Adding a second router to your wireless network can improve your Wi-Fi range. You already know the Wi-Fi blackout zones in your home. Placing the second router in these areas should give you full coverage.
For the most part, adding the second router to your Wi-Fi isn't that difficult, but there are still a few things you need to know. This article explains each method in detail and offers some tips on which equipment works best.
Before you begin
The range of the Wi-Fi router depends on the standard it supports. For example, Wireless-N (802.11n) routers provide better range compared to Wireless-G routers.
It's best to use two 802.11n routers, but a Wireless-G as a second router can also work well. Make sure you know the password and SSID for each router if you are setting up a wireless connection.
The position of the second router is also important. You can keep it next to the computer for setup and then move it to the blackout area of your home.
Configuration of the second router
To increase the range of your Wi-Fi signal, you can use the second router as a repeater. The whole procedure does not take too long and there are only a few steps.
You need to determine the subnet mask and IP address of your main router. Launch the command prompt in Windows and type “ipconfig /all”. The value you are looking for is under Default Gateway. Mac users should launch the Terminal application and type "ifconfig |grep inet".
Copy and paste your IP address into a browser address bar. If you use Internet Explorer, add http:// in front of the address to avoid error messages. Now you need to enter the username and password to access the settings.
Select Wireless Settings and note the channel, wireless mode and SSID. Be sure to write down your passwords and security mode (WPA2, WPA, or WEP). At this point, you can proceed to configure the second router.
Reset the second router to factory settings and connect it to the main router via an Ethernet cable. Of course, the router must be turned on.
Launch your browser and type in 192.168.1.1, which is usually the default IP address. D-Link and Netgear routers have 192.168.0.1 as the default IP address.
Once in the settings, change all the values to match your primary router. These include channel, wireless mode, and security mode. The SSID may be different, so it is easier for you to distinguish between the two routers.
Go to Advanced Routing under Configuration and switch to Router mode. Some routers may have NAT mode and you should disable it in this case. You should also disable the DHCP server because your main router assigns IP addresses to connected devices.
Next, you need to change the second router's IP address to any free address. For example, if your main router's IP address is 192.168.30.1, assign 192.168.30.2 to the second router.
Remember that routers must have the same subnet mask. Once you're done, hit save and exit the browser.
Connect the two routers
Once setup is complete, it's time to connect the routers via Ethernet or Cat-5 cable. The main router usually has 5 ports, and the WAN port should be connected to an IPS modem.
Choose one of the LAN ports available on each router, establish the connection and you're done.
Advantages and disadvantages
As mentioned, the second router increases the wireless range and you can even daisy chain a few routers using the same method. But you should be aware that your internet speed may suffer, especially if you only have one outgoing connection.
At the same time, two routers on the same network allow you to access all your shared files across the entire network. You can move, copy and paste files, or play music, movies and pictures on any connected computer or mobile device.
However, file sharing comes with some security issues. Anyone with access to your wireless network can also access the files. More connected devices translate to more security risks, which is why it's important to install antivirus software.
Extend the range
You don't have to be a tech savvy to add a second router to your wireless network. Also, if you have an old router, you can always reuse it to get better Wi-Fi range.
But keep in mind that this affects your Wi-Fi signal strength. This shouldn't be too much of an issue, though, unless you're using streaming services and other Wi-Fi intensive apps.