Use WiFi Router as an Access Point

If you have ever used WiFi at railway station or at Airport, then you might have wondered how a single WiFi network is able to span the whole area while the WiFi signal of the router at your home fades away after a few meters. Well ! they use access points to provide the WiFi coverage at all the places. And this story is about using your WiFi router as an access point.

So, if you have a spare WiFi router and want it to use just as an access point for extending your primary WiFi router’s range, then go ahead —

For this, we need —

  1. A primary router —This is the router whose WiFi range you want to extend. This is probably your gateway router.
  2. Secondary router — The spare router which you want to use as access point to extend the range.
  3. A LAN cable to connect 2 routers.

First, turn on the primary router and connect to it over WiFi or via an Ethernet connection.Now its time to find the IP address of this router. You can find it written at the back of your router as something like this given in the image below —

Here the IP is 192.168.1.1. The username and password also given here.Note them down somewhere. For some other routers, it may not be given. In that case, you can check out the default credentials on the router manufacturer’s website.

Now, hit the IP address of the router [192.168.1.1 here] in the browser address bar. You will be greeted with router’s login page. Enter the login credentials noted above and if successful, you will land at the home page of the router.

Now, get a notepad and note a few things about this router which we will be requiring this in further steps to configure the secondary router.

Go to this router’s LAN settings and note its IP address, [which you probably already know since you accessed this router’s login page with its IP address]. Also note down the subnet mask, DHCP server IP (it is generally same as the IP of the primary router , so it may not be written for some routers.). Also note the range of IP addresses available to assign.(as in the image below)

Now, go to WLAN settings or Wireless Settings ( depends on routers ) and note down the security or encryption type ( WPA/ WPA2/ WPA2PSK etc.), SSID of primary router.

With all this information in hand, we are good to go.So,disconnect from primary router and head on —

Now switch on the secondary router which you want to use as access point and connect to it with LAN cable(preferred) or over WiFi. Follow the exact same procedure as in the previous step to find out the IP address and credentials of this router ( which I guess will be 192.168.1.1 itself ) and log in to the router’s home page as done in previous step for primary router.

Now we need to change 4 things here —

  1. Change IP address

We want to take this router under the umbrella of the primary router and want it to work as any other mobile device in the network, with the intention to relay our wireless traffic to the primary router. And its very likely that this secondary router has same static IP address (say 192.168.1.1) as that of primary router.Since any 2 devices in a network cannot have same IP address,we need to fix this.

Go to Local Network or LAN settings of the router and look for a field specifying IP address of this router.

This router should have the static IP address different from primary router under same subnet mask. Depending on the subnet mask of the primary router noted in the previous step (assuming , the subnet mask to be 255.255.255.0 and IP address of the primary router to be 192.168.1.1), you can assign any IP address which fits well and doesn’t conflict with that of primary router.( So, here you can assign any IP of the form 192.168.1.x where x can range from 2 to 254).

Note that after this step, the router will reboot and you may be disconnected from your router. You need to connect again to it and again visit it’s homepage by logging into it as done earlier. But this time, be careful to use the new IP address that you just assigned to this router (say 192.168.1.2 or whatever).

2. Disable DHCP server:

This is necessary to do since we are going to use our router only as an access point and we want only one DHCP server in our network since we are distributing addresses only under 1 subnet.

To do this, just go to Local Network settings of the router(Note that this may be different for different routers) and uncheck the field quoting “Enable DHCP server”. But now the devices connected to this router still need to get IP addresses. So, we need to tell this router to forward DHCP requests to the primary router. Look for an option to relay the DHCP requests to an IP. Type in the IP address of the DHCP server of your network, that you noted previously.

3. Change SSID

You want seamless transition when you move from the range of primary router to that of secondary router. If SSIDs of both routers are same, then it is easier for mobile devices to switch between access points.

SSID can be changed under Wireless settings of the router. Change it to that of your primary router which you noted previously. In this case it is FTTH-320C.

Note that SSIDs can be different also but it is recommended to keep both of the SSIDs same for facilitating mobility.

4. Change security preferences

This step is also important for seamless movement of devices across access-points and to give a feel as if you are connected to same WiFi router even if you move away from the connected router.

To do this, move again to Wireless settings. This step involves changing the security type (WPA/WPA2/WPA2PSK etc.) of the secondary router ,on which we are currently logged on, same as that of the primary router. Also change the password (pre-shared key in the image) to exactly same as that of primary router.

And with this,the secondary router is configured completely.

Now its the time to connect the two routers. Get the LAN cable and connect one end of the LAN cable to one of the LAN ports on your primary router and the other end to one of the LAN ports on the secondary router. (The DSL or any other ports are not involved, just the LAN ports serve the purpose). And its done ! Yes, it was that simple !!

Please note that the above settings can be at completely different locations in your router’s dashboard page depending upon the routers you are using, but they will be quite easy to find out with a few hit and trials. You can always head on to the manufacturer’s website to check out their docs or manuals to access these settings if nothing works out. Here I am using SyroTech ( primary router ) and DLink ( Secondary router ).

Please let me know in the comments if you face any difficulty while doing this, I will be happy to help :)

Wonder-er ! Wander-er ! Coder !