Ever wondered where you will take your older router once you upgrade to a new router? Then wonder no more. The older router can be connected with the new router to expand the range of your wireless network. However, we need to learn how to connect a second router wirelessly.
Currently, there are some routers that can give you wide Wi-Fi coverage. These long-range Wi-Fi coverage routers may also be mesh network routers. Even with their long-range coverage, with thick walls and larger homes, you may require a Wi-Fi extender.
The new Wi-Fi router is placed in areas without Wi-Fi coverage in your home or office.
How to connect router to modem wirelessly
In order to connect two routers, you need to ensure that your routers are enabled for wireless bridging. The wireless bridging feature is not found in most router’s default settings and thus needs to be enabled.
One of the ways of enabling the wireless bridging feature in your router is by using the DD-WRT firmware. This firmware breathes in new life into old routers.
Using DD-WRT, a free Linux-based firmware that replaces the factory firmware in a router. This firmware thus gives an old router improved performance and new features.
Therefore when DD-WRT is installed into your router, it gives the router the wireless bridge features in –WRT in addition to other features. We will give you a guide on how to configure DD-WRT to enable the wireless bridge features.
How to configure DD-WRT to enable wireless bridge features
Step 1: Check if your router is supported for installation of the DD-WRT firmware
Using the DD-WRT database, you can easily find if the router that you want to use as the bridge router is DD-WRT supported. You can also find out if there are files you can download to install DD-WRT in your router.
It is important to note that most of the routers brands available in the market today are DD-WRT enabled or can be made to be DD-WRT enabled.
In case your router is not DD-WRT enabled, you can get a new or refurbished router that is DD-WRT enabled.
Step 2: For DD-WRT enabled routers check the device specific directions for DD-WRT installation
This step is performed for routers with DD-WRT capabilities. The database may have installation directions that are specific for different routers. It is important to check the notes for the installation too.
The installation process, as detailed in the DD-WRT installation guides, is as simple as installing a program into a computer. The process of installing the firmware is called flashing.
In the installation process, be keen on the installation guide as given. This is because if the installation is not done properly you might brick your router.
Step 3: Perform a hard reset to the router
This step is done once you have successfully installed the DD-WRT firmware. This is done using a pointed object and pressing the router reset/ restore factoring setting button. This button is found at the back of the modem and is outlined in red on most devices.
While pressing the reset button you wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the router lights flash. It is good to refer to the device manual for a hard reset in case this process does not work.
Step 4: Using an Ethernet cable connect the bridge router to the computer
Connecting your computer using an Ethernet cable to the LAN jacks on the bridge router will give you a chance to set a static IP address on your PC. You can set a static IP address of for example 192.168.1.10. The bridge IP address when the above static IP address is set will be 192.168.1.1.
Step 5: Changing your username and password
On your computer, open a Web browser and enter 192.168.1.1 on the browser address bar. This will create a DD-WRT Web interface.
In the interface, you will be prompted to change the Username and password. Once the username and password are chosen, you should then click on the change password button.
Step 6: Configure the security settings
To configure the settings, go to wireless on the DD-WRT interface from which you should select wireless security.
This should be followed by selecting security mode, algorithm, and shared key as your primary router. After all, this is accomplished, click the save button.
Step 7: Setting the other basic settings on DD-WRT interface
After changing the security settings, kindly move to the basic settings on the DD-WRT interface. In the basic settings, change the wireless mode to client bridge.
This should be followed by ensuring both the Network mode and SSID are similar for both the primary router and bridge router.
In addition, for N routers, there may be a necessity to change the wireless channel width to read the same for both the primary router and bridge router.
After all these changes, kindly press save and then apply settings button.
Step 8: Changing the basic setup settings
Changing the basic setup settings is the next step in how to connect a second router wirelessly.
In this step, go to the basic setup on the main setup menu. After selecting the basic setup, key in the router IP information.
The IP address for the local router IP address should be in the same subnet as the IP address of the primary router. This means that for example if your primary router gives you an IP address on 192.168.1.n subnet, you can select the IP address as 192.168.1.11.
The subnet mask will still remain as 255.255.255.0 whereas the IP address of the primary router should be keyed in as the gateway address.
After this, leave the local DNS settings blank but kindly ensure that you select your time zone.
However, another option would be to check the checkbox indicated as ‘assign WAN Port to Switch’. This will convert the WAN port to a LAN port. The change helps to give you an additional port on the bridge router.
After these settings are effected, then click on the apply settings button.
Step 9: Logging back into the bridge router
After you have made all the changes above, log back using the newly set address (192.168.1.11) into the bridge router.
Step 10: Enabling filter multicast on Security settings
After logging back into the bridge router, kindly go to the Security options on the DD-WRT interface. On the security settings select firewall. Under the firewall head to Block WAN Requests and select ‘Filter Multicast’.
Also kindly ensure that ‘SPI Firewall’ available under the firewall protection is disabled.
Once this is done, click save and apply settings.
Step 11: Setting the operating mode
Once you are done with the security settings, then move on to the advanced routing settings. On the advanced routing area, it is recommended that you set the ‘operating mode to ‘router’.
Click save after setting the operating mode.
Kindly note that if you are using MAC filtering on the first router, it means that you will use the second (bridge) router’s MAC address. This is different from the LAN MAC address that is normally indicated in the router label. You can easily find the MAC address by going to the status and then selecting the Sys-Info.
Step 12: Enabling the automatic IP address setting
After completion of the processes above, it is time to remove the static IP address and activate automatic IP addressing.
Once this is done, the second router (bridge router) should be able to pass along an automatic IP address from the first router (primary router) to the computer.
As soon as the automatic IP address is passed to your computer, you should be able to access the internet.
Step 13: Connecting other devices to the second (bridge) router
After checking and verifying that your computer can connect to the internet as shown above, it is time to disconnect the computer.
This means that the bridge router is now ready to connect to the other devices in your home as long as it is placed within the Wi-Fi connection range of the first (primary) router.
Note that if your first router is a Wireless-N router and your second router is a wireless-G router, then you may be required to set the wireless mode settings to one that will enable b/g network support.
The final word
Following the guide above will enable you to use your router to create a bridge network on your second router. This way you can put to use your old router.
The process will enable you to connect all wired devices too to the internet even if you are far away from the first router.
This way, if your primary (first) router is in the living area of your home, you can connect to the internet in your study area next to your bedroom using the second router.
The wireless connection created between the first (primary) router and the second (bridge) router will enable communication from the devices to your primary router to the modem then to the ISP hardware.
In the process, you can be able to connect many wired devices to the computer using the two routers.