How to Connect Two Routers on a Home NetworkPosted July 9, 2018, 9:43 a.m. by Kennedy Runo
You are probably wondering why you would need two routers on one home network. Don’t worry; there are plenty of logical explanations for why you would need 2 routers on the same network.
- Network Upgrade – Your existing network might be cabled but you are looking to have wireless capabilities for devices such as laptops and smartphones.
- Extending Wi-Fi coverage – In a wireless network, you are bound to have dead spots due to barriers. To overcome this, you may need a second router.
- Separate the Subnets – If you work from home, you will want to separate the streaming services and video games subnets from your work subnet for security and efficiency reasons. This can easily be achieved using the second router.
Below are a few steps you need to follow in order to have two working wired/wireless routers on the same network;
Where to put the router?
You will note that it does not matter whether your routers are wired or wireless. The best way to run initial router configurations is by connecting it to a computer via an Ethernet cable. After you have your router configured, you can place your wireless router near a window where there are few signal barriers. To avoid signal attenuation, wired routers should be placed near the devices using it.
Best Practice Tip: If you are using a router to access the internet, ensure there are few or no loops between the router and your devices.
How to connect a second wired router?
All wired routers come with two types of ports namely – the uplink port and the regular ports. The uplink port will usually be labeled “WAN” or “Internet”. A router that does not have wireless capabilities is easy to add to your home network. All you need to do is to plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the second router’s uplink port and the other into the first router’s regular port.
How to connect a second wireless router?
Just as you can connect the wired routers using an Ethernet cable, you can also do the same with wireless home routers. Unfortunately, the second router loses its routing functionality.
For the second router to get its routing capabilities, it has to be configured as a client. Most home routers do not have this functionality. You will have to check the specific router’s documentation to see if it supports client mode configurations and how you go about it.
How to set up the Wi-Fi Channel to Avoid Signals Interference
When two wireless routers are in use, their signals are bound to interfere with each other. The resultant effect of this is that the network becomes unpredictable, slows down and there are numerous dropped connections.
The wireless routers utilize Wi-Fi frequency channels to reach connected devices. If the signals from both routers overlap in the same Wi-Fi channel, signal interference occurs.
The Wi-Fi signal channels can be configured on the router's console in such a way as to have the signals from different routers defaulting to different channels.
Best Practice Tip: Configure your first router to use the frequency range 1 to 6 and the second one to use channel 11. This way, you’ll avoid signal collision and interference.
Pro Tip: Depending on the manufacturer, all home routers come with a default IP address. If you want to configure the second router as an access point or a network switch, you will need to change the default IP address to avoid IP collision with the first router. You can easily find your router's IP address using your device as long as it is connected to the router.
Using the second router to create a subnet
Sometimes you want to control which devices in your home network access the internet. In other situations, you want to restrict the websites your children can access. You may also want to hide your private data from service providers and hackers. The best way to go about this is to use the second router as an access point.
A router can also be configured as an access point or a switch to extend the internet access and file/printer sharing capabilities of the home network. In such cases, you do not need a new subnet and hence no further configuration is needed.
How to extend the network without creating a subnet
- Wired Routers - Get an Ethernet cable and connect it to any free port of the second router other than the uplink port and connect the other end of the cable to any of the free ports on the first router other than the uplink port.
- Wireless Routers – You will need to consult the specific router’s documentation to establish which settings you can use to configure the router as a repeater or a bridge.
To avoid local IP addresses conflict;
- Ensure that your second router’s IP is within the range prescribed on the first router and that the said IP does not conflict with that of any other device on the home network.
- Ensure that the DHCP range on the second router cascades from the IP range configured on the first router.
- If DCHP is confusing you, you can disable the functionality on the second router and manually assign IP’s to the devices connected to the second router, ensuring they fall within the range pre-configured on the first router.
Best Practice Tip: For Wi-Fi networks, consider adding a wireless access point rather than a second router.
A great alternative to modern router-controlled home networks is the Bluetooth Personal Area Network. The tech is usually used to make wireless connections between mobile computers. Within the personal area network, you can have a total of 8 computers and a couple of smartphones. Unfortunately, this tech does not allow a lot of wiggle room in terms of scale.Related: Router How-to Repeater Home Networking