Enthusiasm never stops


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).