Connecting LAN and WiFi networks allows devices connected to each network to communicate with each other, expanding your network connectivity. There are a few ways to combine LAN and WiFi:
Use a Router That Supports Both LAN and WiFi
Many modern wireless routers have built-in Ethernet LAN ports and WiFi connectivity. Simply connect Ethernet cables from your wired devices to the LAN ports on the router. The wireless router broadcasts the WiFi network so your wireless devices can connect. All devices can now communicate across both networks through the router.
Connect a Wireless Access Point to a Wired Router
If your main router only supports Ethernet LAN, add a wireless access point. Connect the access point to your main router via Ethernet cable. The access point broadcasts a WiFi network your wireless devices can join. Devices on both networks can now communicate through the main router.
Use a Wireless Network Bridge
A wireless network bridge joins two networks – for example, connecting your WiFi network to an Ethernet LAN. The bridge catches wireless signals from your WiFi router and converts them to Ethernet, allowing seamless communication between WiFi and LAN devices.
Here are some key tips when combining LAN and WiFi:
- Use Gigabit Ethernet hardware for faster file transfers between wired and wireless devices
- Ensure all hardware supports the latest and fastest WiFi standards (802.11ac, WiFi 5, or WiFi 6)
- Separate the networks if possible using VLANs for better security and performance
- Configure appropriate subnets, DHCP ranges, and firewall rules to manage traffic flow between networks
Combining the performance and reliability of wired networks with the flexibility and convenience of wireless is a great way to build an integrated home or office network.
- Use a wireless router with built-in LAN and WiFi to easily combine wired and wireless connectivity.
- Add wireless access points to expand WiFi coverage to wired routers.
- Wireless network bridges join separate LAN and WiFi networks together.
- Use latest hardware and wireless standards for optimal speed.
- Configure subnets, DHCP, VLANs and firewalls properly when integrating networks.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I connect my wired and wireless devices to the same network?
Simply use a wireless router that has built-in Ethernet LAN ports. Connect your wired devices to the router’s LAN ports using Ethernet cables. The router broadcasts WiFi so your wireless devices can connect. All devices can now communicate through the router.
- What is the easiest way to add WiFi to my wired routers?
Connect a standalone wireless access point to your wired router using an Ethernet cable. The access point broadcasts a WiFi network for your wireless devices to join while maintaining connectivity to your main LAN.
- What is a wireless network bridge?
A wireless network bridge catches the WiFi signal from your wireless router and converts it into a wired Ethernet connection. This allows seamless networking between separate WiFi and wired LAN segments.
- Should I use VLANs when combining networks?
Yes, using VLANs to separate the wireless and wired networks adds an extra layer of security and optimizes network traffic flow. Ensure your equipment supports VLAN tagging.
- How do I configure the subnets and DHCP correctly?
Use separate IP address subnets and DHCP ranges for your wired LAN and WiFi networks. This improves organization and limits broadcast traffic between the segments.
- What WiFi hardware should I use?
Opt for enterprise-grade WiFi 5 or WiFi 6 routers and access points to provide the fastest wireless networking to match gigabit wired LAN speeds. This ensures optimal performance.
- Where should I position wireless access points?
Strategically place wireless access points to maximize WiFi coverage for your usage. Avoid obstacles, interference and distant corners. Ceiling mounting often works best.
- What firewall rules should I implement?
Create specific firewall policies governing traffic flow between your wired LAN and WiFi networks. Limit access across segments for better security.
- How do I troubleshoot connectivity issues between devices?
Check if DHCP addresses and appropriate subnets are correctly configured on both networks. Ensure VLAN IDs, firewall rules and wireless SSIDs match on all hardware linking the networks.
- Can I combine networks if hardware doesn’t support VLANs?
Yes, you can still combine LAN and WiFi without VLAN support using IP subnets, DHCP scopes and firewall rules to organize and control connectivity and traffic.
- Should I implement enterprise-grade managed switches?
Managed gigabit switches allow advanced features like VLAN segmentation, port trunking, monitoring and detailed control over a converged network of wired and wireless links.
- Is it better to keep wired and wireless networks separate?
In some scenarios, fully separate infrastructure for LAN and WiFi keeps broadcast traffic contained but requires duplicate hardware. For home and SOHO networks, convergence is usually simpler.
- What is Power over Ethernet (PoE)?
PoE allows an Ethernet cable connection to deliver both data connectivity and electric power. This is useful when installing Ethernet-powered WiFi access points or other network devices without nearby power outlets.
- Can I use Ethernet cables outdoors to extend my network?
Yes, outdoor-rated and shielded Ethernet cabling can be buried to carry wired LAN connectivity between detached buildings to link wired networks across locations.
- Should I enable WiFi on my wired router?
Enabling the built-in WiFi on your Ethernet router allows a convenient way to add wireless connectivity without needing an additional access point. However, WiFi range may be limited.