How to Connect Two Wireless Router Wirelessly ( Bridge ) using OpenWrt

Hi,

I am new to the networking / router setups etc. I want to acheive the following.

  1. I need help to setup secondary router( already installed openWRT) wirelessly so it can use primary router's network internet. I tried to follow the following link but it is using Tomato instead of OpenWRT and i am not expert to replicate Tomato steps in OpenWRT.
    https://www.cyberciti.biz/networking/howto-connect-two-wireless-router-wirelessly-bridge-with-open-source-software/

  2. Once secondary router setup, I want to put Express VPN on secondary router.

Thanks,

Set up secondary router as a wireless client connecting to your primary router. Ensure the secondary router's LAN subnet is DIFFERENT to the primary router's LAN subnet).
https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/connect_client_wifi
eg. use 192.168.111.1 on secondary router.

Then install openvpn client. Incomplete instructions using LuCI can be found here:
https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/services/vpn/openvpn/client-luci
Above wiki page links to alternative detailed guide:
https://openwrt.ebilan.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=279

Alternatively, repeat above steps in reverse order. ie. hard wire secondary router to your primary router. Install and configure openvpn and ensure it is working with ExpressVPN. Then modify the configuration to use wifi to connect to primary router.

3 Likes

Firstly, Thank you Bill for your kind reply. I did try the very first step setting up secondary router as a wireless client by following the guide https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/connect_client_wifi
But no luck. I am not sure what i am doing wrong, so posting here few images.

Please let me know how to make it work.

Thanks,

What is make & model of router, and version of OpenWrt ?

The image is difficult to read, but I can see 'channel 0' displayed. fwiw, perhaps the wifi driver might not work in client mode.

I am using this device : Netcomm NB604N N300 WiFi ADSL2+ Modem Router
OpenWRT version : 19.07.3

It's a broadcom ADSL modem based device. OpenWrt support for Broadcom devices is not very good. ie. it may explain why 'wifi client' does not work.

Also, openvpn throughput will be terrible with 320MHz clocked processor. Guessing 6 mbps max with Openvpn protocol.

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What do you recommend, Should i change router or operating system?

Also i do have an unused greenpacket dx 230.

Thanks,

What vpn speed and which vpn protocol do you wish to use?

I believe expressvpn supports openvpn and still also supports less secure pptp, l2tp protocols. For VPN only, most cheap routers with OEM firmware can handle pptp and may be l2tp.
example
https://www.expressvpn.com/support/vpn-setup/manual-config-for-tp-link-router-with-l2tp/
I would guess a C7 can offer 20+ mbps speeds using L2TP protocol.

Openvpn is more demanding and you may have to spend US$150 if you want anything faster than 30 mbps.

Asus sell some routers with openvpn client - RT-AC86u with RMerlin modified AsusWrt software can do 170 mbps according to PIA, or 75 mbps with OEM firmware.

Also, not many devices/operating systems can do both wireless client mode AND vpn simultaneously at very HIGH vpn speeds. Someone may be able to offer some suggestions. (An Archer C7 with openwrt may be able to offer speeds 10-18 mbps when configured as a wireless client and openvpn client, but don't quote me as I do not own one. I would search this forum for C7 issues before buying one for Openwrt)

Otherwise, you may end up requiring two separate devices. eg. TPlink TL-WA801nd v5 can offer 2.4 GHz wireless client using original TPlink firmware. Use another router for vpn depending on what speed you require etc.

I am fine with any protocol and speed around 30+ MBps,
Regarding connecting second router and have VPN on it, can't i use bridge instead of wireless client mode?
Can i use wired client mode instead of wirless client?
What will be pros and cons of the above two

Thanks,

Yes, you can wire WAN port from openwrt (vpn) router direct to spare LAN port of your primary ISP facing router. It is simplest solution. You originally specified wireless (bridge) connection in your original post.

Thanks for your reply.

Actually that was more sort of a knowledge question for myself as I have very basic knowledge.
So wireless client mode and wireless bridge is the same thing?

Secondly, for wireless client mode with openVPN, can I use TP-link archer VR1600V?

Thanks

VR1600 does not support any form of wireless bridging/client. It does not have openvpn client function.
https://www.tp-link.com/au/service-provider/xdsl/archer-vr1600v/#specifications
There is no open source firmware for this Broadcom powered DSL modem router.

For 30+ mbps openvpn speeds on OpenWrt, perhaps I can suggest you research Netgear R7800, Linksys WRT3200 (1200 & 1900). All of them have 'issues'. I don't own any of them but there are plenty of owners on this forum who use OpenWrt on them.

Thanks,
How about
Linksys WRT400N
Linksys WRT160N

Both Linksys are prehistoric models. They would make nice door stops? :slight_smile:

https://openwrt.org/toh/hwdata/linksys/linksys_wrt400n

https://wikidevi.wi-cat.ru/Linksys_WRT600N_v1.1

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Thank you for your reply.

Will D7000v2 – Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router work for wirless bridge and OpenVPN for express VPN?

Another option i got, D-Link DIR-X1560 Wi-Fi 6

No.

There is little or no open source support for any modem-routers. Only exception is for old Lantiq based modem-routers on OpenWrt.

I suggest you check the manufacturer's websites. As stated earlier, you can buy routers running OEM firmware which do one or other function, but not both functions simultaneously, but I could be wrong (Asus RT-AC86u comes to mind but I'm not hopeful - Asus call them 'Media Bridge' and 'VPN client')

I suggest you review my earlier post if you want to use OpenWrt for fast openvpn, and possibly wireless client/bridging in one router, quoted below:

If you want advice on other routers which can run DDwrt or Tomato, you will need to visit the corresponding forums. (I know from experience OpenVPN client on Tomato is not as 'robust' as OpenVPN client on OpenWrt.) DDwrt favour Broadcom based routers. Tomato development has stalled imho and favours old Broadcom hardware.

Asus

DDwrt
https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/

Tomato
https://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?forums/tomato-firmware.33/

OpenWrt hardware list
https://openwrt.org/toh/start

Thanks Bill,

The setup i need to archive is wireless client mode / wireless bridge between primary and secondary router plus VPN protected wifi network on secondary router.
Is it achievable ? As I just read somewhere that it sexodnary router is on wireless bridge / client then devices connecting to it should be through wired / Ethernet
Please shed some light on this

Thanks

It is possible with OpenWrt. For example, a single device could connect to main router in 'wireless client' mode using '5 ghz wifi'. Same device can also run 'openvpn client' and serve VPN service over '2.4 GHz wifi' and ethernet.

Otherwise, you will need to use two separate routers for wireless bridge and VPN wifi router. eg. a pair of suitable Asus routers using AsusWrt OEM firmware would work out of their boxes (eg. RT-AC57U v2/v3 with a RT-AC86U)

Hi Bill,

Thanks.

I have couple of questions

  1. In your very first reply, the link you sent to setup wireless client as below, is also doing both tasks? I.e. connecting / setup wireless bridge and also broadcasting the wifi as new network.
    “Set up secondary router as a wireless clientconnecting to your primary router. Ensure the secondary router's LAN subnet is DIFFERENT to the primary router's LAN subnet).
    https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/connect_client_wifi
    eg. use 192.168.111.1 on secondary router.”

If not, please send me the complete guide to setup wireless bridge at 2.4 GHZ and broadcasting at 5 GHz using open VPN.
Also please name the best suitable router / hardware to achieve that.
2. Netgear orbi ac3000 series. Can it be used for
Wireless bridge and broadcast VPN secured wifi using openVPN protocol ExpressVPN?
IF NOT, then can it be used wired bridge (LAN TO WAN) plus broadcast open VPN secured wifi do it need openWRT?
3. Netgear R7000 can it be used with wired bridge(LAN to WAN) and openVPN secured wifi
If yes, do it needed openWRT to achieve that?
Thanks

1 - See generic instructions in sections 9.11 and 9.12 of installation guide for HH5A for quick overview of setting up 'Wifi' and 'Wireless client':
https://openwrt.ebilan.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=266

Sorry, I cannot advise which is best router. I already listed some popular examples for you to research which should be able to handle 30+ mbps openvpn speeds. ie. R7800, WRT3200/1200/1900. I do not own any of these devices so I do not know whether wireless client function work properly on these devices. You will have to search the forum if no other forum member is able to comment.

  1. Unlikely any Orbi model can do what you want. It is sold as a mesh wifi product by Netgear. I'm not aware of any Dlink, Netgear or Linksys router offering openvpn client in OEM firmwares. Only Asus offers openvpn client in some of their routers. No Orbi model appears in openwrt hardware compatibility list.

  2. R7000 is a Broadcom device like your NB604N router. Broadcom wifi is not well supported by OpenWrt.
    https://openwrt.org/toh/netgear/r7000 Try asking on DDwrt forum.

You may want to also check out www.gl-inet.com as I believe a number of their products offer openvpn client.