WIFI Repeater/Bridge

Been trying to setup a wifi repeater but haven't succeeded by following among others Wi-Fi extender / repeater / bridge configuration so now I reach out for help.

What I try to archive:

1: PC connect to WIFI-Repeater LAN port by cable. PC get DHCP and Internet from WIFI-Access-Point
2: The WIFI-Repeater connect to the WIFI-Access-Point by WIFI
3: WIFI-Access-Point have Internet access through the WAN internet (std. router setup).

1: Connection between the two WIFI routers:
Connection established. WIFI mode is set to Client

WIFI Network specification:

2: Interfaces

3:Bridge configuration
The way I see it I have three options to join (bridge) the LAN and WIFI network:

  • I can create a new virtual bridge interface and join the two networks within (that's what the about guide suggest)
  • Join the two networks in the LAN interface
  • Join the two network in the BRWIFI internet

I've tried all three but didn't succeed.

LAN physical-settings options:
BrWIFI physical-settings options:
Switch setup:
(for simplicity I disabled VLAN)

What's the right path?

You need to use relayd on your repeater.


Or WDS if your repeater and router support it


Yes, if you're devices support WDS that's a much easier setup.

As mhegab mentioned, WDS/ 4addr would be the most sensible option by far (you don't need to create an AP interface on the repeater, but you can), but it requires both repeater and access point to run OpenWrt. Relayd is a kludge that doesn't work too well - and IPv6 is completely broken.

Please tell us the make and model of the router and the WiFi repeater.
Are both devices running OpenWrt?

Disabling VLAN functionality in the switch requires a corresponding configuration change for the LAN bridge: physical interface eth0.1 to eth0. I wouldn't disable the VLANs unless there was a good reason.

Yes, both are OpenWRT, but in my view it shouldn't make any difference what the Access Point is running, it's just providing WIFI which my Wifi-repeater connects to fine.

I expect the problem relates to the bridging on the WIFI-Repeater. I need to join the WIFI interface/network and the LAN interface/network (the 4 LAN ports) to one single network, no routing.

In regards to VLAN: I first tried with the default VLAN setup, so I tried to disable it, again to keep at simple as possible

WIFI-Repeater TP-LINK TL-WR1043N v5
WIFI-AccessPoint TP-LINK TL-WR1043N v2

I would prefer not to use WDS, as I expect it only add more dependencies to the setup.
And one day I might have to connect to at none-WDS access-router, so in my view it's better to have a setup without.
But again, the wifi connection seems fine, it's the bridging (I think :-P)?

It's a fundamental part of the standard. A regular AP-STA link assumes the STA terminates at one device, like a laptop or smartphone. Thus the MAC address of the final consumer of packets is the same as the MAC of the wifi radio. It's called a "three address" packet header (MAC of the source, which is something on the AP's LAN, MAC of the AP, and MAC of the destination). This saves airtime in the usual use case where sending the MAC of the final destination would just be redundant.

This means that an AP in regular AP mode can't send a packet with address information to go over the air to this station radio, but then on via wire to that different machine. The required layer 2 end destination of all three-address packets is the STA device. So that device needs to engage in layer 3 routing to forward the packets on to somewhere else.

WDS does support layer 2 forwarding by adding another MAC address field to the packet, that of the final destination device. Then you can have a true layer 2 bridged network.


I was wondering since relayd isn't ideal.

Would setting up a mesh network between the "repeater' and router be a solution

I nice, I get it.
But I guess I should be able to the AccessPoint or something on the internet without WDS, as this is above layer2, right.
But I need WDS for DHCP.
If I set a statis IP on the
If that the case then we're back to the bridge setup....this is where the problem is.
I still cannot ping the AccessPoint ( if the client PC get a static IP e.g.

Both have OpenWrt and Atheros WiFi, so they should support WDS, which I recommend over other solutions.

Are you using WDS yet?
Please post the relevant configuration files (network, wireless, dhcp, firewall) from both devices if you want us to give advice.

i use relayd no problems
all ip's in same group 192.168.1.XXX

Yes, it work if I enable WDS on both master and client :+1:
But just to understand WDS: I now have a working setup, with WDS, but if I disable WDS on the client router, and leave anything else unchanged, why can I not ping the master router from the client PC. I understand broadcast will be blocked, but not ping, right?

Does WDS automatically enable some bridging?

I guess I was somehow expecting there was three independent network devices in these routers, a WIFI, LAN(switch) and WAN and that the WIFI NIC and LAN NIC have to be bridged, but they might be integrated in the chip somehow.
If I do a "ifconfig" console cmd they also all have the same MAC address.

OpenWrt uses a kernel software bridge to combine wired and wireless connections in your LAN, it's br-lan. Run brctl show to see the members of the bridge. A bridge operates like a layer 2 unmanaged Ethernet switch, it remembers the MAC addresses seen at each port and directs traffic that way.

Due to the MAC address limitation, a non-WDS STA cannot be placed in a bridge at all. Such a configuration is an error, the interface will not start.


Very good information, thank you very much :slight_smile:

By second thought: When I have a single router running in out-of-the-box normal Access Point mode, not using WDS, then WIFI are LAN are bridge just fine?

Hi, thanks for this setup.
This mostly works, but whenever the AP router goes down, and the extender doesn't, for some reason, this setup fails, i.e internet does not work on connecting to the extender's wifi.
At this point of time, though my devices connect to extender's wifi, no ips are assigned to my devices, and from the AP's wifi, i cant ping the router too.

The only way i can make things working again is to reboot the extender aswell.
Any way to handle this?


I purchased a little gl.inet router - Sft1200 - that can do this. Think they term it router with repeater. It works, just not reliable if the AP being connected to is a mobile hotspot. Connecting to my Deco wifi seems fine. I also have Luci installed so can check the 'openwrt' configuration over there. There is nothing in the gl.inet gui about wds.

I have converted a meraki mr12 to openwrt (lede reboot2016) and will try and recreate 'router with repeater' on that to see if it has more luck with the mobile hotspot wifi.

If it does, I'll post my finding here (was googling to see how to set this up in openwrt)