Adding a second router to your wireless network can improve the reach of your Wi-Fi. You already know the Wi-Fi blackout areas in your home. Placing the second router in those areas should get you the full coverage.
For the most part, it’s not that hard to add the second router to your Wi-Fi, but there are still a few things you need to know. This article explains each method in detail and offers some tips on which equipment works best.
Before You Start
The Wi-Fi router range depends on the standard it supports. For example, Wireless N routers (802.11n) offer better range compared to Wireless-G routers.
It is best to use two 802.11n routers, but a Wireless-G as the second router may work fine as well. Make sure you know the passkey and SSID for each router if you set up a wireless connection.
The position of the second router is also important. You can keep it next to the computer for configuration and then move it to the blackout area in your home.
Configuring the Second Router
To increase the reach of your Wi-Fi signal, you can use the second router as a repeater. The entire procedure doesn’t take too much time and there are only a few steps.
You need to determine the Subnet Mask and the IP address of your main router. Launch the Command Prompt on Windows and type “ipconfig/all”. The value you are looking for is under Default Gateway. Mac users should launch the Terminal app and type “ifconfig |grep inet”.
Copy and paste your IP address into a browser address bar. If you are using Internet Explorer, add http:// in front of the address to prevent error messages. Now you need to enter the username and password to access the settings.
Select Wireless Settings and write down the channel, Wireless mode, and the SSID. Make sure to note your passwords and security mode (WPA2, WPA, or WEP). At this point, you can proceed to configure the second router.
Reset the second router to factory settings and connect it to the main router via Ethernet cable. Of course, the router needs to be turned on.
Launch your browser and type 192.168.1.1, which is usually the default IP address. D-Link and Netgear routers have 192.168.0.1 as the default IP address.
Once inside Settings, change all the values to match your main router. These include the channel, the Wireless mode, and the security mode. The SSID can be different so it’s easier for you to distinguish between the two routers.
Navigate to Advanced Routing under Setup and switch to Router Mode. Some routers might have the mode labeled as NAT, and you have to disable it in that case. You also need to disable the DHCP Server because your main router assigns IP addresses to the connected devices.
Afterward, you need to change the IP address of the second router to any free address. For example, if the IP address on your main router is 192.168.30.1, assign 192.168.30.2 to the second router.
Don’t forget that the routers need to have the same Subnet mask. Once you are done, hit Save and exit the browser.
Connect the Two Routers
With configuration out of the way, it’s time to connect the routers via an Ethernet or Cat-5 cable. The main router usually has 5 ports, and the WAN port should be hooked up to an IPS modem.
Choose one of the available LAN ports on each router, make the connection, and you’re done.
Benefits and Downsides
As said, the second router increases the wireless range, and you can even daisy-chain a few routers using the same method. But you should know that your internet speed might suffer, especially if you have only one outbound connection.
At the same time, two routers on the same network allow you to access all your shared files throughout the network. You can move, copy, and paste files, or play music, movies, and pictures on any computer or mobile device that’s connected.
However, file sharing comes with some security concerns. Anyone who has access to your wireless network can access the files as well. More connected devices translate to more security risks, which is why it’s important to install antivirus software.
Extend the Range
You don’t have to be super tech-savvy to add a second router to your wireless network. Also, if you have an old router, you can always repurpose it to get a better Wi-Fi reach.
But remember that this affects the strength of your Wi-Fi signal. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though, unless you are using streaming services and other Wi-Fi-intensive apps.