Netgear DG834G and Wireless Repeating


This blog post was published on Sunday 31 August 2008.

I have a problem with my MacBook Pro - its metal case weakens the signal of my wireless network, meaning that I can’t access the internet in my lounge.   That is rather annoying, because that’s where the comfy sofa is!

A recent firmware update meant that my trusty DG834G v3 had Wireless Distribution System added as a feature - both bridging and repeating.   So I decided to buy a second DG834G (this time v4), to repeat the network downstairs and to be a backup wireless router in case my old one dies.

Sound easy?   Anything but.   There are absolutely no instructions on the Netgear site about repeating with two DG834Gs.   I found instructions on repeating with other hardware, but the options were not quite the same, and it just would not work.   I tried repeating, bridging, all kinds of variations, WEP, WPA, and nothing was working.

I was beginning to wonder if the repeating ‘feature’ was added to make the DG834G look better than it really is.

And so after several hours of frustration I emailed Netgear support, and they sorted me out.   If you are having this problem, follow the instructions below to the letter and you will get wireless repeating working.   The key part is the security encryption.

  1. Make sure both routers have the latest firmware.   The best way to do this is by plugging your computer into the ethernet port, rather than doing it over the wireless, in case there are any problems.   Make sure you download the correct firmware for your router version (I think WDS only works on v3 upwards).
  2. On the ‘internet’ DG834G, go to the ‘Advanced Wireless Settings’ page and ensure ‘Enable Wireless Bridging and Repeating’ is checked.
  3. Select ‘Repeater with Wireless Client Association’ and enter the MAC address of the ‘repeating’ DG834G in the boxes for ‘Remote MAC Address 1’.
  4. Click ‘Apply’.
  5. Now go to the ‘Wireless Settings’ page and enable WEP security.   Do NOT enable WPA, or it won’t work.
  6. Choose ‘64-bit’.   Again, if you choose 128-bit, it won’t work.
  7. Enter a phrase, and the DG834G will generate your hexadecimal passphrase automatically for you.
  8. Click ‘Apply’.
  9. Now click on ‘Setup Access List’ in the middle of the page.
  10. Ensure ‘Turn Access Control on’ is enabled.
  11. Add the MAC addresses of all the devices you want to be able to access your wireless network.
  12. Click ‘Apply’.
  13. Now go to the ‘LAN IP Setup’ page, and change ‘Ending IP Address’ to 192.168.0.99.
  14. Click ‘Apply’.
  15. Now unplug your computer from the ‘internet’ DG834G, and plug it into the ‘repeating’ DG834G.
  16. Repeat steps 2-12, making sure you duplicate all MAC addresses you entered into the ‘internet’ DG834G.
  17. Once you have performed step 12, go to ‘LAN IP Setup’, and change ‘IP Address’ to 192.168.0.100.
  18. Now make sure that ‘Use Router As DHCP Server’ is unchecked. [Edit: if you leave this checked, usually the ‘internet’ router assigns the IP address to your computer, but sometimes the ‘repeating’ router does - and then you can’t access the internet.   Better to leave it unchecked.]
  19. Click ‘Apply’.
  20. Now unplug both DG834Gs.   Put each in their proper locations.
  21. Plug the ‘internet’ DG834G back in.   Wait until all the status lights (especially the wireless light) are green.
  22. Now plug in the ‘repeating’ DG834G.   The status lights will come on, including the wireless one.
  23. If you now plug your computer into the ‘repeating’ DG834G you should have an IP address where the final number is less than 100, and you should be able to access the internet (as long as the ‘internet’ DG834G is accessing the internet!).
  24. Congratulations, your wireless network is now be extended!

The reason why you enable ‘Access Control’ is that WEP 64-bit security is barely worth having.   It is better than nothing, but is easily cracked by a determined hacker.   So by limiting the devices that can connect to the computer, you hugely reduce the risk of someone hijacking your network.