Well for starters I discovered that the WRT54G has three different MAC addresses. A WAN, a LAN and a Wireless MAC address. in my case, the last hex digit was 64, 65 and 66 respectively. I had tried setting the MAC address field on the WAP54G to all three with no success on each. It seemed like a pretty easy thing to do (once I found out that I needed newer firmware than what shipped with it) you set the same channel and SSID, save settings, click AP Mode, click Repeater, and fill in the LAN MAC address of the “main” Access Point, save settings and Bob's your uncle. Well, according to the setup instructions that's all you do. If you follow all that, it WON'T work.
I found this little gem on the Linksys Support website. Let me quote a couple instances that stood out in my mind:
Enter the WIRELESS Mac Address from the WRT54G that you recorded. (Disregard the fact that the page asks to “Enter the LAN MAC ADDRESS”).
The “SSID” of the WAP54G does not have to be the same as the WRT54G. This can be used for initial configuration; using a different SSID will enable testing of network connectivity, and will show that the WRT54G is associated with the WAP54G.
That seems to go against all the documentation that says all access points on the wireless lan must have the same SSID. It also says to make sure that the WAP54G is connected to the WRT54G via WIRED ethernet during the setup phase. I followed the instructions on that page, and it all seems to be working. The WAP54G is back installed in the apt on my left, and the WRT54G is installed with the DSL modem in the apt on my right. I sit right in the middle and get excellent signal from both. One weird thing is that every now and then, I'll lose my connection, and then pop back up on the other access point! PITA but at least it's all working now.
The bigger PITA is that since I have WEP disabled (and the WAP54g and WRT54g do NOT support WPA in repeater mode... yet) is that when I ping-pong from one network to the other, Windows pops up the “One or more wireless networks are available” balloon and requires me to select the SSID and check the box “Allow me to connect to this network even though there is no security” or whatever it says. This is supposedly going to be “fixed” with XP SP2, but that's still a few weeks (probably more) off. “Summer 2004” is a pretty long time when you have to click and connect every freakin time.