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From the author of Adding a Second Wireless Router

Adding a Second Wireless Router

Sometimes even a wireless range extender doesn’t do the job. Maybe your house is just really, really big, or maybe you have a lot of obstacles between the router and your wireless PCs. Whatever the reason, you may find that your only solution is to install a second wireless router, closer to the other end of your house.

This approach is the one used by most hotels and large offices, which need at least one router per floor of the building. You connect the second router to the first one via a wired Ethernet connection, but then broadcast network signals wirelessly from each router.

That’s right, to go this route you have to run a long Ethernet cable from router #1 to router #2. Almost all wireless routers today have a number of Ethernet ports on the back, so the physical connection is easy. Running the cable, however, might be more of a hassle, but that’s what you have to do.

Once you have the two routers physically connected to each other, the tricky part of this approach is configuring things so that your PCs and other network devices see only one network, not multiple networks from multiple routers. Here’s what you have to do.

First, get your main router set up and configured as you like it. That means, of course, giving the router a unique name (SSID) and network password.

Next, install and configure the second router per the manufacturer’s instructions. This should include connecting the Ethernet cable from the first router to the second one. As part of this setup, you’ll give the second router its own SSID, different from that of the first router.

This initial setup completed, disconnect the second router from the first one and enter the manual configuration utility. You now want to change the SSID of the second router to that of the first; that is, you want both routers to have the same identical SSID. You also want the second router to have the same network password assigned to the first router.

To keep the two routers from interfering with each other, however, you need to assign the second router a unique static IP address. Otherwise, it’s possible (likely, actually) that both routers will try to use the same IP address, and thus knock each other off your Internet connection. So you need to manually assign an IP address to the second router.

Save your changes and then reconnect the Ethernet cable from the first router to the second one. You should now have one big happy wireless network, broadcast from two different wireless routers. Any computer or wireless device in your household should connect to whichever router is nearest; they see both routers as a single network.

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