How to extend your home network using 2 wireless routers

April 26, 2011 by
Filed under: Computer Tips & Techniques 

From time to time we have been asked how to extend a home network so that you have a good wireless signal strength in a large house or building. WiFi only works for a few hundred feet, less if you add walls of floors. What is a good solution?
Well standard wireless routers are cheap now so in this article we will show you how to configure your home network to use 2 wireless routers to extend the range and get very good coverage. Most home or small business users will already have a cable/DSL modem and a single wireless router setup. The first thing to do is determine the ideal location for a second wireless access point. We use a free program called Ekahua Heatmapper to get a visible map of the strength of your wireless signal at different places around the building. The best place to locate the new access point will be an area that you want to use it that does not have good signal now. It does not even need to be near a power outlet because you can use Power Over Ethernet Adapters to power the second router.

Once you have the location determined then get your parts together that you will need:
Additional Wireless Router (Any brand will work just fine for this configuration)
Ethernet cable to go between the two routers

First we will need to configure the second router to be just an access point/switch. Log into the router admin software and look for the network configuration page. You will need to turn off the part that says DHCP server. Next you will need to go to the security section and be sure and enable either WPA or WPA2 security, you router manual will give details on this. You need the security enabled so neighbors can not connect to your wireless network. Now you are set and ready to mount the router. Run the ethernet cable to the location and plug it into the router on one of the posts that your PC would normally plug into not the port labeled WAN. Power up the router and test with your laptop. You should be getting good signal and internet speed in areas that you were not able to before.  You can also plug additional PCs into any of the remaining of the 4 PC ports on the back of the router.

Here is a diagram of what you will have when you are finished:

You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Using inexpensive routers to extend your signal range is fast and cheaper than getting dedicated access points since Wireless Routers can now be purchased for $20-$30. You can even add additional routers to the new one to extend even further, usually just up to about 3-4.

All of the PCs, Laptops, Printers and network devices will appear on the same network so you can share resources or stream music/videos too.

Feel free to ask questions about configuring your network in our forum section: Network forum
Look through the topics or start a ‘new topic’ if you can’t find the information you need already available. We are trying to build IT community resources so all input is appreciated.

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Comments

53 Comments on How to extend your home network using 2 wireless routers

  1. Dean on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 8:19 am
  2. This is very interesting but this is extending the wireless internet using a wire.
    Is it possible to extend the wifi range using 2 wifi devices – 1 as a base receiver of the internet and the other as a receiver from that 1 and then transmit to other devices deeper in the house.
    I have mobile broadband coming into the house and the device Huawei E5862, only transmits using wifi – no cables can be connected to it except a USB. I bought an extender (TP-Link MR3220 – http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?categoryid=218&model=TL-MR3220 ), but found after it arrived that it was not compatable with my mobile device.
    Is it possible for me to connect the Mobile Device into a spare laptop near the window so i can get a good signal, run a long cable from the Laptop into the TP-Link Router located near the middle of the house and extend the range of the wifi across the house.

    I will submit this to the forum also.

    Thanks in advance
    Dean

  3. CCL_TECH on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 8:34 am
  4. In your case you would need a device such as this one.

    http://www.ccl-la.com/blog/index.php/product-review-netgear-wm2000rpt-wireless-extender/

    It picks up the wireless signal from your mobile broadband device or any Wi-Fi source and retransmits it plus it adds 4 hard wired ethernet ports for Computers and home theater devices.

  5. The Coyote on Tue, 19th Mar 2013 10:31 pm
  6. Thanks for posting this! I was beating my head off the wall trying to get my router set up like this. I read this and realized I was being an idiot. I had the ethernet cable hooked to the internet port. I had forgotten that 1 step. Thanks again!

  7. Julio on Sun, 7th Apr 2013 8:20 am
  8. Will this setup affect my internet speed in any way? Thank you.

  9. CCL_TECH on Mon, 8th Apr 2013 3:13 pm
  10. No speed reduction at all. The second wireless router is just acting like an access point.

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