Using a Router as a Wireless Access Point
The wireless signal in parts of my house was weak, and I wanted to improve it. I already had an existing router and modem, and figured I could improve the signal by adding one more router to the current setup.
It took a few hours to research everything and get it set up properly, so I’ll document the key steps here for when I need to set it up again.
Research your network
Before touching the new router, learn about your current network setup. Navigate to your current router’s admin page (e.g.
192.168.1.1) and log in with your username and password.
If you don’t remember your username / password, try the defaults located on a sticker on the bottom of the router. If those don’t work, factory reset the router by holding a paper clip on the reset button for 10 seconds.
Advanced Settings > LAN > DHCP Server, and see what the ‘Starting Address’ and ‘Ending Address’ values are for the router’s IP pool (e.g.
192.168.1.254). This is the range of IP addresses on the subnet (e.g.
192.168.1.*) that your router can use for clients.
Make sure there is room on the subnet for your new router. If you want the new router to have address
192.168.1.2, then make sure to set the ‘Starting Address’ of the original router’s DHCP IP pool to
192.168.1.3 or higher.
Restart the original router if you made any changes.
Set up the new router
Unpack the new router, and cover the single WAN port with tape. Routers configured as access points do all input and output through the 4 LAN ports instead.
DO NOT plug the new router into the original router until the end.
Plug the new router into a power outlet. Plug an ethernet cable into any of the 4 LAN ports of the router, and plug the other end of the cable into your computer.
Configure new router as an access point
Look on the bottom of the new router for the default IP address, username, and password. Navigate to that address (e.g.
192.168.0.1) and log in.
On the admin page, navigate to
Advanced > Network > LAN, and change the IP address to an open address in your original router’s subnet (e.g.
192.168.1.2). Save this change, and restart the router.
Wait a couple of minutes, then reconnect to the admin page using the new IP address.
Advanced > Network > DHCP Server, and disable it entirely by unchecking ‘Enable DHCP Server’. Ignore all the other settings, because its disabled.
Configure wireless network names
Most modern devices, when presented with multiple networks using the same name and password, will juggle between those connections seamlessly based on which signal is strongest at the time.
Unless you have a device that can’t handle this, keep it simple and use a single network identity for all signals.
On both the old and new router, navigate to
Basic > Wireless, and set the network name / password for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks to the same values.
Test and celebrate
You should now have 4 signals, broadcasting from 2 devices, that appear to most computers as 1 wireless connection. Use something like Speedtest.net to measure you connection speed and confirm it has improved.
Assuming everything works, clean up your mess and organize your cables, then don’t think about your wireless network again until you move.