I hope this has not been covered at length already, but I wanted to confirm my understanding of what my Vera can do. I currently have a Cisco Wireless router running my WiFi network. There are areas of the house that suffer low signal due to the distance away from the Cisco router. I was hoping to set the Vera3 up as an access point. My understanding would be it would be able to utilize the wireless signal but then act as a range extender. Is this possible? If so, do I need to configure anything specific. I have set the Vera up where it can receive the signal from the Cisco unit, but I have not noticed any dramatic increase in coverage. This may be due to the devices still latching on to the Cisco unit. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
IIUC. I don’t think it will do what you want.
Vera can connect to your Cisco, and you can then connect wirelessly to either Vera or the Cisco, but you won’t be able to move between those two wireless devices without issues, first dropping one wireless device before picking up the other. Even if both wifi networks have the same SSID / credentials.
In contrast, I use an Apple Airport Extreme as the main router & wifi and several Airport Express units to “Extend” the Extreme’s wireless network.
This setup appears as single wifi network that let’s me move anywhere (wirelessly) inside or outside my home with no interruptions when moving between devices.
I don’t think you can use Vera to extend a wifi network.
Yes, Vera can extend a Wi-Fi network. But there are two main issues we need to consider:
- Make handoffs/roaming work, and
- Ensure that Vera is reachable from either access point and the Internet.
Several point of clarification:
A “wireless router” like the Cisco is really router, switch and access point all rolled into one package. The router part joins two networks the WAN and the LAN, hands out IP addresses with its DHCP, does net address translation (NAT) and sends packet from one network to the other. The switch connects the access point and typically four Ethernet ports to the router. The access point is simply a bridge between Ethernet and Wi-Fi, converting from the over the Wi-Fi air protocol to the wired protocol - Ethernet.
Vera is really a zwave controller/bridge, a router, a switch and an access point all rolled into one package. The zwave controller part controls our hose and converts between ethernet and zwave, converting from Zwave to Ethernet and vice versa. Just like the router part in the Cisco, Vera contains a router that joins the WAN to the LAN that does DHCP, NAT and routing functions. It has a tiny switch between the controller, the LAN Ethernet port and the Wi-Fi access point. It also has an access point. The various parts can be more or less turned on and off as needed so that Vera can run in three configurations - a full wireless router/zwave controller, a switch/zwave controller/wi-fi access point or a switch/zwave controller/wi-fi wireless bridge.
As long as clients see the same SSID, get their IP addresses from the same router (so that the IP addresses are all in the same domain) and that the packets can be properly routed to either the WAN or devices on the LAN a client can freely roam between one access point to another and maintain connectivity.
It does not matter whether the Cisco wireless router or Vera does the router function but only one of the two devices should do that function. We only want one LAN (not two) so that we can freely roam between one access point and the other. I would highly recommend an Ethernet connection between the Cisco and Vera. I would only use the wireless bridge in very limited cases because a wireless bridge becomes a bottleneck to wireless traffic. Also, it’s preferable to have Vera on a reliable connection to the Internet.
It’s probably easiest to let the Cisco wireless router be the router (so that it does the DHCP, NAT and routing functions) and configure Vera in its “switch” configuration so that it does not do routing functions, but continues to function as the zwave controller, tiny switch and access point. Set both SSIDs and WPA2 security pass phrases the same. Give vera a fixed IP address inside of the same LAN domain as your desktops and laptops, etc. In the Cisco wireless router, exclude that IP address from the DHCP range so that Vera’s IP address does not get given out to a client device on the network.
So for example, configure your wireless router to run on 192.168.1.1 and Vera to run on 192.168.1.2. Configure your DHCP to hand out IP addresses in the 192.168.1.X range with the 255.255.255.0 address mask and in the range of 192.168.1.11 to 192.168.1.254. This reserves spare static addresses at 192.168.1.3 - 192.168.10. Set the default route to 192.168.1.1 so that anything not in your LAN addressing space is sent to the WAN. Locally, vera is reachable through 192.168.1.2 and remotely, it’s reachable through cp.mios.com.
What are you interested in is called : WDS - Wireless Distribution System
WDS (Wireless Distribution Service) creates a wireless backbone link between multiple access points that are part of the same wireless network. This allows a wireless network to be expanded using multiple access points without the need for a wired backbone to link them, as is traditionally required. The WDS-enabled access points can accept wireless clients (e.g. wireless laptop users) just as traditional APs would.
Also take note of the fact that all repeaters, including this WDS Repeater mode, will sacrifice half of the bandwidth available from the primary router for clients wirelessly connected to the repeater. This is a result of the repeater taking turns talking to not just one partner, but to two, and having to relay the traffic between them. As long as your bandwidth requirements are within this halved bandwidth amount there will be little or no reduction in “speed”.
The WDS mode is a non-standard extension to the wireless 802.11 standard using a 4-address-format to allow transparent ethernet bridging on the station and to implement seamingless hand-over for wireless clients roaming between different access points.
Due to its non-standard nature, WDS is often differently implemented in wireless drivers and vendor firmwares making them incompatible to each other. In order to be able to use WDS one should use the same hard- and software on all deployed wireless devices to have the best possible compatibility.
Currently we don’t support WDS on any Vera platform.
@cj: Your marketing for Vera3 gives the impression that it will act as a range extender:
Vera3 has built-in Wi-Fi 802.11N to allow the Vera3 to act as the primary router in the home or business network or as a Wi-Fi client [b]by connecting wirelessly to the existing router and expanding the Wi-Fi signal.[/b]
Also your website says, at http://micasaverde.com/vera-3.php
Bridge Multiple Vera Devices Over IP - Enhance the range by bridging 2 or more Vera devices over IP then operate as one controller.
Which is easily (mis)understood to mean wifi bridging.
I don’t need the facility for range extending, but I had an honest belief that Vera3 would do that, after reading the pre-sales literature. So you might want to clarify things a bit!
It also says it works with X10 which is a bit of a stretch
[quote=“autotoronto, post:5, topic:169983”]@cj: Your marketing for Vera3 gives the impression that it will act as a range extender:
Vera3 has built-in Wi-Fi 802.11N to allow the Vera3 to act as the primary router in the home or business network or as a Wi-Fi client [b]by connecting wirelessly to the existing router and expanding the Wi-Fi signal.[/b][/quote] This is misinterpretation, Vera extends the wifi signal on it's wired ports. So you connect Vera to your wireless router through wifi and you plug your pc into Vera's LAN ports, and you have Internet connection on your pc also.
[quote=“autotoronto, post:5, topic:169983”]Also your website says, at http://micasaverde.com/vera-3.php
Bridge Multiple Vera Devices Over IP - Enhance the range by bridging 2 or more Vera devices over IP then operate as one controller.
Which is easily (mis)understood to mean wifi bridging.[/quote]
This is referring at extending the zwave range, not the wireless range. You put the devices from the main house on one vera and the devices from the guest house on another vera, then bridge the vera units through upnp an you can control all devices only from one dashboard.
I’ll disocuss with the sales team to make the docs more explicit.
Thanks for reporting this.
Your marketing for Vera3 gives the impression that it will act as a range extender:@autotoronto,
I would have to say that “Expanding the Wi-Fi signal” “Extending the wifi network” and “Bridging networks” are not the same thing.
Vera can be used to expand a wifi signal by simply moving Vera to a location that does not have wifi (which is what the OP wants) but it wont be the same wifi network as his Cisco, even though they may connect you to the same LAN.
As the OP found out when he stated:
This may be due to the devices still latching on to the Cisco unitThis is one of the issues of using multiple wifi devices, the “Handoff” is not seamless, oftentimes resulting in being “Latched” to a dead wifi network before the handoff is made (sometimes needs to be forced) to an active network.
This is misinterpretation, Vera extends the wifi signal on it's wired ports. So you connect Vera to your wireless router through wifi and you plug your pc into Vera's LAN ports, and you have Internet connection on your pc also.Hmm. That's not really extending the [b]wifi[/b] signal, is it? That's extending the [b]LAN[/b], within the existing range of the wifi, to devices that don't have wifi. The wifi signal per-se doesn't reach any further than it did before, so it can't in any sense be said to have been "extended".
Anyway thanks for making it clear now.
Extending the LAN can be done with switches, fiber and Ethernet. It can also be done with wireless microwave links from building to building or half-way across town. You can safely unplug your laptop and re-connect on another of the switch’s ports (or within the switched network) and continue to use the same LAN as long as you are in the same IP domain and your IP address is controlled by the same DHCP server.
Extending a Wi-Fi Network or WLAN (wireless LAN) is done through adding more access points on the same SSID, on non-overlapping channels (1, 6, 11 on 2.4 GHz) that serve clients in the same address domain (same router, same DHCP server). There are many airports that have over 100 access points on the same WLAN that freely allow roaming from one access point to another. Once connection is lost to one access point, the client device will quickly scan and pickup the same SSID on another channel and resume the data connection. Mobility is possible at walking and even bicycle speeds. How do I know this? I have professionally engineered and helped deploy Wi-Fi in several dozen large airports.
Vera does allow you to extend the WLAN. The coverage area is grown by adding Vera’s access point to the coverage provided by the Wi-Fi Router. Vera gives you three options. Although the bridged configuration does work, I would not recommend it. This puts Vera into a repeater mode where Wi-Fi is being used for both the backhaul and for providing client access. Instead, extend the LAN between Vera and the Wi-Fi router. You can do that with Ethernet (up to 328 ft), fiber, or wireless links, etc.
Side question to a pro (since we got one online!):
Why the 328ft restriction for Ethernet? If you’re connecting two full duplex-switched ports (as almost everything is these days) then there is no contention and no line-length limit based on the timeing of collision sensing.
Ive been attempting this same setup and now see where I went wrong. Thank you!
I do have a question before I attempt to brick my vera again. Which port on Vera do I connect the ethernet from my router? I read on another post to skip the WAN port and use one of the LAN ports. I have a vera3 that i would like to use ethernet to connect to my LAN while using vera’s wifi to extend to areas of the house with little or no signal from my main router. I currently have it semi working but we have to manually switch from one wifi connection to the other. The way you describe it is what im shooting for.
The length limit is primarily related to cable capacitance. Cable has a rated capacitance per foot. The higher the capacitance, the lower the cable bandwidth. Very long cables will lower the frequency bandwidth enough to prevent reliable data transmission at the high frequencies used by Ethernet. In other words, the total cable capacitance limits the speed at which the data signal can be switched between 0 and 1 (off and on).
Have you tested this? I’m surprised about the repeater part.
Yes I have. It really does not perform at all.
My Vera right now is running in the “switch” mode and I have Ethernet running between my Vera and my Linksys Router. This configuration works very well.
[quote=“autotoronto, post:11, topic:169983”]Side question to a pro (since we got one online!):
Why the 328ft restriction for Ethernet? If you’re connecting two full duplex-switched ports (as almost everything is these days) then there is no contention and no line-length limit based on the timeing of collision sensing.[/quote]
This is is correct. Since you can’t have collisions in a full duplex connection, propagation delay is of no concern. However, you still have ohmic losses (the Ethernet drivers don’t have an infinite voltage source) and (as wscannell points out above) capacitance build-up for additional wire that’s added. 10BaseT and 100BaseTX and Gigabit Ethernet were all designed with 100 meters being the upper distance limit (even in full duplex).
I’m trying to setup my vera3 as a wi-fi extender and I’m having issues doing it. As long as I give the vera3 a unique SSID and plug the ethernet cable from the primary router into the WAN port, everything works fine.
However, if I assign the same SSID to both the vera3 and my primary wireless router, I start running into issues. If the ethernet cable is plugged into the LAN port, then the wireless connections to the Vera3 work fine. However, any wired connections will no longer work. So I tried plugging the ethernet cable into the WAN port, and the wireless connections will no longer work, but the wired connections do work.
Regardless of how I set up the vera, it is not accessible from home.getvera.com nor does the zwave features work at any point that I change the SSID away from the default setting.
I have a static IP assigned to the vera3 and the primary router hands out all of the internal IP addresses.
I would like to just have one SSID for both my vera3 and my ASUS,
Oops, I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t realize that my main router used two channels, and it was using channel 11 and channel 6. I had the Vera set for channel 6. I changed the vera to channel 1 and everything seems to be working fine now.
You are better off ignoring the WIFI, actually turning it off …, the only real benefit of the Vera 3 is the additional memory …
The only reason the Wifi is there is that MCV reused an existing hardware platform that has Wifi on it to build the Vera 3.