20 December 2007

D-Link tech suport

I had recently a boring task (it took me away from some cool clipart work) to configure a hotspot with 3 Access Points put in WDS mode to increase the area covered. It was very consuming as they have to be put in large a building with thick walls and my experience in the area was not that great.

Skipping the useless details (about how it worked well with 2 APs and bad with 3 APs and how all the documentation talks only about using 2 APs), I didn't find anything useful in the manufacturer (D-Link) Knowledge Base, so I used the contact form on the support website to ask for advice.
The reply was quick, but totally useless, with 3 advices:

  • - turn off security; Why would a sane person leave the wireless network open?
  • - change the channel number; I may try this, but I see no point: the hotspot is in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to produce interferences;
  • - and the most useless one: they recommend the demo of a Windows-only software which "simplifies Microsoft Networking and may allow you to trouble shoot your network on your own" (emphasis mine). Duh! The contact form asked for the OS (info not needed for setting up an AP with a web interface) and I specified Linux and I don't need there Windows file and printer sharing


  1. Check into changing the channel number, you will be surprised at what this will do for you. There are different channels for a reason. IF they are all the same channel, and close to each other, you are going to be causing conflicts, and creating dead spots

  2. Of course they are all the same channel, here is what the manual says:
    "All devices on the network must share the same channel"

    If they are not the same channel, how they will see each other, to relay the signal? Only based on MAC?

  3. Did you solve the problem eventually? My guess is that there is no solution, because D-Link devices (at least those I had a chance to tinker with) don't offer flexible control of low-level features.

    Perhaps you can try updating the firmware, and some extra options will be revealed. The place to look for them is ftp://ftp.d-link.ru/ (I often encountered situations in which only the .ru site had the stuff I needed).

    I am surprised you got a quick response from them. There is not much the support folk could do for you, because they know there is no solution.

    Changing channels could work, because altering that setting could also change other parameters in the device (which are not shown in the web-based UI).

    As for turning off encryption, that's the first thing I do when something goes wrong. By removing this variable I can be sure the problem is elsewhere. Of course, once everything is understood, encryption is enabled back.