Routers these days can be used for multiple reasons and can also be adjusted according to what the user wants from it. Either that, or instead of throwing out an old rusted router, you could use it to extend the Wi-Fi coverage in your home. When you get a new router, instead of throwing out the old one, you can use it to enhance your coverage and make sure that signals are extended to every part of the house. Technology has allowed users to not only configure routers the way they need them to work, but modify them in order to best serve their needs.
Let’s start by understanding the difference between a router and an Access Point. Essentially, the router is used to connect several devices on the same local network and provide internet to all these connected devices from phones to computers, tablets etc. Internet is provided via an Internet Provider that connects into the router and displaces signals all over the house.
An access point on the other hand is just a wireless network device that acts as a gateway for devices to connect. Access points are usually used for extending the wireless coverage of an existing router. And can also increase the number of users present on the local area network. Your old router can therefore be used as an extender if you need more coverage and better signals all over the house.
You may find yourself asking which one is better and why? Well the answer is fairly simple, it depends on what you need and what you’re looking for. Usually a router is a good choice for people with small homes or business, that don’t need a lot of coverage, however, larger houses and enterprises often use access points in order to extend range and host more users.
So how is it done? Some routers come with an already available option to turn it into an access point. You can just switch between modes whenever you need. This option can be accessed by going to the settings of the router via the web browser interface. There you will see an option to switch between different modes and one of them will be Access Point. However, many routers don’t have the mode and therefore need to be set up manually as access points. The process isn’t very long and generally only takes 15 minutes. The following are the steps that you need to take in case your router does not have an access point mode;
- Tape off the WAN port usually given at the back of the router because you won’t be needing it anymore. The WAN port is where you initially place your main internet cable that in return provides Wi-Fi signals all over the house. For an access point, you don’t need a WAN port or cable since that is being handled by your new router.
- You’ll then have to figure out the IP of the existing router that you own. You can do this by connecting the router to a computer. The steps differ depending on whether you have Windows or a MAC, although the result and purpose is the same. On windows, run the Command Prompt and type in ipconfig, and press enter. The IP address is given next to the heading “Default Gateway”. On Mac, you can do this by going to system preferences, network and you’ll find the IP there.
- This IP means it’s already taken and can’t be used, so you have to choose another IP within the range. For example, if your IP of the new router is 192.168.1.1, then for the router being converted into an access point, you can use 192.168.1.2.
- Then you connect the old router to a computer and find out its IP address as well. With the IP, you can open the web interface. Then from the browser interface, go to Network, and LAN setting. Here you change the IP to the one you picked earlier, for example in this case 192.168.1.2.
- You will also have to turn off the DHCP server before rebooting the router. This is a main function of the router that leases out IP addresses which you do not need for an access point so disable it and restart the router.
- Finally, you can connect the old router to the new one with a cable and it will function as an external access point. You can also go back to the interface and customize other settings such as security, name etc.
And that’s it, you can now use the old router as an access point to establish an even distribution of Wi-Fi signals all over the house or office, with as many users as possible.