Here’s my notes for setting up your brand spanking new AirPort Express with your Linksys WRT54G (or GS) in WDS (bridging) mode, while still allowing AirTunes to work.

Part 1: Your Linksys WRT54G(S) setup

  1. Grab the most recent public sveasoft firmware from here. (direct link to download the G firmware file [here][2] – Description: USE OF THIS FIRMWARE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK! MAKE SURE YOU USE THE APPROPRIATE VERSION – “G” for WRT54G MODELS AND “GS” FOR WRT54GS MODELS.)
  2. WRT54GS users, please make sure you grabbed the firmware from the first link above – the direct link is for the WRT54G ONLY!!!!!!
  3. Install the firmware (Administration–>Upgrade Firmware)
  4. Set the channel on your Linksys to Channel 1 (Wireless–>Basic Settings)
  5. Provide the MAC address of your AirPort Express’s wireless interface on the WDS setup page (Wireless–>WDS), selecting the “LAN” option
  6. On the same page, toggle “Lazy WDS” and “WDS Subnet” to off.
  7. Turn off the loopback interface (Administration–>Management)
  8. Set “Ignore Anonymous Requests” to off in the Firewall setup (Security–>Firewall)

Part 2: Your Airport Express Setup

  1. Install the AirPort software that came on the CD with your AirPort Express
  2. Hook your AirPport Express up to your Macintosh via an ethernet cable
  3. Open the AirPort Admin Utility (Applications/Utilities/AirPort Admin Utility)
  4. Select your new AirPort Express from the list of found access points, and click configure
  5. On the AirPort tab, set:
    • Use base station to: Create a Wireless Network
    • Network Name to the same SSID as your WRT54G(S)
    • Wireless Channel to 1
    • If you’re using WEP, you’ll need to enter your WEP key.
    • If you’re not broadcasting your SSID, check the “Make this a closed network” box
  6. Jump over to the WDS tab and check Enable this base station and set it to work as a “remote base station”
  7. Check Allow wireless clients on this base station
  8. Enter the MAC address for your WRT54G(S)*\*NOTE** in the Main AirPort ID box. (or if you’re SSID is broadcast, just click browse and pick it from the list) *\*NOTE**(WIRELESS MAC ADDRESS… guess I thought that was a given, but seems to be some confusion – this is WDS – Wireless, hence the need for the WIRELESS MAC address…)

  9. On the Music tab, check Enable AirTunes and put in a nice name for your speaker connection

  10. Click Update and wait for your AirPort Express to reboot

Once this all is done and your AirPort Express comes up, you should see a pretty blue light on the side (front) of it, indicating that your WDS connection is up and purring and you can now hook up your speakers, fire up iTunes, and rock the house.

Wireless Encryption Addendum:

Keep in mind that you can only use WEP (or no encryption at all) with WDS due to the way MAC addresses get encrypted when using WPA, which doesn’t work well when you need to hard code the “remote” WDS node’s MAC address on the Linksys… also, please read the comments below regarding the WEP key and a nasty little $ that is needed for this to work.