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App Notes

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Convert Ethernet to WiFi (App Note)

This app-note applies to:

  • T7 WiFi users who want higher performance (data speeds).
  • T7 Ethernet users who want WiFi.
  • UE9 Ethernet users who want WiFi.

The device used to convert Ethernet to wireless (WiFi) is called a "Wireless bridge", "Wireless Ethernet bridge", or "Wireless Ethernet converter". If you have an Ethernet capable LabJack device, like a T7 or UE9, and you need to connect it to an existing wireless network, get a wireless bridge.

Network Device Descriptions

Not unlike other devices with Ethernet or WiFi, the T7 and UE9 can take advantage of routers, bridges, and access points to increase their portability or performance on a network.

  • Router - Provides gateway/firewall for the internet. Routes traffic from each PC or other device on a local network to the appropriate location. Most routers can also act as a DHCP server, which allows them to grant IP addresses for DHCP enabled network devices. If it is a wireless router, it also includes a wireless access point which creates a WiFi network that has a name (SSID), password, and a type of encryption (WPA, WPA2, WEP, etc).
  • Wireless Bridge - Connects to a Wireless Access Point.
  • Wireless Access Point (AP) - Creates a WiFi network that has a name (SSID), and password.

Typically routers contain wireless access points, but there are devices labeled only as a wireless access point (AP), and they have only 1 Ethernet port. There are also devices labeled only as a bridge, and they have only 1 Ethernet port. Often times it's the same price or cheaper to just buy a router when you only need an access point or a bridge. This TL-WR702N by TP-LINK is a device that can function as an access point, client, router, repeater, or a bridge, and it only costs $20. 

Figure 1. Typical network with a bridge for the Ethernet T7

To setup a Wireless Access Point, see Basic Networking & Troubleshooting. See the Advanced Networking App Note for more information on long range/directional WiFi, or multiple access points/bridges.

Setting up a Wireless Bridge

Most of the time there are instructions included with the bridge, or router, or wireless access point (being configured as a bridge) on how to perform setup, but below is a general description of the process.

  1. Connect a computer to one of the LAN Ethernet ports on the back of the bridge/router/AP.  Note: Do not use a port labeled as WAN, or Internet.
  2. Launch a web browser and enter one of the following in the browser's address bar. Alternatively, use the software CD that comes with the bridge/router/AP.
    • routerlogin.com
    • routerlogin.net
    • Bridge/router/AP default IP address, e.g. "192.168.1.1"
  3. You are prompted to log in.
  4. Enter the username and password.  Defaults are commonly admin/admin, or admin/password.
  5. If the device is configurable, go through the menus and select the options to make it act as a bridge. For routers this means you should disable the DHCP server, and disable the AP functionality. For configurable wireless access points, do not use ad-hoc mode, client mode, repeater mode, or AP mode. Make sure to use bridge mode.
  6. Select the desired WiFi network by Name or enter it manually, then enter the WiFi Password. Save or apply the changes.

The device should now be configured to work as a wireless bridge, and it will be associated with the network selected in step 5.

The next step is to configure the Ethernet LabJack device. Please consult the Basic Networking & Troubleshooting App Note for details on setting up an Ethernet T7 or UE9.

Once the T7 and wireless bridge are configured, connect the T7 to the bridge via Ethernet cable. Sometimes it may take a minute until the T7 can be found on the network.

Summary of Other Terms

Listed below are some optional modes or terms which can complicate matters. The following list of terms might be helpful to understand what a device is actually doing.

  • Ethernet to WiFi Converter - This device will allow an Ethernet client (like a standard T7), to connect to a wireless access point (wireless network).  It functions as a bridge.
  • Wireless Range Extender - This term is used for a wireless access point that listens to another access point, and repeats what it hears, so that other devices further away can get the signal. Due to the repeated nature of communications, overall data throughput is reduced. Devices with this label or mode are typically identical in functionality to a simple wireless access point.
  • Access Point Client Mode - If a single device is connected by Ethernet to an access point in client mode, the access point is effectively a bridge, giving the Ethernet device a link to the WiFi network which is being created by a different access point. If multiple Ethernet devices are connected to the access point in client mode, then the access point will create a new subnet for the set of devices which are wired to it.
  • Access Point Bridge Mode - It functions as a bridge. When multiple devices are connected to it, it doesn't have to create a new subnet, so this is a superior mode when compared with client mode.
  • Universal WiFi adapters - These are typically bridges, but for whatever reason the phrase "universal WiFi adapter" is more catchy.
  • Universal WiFi internet adapters - This is a bridge, but it implies that the wireless network to which it connects is also linked to an active internet connection.
  • WiFi to Ethernet Adapter - Depending on configuration, this is either a bridge or an AP.
  • Smart Connect/Smart WiFi - This is a proprietary connection/setup mode for Linksys stuff that ties in with proprietary online home automation and control things. Just disable 'Smart' stuff to get a normal router/bridge/AP/repeater etc. 'Smart' things, if enabled as such, will not be able to automatically link with other non-Linksys networking gear.

Further Explanation

A modern wireless access point can typically be used as a wireless bridge, but a bridge can't always be used as an access point. For an access point to function as a bridge, instead of creating the network, the internal wireless adapter is configured to simply join an existing network. As mentioned in the bullet list above, a wireless access point creates a WiFi network with a name (SSID), and a password. So essentially some access points can act as a bridge, or a signal repeater, so it's possible to buy two of the same device, and just configure one as an access point, and one as a bridge. A wireless bridge always connects to an existing wireless network, and Ethernet devices can connect to the Ethernet jack(s) on the wireless bridge.

When configuring a router to be an access point only (not using it for internet, or DHCP server), disable anything relating to "DHCP Server" or "Internet".  Also, only connect the router using its LAN ports, do not use the WAN or Internet port. 

Cell phones can create a wireless access point by creating a mobile hotspot. A mobile hotspot not only creates a WiFi network, it also acts as a DHCP server and modem. Laptops can also become access points through emulation software, or natively in Windows 7. See Basic Networking & Troubleshooting for more details on Laptop APs, and Mobile Hotspots.

General Tips

There are several vendors of wireless bridges and access points, and a few different network types (i.e., 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n). Most newer bridges and access points are type 'n' and will work with the different network types (a, b, and g) but it's best to check just to be sure.

If you are connecting the T7 to an existing network, then it's best to stay with the brand that the rest of the bridges and access points use, as that usually makes the configuration process easier. If you are setting up a new network, then it's best to buy two access points of the same make and manufacturer, and configure one as an access point, and the other as a bridge. Sometimes bridges and access points have special ways of configuring and naming things, or optional features that may or may not work with other brands.

To configure the T7, start with a cabled connection to your PC, and assign it settings that make it work with that setup. Once that is configured and software can communicate with it, replace the cable with the wireless bridge (WiFi).

Some offices and households can have interference on the 2.4 Ghz band that the 802.11b and 802.11g networks use. We have found that switching to a 802.11a network at the 5 Ghz band can give a stronger connection where interference may be present.

If you have simple questions about using the T7 or UE9 for wireless connections, we can answer them here. However, if you have specific questions on configuring your hardware or what settings you should use, you may find more help from the users guides and from your network administrator.

Power Considerations

The T7 is powered through its USB port. We sell the T7 with a USB wall-wart style 5V 2A power supply that can be used when operating Ethernet. Alternatively, split 5V out of a PoE enabled Ethernet system using a PoE splitter, and use this to power the T7.  See the footnote in the Ethernet section of T7 Datasheet for PoE details.


The UE9 can be powered with its included 5V wall-wart style supply. In a similar fashion to the T7, a PoE splitter can be used to provide power to the UE9, the only difference is that the UE9 has a barrel receptacle so it's not necessary to buy a converter between barrel and USB.

 

8 comments

I have today successfully interfaced a Dell Laptop running Windows 7 through a NetGear WRN1000 v3 Wireless Router to a LabJack UE9 Pro

In fact it was a fairly simple process.

1. I configured the UE9 IP address to be 192.168.1.5 (easy to remember and doesn't conflict with other addresses in use).

2. I connected the UE9 ethernet output to to the Router port 1 input. All devices had power of course :-)

3. On the laptop in Network & Sharing, went to connect a wireless device, selected the Netgear router from the list, windows did the rest, only had to enter the security pin from the label on the bottom of the wireless router.

4. Once connected, from Windows "Start Menu", in the "Run" window, typed "command" to open up the "DOS" command window, typed ping "192.168.1.5" - and it found the UE9 IP address.

5. Opened up Labjack Control Centre, unchecked "UDP" and checked "IP Address", entered the LabJack IP address and in the find device window highlighted "UE9" clicked "find device" - and Bob's your Uncle - it found it.

The rest they say is history ...

 

 Hi,

I was wondering, can i configure multiple Wireless DAQs using multiple bridges connected to a single access point router (and thus central PC)? I want to log acoustic data samples with about 50kbps (i.e. 4KSps) per node (i.e. UE9 device). Will this be possible? will the data received at the PC be synchronized? I badly need correct time delays between different nodes.

I want to have     PC<-->Router <--> wireless <--> Bridge1<--> UE9-1, <--> wireless <--> Bridge2<--> UE9-2, .... up to 6 nodes

 

Your prompt feedback is appreciated.

Thanks,

The UE9 is a standard TCP Ethernet device, so you can use various normal techniques to have multiple WiFi devices on a single network.  Your diagram makes it look like they are all in series, which I am not sure is what you meant.  Think of more of a tree type structure where any of the tree limbs can be wireless links.

As for synchronizing, there is not special mechanism.  Through software and simply starting all streams at the same time, you can get them all to start within perhaps 10ms of the same time.  After a while, though, the synchronization would get worse as the different devices drift apart.  The best way to synchronize is if you have some common signal that connects to all UE9s.  That could be a wire going to all, or perhaps you blink the lights and they all have a light sensor that detects that, or perhaps you have some set sound you use once in a while that your software can find in the different streams and use to synchronize.

Sorry, I might have not been successful in my architecture, what i meant was if i have a centralized data collection which is a PC, that is connected to the network via a router/bridge, will the SW provided be able to collect the data from all nodes in the network if i have more than 1 UE9/Bridge combinations?

PC<--> router <--> Wireless <-->Bridge1 <--> UE9-1

                      <--> Wireless <--> Bridge2 <--> UE9-2

                      ....

                      <--> Wireless <--> Bridge9 <--> UE9-9

Also, is there a known way to synch them if the drift gets worse? Shoudl i worry much about such a drift? is it because of wireless protocol or what? your detailed comments are appreacited on both the architecture i am thinking of building and the drifts that might occur, as i am trying to measure an acoustic event at different locations (same event) and get the correct time delays of the captured (sampled) sound waves.

Thanks alot gain for the prompt response.

You are not going to be able to do this with any pre-compiled software that we or anyone else provides.  You will have to program and make your own software for sure.  If you want to get into more details about that development, I suggest taking this to our forum.

Hi,

My name is John Halloran, and I am a Product Manager for Silex Technology. Our USB Device Servers are a popular way for Labjack customers to connect via USB over a wired or wireless network: http://labjack.com/support/app-notes/usb-via-other

We also have a very robust Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter: http://www.silexamerica.com/products/connectivity-solutions/wireless-infrastructure/ethernet-to-wi-fi-bridges/sx-br-4600wan/

If there are any questions, let us know. You can get more info on our website: http://www.silexamerica.com/

or contact us: http://www.silexamerica.com/contact/

-John

NetGuru's picture

I have a router with one ethernet input which I use for internet and 4 outputs plus a wifi antenna. What I want to do is to stop the wifi network on this router and connect one of the ethernet outputs via an ethernet cable to a device which has a wifi antenna and will do the wifi broadcasting in another room of the house. Is this possible and which device should I use for that?

LabJack Support's picture

Is this question related to our LabJack devices on a network? If this is not related to a LabJack device, you should ask a company that makes networking equipment (Linksys, NETGEAR, etc.) or a suitable forum.

To quickly comment on your question, look into a wireless access point as it sounds like what you want. You can use a WiFi router as an access point by disabling the internet (gateway) and DHCP server in the router configuration menus, and enable a wireless network with a name (SSID) and password. Connect this WiFi enabled router over Ethernet to your other router.