Saturday, 28 September 2013

Setting up Second Wi-Fi Router to LAN

Question:

My office has two sections operating on different floors of the building. We are using a Wi-Fi router for our office LAN & Internet access, but the range of this router is not enough to support the other floor area. We understand that connecting another router would need a different subnet and what we need is just a switch. Is there a way to have the second router setup to just function as switch?

By: Arun Viswa

Answer:

While there are specific devices that will meet this requirement, yes, this can be achieved using Wi-Fi routers as well (Some routers may have hardened the configuration and thus restricting this ability). The routers have the switching function within it and you just need to use the switching function alone. You can achieve this by configuring your second router as below: For this purpose, let us assume that your first router is setup to have your office network as 192.168.3.0 / 255.255.255.0 with a gateway address as 192.168.3.250 and DHCP Server enabled for a range of IP addresses.


  1. Some routers automatically setup the WAN port upon connecting the network cable on the WAN port. And so, do not connect your network cable into any of the ports yet.
  2. Just connect a PC or Laptop to one of the LAN ports(usually numbered) and just go to the LAN setup section using the web based setup portal. Usually this can be accessed using the URL http://192.168.0.1. Consult your router manual for the default IP and the admin credentials.
  3. Disable the DHCP Server and assign a static LAN IP within the same subnet, that is outside the DHCP range of the primary router. In our case, let us assign 192.168.3.255 with the same subnet and gateway as that of the first router.
  4. Now connect your LAN cable from the first router into another numbered LAN port(not the WAN port).
  5. Make sure that your primary router's DHCP range is wide enough to support the number of computers and devices that you would be connecting from both the floors of your office.


Incidentally, if you setup your Wi-fi with the same SSID and security setup as that of your first wi-fi router, you have wi-fi roaming also working. i.e. your office wi-fi devices configured to connect to your first router will automatically connect to the second router when they move into the wi-fi range of second router. Please note that as I have indicated, some router's have pre-configured firmware restricting this kind of setup.

You can always reach me for further clarification on this.