How To Use An Old WiFi Router As A Repeater, Wifi Extender, or Access Point
Why discard when you can reuse it?
This time we are going to show you how to turn your old Wi-Fi router into a switch, an access point, an extender, or a repeater. You might have upgraded your Wi-Fi router, leaving the old one on one of your shelves collecting dust, or perhaps your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gave you a new router, leaving you with a spare. In either case, don’t overlook the potential of repurposing it to enhance your network. Read on, and we’ll show you how.
In our case, our old Wi-Fi router is a Cisco Linksys E2000. At the back, we can see the switch ports, the ones where you’d normally connect your computer or laptop to have access to the internet. We also have the internet port, which is labeled as WAN in some routers, and this is where the main internet connection comes in before being distributed across our home network. We are going to disregard this, we will be using the other ports, the LAN ports, for the purpose of using this old router as a switch or access point.
Now, we also have here a newer router, another Cisco Linksys, but this time, it’s an E1200 with a similar port configuration. This will be the main router that we are going to use to connect to the internet, share it with our home network, and then link it to our old router, which we will modify and configure to serve as a switch or an access point.
Let’s start the step-by-step procedure;
Before we start, we want to make sure that both routers are connected to the power source. Afterwhich, we will be connecting the main router, the E1200, to the internet, then use one of its LAN ports to connect to the old router, the E2000.
Also, we have to remember to do a hard reset on this old router to restore it to its factory default settings. Each router might have a slightly different reset process, but generally, look for a small reset button and use a tool like a pin to press it. Observe the LED lights as they change before you let go of the reset button, once the router reboots, it’s already reset to its factory defaults.
Now, with the hard reset complete, let’s connect our old router to our computer using an Ethernet cable so that we will be able to access its settings.
To configure the router, we first need to find the router’s IP address. So, we open a command prompt by typing in “CMD” or “Command Prompt” in the search bar then pressing enter. When the “Command Prompt” window opens, we type in “ipconfig” and look for the default gateway, which is usually something like 192.168.1.1 as we can see in the image below.
Next, we open a web browser, enter the IP address, and log in to the router’s configuration page. Common default credentials are often “admin” for both username and password, but you might want to search the specific model of your router if these don’t work.
Subsequently, we are going to disable the DHCP server. This is crucial because multiple DHCP servers on the same network can lead to issues and conflicts. Save your changes, and now your old router won’t distribute IP addresses.
Then, we change the router’s IP address. Most routers default to 192.168.1.1, so set it to something unique on your network. For this example we are going to use the last number which is 254, so we will set it at 192.168.1.254. Save the changes, and your router now has a distinct IP address. When the page reopens after we save the settings, the new IP address should already show.
Now, it’s time to configure the router to act as an access point. Head to the wireless settings, choose “Manual” and configure them as you like. If you want to create a repeater, use the same SSID as your new router to seamlessly extend your network without users having to reauthenticate when they connect to the access point. Customize other settings like the channel. Then click next on “Wireless Security” to enable WPA2 security and put in your chosen passphrase for security. Save your changes, and your old router is now transformed into an access point or repeater.
We’re done! With these configurations in place, your old router is no longer functioning as a router; it’s now a switch or an access point. You can use the extra switch ports to connect other devices and extend your network’s reach. Remember, router interfaces may vary, so consult your router’s user manual if you encounter any differences.
Here’s also a full video on how we did it.
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