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Network Hell

996 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  pjmrt
Some of you may have noticed that I haven't posted very regularly over the past 2 or 3 weeks. Some of you may just have noticed that it was more peaceful. :D The reason, beyond a wedding, a couple of funerals, several major surgeries (on church members, not me), has been some frustrating network issues. I thought about asking for advice here, but to be honest, I was afraid trying to explain what I was trying to do would be more difficult than figuring out how to do it. :grin: Tonite I finally have everything working, better than ever, although I still have a mystery, and someone might have the answer.

I live in a parsonage next door to the church I serve. My office at home is probably 200 to 300 feet from my office at church. Not a great distance, but the my office is on the other side of the church, a substantial brick and block building, and my office at home is on the far side of the house. If I had a nice window in my home office that looked straight across at my church office this would have been simple. At home I have three desktops networked with ethernet, plus two laptops. I use a Linksys WRT54G router. At church my secretary and I have two computers which are networked.

Last year after a lot of experimentation I ended up with a WRE54G in the window of the house, linked between the WRT54G and a WAP54G. The WAP was in my secretaries office window, facing the house. It was set up as a repeater. For those who may not be aware, a Linksys WRE54G repeater can only be linked to either a WRT54G router, or a WAP54G access point. You cannot link a WRE to another WRE repeater, but you can link a WRE repeater and a WAP set up as a repeater, if you try real hard and are lucky. :sure: I then used a WUSB54G connected to my office computer. It worked reasonably well, although every couple of months I would have to renew all the settings. Then about three weeks ago it quit completely with some serious problems. I decided that the WAP54G had bit the dust, judging from the action of the lights, or lack thereof. I ordered a new one, and when it came figured it would just be a matter of programming the settings and getting on with life. No such luck. After hours of trying to get the new WAP to work as a repeater, I spent a couple more hours on the phone with Linksys, and the second tech decided it must be defective and I should return it. It was the weekend anyway, so I kept experimenting, and did get it to work, but still had problems. This is when it finally hit me that the original WAP, the WRE and the WUSB all were showing the same MAC numbers, none of which were the numbers they were supposed to have. Somehow they were all reset with identical MAC numbers. Obviously, they weren't going to work on a network with identical numbers. That's my mystery. Anyone got a clue as to what happened?

As far as my current solution. I now have the new WAP54G at the corner of the house closest to the church cabled through the basement and set as a wireless bridge. The old WAP54G is in my secretaries office also set as a wireless bridge (the only way WAP54G's can work as wireless bridges). Tonite I ran a cable through to my office, the only difficulty being the two beams I had to drill through. :rolleyes: I added a second NIC to the computer in my office to accept the cable connected to the WAP and then bridged it to the original NIC for the churches network. All of my desktops have XP Home, and the church computers have XP Pro. Everything is using static IPs. For those who might be interested in connecting two separate networks, I tried it first using the WAPs as a AP/Client AP setup, and only one network at a time was accessible on my computer. When I went to the wireless bridge mode it all clicked. The extra benefit that I had decided was not worth the hassle last year is that I can now access both networks from either home or church. This will cut down on the running back and forth when I am at church and need something on my home computer and vice versa.

The other nice thing is that as opposed to using the repeater setup is that I have no loss in speed with this setup. I had not realized until doing research the past few weeks that every time you use a repeater you cut your speed in at least half. I did a few speed tests at church, and I was getting the same speed I do at home, about 4600/250 kbps.
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Well, at least I'm not the only one who hasn't got a clue how 3 wireless devices all ended up with identical MAC #s, a number different than the one any of them started with. :(
They routers are all passworded? If not someone could, I'm saying could not did get into them from outside and tinker with the settings. Or it could be user error by anybody on the network. How many times I end up undoing something a customers friend installed or did to the customers computer.

OT, Ackely is that near the Amana colonys? I see it is northeast of Des Moines and Northest of the Quad cities (Davenport)
Bogy said:
Well, at least I'm not the only one who hasn't got a clue how 3 wireless devices all ended up with identical MAC #s, a number different than the one any of them started with. :(
It looks that way. My first guess would have been a hardware problem, but it sounds like all three units did it. Most people don't use the password protect setting on their routers, ... etc. so maybe it was a prank. It would seem difficult to reset them by accident.
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