Using TP-LINK (TL-WR741ND) as a wireless bridge (WDS)

Recently I needed to expand my wireless network range. The spot where I needed wireless and wired network coverage was too far away from my main wireless AP, so I also needed a gain antenna. It turned out that most wireless routers cannot use an external antenna, because their original one cannot be dismounted. That is how I ended up with the TL-WR741ND wireless router, which can be used with an external antenna and is also very cheap. In my local PC store they got a 7dB omni-directional antenna by Intellinet, so I got one of these too.

Design and hardware purchase were the easy part. The TL-WR741ND supports wireless bridge mode (WDS), but unfortunately it did NOT work out-of-the-box for me. The router joined the wireless network of my main Wi-Fi router, and I could see it there as “associated authorized”. However, the system log of the TL-WR741ND device was giving some DHCPC (probably “DHCP client”) errors and nothing worked as expected. I tried to join TL-WR741ND to both my ASUS routers (WL-520gC and RT-N10) but with no luck. I also tried to help the TP-LINK router by doing some setup as advised in the ASUS Wireless Router WDS
Configuration Guide
, and at the How to Setup WDS with Asus RT-N16 and Linksys WRT54G article. This did not help and I reverted the changes on my ASUS routers in the end.

After I wasted 2 hours, I found a forum article where a guy had a similar issue and finally found a solution:

after 4 days unsuccessful testing client bridge (i need repeater bridge but not possible on my device…with ddwrt) on wr741nd(v2.4)/ddwrt, i found solution: install Gargoyle firmware v1.13.10, very intuitive and easy configuration (as repeater bridge), it works perfectly! Total time spent: 5 min.!

I confirm his solution — install and setup of the stable Gargoyle free router firmware solved my problem in a snap. Tested with a version 2.4 TL-WR741ND device, with Gargoyle version 1.4.5 for TL-WR741ND devices with version 1.x (firmware is compatible with version 2.x devices).

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18 thoughts on “Using TP-LINK (TL-WR741ND) as a wireless bridge (WDS)

  1. Hello Ivan,

    After many hours search to clue about WDS Air port to Tp-link 741nd, I find your blog.

    Thank you very much by tip about Gargoyle Firmware.

    Finnaly my network works like a charm. Many thanks.

    Claudio Raphael

  2. In the future if i need to revert back to OEM fw, how would i do that? Which file should i flash? The gargoyle site says i shouldn ‘t flash a stock TP-Link fw.

  3. Is it possible to post screenshots of your configuration, or email them to me? I have tried using 1.4.7 on my 741ND and it won’t work as a repeater. I have the SSID to broadcast the same as the SSID to join (so that hosts can seamlessly transfer from one to the other), but authentication is failing on the TPLink, but not on my primary router…

    • No, AFAIK. My main router (the ASUS one) doesn’t support WDS. The TP-LINK connects to the ASUS one as a regular Wifi client and acts as a WDS bridge, so only the extender (client) router needs to support WDS.

  4. I spent many hours trying to setup my wr741nd router as a wireless repeater, messing with dd-wrt and openwrt. I tried Gargoyle as you suggested and it worked on the first try. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thanks a lot !! It really works for my tl-wr741nd v1.4 So I just did ewerything to update firmware from TPlink to Gargoule. Then simple adjusting settings and it works ))) It takes 10 mins )
    За 10 минут все заработало, а встроенная прошивка ТП линка мучала меня не один час )

  6. Thanks for the info. Have spent the last few days trying to get my tl-wr741nd v4.25 using DD-WRT to work w/o luck, now I understand why. Too bad Gargoyle is not available to this HW version. :(

  7. Hello,

    Anyone who wants to revert back to stock firmware from TP-LINK for WR741ND v2.4 follow these steps:

    1. plug LAN cable to LAN 1 port on router and LAN into PC/laptop (don’t power on yet router)
    2. set network on PC/laptop to 192.168.1.2 / subnet 255.255.255.0 no gateway (IPv4 settings)
    3. download original TP-LINK firmware from http://www.tp-link.com/en/support/download/ and search Wireless -> your model of WR741ND router and download latest FW
    4. download HTTP server from http://smallsrv.com/ and install it in C:\shhtps
    5. put downloaded TP-LINK FW to c:\https\www and rename file to tplink.bin
    6. open CMD.exe (or hold windows key+R and type cmd)
    7. power on router (wait 2-3 minutes) and go on
    8. open http.exe (must use explorer if you didn’t set to make a shortcut to desktop)
    9. in CMD write without quotes: “telnet 192.168.1.1″
    10. wait to connect to router if needed admin/password for dd-wrt or gargoyle or openwrt please search google to find it – if you change it use that one you set up
    11. now in CMD type:
    cd /tmp
    wget http://192.168.1.2/.bin (in this case renamed to tplink.bin)
    wait until it’s uploaded (needed a few seconds)
    then type: “mtd -r write /tmp/tplink.bin firmware” (FW from openwrt or gargoyle) or
    “mtd -r write /tmp/tplink.bin linux” (FW from dd-wrt)
    without quotes

    12. wait until writes and router reboots
    13. you can access your WR741ND from original link addressed and accessed from browser

    If you are running gargoyle or openwrt you can update at any time to dd-wrt from your browser update. Just use proper image. From dd-wrt you need all process from above.

    I needed 8 hours to figure out how can I flash FW from dd-wrt/openwrt/original/gargoyle without brick it. It’s worth it.

    Happy using.

  8. I also have problem with my mr3220 too…i believed tplink purposely misleading customers with their spec…wds works if and only if the root router is also a tplink router… otherwise it will not function as it claimed for wds feature.
    Flashed garogyle working fine and for my mr3220, it can easily flash back to stock via it fireware update function.
    Gargoyle 1.6.0 has problem with wep for 13 ASCII key. It doesn’t take it. Wpa wpa2 are all good.

  9. Thank man!! This worked for me. I was trying to get WDS works TP-Link but it was impossible until I read your blog…
    Thank you so much!!
    Regards!

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