What does TP-link TL-WA901ND wireless network bridge do and how to setup and configure?
As with the first generation of most TP-link products almost all of them ranging from the ADSL modem, modem gateway, wireless access point to wireless routers the design is dominated by a square box, white gray color on top and bottom while the edges are black, as well as external antennas are also black. Such is the product of this wireless network bridge (TL-Wa901nd).
Unlike first generation products, almost all the latest generation of TP-link products, models and designs are different look more beautiful and more artistic. They are not just white and black, some products are blue.
What does it do
If you have two separate local networks (LANs), one LAN is in the building A and building B on the other one, you can connect the two local networks together without a hard pull of the network cable connecting the two networks using the wireless network bridge. That is one of the operation modes of TP-link TL-wa901nd.
The wifi technology used is 802.11n with high speed up to 300Mbps wifi connection for standard usage. Equipped with three external antennas with MIMO technology adds solid speed and range.
It is easy to operate, if you want to put it in a place where there is no power outlet, do not worry the device is equipped with power over Ethernet to distances up to 30 meters so you can put it in strategic places able to reach a wider area.
TL-WA901ND allows you create up to four SSIDs. Not many wireless AP devices support multiple SSIDs to segregate the network based on the security needs or based on different services. You can create secure SSID for your finance user group with separate security access for example.
Multiple Operation Modes
This wireless network bridge allows you to configure the device to work in one of the following operation modes including:
- Access Point
- Wireless Client
- Universal/WDS Repeater
- Point to Point or Point to Multi-point bridge
1. Access Point and Multi SSIDs
You can connect the TL-WA901ND device to the local network to let you create the wireless network easily. With AP mode you can create up to four SSIDs and VLANs by selecting the Multi-SSID mode.
You can enable the VLAN if your internal network switch supports the VLAN too and you also need to configure the switch with VLAN support. If “Enable VLAN” is checked, the wireless stations connecting to SSID of different VLANID can not communicate with each other
2. Client Mode
With wireless client mode, you can connect the TL-WA901ND to any types of Ethernet-enabled device to the existing wireless network, for example network powered by Linksys Wrt610n. You can configure it by entering the MAC address (or the AP) of the AP network you are connecting to.
3. Repeater Mode
In repeater mode, the TL-WA901ND relays data to a root AP with WDS enabled to which it is associated. The wireless repeater relays signal between its stations and the root AP for greater wireless range. You can configure the device by entering the MAC address of the root AP of which you want to expand the range coverage. If the root AP is WDS-disabled, you configure the device as the Universal Repeater.
4. Bridge Mode
You can configure the TL-WA901ND as the bridge mode either in Point-to-point or Point-to-multipoint mode. This mode can bridge the AP and up to 4 APs also in bridge mode to connect two or more wired LANs.
For the wireless connection security, you can easily setup a WPA encrypted secure connection at a push of the QSS button. It also supports Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) to assure the quality of VoIP and multimedia streaming.
How to Setup and Configure TL-WA901ND
Installation and setting up are easy tasks to do with the included installation wizard. Wireless client connection is easy with QSS button, it’s like WPS button in wireless broadband routers in general. The Ethernet port supports power over Ethernet (POE) capability up to 30meters to let you place the device in area where power outlet is not available.
To configure the TL-WA901ND you need to connect it to a computer with NIC adapter enable. The default IP address of the TL-WA901ND is 192.168.1.254 with subnet mask 255.255.255.0. Therefore you need to provide static IP address to the computer with a unique IP address in the same subnet with the AP, for example 192.168.1.100 with subnet mask 255.255.255.0. How to configure the computer, you can click the DAP-1360 setting up here to see more detail similar task to change the static IP address.
Figure 2 shows you a connection diagram between the computer and the TL-WA901ND using the UTP network cable. To make sure that communication can take place between the two devices, use “ping” command from the DOS prompt.
C:\> ping 192.168.1.254
You should see the reply response with 0% loss.
With this connection diagram, you can start launch the web-based configuration utility by typing the TL-WA901ND default IP address 192.168.1.254 from your browser. The logon window will appear, enter the default user-name “admin” and the password “admin”.
You can start the configuration by selecting one of the operation modes based on your need. If your existing network segment of the router is different than the AP, you need to change the IP address of the TL-WA901ND with the unique IP address in the same network as the router. For example if your router IP address is 192.168.2.1 with subnet mask 255.255.255.0 then you have to change your AP with the IP address on the same subnet for example 192.168.2.254 with subnet mask 255.255.255.0.
To configure the WA-901ND as the wireless access point, you can change the operation mode of the device to the Access Point from the web-based menu and then disconnect from the computer. Then connect the AP to one of the router Ethernet ports using the UTP network cable.
To configure the device to work as the repeater to extend the network coverage of your current router for example TL-WR941ND wireless N300 router, from the web-base configuration menu change the operation mode to the repeater and type in the MAC address of your router. You can locate the MAC address (hardware address) of the router which is typically printed in the back of the router.
The figure 3 below shows an example of the deployment of TL-WA901ND which is configured as the wireless access point to create a wireless network and share the internet connection (the Surfboard SB6141 cable modem is not shown in the picture) and the other device is configured as the repeater or Wireless Network Bridge to extend the network to different rooms.
With your DSL modem with router feature or Cable modem with router feature, connect the RJ-45 Ethernet port of the modem with UTP cable in one end, while the other end to the Ethernet port of the WA-901ND which is configured as the wireless access point. With this wireless network you can extend the network to the other longer distance rooms with other WA-901ND which are configured as the repeater or the wireless network bridge.
How users accept this product?
With a rating average of 3.9 out of 5 stars, this product is worth a try for your home needs. Priced at about $ 50 is reasonable for the product in its class. How do users accept this product? Here are summary of couples of users who give 5 stars ratings.
A user used this product as a wireless client to connect his Blu-ray player to the network. The internet network is powered by a wireless router from the same vendor (TP-link TD-W8960N Modem/Wireless Router) which is located in one floor down. Installation was easy through web-based wizard, and the signal is strong throughout the house. He also found that WA901ND can also be configured as the bridge with AP mode but the security it can support is only WEP.
A guy with a large single storey building with many rooms and walls was very happy with the product. He had tried couples of routers to cover the whole house but didn’t make them work well. He configured this as a wireless AP with a simple to setup and worked instantly covering the large house with strong signal.
Amongst the positive reviews so far, there is one person which is disappointed with the product that frequently requires rebooting the gear nearly every day. Probably he got the faulty product.
For longer distances of the outdoor wireless access point such as metropolitan network, you can use the new version of outdoor TP-Link TL-WA5210G 2.4GHz High Power Wireless Outdoor CPE.. Or you may consider new Outdoor 5GHz wireless AP – TL-WA7510N 5GHz Outdoor N150 access point
By Ki Grinsing