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I'm setting up a network with openwrt. I have a router that I have set up for wifi which I will use as an access point. I want to add another router to my network so that the two can exchange traffic wirelessly. Right now, my computer is connected to the access point over a wifi connection. If I connect the access point to the second router with an ethernet cord, everything can ping back and forth. But like I said, I want the two routers to be able to communicate wirelessly.

My question is, if I want the two routers to send traffic back and forth wirelessly, do I need to configure one node as a repeater or as a bridge? From what I've been reading, either can work. The only difference seems like, if I have a repeater, I have to have one router dedicated just to that.

I'm fairly new to wireless communication. I've been wading through forums and openwrt docs for a while. I haven't been able to implement either a bridge or a repeater successfully so I thought maybe my understanding of the fundamentals was wrong.

Thanks for any help!

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The two options are similar.

  1. Bridge

    This sets up your device so that it bridges traffic between the ethernet interface and the wireless interface. Nothing more. Nothing less. Your ethernet interface needs to be connected back to the rest of your network so that wireless devices connecting to the Access Point can see your network. If you have multiple Access Points configured as bridges they all need to have an ethernet connection back to the same point. To allow roaming transparently between them they must all use the same SID but should be on different channels.

  2. Repeater

    This sets up your Access Point so that it listens to another AP and re-broadcasts what it hears. It also acts as an Access Point for local wireless devices and then rebroadcasts the traffic back to the other AP. There is no wired connection to your network, so a Repeater can be installed anywhere within wireless range of another connected Access Point. The disadvantage is that the presence of a single-radio Repeater on your network will halve the wireless throughput. Typically such a Repeater will have to use the same channel as the Access Point to which it's paired. Newer Repeaters can listen and transmit simultaneously so throughput is not significantly impaired.

If you have a single Access Point connected to a router in a home scenario then you want Bridged mode.

If you need multiple Access Points, the primary one will always be Bridged. The additional devices will either be Bridged APs or Repeaters. Of choice, if you can run an ethernet cable (or powerline) to the secondary device(s), I'd go for the bridged option every time.

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  • So if I want to add multiple devices wirelessly, I really need a repeater. I'd need a router/access point hooked up to my internet via an ethernet cable. Then, I hook up another router to that one with another ethernet cable. The second one becomes the repeater right? Then I can add other devices wirelessly and they will be listening for what the repeater sends out. – user461262 Jul 15 '15 at 22:02
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    You can connect multiple devices (smartphone, laptop, Wii, toaster, etc.) to a single Access Point in bridged mode. If you have a building that's too large for a single Access Point you have to consider whether you can blanket it in additional bridged APs or whether you're going to have to use Repeaters. – roaima Jul 15 '15 at 22:14
  • @roaima Just like to point out that your definition of bridge "it bridges traffic between the ethernet interface and the wireless interface. Nothing more." is not quite accurate. If you want to add an Access Point cabled to another router, then a bridge can merge WAN and LAN ports. e.g. wiki.openwrt.org/doc/recipes/dumbap I'd argue that this function is quite useful. – Jonathan Komar Oct 24 '18 at 6:50
  • @JonathanKomar in that scenario wouldn't it be true to say that by merging WAN and LAN ports, and disabling all functionality other than wireless and bridging, you've effectively redesignated the WAN port as just another LAN port? Or have I misunderstood you? – roaima Oct 24 '18 at 7:45
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A repeater will be repeating data. Both devices will be working as access points. If you use bridging you will propably loose the access point.

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  • When you say I will probably lose the access point...you mean just one right? Not both. And I think I see the difference now. The repeater will repeat the data, the bridge is just used as a way to send it. So I'm guessing a repeater might slow down my network if it is duplicating data like that. – user461262 Jul 15 '15 at 21:33
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    The repeater will be like an client with a secondary accesspoint. Like the mobile phone cell towers. Bridges actually act like a wire. If you set it as abridge it will just become a link. Some devices has double access point and 2 antennas. If you have such you can use one as ap and one to bridge – dSoultanis Jul 15 '15 at 21:53
  • Thanks for that second explanation. That makes a lot of sense. – user461262 Jul 15 '15 at 21:55
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Repeater and bridge is same, difference one copy the same SSID,another one can change SSID as you wish

From Omylink Technology Co.,LTD (OEM Openwrt Router)

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