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How to Set Up the Linksys WAP54G in AP Client Mode
First off, my WAP54G is version 3.1, and I do not use the 192.168.1.0/24 address block that is standard with this unit. In theory, this access point should be able to be a client for any other protocol-compliant 802.11b/g device, even non-Linksys units, but I did not test that. My setup keeps it all in the family: my Linksys WAP54G is client to a Linksys WRT54G. They're cheap enough that I don't need to go around hunting another brand. YMMV.
First off, plug in the AP's power, but not the network cable, and turn it on. When the AP is up, you should see the activity light and the power light. (There will not be a link light, since your network cable isn't plugged in).
Hold down the reset button (a pinhole found in the back... use a paperclip) for 10-15 seconds until the activity light goes out. Then release the reset button.
When your router wakes up, its addressing info will have reverted to factory defaults, shown below. Now is the time to plug in the network cable to the access point.
This may or may not have any bearing on your network. Stay tuned.
Your screen should look like this:
Login with a blank username and password 'admin'. These are the defaults.
After you login, your screen should look like this:
The little red dots that look like chicken pox are my annotations. This is where you configure your network information. I do not use a 192.168.1/24 subnet, and I want this unit assigned a DHCP address from my router, and so I simply select the DHCP option (one red dot). If you use the 192.168.1/24 subnet, you may skip this step entirely unless you have another device using 245. If you know exactly where you want to nail down this sucker, you may enter its addressing information next to the two red dots (and keep 'Static IP' selected above). If you don't know what the hell any of this means, try the defaults first. If that doesn't work, you can figure out what subnet you're on by using the ipconfig utility from the command line (Start | Run... | 'cmd.exe' [OK], then type IPCONFIG at the prompt and it will tell you how your network is addressed.) 192.168.0/24 is another popular one. So is 10/8. If none of this works, try DHCP configuration. If that doesn't work, call someone who knows something about IP networks and pay him in pizza.
I set mine up for DHCP, as shown below, and saved settings. Note that after selecting DHCP, the factory default addresses are shown until you Save Settings.
After you click Save Settings, you hope to see "Your settings have been saved" with a big button to Continue. If you changed the address on your AP, then you'll need to change it in your browser's address bar to complete the rest of the configuration. If you're using DHCP, you'll need to figure out where the AP answers the phone these days. DHCP could assign the AP one of many different addresses. My network is 172.16.32/24, and my DHCP pool goes from .51-.100, and I have only a handful of DHCP clients, so I just ping around until I find it. This unit does not answer broadcast pings, so you may have to be a little resourceful. If you have access to your DHCP server, you can check to see what IP addresses have been assigned lately and to what MAC addresses. The MAC address for the access point is conveniently written on its underside. If you don't have access to your DHCP server, you'll have some guessing to do. Get a DOS prompt (Start | Run... | 'cmd.exe', [OK]) and start pinging around your subnet (e.g. ping 172.16.32.53, or whatever your subnet is) until you find something. Again, this unit does not answer broadcast pings, so ping everything in sight and then check the ARP tables to see which IP address corresponds to the MAC address on your access point. (ARP -A from the DOS prompt.) Lucky me, my access point was assigned 172.16.32.53 from my DHCP server. My equipment is so well-behaved. So that's the address I need to put in my browser; the default 192.168.1.245 is meaningless now. (Again, if you didn't make any changes to the IP configuration, you can continue to address the access point using its factory default network settings. Login with the WAP54G's default password of 'admin' as shown below:
Now you're here at your configuration screen. First thing to do is change your password by clicking the Administration tab and filling in the blanks. Remember to save your settings.
After you change your password, you hope to see this screen:
Now since you changed your password, the router doesn't recognise the old one your browser is sending, so you have to log back in using the new one, shown below:
Next go to Setup tab and click 'AP Mode'. Select 'AP Client', as shown below in red:
Now click Site Survey. (Your wireless router should be broadcasting its SSID! You gain no security from trying to keep it a secret. It broadcasts with every packet that goes to and from it. Disabling SSID Broadcast only disables beaconing. Anyone with 60 seconds can sniff your SSID out of the air using Network Stumbler or other utilities, so this is not security. Use cryptography for security.) Anyway, Site Survey is shown below:
And then it sniffs around for routers that are beaconing (aka, SSID broadcasting)... it will not report ones that aren't (not because it can't, but because Linksys doesn't want you to know what a crappy security mechanism this really is, and it's not their fault; they didn't write the protocol, but it is their fault that they pitch this as a way to attain additional security. There is no good reason for this 'feature' to be part of the protocol.) If your router doesn't beacon, and you don't have the access to turn its beacon on, then you'll need to get the MAC address of the router you're trying to become a client of and key it in manually (without using the Site Survey feature. Did I mention that disabling beaconing is idiotic?) Next, we see the networks in my neighbourhood that are beaconing:
Looks like the nobody network is alive and well. There are about a dozen others within reach of me (open networks, too), but because they don't broadcast their SSID, they're not shown here. It would not stop me for one moment in connecting to them. Cryptography is the only thing that stands a chance at keeping your network secure.
Now I am warned that this is a secured network, and that I must enter my secret pass phrase. I generate new ones all the time. If you have access to a Unix machine, you can use dd to fetch some stuff from /dev/random or concatenate a bunch of random files and get an MD5 or SHA hash. But if you're bridging, you'll be using the one that's been pre-programmed into the router, so get it. After clicking OK here, you'll get the following screen where you can enter your network key:
Key in your pass phrase and click to Save Settings. After you save your settings, you should get this confirmation:
After you've keyed all that garbage in, you're presented with a final confirmation screen, and the router's MAC address should appear in red, under the selected AP Client radio button, as seen below. Do not change anything here; just save your settings.
When you see the screen below, UNPLUG the network cable from the AP. Otherwise you'll get a nasty routing loop, where the MAC address of your access point is directly reachable by two network interfaces (not good).
Now your AP client is ready to go into service. Put it wherever your non-wireless device lives, and plug an Ethernet cable between the two. Your access point will continue to have its own address, and your non-wireless client that you're bringing into the network to will have its own. Your network address is probably different from mine, and the IP addressing will reflect that. If you're using 192.168.1/24 and you don't have a lot of devices on the network, you might try a static assignment of 192.168.1.201 if you can't use DHCP. Otherwise, just make your non-wireless machine a DHCP client. (The WAP54G will forward discovery requests.)