Attempting to use tplink archer C7 v2.0 as wifi repeater/extender

And yes I know there are already threads about it. But each time I attempt it I run into a different issue, and I actually went backwards now. Note that so far all my attempts have been through GUI. Despite using linux for about 7 years, configuring network from console is still a slow, painful experience that I absolutely hate.

What I discovered very early is that on 2.4GHz, I can't have both client and access point mode network at once. Either one works separately, but both together give me "daemon.notice netifd: radio1 (11143): Interface 0 setup failed: BRIDGE_NOT_ALLOWED" in system log.

So what I thought I would do is connect client over 5GHz and create access point over 2.4GHz. And initially it seemed like I would succeed - I connected to my network over 5GHz and it created "wwan" interface. Then I created 2.4GHz access point, and set it to use that wwan network. It created a wifi network, but I couldn't connect to it without setting static IP address, and no matter what values I set it didn't actually work (no internet).

At some point I set "lan" network to "DHCP" instead of "Static address", and I couldn't connect over ethernet anymore. I fixed it by resetting the config in failsafe mode.

And this brings me to "now" where if I attempt to connect to the 5GHz network... it fails. Syslog points to authentication failure:

Thu Jun 27 13:44:35 2019 kernel: [ 5154.585969] wlan0: authenticate with 60:38:e0:9e:06:b4
Thu Jun 27 13:44:35 2019 kernel: [ 5154.595910] wlan0: send auth to 60:38:e0:9e:06:b4 (try 1/3)
Thu Jun 27 13:44:35 2019 kernel: [ 5154.602429] wlan0: send auth to 60:38:e0:9e:06:b4 (try 2/3)
Thu Jun 27 13:44:35 2019 kernel: [ 5154.608762] wlan0: send auth to 60:38:e0:9e:06:b4 (try 3/3)
Thu Jun 27 13:44:35 2019 kernel: [ 5154.615107] wlan0: authentication with 60:38:e0:9e:06:b4 timed out

But I know the password must be correct as I can connect with the same password from my phone. Any idea what is going on and if it's even possible to configure it that way?

An ordinary client cannot be in a bridge. Typically the ordinary client is used as a WAN and users of the extender are routed to it.

For a seamlessly bridged network, use a WDS client but that requires the AP to also be configured for WDS.

Despite its name, the Authenticate phase of a connection does not involve the password. There are three stages of a WPA2-PSK connection: authenticate, associate, and authorize. The password is checked in the final authorize ("pairwise key handshake completed") stage. Authenticate timing out likely means a lack of RF connectivity or the AP is set to block your MAC address.

It worked! I would have never guessed that this is what I need to do, especially since it's not mentioned in any of the "how to configure wifi extender/repeater" instructions I could find.

Also it didn't connect to 5GHz network because the signal was just too low. Turns out the place it was in was just on the edge of being able to connect, and in my previous attempt I just put the router in a spot where it could just barely connect.

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