Ask the Wi-Fi Guru, Episode IV

By Aaron Weiss

June 12, 2008

In this month’s installment, the Guru addresses questions on packet loss and gaming, correctly assigning IP addresses, and mixture wired/wi-fi networking.

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Sometimes when the Guru is driving his automotive, he thinks, “This piece of equipment is admittedly difficult. There are so many components, every with its personal complexities, and all the components need to work collectively in simply the proper approach. He thinks about what number of discs and bolts and belts and chips might break at any given second, and he marvels that the factor even works in any respect, and eventually he concludes, “Watch out for that truck!”

Your wi-fi community shouldn’t be almost as harmful, however, like your automotive, it does depend on numerous hyperlinks in the chain to maintain on truckin’. From sign reception to community settings to firewalls, there’s a lot that may go awry, leaving you stranded offline. Hopefully, yours is operating easily, but when it isn’t, consider the Guru as your pleasant auto membership (solely with none tow vans and considerably slower to reply). The Guru will get your e-mails, so preserve ’em coming.

Q: I’m utilizing a Linksys WRT54G and DD-WRTv24 to create a bridge to my D-Link WBR-1310. I flashed the 54G with none main stress and disabled the safety settings on each the 1310 and the 54G. The subject is that whereas I can see the residence community and it seems to have set the bridge, as soon as I reset the pc’s NIC to routinely acquire an IP, it fails. The WBR-1310 is and the 54G is is that this an issue? — NoOne

A: Yes.

Everything was going nicely right here till your final sentence. In a bridged community, all of the purchasers share the identical subnet. Think of a subnet as being in the identical digital room, or digital bus, or digital political get together. Networks could be a difficult topic. As you already know, an IP handle is made up of 4 “components” or, technically, “octets,” in the kind A.B.C.D. Your greatest wager to create a easy shared subnet is to assign IP addresses utilizing the method A.B.C.x, the place solely x adjustments. Each machine ought to have a singular x octet, from 1-254 (on this case, 1 is already taken by your WBR-1310).

In your case, it's best to assign your 54G to the subnet that the WBR-1310 is on—in different phrases, could be good.

Q: I loved studying your articles on the DDWRT and organising WDSwireless bridge, and so forth. All these articles appear to make use of the wi-fi connection from router to router. Is there a approach to make use of a wired connection between routers and arrange WDS or a bridge.

I want to arrange a second router in my storage workshop (I have already got a cat5 from a router there) and wish to have each wired and wi-fi purchasers connect with it. — Jonathan

A: You ask an incredible query, as a result of generally we are able to get so caught up in doing issues wirelessly, we could overlook quaint wired community answer—identical to grandpa used to do.

This could be a heretical factor to say in a publication dedicated to Wi-Fi, however wired connections are fairly nice, too. They are quick, free from interference, and don't want safety like WPA. Of course, they don't seem to be invisible, and operating them throughout flooring and thru partitions is grunt work.

You can completely do what you might be describing. In reality, it is going to be simpler than organising WDS (which is barely wanted for wireless-to-wireless bridges). It will even be sooner, as a result of wi-fi bridges minimize in half the bandwidth at the extension router. A wired extension such as you describe mustn't value you any pace.

Just about any wi-fi router will work on this situation. You have two primary configuration choices:

1. Create a bridged connection to router #1. In this configuration, any units related to router #2 (by wire or wi-fi) will share the identical subnet as router #1 (additionally see query above). As a part of the shared subnet, all of your units will occupy the identical “digital room” and see one another, permitting them to share recordsdata, for instance.To do that, you'll join the cable from one in all router #1’s LAN jacks to one in all the LAN jacks in router #2. Most wi-fi routers embody one “WAN” (generally labeled “Internet”) jack and wherever from 1-4 LAN jacks. Do not use the WAN jack on router #2.To configure router #2 additionally, you will join a cable from one other of its LAN jacks to your PC. Follow the producer’s directions for accessing your router’s administration web page utilizing a Web browser. From there, it would be best to disable this router’s DHCP server and in addition disable its firewall. These companies are being offered by router #1. You will even wish to assign this router a static IP handle suitable together with your subnet (undoubtedly see query above).You can configure router #2’s wi-fi SSID and safety any approach you would like for the atmosphere, unbiased of nonetheless the wi-fi settings of router #1 are set.

2. Create a brand new subnet in your storage, separate from (however piggybacked on) router #1. In this configuration, PCs related to router #2 would make up a separate “digital room” from machines related to router #1. You would possibly want to do that, for instance, if router #1 is related to your private home workplace PCs, and router #2 goes for use by your children to do no matter they do, and also you’d quite preserve the two networks separate.To do that, you'll join the cable from one in all router #1’s LAN jacks to the WAN (or “Internet”) jack on router #2. In this configuration, router #2 will “assume” of router #1 as your ISP. Or, to place it one other approach, router #1 is taking part in the function as ISP, identical to your “actual” ISP is taking part in that function to router #1.What this implies is that router #2 will isolate its purchasers from router #1 utilizing its personal firewall and community addressing scheme. You do must configure router #2 in order that it assigns addresses utilizing a distinct subnet block than router #1. For instance, many routers come out of the field set to assign addresses in the 192.168.1.vary. You don't need each routers utilizing this vary. If router #1 is assigning 192.168.1.x addresses, then configure the DHCP settings on router #2 to assign addresses in 192.168.0.x.

In case the distinction between situations #1 and #2 is complicated, you might be most probably to need situation #1. This approach, your storage is principally simply an extension to your home. In reality, you possibly can daisy chain many routers utilizing wired connections as per situation #1, to increase your community—each wired and wi-fi—over a big space. Doing so could also be extra dependable than bootstrapping a collection of wi-fi repeaters, however in fact entails numerous cable pulling.

Q: I really like my 802.11g community, however I've not been in a position to overcome one main impediment: packet loss in gaming. Even with my gaming-oriented D-Link DGL-4300, I expertise heavy packet loss in on-line video games, no matter sign energy, proximity, firmware model, or port forwarding. Is there any hope for me with settings like RTS/Fragmentation threshold, or is that this a shortcoming of wi-fi networking?

A: The Guru admits up entrance that he doesn't do a lot gaming. Somehow, video video games turned too difficult once they modified from one-button joysticks to gamepads. Do you keep in mind Pac-Man? That was superior! (Even I'll admit that Pong was just a little primitive. But solely just a little.)  From what I perceive, although, trendy Internet video games require two essential standards: you want very low community latency and in addition, you want to kill all the things you see.

Latency is a measurement of how lengthy it takes for one in all your knowledge packets to succeed in the gaming server. In the context of gameplay, this would possibly imply the time it takes on your bullet to pierce your enemy’s face. So the stakes are understandably fairly excessive. Your packet loss—or knowledge, which is being misplaced on the approach out of your PC to the server—is successfully growing your latency, because it takes that for much longer on your knowledge to get to the server, maybe so lengthy that your head is blown off earlier than you even get a spherical off.

Why are you dropping packets? One widespread drawback with gaming is congestion at your router. If you might have a number of functions utilizing the community at one time—whether or not your personal PC or different PCs sharing the connection—they could be competing with one another. Many of the “higher” routers right now embody a characteristic often called “QoS” or Quality-of-Service, which is principally a type of packet discrimination. A QoS system offers increased precedence to sure sorts of packets, thus permitting real-time actions like video games and VoIP to get by earlier than passive actions like file downloads.

The DGL-4300 is marketed as a “gaming” router, which principally means it gives QoS tuned for video games. D-Link calls this “GameFuel” and it must be enabled. In addition, it's possible you'll must create a gaming rule particular on your video games, which might contain parameters like the community ports that the recreation makes use of. This shouldn't be fairly the identical factor as port forwarding, as described in your message, which permits specified community functions to cross by your firewall, however doesn't give them precedence. So, test your “GameFuel” settings. (Other router fashions could use a distinct identify for gaming QoS.)

Next, troubleshoot whether or not the packet loss is a results of the wi-fi hyperlink to your router. Disable the wi-fi adapter in your PC and join a wired cable to the router. Do your video games nonetheless expertise vital packet loss?

If the drawback persists, and the wi-fi hyperlink is to not blame, is your gaming PC operating a software program firewall? In some circumstances these have been identified to adversely have an effect on gaming efficiency.

If all that fails, I'd borrow or trial one other wi-fi router—simply in case your broadband connection itself is the drawback.

These troubleshooting steps could also be extra more likely to yield outcomes than twiddling with RTS and Fragmentation settings. Wireless networking itself shouldn't be an obstacle to on-line killing—err, gaming. I stated gaming.

[Editor’s note: If it turns out your broadband connection is the problem, try replacing your modem. Gamers we know have had great success with this.]

Aaron Weiss is a contract author, editor, and Wi-Fi fanatic primarily based in upstate New York. To submit your inquiries to the Wi-Fi Guru, merely click on on his byline and put “Wi-Fi Guru” in the topic line.

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