How to use a wireless gateway/router as a wireless access point

Why did this problem come about?

I recently bought a D-link DIR-628 wireless gateway/router. My goal was to get move up to the 5ghz signal. The advantage is significant: the actual throughput of your wireless access point is much better using 5ghz n/a signal rather than 2.4ghz n/g/b signal.

What I didn’t realize was how much I needed support for 802.11b and 802.11g. An oversight on my part? Partially: I could have bought a device that supported 5ghz and 2.4ghz simultaneously. But I didn’t, and I realized I needed to get that signal back and running.

What were my option? The most logical one is to go buy a Wireless Access Point. The funny thing is that Wireless Access Points are more expensive than Wireless Gateway Routers, yet are harder to find and do much less.

Next on the list was to connect a older wireless gateway router into my newer router. That could work, except that I would get a new set of IPs and possibly a firewall in the middle of my home traffic. I didn’t like this idea.

My solution was as follows. To implement it, you might need an Ethernet crossover cable, and a Wireless Gateway Router hub that is cooperating. In my case, I used an old US Robotics 802.11g wireless router that I had lying around.

Before I describe how you go about doing this, let me give you another reason why this could be useful. Imagine your wireless hub is located in your basement and that your wireless signal doesn’t reach the 2nd floor of your house. If you run a wire from the basement to simply the second floor, you could install a wireless access point there and now increase the range of your wireless signal. There might be other solutions available, but this one is nice because it might not require anything other than a long network cable, since you might have older wireless routers simply lying around. In my case, I did something similar to this, and now have wireless access in the back of my house, a place my D-link router would not reach.

Anyways, the first thing you will need to do is configure the older wireless router. One setting is key: you want to disable DHCP on it. Why? Because your new router will be responsible for that job. The other thing you will want to do is pick an IP address for the LAN interface of your old router that makes sense from the perspective of your current internal network. For example, if your current network is in the 192.168.0.xxx range, and that your DHCP server on your new router gives IP addresses in the 192.168.0.100-192.168.0.199 range, don’t assign your old wireless router an IP in the DHCP range. You might want to assign it IP 192.168.0.99 for example, and you will want to remember you did that.

You should also configure the settings for wireless security of your older wireless router. Personally, I would give it another name than your current wireless router (for example, if the name of your main wireless router is “wireless”, you might want to call that one “wirelessg”). Also make sure you secure it with WPA2 if you can, etc. If you configure it to be unprotected, someone would gain access to your whole internal network when they connect to it.

Then, using the Ethernet Crossover cable, connect one of the regular ports of your current wireless router to a port on your older wireless router. This way, when you wirelessly connect a device to the older wireless router, the DHCP address you will receive will come from your newer wireless router, and no traffic will leave the older wireless router through its WAN port. Instead, all traffic will go from your device to the older wireless router, then it will hop unto the crossover cable, then will go into your new wireless router. From there, it will either stay local (for example, if you have a printer on your inside network), or it will go out to the internet from the WAN port of your current wireless router.

If you ever need to reconfigure your older wireless router, you can use the static IP you assigned to it previously (for example, 192.168.0.99). Also, some wireless routers don’t “like” this setup, so try it before you wire your house. In my case, my USRobotics router seems to work fine but I tried earlier with a Linksys device and was not as successful.

1 comment

  1. Look into DD-WRT, it’s amazing! In wireless bridge mode, you would likely be able to achieve the same thing without having to run a cable between the two wireless devices.

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