Jeantet’s Blog

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Oct-4-2009

How to use a Netgear WGR614 wireless router as a bridge

WGR614The short answer, don’t plug your uplink into the internet slot, instead plug it into one of the four internal ports. This page on Netgear’s web site does a so-so job explaining, but the diagram is pretty good.

Before you do this, make sure you’ve configured the LAN IP of your WGR614 to be a member of your IP network, preferably with a Static IP rather than as a DHCP client, so you can find the device later should you want to admin its setup.  Technically though, that’s not really necessary as a network bridge will simply pass the traffic regardless if it is addressable or not!  This can make your Access Point very secure by only being addressable on another logical IP network (although security through obscurity is probably not the only thing you should rely on).  Also, don’t forget to deactivate the built-in DHCP server, unless you actually want to use it in which case make sure your DHCP scope is consistent with your existing network and doesn’t overlap with the scopes of other DHCP servers… but if you’ve read this far and know what I’m talking about, you probably knew that.  We can simply ignore the WAN setup since it’s not at all used.

If you’re at all curious why I did this, here’s the full story…

I love T-Mobile in the USA because in addition to awesome service and support, some of their phones have UMA (unlicensed multiple access) which thanks to some sorcery allows my phone to drop a cellular signal and use the internet.  Read more here.  This is useful when traveling abroad (so I can call home and receive calls on my actual mobile with my actual phone number without roaming at $1/ minute).  This is also quite handy in areas with poor GSM coverage.  My dad’s home has poor signal indoors and therefore I wanted to set up a big WiFi bubble so his mobile phone could use UMA and therefore have uninterrupted coverage.  And before you say that I should consider Verizon (largest mobile carrier in the USA), its signal is weak as well, furthermore its service is so overpriced and its customer service is so bad that I’d use tin cans and string before I’d buy service from them. But I digress.

I wanted to set up two access points and broadcast my dad’s broadband throughout his home.  On the edge of his network, I have a hardware firewall and for WiFi I had one bridge and one of these WGR614 routers.  I wanted to use the router as a bridge, but couldn’t figure it out. I googled it before buying more hardware and found this link where apparently someone named Mary set out to do the same thing.  (Thank you Mary for your post, BTW.)

What is so nifty about the solution (explained in the first line of this post) is that it’s more of a hack than a “supported feature”, made possible by the elegance of its simplicity and to be honest, a purist design by Netgear.  What’s even more remarkable is that Netgear actually has it documented on their site! If the Netgear WGR614 were designed by any of a long list of other companies, they would have certainly found a way to disable this behavior so they could sell you yet another piece of equipment.

So to summarize, thank you Netgear.  Your hardware is pretty cool, and thank you Mary for finding the answer to my problem back in 2006!

Posted under Computer Stuff, Information Security, Things I Like
  1. Generise Said,

    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  2. JT Said,

    Sure – please go ahead!
    FYI, I found my information here.
    Thanks for asking :)

  3. james Said,

    I HATE verizon with a passion the same as people hating child molesters. They never change. If one of their sales people at the kiosks in the malls ever tries to talk to me I raise my voice so others can hear and I f*ckn tell them how I feel. They made my mom wait 3 hours to pay her bill in person in line. Then they charged me 700$ for going over my texts. When you go to their shops they have 20 people selling phones and 1 or 2 people at the register handling people. Hey but cricket tops them. They have a DMV thing with numbers. If you complain there is a security guard who escorts you out. Instead of begging my wife for a smart phone my friend found a laptop in the trash which I paid him 20 dollars for. Upgraded the hard drive and replaced bat. The usb ports were broken. I just send text with google. I vowed never to pay for phone service again.Ever. Join me and together were shall rule the galaxy free from the evil sith (Verizon).

  4. tony Said,

    What you have described is not a bridge. It is an access point without routing. Netgear correctly titles their page “Using WPN824, WGR614, or WGT624 Routers as an Access Point”

  5. JT Said,

    Hi Tony, you are correct: using the Netgear Router in this fashion is using it as an access point; furthermore, this is by definition using it as a bridge. See this search on NewEgg for example. Defined, a network bridge is a device that connects physical networks of dissimilar topology. For example a DSL or Cable modem: there is no audio modulation / demodulation or routing, they in fact bridge your ethernet connection, converting from a carrier on POTS or Coaxial Cable. In the case of using the netgear router without routing, I am in fact using it as a bridge from Wi-Fi (802.11x) to ethernet (802.3x). There are dedicated devices that do this, which strangely are more expensive for having been lobotomized of routing capabilities. Go figure!

  6. Making the Netgear WGR614 a bridge | Andrew's Memory Blog Said,

    […] http://www.fieldsnet.com/2009/10/how-to-use-a-netgear-wgr614-wireless-router-as-a-bridge/ […]

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