How to: Create a Wireless Access Point using an old wireless router

Recently i had to replace my broadband router as the modem stopped working. It was destined for the bin before i thought about re-using it as a Wireless AP (Access Point) to extend my existing Wi-fi network to other parts of the house which were previously out of range and therefore had no coverage. It’s very easy to do and will only take a few minutes providing you already have a wired network cable available relatively near to the black spot.

Please keep in mind that although your extending your wireless network coverage your not making it any faster, your limited to the wireless specification of the old router. Wireless specifications have improved dramatically over the past few years. Luckily your devices will automatically switch to the strongest signal depending on where you are, which means your going to be getting the best possible connection at all times while roaming through the house from room to room.

Before you start my advice would be to reset your old router to the factory default settings. This will wipe any custom configuration making it easier to re-purpose as just an access point. You can hard reset the router by holding a pin in the reset hole for 30 seconds. This will restore the factory default settings.

Step 1.

First you will need to connect your old router to a PC or a Laptop using a spare Ethernet cable. Switch on the router and log into the management page using your web browser, usually by typing 192.168.0.1 into the address bar. Enter the admin username and password, if you don’t know it you can usually find them via Google. Netgear generally use ‘admin’ and ‘password’, as do many other manufacturers. Try those first and if they don’t work do an internet search for ‘default login for ‘.

Step 2.

Next you need to disable DHCP on the access point. This is really important as you don’t want the access point to conflict with your new router, which is already happily assigning IP addresses to the network. You can usually find this under ‘Advanced Settings’, in the ‘DHCP’, ‘LAN Settings’ or ‘Local Network’ page. Once you have located and disabled DHCP, press ‘Apply’ or ‘Save’ and proceed to the next step.

Step 3.

Now you have disabled DHCP you need to set a static IP for the access point which is outside of your new routers DHCP range. This basically means establishing your new routers DHCP range by logging in to your new routers management page and looking under the ‘DHCP’, ‘LAN Settings’ or ‘Local Network’ page again. It should look similar to the below screenshot.

 

dhcp

Now go back to the Access Point and set the IP address, i have used 192.168.0.254 in this example.

With the IP address set you now need to configure the Default Gateway, DNS, and Subnet Mask. These settings should be under ‘LAN Settings’ or ‘Local Network’ if not under the same (DHCP) page.

The Default Gateway should point to your new router, enter your new routers IP address here (usually 192.168.0.1). The subnet mask is usually 255.255.255.0. The DNS settings should match your new routers settings, alternatively you can use 8.8.8.8 (Google’s DNS)

Make sure to press ‘Apply’ or ‘Save’ after making any changes and before navigating to another page. If you haven’t done so, go back and verify the changes you have made.

Step 4.

Finally set-up the wireless network settings on the access point so they exactly match the settings of your primary (i.e. current) wireless network. By mirroring your primary network SSID your extending the range of the network, instead of creating an entirely new Wireless network, which enables your devices to pick the strongest signal and maintain that same connection no matter where the device is located. Different networks would mean the connection is temporarily dropped when you exceed that Access Point’s maximum range.

You need to check the SSID, Encryption Settings (Security mode) and Pass-phrase all match those set by your new router.

Save the settings and log off the management page.

That’s it, you can now position the access point where you need it the most, try and find somewhere which allows the Wi-fi to propagate effectively, like in the roof space or the loft. Try and avoid putting it next to thick interior walls which the signal will bounce off, or hidden behind, in or under furniture. Central locations higher up offer the best positioning. Obviously you still need to get a network cable to the desired location, which will no doubt eliminate some locations. Above all else try and space the access point and the router at opposite ends of your home to maximise the coverage.

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