How to Use Two Different Routers on One DSL Line

By Dan Stone

You can expand your network with a second router.
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Installing a secondary router can expand an existing network that's sharing a single DSL line by connecting to the primary router. The secondary router can act as an additional wireless access point and add support for more wired connections to the network. However, the secondary router must be properly configured to act as a bridging device in order for devices connecting to it to access the Internet.

Extending the Network

Adding a secondary router to a network can augment the existing network's capabilities depending on what features the secondary router carries. One possible reason for adding a secondary router is to expand Wi-Fi range by creating a secondary wireless sub-network that shares the same Internet connection. The two routers can be wired up to one hundred meters apart to expand distance and can also work around interference by changing the route wireless traffic travels. The router can also expand wired network range by acting as a repeating station.

Wiring the Routers

The secondary router will connect to the primary router by Ethernet cable as opposed to connecting to the DSL modem unless the primary router is a modem/router combo unit. Unlike how the primary router uses the WAN port to connect to the modem, the secondary router will connect to the primary router using LAN ports on both devices. If the primary router has a LAN port that's labeled "Uplink," connect the Ethernet cable to that port.

Configuring the Router

If the secondary router does not automatically connect all devices to the original network and pass along Internet connectivity, the router needs to be configured to enable Access Point mode, enable Bridge mode, or disable DHCP. The process and option name varies depending on router firmware; however, the features are toggled through the router's Web browser-based configuration. To access the router's setup mode, enter the IP address into a Web browser URL field. You can find the IP address by right-clicking on the taskbar network icon, selecting "Open Network and Sharing Center," clicking on the network link next to "Connections" and selecting "Details." The IP address will be next to "IPv4 Default Gateway."

Access Point Only

Some routers have a built-in configuration method for the two-routers on the same network use case. Routers that support this feature will list it in the setup utility with the text "Access Point." Select the feature from the menu if supported, enable the feature and save the settings. The router will automatically disable all router functionality and work as an extension of the network.

Disable DHCP and Enable Bridge Mode

If the router doesn't support an automatic configuration method, you can disable the routing capabilities by disabling DHCP and enabling Bridge mode if supported. The DHCP settings should be listed under "LAN" or "Network" Settings: turn the "DHCP" setting to the "off" or "disabled" setting. The router may list an operational mode under the network settings: if it does, change the value to "Bridge" and apply the settings change.