr. Each mfr is allocated a pool of addresses. It's important that no two devices have the same mac (or bad things happen). If you go to a DOS prompt and type IPCONFIG /all you will see a line called "physical address" that will be something like 00-09-6B-2A-FD-B9 that's your MAC. If you did MAC filtering for security, this is what you would filter on.. the MAC of each PC (network card actually) you have on the network.  
What your switch does is do something called 'arping'. The switch arps to see what MAC's are connected to its ports, then it creates an arp table which is uses to route traffic from one host to another. This is in contrast to hubs where whenever a packet goes to the hub, it gets sent to every port.. there is no "knowledge" of who is plugged in where. Switches build a logical connection between the ports which are communicating, and then tear it down when the traffic is complete. No one else hears it.  
Your IP addressing on your home network works something like this:  
Cable company gives you 1 routable (public) IP address. That gets assigned to the device hanging off of the cable modem.. which in this case is your Linksys router. It then uses Network Address Translation to "hide" your PC's using private IP addresses (usually 192.168.0.x by default) Each router can give out 100 addresses by default. They all "hide" - or are "natted" behind that one routable "public" address. They each have a unique IP to connect to the internet.. just happens to all be the same IP. ;) That what NAT was created for.. when they realized that we'd run out of IP addresses long before everyone had one, and IPv6 is still a ways off, NAT was created as a stopgap to stretch the available pool of public IP's.  
Long and short:  
1 - you do not assign the MAC.. (unless you're on Sun hardware running Solaris.. in which case you can) point is you should not have to and should never need to.  
2 - makes no difference which computer is plugged in where.. PC's on the switch will be slower (on paper) but truth is your switch and router are both much faster than your internet connection, so who cares..  
3 - Uplink port is the one you want.. only need it on *one* end (not both). You'll know in 30 sec if it's not going to work - you won't get a link light.
11/27/2004 9:11 PM
Steve would need to set up the DHCP on the main router only and then second router set to switch mode only,(no DHCP for the second router!) use a crossover cabe from main router data copper port to second switch to get the extra ports plus one suggestion, make sure if you can set the data copper ports to all 100 meg full duplex (called hardcoding) Also make sure your NIC cards in your pc,s are also set to this setting as setting a switch port to 10/half or 100/full hardsoded and leaving a NIC in your pc set at hardware default sometimes causes problems on the data port it connects. It may bounce the connection of the pc. I've seen this happen on crappy Alcatel switches before.  
Steve, The main router uses the I.P. that the ISP provides, then the main router will issue different I.P,s to your pc,s. make sure in local area connection properties on your pc,s in the TCP/IP is set to DHCP setting, you probably already know this, any way I hope this helps somewhat.....  
Am I missing any thing?  
11/27/2004 9:45 PM
munk - agree that if the 2nd switch *can* do DHCP, it should be turned off. I did not think of that. good catch!  
fwiw - I would not mess with duplex on these things unless there is a problem with auto. I have not seen a duplex setting on a linksys router before, maybe it's a new feature? I have seen folks try to get smart with them and have a bad time. Auto is the preferred method in the rfc and if your driver is working right auto should work... that said I have to force all of the 3com cards we have on the lan at work.. ;) so much for rfc's! I am not even sure what kind of "switch" these linksys boxes are.. I see 'switching hub' thrown around a lot. I mean, what is it? i have done no testing, but am curious how much of a switch they are. what's your experience been like w/them? I've left all of the ones I've put in at auto/auto and they seem to be fine.  
Steve - If you do play with nic duplex, I would hard code it on the pc and then reboot to make sure the pc is ok. If it can be set on the linksys, set it to match what is on the PC. Start with auto/auto, test throughput and work out from there. See if 100-Full is faster/smoother. Then 100-half. etc. Definitely reboot the windows machine after changing settings. they can get mental depending on the nic/driver etc. I've seen them do some really wierd stuff.  
To test, run an FTP file transfer from one machine to another. A windows file copy will work in a pinch. Make it something decent sized, like >30-40MB. If your speed and duplex settings are happy, you should see at least 5-6MB/sec, and perhaps more like 8 or 9MB/sec if it's a happy network and a good switch. If there are problems, you will see less than 2MB/sec probably.. worst case will be sub 100KB/sec (major collisions). This is on 2 PC's plugged into that switch.

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