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Wireless Glossary

Wireless Distribution System (WDS)

A Wireless Distribution System is a system that enables the interconnection of access points wirelessly.

It is described in IEEE 802.11. An access point can be either a main, relay or remote base station. A main base station is typically connected to the wired Ethernet. A relay base station relays data between remote base stations, wireless clients or other relay stations to either a main or another relay main station. A remote base station accepts connections from wireless clients and passes them to relay or main stations.

All base stations in a Wireless Distribution System must be configured to use the same radio channel, and share WEP keys if that is used. They can be configured to different service set identifiers.

WDS may also be referred to as repeater mode because it appears to bridge and accept wireless clients at the same time (unlike traditional bridging).

WDS may be incompatible between different products (even occasionally from the same vendor) as it is not certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Notice that this WDS is different from the WDS implementation by Cisco, which stands for Wireless Domain Services.