29 October 2008
My very old Hawking Tech wireless access point started to flake out, so I had to go out and get a new one. I was preparing for the worst -- I was going to end up with a router, and I couldn't disable the router functionality. Access points are hard to come by these days, and the only one I could find cost twice as much as a more feature-rich router (in case I wanted to use any of those features one day).
My Debian Linux machine already serves as my customized NAT router, so I didn't want another layer of routing introduced. Having the wireless hosts hidden behind another NAT would also keep me from being able to access the wireless hosts from the wired network.
I read lots of horror stories of people using Linksys and not being able to disable the NAT and use it as a plain access point, so I was stearing clear. That left the D-Link, Netgear, Belkin, etc. While walking between OfficeMax and Circuity City, I quickly Googled D-Link and stumbled upon a recommendation of turning off the DHCP server, assigning a static IP, and then being able to use an existing router. I found a good price on the D-Link DIR-615 Wireless N router, so I picked it up at Circuit City.
I got it home, plugged it in conventionally into the existing network, and hit the configuration IP from the wireless network (http://192.168.0.1/). I poked around the configuration, Googled around a little more, and found the keys to making it all work:
Where you still can't flip a configuration to disable the NAT on this router, if you neglect to use the "Internet" side, and keep everything on the same side of the router (the wireless and 4 host ports), the NAT can't affect your packets, and it just works as a simple switch between wired and wireless networks! This probably would have worked for any router I could have bought.