Wireless Distribution System – WDS,  is a system for interconnection between wireless access points. WDS enables you to extend the WiFi network using more access points without the need for wired connections.

Wireless Distribution System

Wireless Distribution System

A Wireless Distribution System

The Three Modes of the Access Point in WDS

The access point in WDS can work in the three modes:

  • Main Base Station (root AP)
  • Relay Base Station
  • Remote base station (wireless repeater)

The access point working in the main base station mode is connected to the wired backbone. This link is usually connected with the Ethernet cable. The main base station is also called a root access point.

When the AP is running as the relay base station, it relays information between the wireless devices to the main base station or another relay base station. Relay base station can relay for the following wireless devices:

  • the remote base stations
  • the wireless clients
  • other relay stations.

If you want to find out more about the communications among access points read, extended service set.

The remote base station accepts connections from the wireless clients and transfers them to the relay station or the main stations that gives them an internet connection. Connections between the wireless clients are established using their MAC addresses. The remote base station can also be called wireless repeater.

Two WDS Modes

There are two modes of the wireless distribution system:

  • wireless bridging
  • wireless repeating.

AP in the wireless bridging mode only allows access to other APs. Wireless clients can’t connect to the AP in the wireless bridging mode. In wireless repeating mode, APs can communicate both with other APs and with the clients.

The Configuration of the Wireless Distribution System

WDS configuration

WDS configuration

To successfully establish the WDS connection between the AP you need to do the following:

  • SSID on all APs needs to match
  • Security settings on all APs needs to match
  • Channels on APs needs to match
  • You need to specify the MAC addresses of other APs

The APs connected with the WDS are forming a single bridge domain – one logical L2 network.

WDS Disadvantages

The disadvantage of the wireless distribution system is a decreased throughput. Wireless throughput is decreased approximately in half for each WDS hop. This is because the AP, which works as a repeater, needs to use the same channel for the wireless clients and for the connection to the root AP.

More about the WDS you can read on wireless distribution system.

The Extension of the WiFi Networks

Wireless distribution system or WDS is only one way for the range extension of your WiFi network. Other ways are increasing the AP power, adequate wireless site survey, use of secondary AP, WiFi signal booster, WiFi antenna and using the latest WiFi generation – 802.11ac. More about the wireless range extension read on WLAN Extend.

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