Saturday, August 18, 2012

Adding a Second Wireless Router to Your Home Network

Even with today's powerful wireless routers, it seems that coverage doesn't span as far as it used too. I live in a relatively small house and one D-Link Wireless-N router in one corner of the house doesn't seem to do the job in the opposite corner. I was able to get a second router at a steal of a deal, so I decided to add it to my home network. The second router is a Netgear N150 DSL modem + router, but we only want to use it for wireless connectivity... contrary to legitimate doubts this is actually no problem at all.

Follow these steps to add a second wireless router to your home network:
  1. Power up the NEW wireless router but don't plug it into anything quite yet.
  2. Using a computer that is connected to your EXISTING router, go to 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 (most common IPs) in your browser to access your existing wireless router that already has a modem plugged into it. Lets assume that your EXISTING router is setup at 192.168.1.1.
  3. Now you need to access your NEW router's admin. The easiest way is to plug a laptop into it via LAN cable. Make sure the laptop is not connected to any other networks.
  4. Once in the NEW router's admin, change the IP of that router to 192.168.1.2. (Just match the IP of your EXISTING router, but ending in a 2 instead of a 1).
  5. You also need to disable DHCP server on the NEW router.
  6. Finally, connect a LAN cable from a numbered port on your NEW router to a numbered port on your EXISTING router. Since the two routers are likely far apart, you can use either structured wiring or even a power outlet LAN extender (I am using a NETGEAR one now, thanks Steve!)
  7. You should now be able to access to NEW router's admin from any computer on your network by browsing to 192.168.1.2. Once there, setup your wireless network connection. You may need to use different channels than your EXISTING router in case of any conflict. You should also set the wifi network name as something different from your EXISTING wifi network name, even if you just add a "2" to the end. Make sure to setup security to your personal preference.
  8. You should now have two wireless networks in your house. Depending on your wireless device, you can probably set it up to pick the strongest one at any given time. This way your phone or laptop can hop on and off your two wifi networks to get the strongest signal as you move from one end of your house to the other.