How to Use a Second Router to Boost Range

by David Weedmark
Connect your computer to the router's LAN port to configure its settings.

Connect your computer to the router's LAN port to configure its settings.

If your WiFi router isn't adequately covering the rooms in your house, you can install a second router to boost its range using it as a bridge or wireless repeater. Not all routers have this ability, so check the manufacturer's documentation before buying a second router. After configuring it to connect directly to your primary router, you can use either router to connect to the Internet from your computer or other Wi-Fi devices.

Physical Setup

1

Look around your house and decide where each router should be placed. Depending on the layout, you may want to move the primary router closer to one end of the house if the second router is going to cover the other end. Keep in mind that the primary router needs to be close to a telephone or cable jack for Internet access.

2

Select a new router that has a bridge mode or wireless repeating option, which both serve the same function. This information should be in the manufacturer's product description or user's guide. If you already purchased the router and it doesn't have a bridge mode option, go to the manufacturer's support website to see if there's a firmware upgrade that will give it this ability. If your current router has a bridge mode option, you can replace it with a new router and then use your current router as the bridge.

3

Set up your primary router and connect it to the Internet according to the manufacturer's instructions if you haven't done so already. Consult the documentation for the second router to see what information you need from the first router. Make a note of encryption method used by the primary router, like WPA2 or WPA.

4

Make a note of the primary router's IP address, such as "192.168.0.1," and its subnet mask, such as "255.255.255.0," if the second router uses an IP address for bridging to the primary router. Linksys and D-Link routers use this method.

5

Make a note of the primary router's MAC address if the second router uses it to connect, as Netgear routers do. The MAC address should be located on the bottom of the primary router, such as "1F-23-7G-6U-21-H9."

6

Place a laptop, tablet or Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone in the location where you plan to put the second router. Look at the Wi-Fi icon on the device's screen. Adjust its position or the position of the primary router as needed until the Wi-Fi icon shows full bars, indicating full signal strength.

Configuration

1

Connect the second router to a power outlet. Connect your computer to the router using an Ethernet cable plugged into any numbered LAN port on the router -- that is, any port except the Internet or WAN port.

2

Select the router on a Windows 8 computer by putting the cursor in the upper right corner of the desktop and dragging it downward. Select "Settings," and then click the "Network" icon. Select the "Connected" Ethernet network. Launch a Web browser and enter the router's IP address in the address bar at the top of the browser, like "192.168.0.1" or the one used by your router's manufacturer. Enter the manufacturer's default username and password, such as "admin" and "admin" on a Linksys router.

3

Select "Wireless Repeater" mode if your router has this option, like a Netgear router. Enter the primary router's MAC address in the "Repeater MAC Address" field. Select the same wireless encryption method as the primary route. Click "Apply."

4

Select "Bridge Mode" as the Internet connection type on the router's setup page if the router uses this method. Where the router asks you to specify an IP address, enter the same first three numbers as the primary router's IP address and then change the last number. For example, if the primary router's IP address is "192.168.0.1," you could use "192.168.0.12" as second router's IP address. Use the same subnet mask as the primary router, such as "255.255.255.0." Enter the primary router's IP address in the "Default Gateway" field. Click "Apply."

5

Change the encryption method to match that of the primary router. Depending on the router, this is usually on the Wireless Settings page, under the Setup tab or Wireless tab. Save the changes and then disconnect the computer from the router.

About the Author

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images