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Configuring 2 wireless routers to work together


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melvynadam's Avatar
melvynadam melvynadam is offline
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17-Oct-2011, 10:57 AM #1
Configuring 2 wireless routers to work together
I'm trying to ensure I have wireless coverage in my entire house and having extreme difficulty getting all machines to play nicely

Wireless modem router #1 (downstairs in my house) is connected to the ADSL line and has the following config:
  • IP Address = 192.168.1.1
  • DHCP on
  • DHCP pool 192.168.1.3-192.168.1.100
  • Subnet = 255.255.255.0
  • Wifi channel = 1

Wireless router #2 (upstairs) is connected by ethernet cable to Wireless modem router #1 and has the following config:
  • IP Address = 192.168.1.2
  • DHCP off
  • Subnet = 255.255.255.0
  • Wifi channel = 11
  • Different SSID and encryption key to Wireless modem router #1

With this configuration, I can connect to the internet via both routers and all seems to be well. Except... having established a connection through either one, my machines will only make a pretend connection with the other one. By "pretend", I mean that the (Windows) machine says it has an excellent connection to the router but can only see machines on the LAN - it cannot get to the internet even though other machines are connected through the same router to the internet.
For example, if I'm sitting next to the downstairs router and establish a connection with it, all is well. Then I move upstairs and my machine switches to the upstairs router. Signal strength will be reported as "Excellent" and I'll be able to connect to the local NAS or printer but no external devices or sites.
I have tried having the same SSID and wireless configuration on both but the result was the same.
Today I read the suggestion to enable the DHCP server on the 2nd router but to set it to distribute a different non-overlapping IP range (i.e. router 1 can have a pool of 192.168.1.3-192.168.1.50, and router 2 can have a pool of 192.168.1.51-192.168.1.99). I'll be trying this later but in the meantime does anyone have any other pointers?
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Triple6   (Rob) Triple6 is offline
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17-Oct-2011, 03:25 PM #2
If you have DHCP off, then make sure you are connecting the LAN line from the first router to a LAN port on the second router and NOT the WAN line. This setup would be the best.

Enabling DHCP on the second router will work but then you do need to use the WAN port AND it will create a second network, which for internet only isn't much a problem BUT any custom ports for applications have to be forwarded twice and file-sharing doesn't work properly both ways across the two segments.

For full roaming you can make them the same SSID.
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17-Oct-2011, 05:35 PM #3
If you connect to the 2nd router's WAN port unless it has an "AP Mode" setting you have to use it as a router (with Dhcp server enabled), but use a different LAN subnet (e.g., 192.168.3.x).

Better to do as Triple6 recommended. Here is a complete description ...

JohnWill's procedure (Aug. 30, 2008) for configuring a secondary router as a switch and, optionally, wireless access point follows.

Connecting two (or more) SOHO broadband routers together.

Note: The "primary" router can be an actual router, a software gateway like Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing, or a server connection that has the capability to supply more than one IP address using DHCP server capability. No changes are made to the primary "router" configuration.

Configure the IP address of the secondary router(s) to be in the same subnet as the primary router, but out of the range of the DHCP server in the primary router. For instance DHCP server addresses 192.168.0.2 through 192.168.0.100, I'd assign the secondary router 192.168.0.254 as it's IP address, 192.168.0.253 for another router, etc.

Note: Do this first, as you will have to reboot the computer to connect to the router again for the remaining changes.

Disable the DHCP server in the secondary router.

Setup the wireless section just the way you would if it was the primary router, channels, encryption, etc.

Connect from the primary router's LAN port to one of the LAN ports on the secondary router. If there is no uplink port and neither of the routers have auto-sensing ports, use a cross-over cable. [You will not need a cross-over cable if one of the "routers" is a computer.] Leave the WAN port unconnected!

This procedure bypasses the routing function (NAT layer) and configures the router as a switch (or wireless access point for wireless routers).

For reference, here's a link to a Typical example config using a Netgear router
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melvynadam melvynadam is offline
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18-Oct-2011, 06:29 PM #4
Thanks for the replies. I had seen the tutorials mentioned and followed them while performing my experiments.

The responses so far seem to ignore a major point: I have configured both routers so that they actually work. It's only switching between them that seems to be almost impossible. Tonight, my Samsung Netbook could only get to the internet through "Router #1" (even when it was sitting next to #2) and my Lenovo ThinkPad could only get to the internet through "Router #2". This means that both routers are working. The problem lies in the fact that I cannot use the other one once a machine has accessed using the first one.
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18-Oct-2011, 08:18 PM #5
Quote:
I have configured both routers so that they actually work.
And that is how?

Quote:
The problem lies in the fact that I cannot use the other one once a machine has accessed using the first one.
That's certainly strange.

For one of the machines please show the following for when it has internet access and then again when it is connected to the other router and cannot access the internet ...

Attach a screen shot of the Networks page of the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector and show ...

Start, Run, CMD, OK to open a command prompt:
(For Vista or 7 type CMD in the Search box after Start)

Type the following command:

IPCONFIG /ALL

[Note that there is no space between the slash and ALL.]

Right click in the command window and choose Select All, then hit Enter.
Paste the results in a message here.

If necessary use a text file and removable media to copy the results to a computer with internet access.
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