How to extend your home network using 2 wireless routers
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:
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
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