How To RePurpose Your Old Router As An Access Point
WiFi networking has emerged as one of the most popular types of home internet. But that doesn’t mean this technology is without any faults.
One of the basic flaws of this technology is the signal coverage.
Yes, modern routers feature a large area coverage, but no single router can cover a 5000+ sq. ft area.
This results in dead spots in your house. Dead spots are basically the areas where you get little to no WiFi coverage.
There are many ways to remove those dead spots such as adding access points, WiFi extenders, as well as mesh networking kits.
In this post, we’ll talk about one of those methods: access points.
You can easily remove any coverage-related issue by adding an access point to your home network.
But the best thing about adding an access point is that it’s present by default (along with a network switch) in every WiFi router.
So all you have to do is to get a new router (to use as your new primary router) and reconfigure your old router to be used only as an access point.
After this, you’ll have to place that old router in a low-coverage area of your house and you’re done.
A lot of people confuse access points with WiFi extenders and vice versa.
So before going any further, I’ll try to explain the difference between the two devices.
Difference between WiFi Access Point and WiFi Extender
A WiFi extender is a device used to receive WiFi signals and re-broadcast them. The main advantage of these extenders/repeaters is their wireless connectivity. You can connect your router with these extenders wirelessly.
The access point, on the other hand, is a device connected with your primary router through an Ethernet cable. There’s no wireless connectivity in access points but their performance is better than WiFi extenders.
How to Use Your Old WiFi Router As An Access Point
OK, now comes the real part: How to repurpose your old WiFi router as an access point.
There are two main methods to do that.
Many routers come with a by-default AP mode (Access Point mode). In those routers, all you need to do is to turn that feature on.
So, do research about your old router to find out if it has that feature.
If it’s present, your task is over. Just plug an Ethernet cable from your main router to the WAN port of that router.
But if it’s not, follow the procedure given below, step-by-step.
1. Find IP Range of Your Primary Router
First of all, we need to know the IP address range of our main router.
For this, we’ll need the IP address of this router. If you know what is the current IP address of your router, it’s good. But for those who don’t know, below is the procedure.
- Connect the router with your PC. You can either do this by connecting a computer to your home WiFi, or by connecting it with your router physically through an Ethernet cable. One end of that cable will be connected to your PC, while the other end will be connected to the LAN port of your router.
- After this, open command prompt and type ipconfig. After pressing Enter, you’ll be shown a lot of fields and their respective values. Among those fields, you have to locate a field labelled as ‘Default Gateway’. This default gateway is actually the IP address of your router.
- Note down this address.
Once we have found the IP address, it’s time to find the IP range of that router. For this, we’ll have to closely analyze the last group of our IP address (for example in 192.168.0.1, the rightmost 1 is the last group). Our IP range will contain every number from 1 to 254 except the number of last groups.
For example, if our IP address was 192.168.0.1, the IP address range will be from 192.168.0.2 to 192.168.0.254.
2. Set Old Router’s IP Address
Here we will find the IP address of the old router by connecting it with PC (either via WiFi or a network cable). For this, we will repeat the first portion of the above step.
After this, log into the admin panel of your router and navigate to the section labelled as something like Network or LAN setup.
Here you will need to change the default IP of the old router, from the IP range of the main router we found earlier.
For example, if the IP address range of the main router was 192.168.0.2 to 192. 169.0.254, you can set 192.168.0.10 as the new IP address of your old router. Just make sure that you haven’t manually assigned that IP (192.168.0.10) to any other device in your home network.
Save changes and restart the router.
3. Turn off Old Router’s DHCP functionality
Here is the last step: Disabling the DHCP function of the old router.
This function assigns IP addresses to all devices in your network. Since we won’t be using the old router for this purpose, it’s better to disable it.
For this, we need to log into the admin panel of old router one more time. This time, we will do so by typing new IP address (which we have just set up in the above step, 192.168.0.10).
Once again, navigate to LAN section and locate DHCP settings, and disable it.
That was it. Now your old router will work as an access point, and you won’t have any dead spot in your house. You can also add other wired devices in your home network by connecting them to the LAN port of this router, which also makes it work as an Ethernet switch.
If you need to access the admin panel of any router, you can do so by typing their respective IP addresses in your browser and then typing usernames and passwords.