We all know that Wi-Fi can be spotty at times and isn’t exactly the most reliable thing. Fortunately, there are several ways to solve this problem: add a Wi-Fi repeater or reuse old hardware. You probably have an old router somewhere in your closet, and while you can throw it away, you can use it as a Wi-Fi extender instead. This will save you a few bucks and also provide better performance than a Wi-Fi repeater.
Despite the simplistic configuration of a Wi-Fi extender, its simplicity comes at a cost: performance. One way to fix the problem is to reduce latency and add another router to the network.
What is the advantage of connecting two routers?
While adding a Wi-Fi extender is usually easier, the results of adding another router speak for themselves. In terms of performance, adding another router to an existing router is better than any Wi-Fi extender because it’s wired through an Ethernet connection.
While Wi-Fi extenders receive packets from your router and retransmit them into a signal that your devices can use, the performance of wired over wireless is unmatched, further justifying this simple trick. A successful install will involve recycling old electronics and boosting your Wi-Fi signal, and here’s how to do it.
To complete this installation, you will need a few parts and access to a few items. Luckily, you probably have most of these things in your household. Otherwise, almost all major stores will have them in stock.
- Main router
- A second router
- Ethernet cable (to desired length)
- Access to a computer
- Internet connection
Ethernet cables are only effective up to a certain distance and can only deliver up to certain speeds. It depends on the length of the Ethernet cable and its type, ranging from Cat 1 to Cat 8.
How to Access Your Main Router
Your primary router is where most of the setup takes place and allows the secondary router to receive an Internet connection from the primary router. Regardless of the type or brand of your router, you must log in to your router’s configuration page.
Enter your router’s IP address into your browser’s address bar and press Enter. Not sure what your router’s IP address is? Learn how to find your router’s IP address, then return to this article. Regardless of the operating system, your router’s IP address will remain the same because your Internet service provider issues the IP address.
For example, to find your router’s IP address in Windows:
- Grab Network status in the Start menu search bar and select the best match.
- Then select View hardware and connection properties.
- Locate it Default Gatewaynext to which you will find your router’s IP address.
The alternative is to log into your service provider’s website and change your settings that way. Typing the default gateway IP address into your browser will also take you to your service provider’s website, where you can get the same results. Regardless of your setup, there are a few things that need to be configured for this system to work properly.
Configuration of the main router
To make your secondary router act as an extender, you need to configure a few things on your primary router to make it work. After typing the default gateway IP in your browser, a screen will ask you to enter your username and password. Typically this remains the default and logging in can be as simple as typing “admin” for the password prompt. Whether this is your first connection, information about the default router can be found online or in the owner’s manual.
As mentioned, entering the default gateway IP address will often take you to your service provider’s Services page, allowing you to accomplish the same things. You won’t log in with the default credentials because you’ve already set up something with an existing service provider.
After that click on the DHCP server checkbox on your main router, although this should be enabled by default. This completes the installation on the main router side. Route the Ethernet cable if needed behind furniture, under carpet, or through drywall to the desired location of your secondary router, but do not connect the two yet.
Configuration of the secondary router
The first half of the installation is complete, leaving you with the second half. However, before you access the internet on your secondary router, you need to log in to the secondary router to configure things accordingly. Similar to the previous steps, you can do this by plugging one end of an Ethernet cable into your computer and the other into the secondary router. Then, following the same steps as the main router, locate where it says DHCP server in the router settings. It must be disabled on secondary router to avoid IP address problems.
After unchecking the DCHP Server box on your secondary router, disconnect the secondary router’s Ethernet cable from your computer and perform a system reboot on both networks. Start by connecting your main network first and verify that it is fully operational.
Locate the Ethernet cable from the primary router, then place the secondary router in the desired location. Ideally, this should be placed where the internet is patchy or where there isn’t as much signal. The primary router’s Ethernet cable should plug into an Ethernet port on the secondary router, allowing it to get an Internet connection from your primary router.
Testing your internet connection
At this point in the setup, you should be able to connect to both routers as separate entities, both wirelessly and through the WLAN ports. This should be far more efficient than using a Wi-Fi repeater, as latency is reduced and the sheer dominance of wired connections over its counterpart.
If the secondary router is not working, recheck your settings and reboot the system. You can do this by disconnecting the power from the devices for about 30 seconds. When fully operational, both routers will emit a Wi-Fi signal even in the most patchy places before!
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