I'm setting up a network for my church's new building. The building is quite large but will have at the most no more than 10 active computers at any one time. I'm looking at using about 4 Linksys WRT54GLs for the network there.

It looks to me like I follow these directions for each client: http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Wireless_Access_Point#LAN_Uplink_Through_WAN_Port and just change the router's local IP on each.

I'm pretty sure that I leave the main router in "gateway" mode and switch the other three routers to "router" mode, but I'm not sure.

I'm also not sure on how to actually wire the network. As far as I can tell, you can wire it these ways (correct me if I'm wrong):

Gateway (Office) --- Workgroup Switch --- Router a (Hallway) --- Router b (Hallway)
                                      |-- Router c (Gym)


Gateway --- Workgroup Switch --- Router a 
                             |-- Router b
                             |-- Router c

I would most likely use the first configuration. The switch is a Linksys EZXS88W.

Finally, what kind of cat5e cable should I use with this, and what kinds of connectors would be best? Frankly, I've never actually cut my own wires. These will be running over celing tiles. How long can each run of cable be?

  • I may be way off here but wouldn't it be best to have one router in a central location somewhere and the others set up in WDS mode? dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/WDS_Linked_router_network Also, the 'maximum' length of cat5/e/6 is around 100meters. You could probably go further but your mileage may vary :) – emtunc Aug 16 '10 at 6:25
  • Notice it says that WDS isn't officially standard. We figure it would be best to just run physical wires to each AP. – Travis Olbrich Aug 16 '10 at 6:41

What you could do is have one router in a central location where the other routers can "see" it, and set the others as repeaters. You may even be able to chain repeaters, but i am not certain on that being supported however. This would limit the cabling to the just the AP set to AP mode, and the repeaters would only need power.

Repeater mode is part of the 802.11(b/g) standard so it should be supported, especially by dd-wrt.

  • The sad fact of how this works though is the AP has to be in a far corner of the building, so just cabling sounds best at this point. – Travis Olbrich Aug 16 '10 at 17:36

The maximum distance for ethernet cable is 100 meters.

  • With good planning and good quality cable and switches, you can expand further than 100 metres. – MikeT505 Mar 29 '11 at 10:41
  • 1
    @MikeT505 That's actually not true, the maximum length of an ethernet cable in fact is 100m and that's actually optimistic. The specification for CAT 6 and CAT 5e state 90m. So what type of magical switches do you suggest to get those beyond 100m? – Lucas Kauffman Jul 24 '12 at 19:26

On cabling: would getting someone in to do your actual cabling be out of the question? Many a thing can go wrong when using horrendously long cables such as what you may be proposing in a building with unshielded electrics and in either underground/overhead locations, so you may be better getting a quotation and a warranty to help in those instances of chasing up and down ladders, re-terminating and re-crimping...

On the routers: leave the four dd-wrt devices as-is, just set the wifi configuration up on it, give each one an IP address, disable the DHCP server and only use the LAN ports (not the WAN port) to connect the devices together. Quick and dirty but does the trick just as well. Or you can tick the "use WAN port as LAN switch" on the config to give yourself an extra port (and prevent any configuration errors regarding the above). This way you can plug the devices in to whichever port you wish, in whichever configuration you desire. Chain as many as you like together using whatever ports are available.

Above all... good luck!

protected by Michael Hampton Sep 4 '13 at 5:58

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