How To Turn A Wireless Router Into An Access Point

Alex Nguyen

white router on black table

Turning a wireless router into an access point is a useful way to extend the Wi-Fi coverage in your home or office without the need for additional expensive hardware. An access point is a device that creates a wireless local area network, or WLAN, usually in an office or large building. It connects to a wired router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area. If you have an old router lying around, you can easily repurpose it as an access point to improve the reach of your wireless internet.

The process of converting a router to an access point involves a few straightforward steps. You will need to access the router’s settings and configure it to work in bridge mode. This effectively turns off features such as the firewall and the DHCP server, which are not needed in an access point setup. It’s essential to ensure that the router is properly reset and then connected to the main router using an Ethernet cable to establish the transition from a router to an access point.

Configuring your router as an access point can provide you with improved Wi-Fi coverage, allowing for a more reliable and expanded network. This method can be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly as it repurposes existing equipment that might otherwise go to waste. Ensuring a stable and accessible internet connection throughout your space can be easily achieved by converting a wireless router into an access point.

Converting Your Old Router Into a Wi-Fi Extender

Got an old router gathering dust? Don’t throw it out! It can get a second life as a Wi-Fi access point (AP). This handy trick boosts your Wi-Fi coverage, reaching those far corners of your house where the signal might be weak.

Why Use a Router as an Access Point?

  • Extended Range: An access point helps eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in your home or office.
  • Better Performance: You can enjoy faster and more reliable connections in areas with a previously weak signal.
  • Cost-Effective: Repurposing an old router is a cheaper alternative to buying a new Wi-Fi extender.
  • Versatility: Besides extending Wi-Fi, you can also use it to connect wired devices like gaming consoles or smart TVs.

Steps to Convert Your Router into an Access Point

  1. Reset to Factory Defaults: Press and hold the reset button on your old router for about 10 seconds. This ensures a clean start and removes any previous settings.
  2. Connect to Your Router: Use an Ethernet cable to connect one of the LAN ports on your main router to the LAN port (not the WAN port) on your old router.
  3. Access Router Settings: Open a web browser and enter your old router’s IP address. This is usually found on a sticker on the bottom of the router or in its manual.
  4. Disable DHCP Server: In the router’s settings, find the DHCP server option and disable it. This prevents IP address conflicts between your routers.
  5. Set a Static IP Address: Assign a static IP address to your old router within your main router’s network range.
  6. Configure Wireless Settings: Change the SSID (network name) and password of your old router to match your main network. Choose the same security type (WPA2 or WPA3) as your main router.

Things to Remember

  • Router Compatibility: Not all routers can be easily converted into access points. Check the manual or online resources for your specific model to confirm.
  • Firmware Update: Make sure your old router’s firmware is up-to-date for optimal performance and security.
  • Alternative Modes: Some routers offer specific “Bridge Mode” or “Access Point Mode” options. If available, use those instead of the manual configuration.

Troubleshooting Tips

IssueSolution
No internet connection on the old routerDouble-check all cable connections. Verify that the DHCP server is disabled. Ensure the static IP address is correctly set.
Devices can’t connect to the old router’s Wi-FiConfirm that the SSID and password match your main network. Make sure the security type is compatible.
Slow or unstable connectionPlace the old router in a central location for better signal coverage. Update the firmware if available. Consider adjusting wireless channel settings to avoid interference.

Key Takeaways

  • A router can be repurposed as an access point to extend Wi-Fi coverage.
  • The conversion involves disabling router-specific functions and connecting it to the main router.
  • This setup can enhance the stability and reach of your wireless network.

Converting a Wireless Router to an Access Point

To extend a home network’s Wi-Fi coverage, using an old wireless router as an access point (AP) can be a cost-effective solution. This guide explains the steps involved in converting a traditional wireless router into an AP for improved network reach and efficiency.

Understanding the Basics

An access point connects to a wired router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area. It serves as a portal for devices to join a network. Using a wireless router as an AP can help reduce dead spots in Wi-Fi coverage.

Preparation and Initial Setup

Before beginning the conversion process, reset the router to factory settings. This clears any previous configurations which could cause issues. Ensure that there is one DHCP server on the network to allocate IP addresses to devices accurately. Keep the primary router’s DHCP function enabled while disabling it on the router being converted.

Configuration Steps

  1. Assign a static IP address to the router: This IP should be in the same subnet as the main router but outside its DHCP range to prevent conflicts.
  2. Disable the router’s DHCP server: Prevents IP address overlaps.
  3. Connect the router to the main router: Use an Ethernet cable to link a LAN port on the main router to a LAN port on the old router.
  4. Access the Web Interface: Enter the router’s new IP address into a web browser to log into its settings.
  5. Switch to AP Mode: Some routers have an “AP Mode” option that simplifies this process.

Optimizing Network Performance

Set the same SSID on the converted AP as the main router to enable seamless roaming for devices. Choose non-overlapping channels for both the main router and AP to minimize interference. Ensure encryption settings match to maintain network security.

Advanced Considerations

When a router is in AP mode, it loses some features like firewall and port forwarding. Consider the network management implications of this change. Ensure that any connected network device is compatible with the new setup.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If devices fail to connect or there are network connectivity issues, check:

  • The Ethernet connections between routers.
  • The static IP address configuration.
  • The SSID and encryption settings.

For interference issues, tweak the wireless channels. For persistent problems, a full reset and reconfiguration might be necessary.