When using WDS, can the clients connect to the WDS AP along with the WDS STA, or do the clients need a separate VAP set to plain AP mode for their connection? Along the same line, should you hide the SSID for the WDS AP once the connection has been made just to keep WiFi scans devoid of extra SSIDs?
In the main router, you do not need to create separated SSID for the clients and the repeater.
Thanks a bunch.
Alternatively, you could use one radio for the WDS (on both routers), and the other for the clients. This can potentially increase the bandwidth available to the clients, as it wouldn't be shared with the WDS link.
Unless you have a tri-band router (three independent wireless cards - or a 802.11n or older router), that doesn't really make sense. For performance reasons you want to use the 5 GHz band for your wireless backhaul, which would leave only the 2.4 GHz band (at least under this hypothesis) to your clients - as a result you'd have a very fast backhaul (80 MHz 802.11ac), but only very slow (20 MHz channel bandwidth, effectively 802.11n speeds or less) and congested client connection in the 2.4 GHz band. Reversing the roles doesn't really change the situation, with a then-slow backhaul and a way overpowered fronthaul, which would be bottlenecked by the backhaul.
Yes, repeater effect is real - but halving your bandwidth on a VHT80 5 GHz channel still leaves you with much more performance than a 2.4 GHz channel (effectively HT20, but for the sake of it, even a HT40 one) can deliver, in other words the 2.4 GHz channel is merely free bonus to the repeated 5 GHz signal. Obviously the situation changes considerably if you have tri-band devices at your disposal, which does allow you to use two independent 5 GHz radios - and therefore can repeat the signal coming into the first radio to the second one (plus the 'free' 2.4 GHz radio) without a cost (o.k., that's a lie, but it's considerably better than repeating on the same radio, using the same channel).
Well, @slh, there are some scenarios where it makes sense.
There is the question of how many clients you have at each side and what kind of resources you want to access. For example, say you have a local media server and some clients in a floor or in the rooms, and the other router is far away (say the office, where the 2.4GHz link should be fine).
Yes, there are such scenarios, as you mentioned, mostly the case where 5 GHz doesn't make it over the (indoor --> wall penetration) range. But while those do exist, they're rare and not really good examples.
As anecdotal evidence, I've used a tl-wdr3600 in such a scenario for years. Using the 2.4 GHz band as backhaul, because it made it better over the range (many walls, one floor, signal basically diagonally through a house). With the 802.11n tl-wdr3600 as repeater, the 2.4 GHz band was around twice as fast over the range as using the 5 GHz band. However, this scenario changes with modern Mu-MIMO 802.11ac/ax capable routers. A while ago I did replace the tl-wdr3600 with a tri-band ipq4019 router - and suddenly, the 5 GHz band does make it over the (very same) range - at 3-4 times the speed the tl-wdr3600 could achieve (2.4 GHz). Modern WiSOCs have gotten significantly better to get performance over the range, even up to the range limits. At the same time (before 802.11ax) the 2.4 GHz standard hasn't really improved and is stuck to 802.11n performance, so you might be in for a surprise what 802.11ac wave2 or 802.11ax can do.
@slh, I find myself in a predicament because of the issues you stated. I have 2 x Linksys WRT 3200ACM routers that I just purchased for the purpose of running OpenWRT and an ASUS RT AC3200 that I've had for about 3 or 4 years, and which runs DD-WRT because OpenWRT isn't supported. The Linksys routers were meant to replace the ASUS but I'm struggling to get them setup in a way that is optimal.
FYI, I have a 1 GbE internet connection from my ISP. The routing in my network is handled by an OpnSense FW appliance. I've also got a couple Cisco 3560 1Gig switches for server and desktop wired connections. So my Linksys routers are just serving as APs with the primary one pushing a handful of VLANs down a trunk to the OpnSense appliance. The primary one works fine but my attempts to extend the wireless range over my 3000sq ft approx home, have all been met with disappointment. I just also figured out that my antennas don't support running client mode and AP mode simultaneously because they're crappy Marvel chipsets. It appears I should've found a router running Atheros.
Anyway, along that line of thinking, did you just buy the ipq4019 and put it in some sort of case? Where did you get the case? Are there any other wireless router recommendations you'd make for someone really interested in running OpenWRT? I can't seem to find any definitive answers despite reading everything I can find.
I was using ipq4019 as generic description for tri-band routers using this SOC, obviously you'd be looking for OpenWrt supported routers with these features (e.g. Linksys EA8300, Asus MAP-AC2200, …).