Learn how the WDS function improves your Wi-Fi

Having good wireless coverage is important today. Different factors come into play and there are some features that come built into the router that can help make it better. In this article we are going to talk about WDS. We are going to explain what it is and see how it can help us. It is a function that comes with many routers and with which we can improve Wi-Fi coverage. Keep in mind that many devices do not offer a good connection, but the reason is a bad configuration.

What is WDS

If we start to explain what does WDS mean, we can say that it is the acronym for Wireless Distribution System. Basically it is the way to connect two devices, such as routers or access points. This will allow a couple of actions:

  • Extend the coverage of an SSID issued by a router
  • Connect two devices to interconnect different subnets

However, the first option is the one that may interest users the most. It is the one that can really help improve wireless coverage, allowing us to connect to Wi-Fi with fewer problems. The second option is not so interesting, since the wireless interface is reserved in its entirety for the link between the devices. This means that no client could connect.

If we focus on more technical details, those two options we mentioned above are known as WDS or Wireless Repeater and the second WDS-AP.

Some users may confuse WDS with WPS because of their similarity as an acronym, but they have nothing to do with it. What WPS does is allow you to manage wireless networks in a simple way, without having to resort to keys that can be long and difficult. This is what many wireless repeaters have, for example.

What is WDS for?

After explaining what WDS actually means, let’s talk about what is your function real. It should be noted that it can work in different ways, as we are going to see. This will also help us better understand what this feature that appears on many routers consists of.

One of the functions is act as an access point for clients to connect. This will allow us to connect more devices and take advantage of the wireless network.

Another function is to act as a “bridge”, dedicated 100% to it and not available so that other equipment can connect at the same time.

The third is like dual operation, which basically means that it will act as an access point for clients and a bridge to connect another device.

In the latter case, the purpose really is to create a wireless network so that the routers and access points can connect to each other wirelessly and allow the connection of clients through the wireless interface or network ports.

How to see the WDS option on the router

It should be noted that each router or access point is different, and in many cases the menu can be very different. However, we can indicate some basic points that are usually common in most cases to find the WDS option in the router.

In the case of HGU router, which Movistar usually offers when hiring fiber optics, you have to enter through the default gateway, enter the user and go to Advanced configuration. Once there you have to click on Wireless and Wireless Bridge.

If we don’t know what the default gateway is, which is usually 192.168.1.1, we can easily figure it out. To do this, you have to go to Start, enter the Command Prompt and execute the ipconfig command. It offers us a series of data, among which is the default gateway.

Know default gateway

Another case that we have tried is that of router Observe. This time we have to go to Advanced, within the menu, and then click on the Wireless section. There, one of the options that we will see is that of WDS Settings. We have to click on that button.

Configure WDS on Movistar router

If it is not the same in your router or access point, it will generally be in a section within Wi-Fi or Wireless. Usually in the advanced settings section.

Positive and negative points of WDS

As is the case in most cases, there are both positive and negative points. It is convenient to know them to know if it is really what we expect and can help or not to improve our wireless connection and have better Internet speed when connecting computers.

Advantages of WDS

If we focus on the advantages of WDS, one of them is the treatment of packages. This function will keep the original MAC address of the packets.

Another advantage, perhaps the one that will most interest home users, is that they will be able to improve Wi-Fi coverage in your home in a relatively simple way. This will allow us to have access to the wireless network from other corners of the house where we did not have access before or where it was worse.

Disadvantages

But not everything is positive. In fact, it has important negative points. One of them is that we are going to need two compatible devices to be able to use it. In fact, for it to work properly they will have to be devices from the same manufacturer. There is no one size fits all standard.

Another disadvantage is that the wireless performance it is halved with each jump. If, for example, we connect three routers using WDS, the loss of the third with respect to the first will be 50%.

How to configure two computers with WDS

At this point it is time to explain what to do to configure two computers with WDS. The first thing, as we have already mentioned, is that they must be two compatible devices and that of course they have WDS. Basically we must check that the menu has this option.

We must also bear in mind that the routers or access points must be connected to the same channel. This will allow for optimal performance and no incompatibility problems.

Depending on the security configured in the devices, we will have to configure it in one way or another. In the case of the Observa router, which we saw earlier in the capture, we are going to have to put the MAC address of the other device that is going to be used to repeat the signal. We will also have to put the password that corresponds to that SSID.

In addition, to configure it correctly and avoid problems, we must modify the address of one of them. The normal thing is that the address is 192.168.1.1, so in one of the two we will have to put another. It is also advisable to disable DHCP in which you are going to connect to the other.