This posting is about RouterOS WDS repeater setup and all the glitches you might stumble into on the way to get it working.
It all started with my WiFi not reaching my whole apartment with a good enough quality. I started to look for some kind of repeater for my 2011UAS-2HnD and came up with the idea to get a second MikroTik device (951G-2HnD) and run my virtual access points in WDS mode.
I found some resources on the Internet, like Transparentes bridging zwischen zwei Netzwerken mit WDS (sorry, German only), How Do I Set Up WDS Using MikroTik and of course the MirkoTik Wiki.
All the explanations I found were missing some details here and there or did not describe my exact setup. I posted on the MikroTik forums (Repeater mode and Setup question for WiFi repeater), got some very helpful tips there and finally got WDS working in my environment.
I will try to give you a detailed guide about the whole setup process but since I have to do this using my “productive” two routers it might not be 100% complete. In case something is missing, feel free to post in the comments.
For each VirtualAP/WiFi you want to create, you have to create a separate bridge. Set the name of the bridge to something you can associate with the AP later on. On the STP tab, set Protocol Mode to “rstp”.
That’s all you have to do here for now. Later on, we have to add ports to each bridge.
Create virtual access pointsThe next step is to create virtual access points (VirtualAP) on both devices. All settings must be absolute identical except for the MAC addresses.
Tip: Make sure each VirtualAP has a unique MAC address! When you copy a VirtualAP, the MAC address is also duplicated and you will end up with all kind of weird problems. Make sure to change the MAC address after you copy a VirtualAP!
The name of the new interface is not important at all. Make sure you are able to identify it easily later on. The MAC address is very important here, I usually increment my routers already used addresses, so I start using the address of the WiFi port plus 1.
WirelessHere you define the SSID which you will later use on your clients to connect to this specific WiFi. The security profile defines all security settings for this AP including passwords and so on. I recommend to define a separate security profile for all VirtualAPs you create.
Make sure to set the configured “distance” to “indoors”, otherwise the routers keep to loos their connection from time to time. This can be done by
/interface wireless distance=indoors
The WDS Mode should be set to “static mesh”. I tried this with “static” at first, but I ended up with errors and connection problems.
The “WDS default Bridge” must be set to the bridge you created in the first step for this specific VirtualAP.
The issues I had with the “static” only setting looked like this in the error logs:
Feb 1 19:11:38 10.x.x.x wireless,info ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ@ssid1: disconnected, no beacons received Feb 1 19:11:39 10.x.x.x wireless,info ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ@ssid1: connected, is AP, wants WDS Feb 1 19:11:44 10.x.x.x wireless,info ssid1: data from unknown device ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ, sent deauth ... repeated more than 20 times ... Feb 1 19:11:49 10.x.x.x wireless,info ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ@ssid1: disconnected, unicast key exchange timeout Feb 1 19:12:00 10.x.x.x wireless,info ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ:ZZ@ssid1: connected, is AP, wants WDS
The thread in the MikroTik forum can be found here.
Create WDS Interfaces
After the VirtualAPs are created, you need a WDS setting per VirtualAP. As always, the name of the interface should easily be associated with the VirtualAP you want to use it for.
WDSNow comes the most important part of the setup. At least this was the part which took me the longest to understand and to find examples for.
The Master Interface for this WDS Interface is the VirtualAP you created in the step before.
The field “WDS Address” must be set to the MAC address of the VirtualAP on the opposing device!
Configure the BridgesFinally you have to add ports to the bridges. Each bridge needs two ports, the VirtualAP Interface and the WDS interface.
After this is done, your WDS repeater should start working right away.