How do I connect two routers together?

Connecting two routers together allows you to expand your network coverage and capacity. There are a few methods for joining routers, depending on your needs.

How do I connect two routers together?

Wired Connection Using Ethernet

The most reliable way to connect two routers is using an Ethernet cable. This creates one unified network for seamless coverage.

What You’ll Need

  • Two routers
  • Ethernet cable
  • Patience

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Connect the Ethernet cable to one of the LAN ports on the primary router, not the WAN port
    • The WAN port should connect to the modem
  2. Connect the other end of the Ethernet cable to one of the LAN ports on the second router
  3. Log in to the second router’s settings
    • Default gateway IP is usually 192.168.1.1
  4. Disable DHCP server on the second router
    • This prevents IP address conflicts
  5. Give the second router a static IP address in the same subnet as the primary router, but outside of its DHCP range
    • E.g. if primary router DHCP range is 192.168.1.100-150, assign the second router 192.168.1.200
  6. Save settings

You now have both routers on the same network for seamless expanded Wi-Fi coverage. Clients can roam between access points without interruption.

Wireless Connection

You can also connect two routers wirelessly using the existing Wi-Fi network. This maintains separate networks while allowing devices to roam between them.

What You’ll Need

  • Two routers
  • Patience
  • Working knowledge of wireless settings

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Log in to the primary router and locate the wireless network name (SSID)
  2. Connect to the primary router’s wireless network from the second router
  3. Disable the DHCP server on the second router
    • This prevents IP conflicts
  4. Assign the second router a static IP address in the primary router’s subnet, but outside the DHCP range
    • E.g. if primary router DHCP is 192.168.1.100-150, assign second router 192.168.1.200
  5. Save settings

Your two routers now broadcast separate Wi-Fi networks while allowing devices to roam between them. The networks remain isolated for security.

Connecting Via WAN Port

You can connect the WAN port of the second router to the first if your primary router has multiple LAN interfaces. This also maintains isolated networks.

What You’ll Need

  • Two routers
  • Patience
  • Primary router must have multiple configurable LAN ports

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Log in to the primary router and locate an available LAN port
  2. Configure this LAN port on a different subnet with DHCP enabled
  • E.g. main LAN is 192.168.1.x, new LAN is 192.168.2.x
  1. Connect the WAN port on the second router to this LAN port via Ethernet cable
  2. Disable DHCP server and assign static IP address on second router within the new LAN subnet
  • E.g. second router IP = 192.168.2.2
  1. Save settings

There are now two isolated router-created Wi-Fi networks for seamless coverage across both.

Key Takeaways

  • Connecting routers expands your network coverage area
  • Use Ethernet to combine routers into one unified network
  • Connect wirelessly to maintain separate isolated networks
  • Disable the DHCP server on secondary routers to prevent IP conflicts
  • Assign static IP addresses properly to keep networks separated
  • WAN port on second router can connect to spare LAN port on primary router

Conclusion

Whether your goal is to expand your Wi-Fi coverage or directly wire multiple networks, connecting two routers is a straightforward process. Pay careful attention to the IP addressing and DHCP settings to keep your networks running smoothly and prevent conflicts. With a properly configured setup, you can seamlessly roam connected devices across multiple access points.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why connect two routers together?
    The main reasons for connecting two routers together are to expand your network coverage area, add more Ethernet ports, or isolate subnets while allowing device roaming between them.

  2. What is the easiest way to connect two routers?
    The easiest way is to use an Ethernet cable to connect the LAN port of the secondary router to one of the LAN ports on the primary router. This combines them into one larger network.

  3. Do I need special routers to connect two together?
    No, you can use any standard routers. However, make sure both routers support DHCP configuration and static IP addressing to properly integrate them.

  4. What is the maximum number of routers I can connect together?
    There is no explicit limit, but chaining together too many routers can cause performance and reliability issues. As a best practice, connect no more than 3-5 total routers together in one network.

  5. Do I need two modem/router combos to connect them?
    No, only the primary router needs to connect directly to the modem. The secondary router can connect via Ethernet or wirelessly to the primary without connecting directly to a modem.

  6. Can I use the same SSID and password if I connect routers wirelessly?
    Yes, you can match the SSID and password to maintain a seamless experience. Just make sure to disable DHCP on the secondary router to avoid conflicts.

  7. How do I access the second router’s settings?
    To access a secondary router’s admin console, connect to it directly via Ethernet or WiFi and navigate to its default gateway IP, usually 192.168.1.1. Then enter admin credentials.

  8. What causes double NAT with multiple routers?
    Double NAT happens when both routers perform network address translation, breaking connectivity. To avoid this, put secondary router(s) in bridge or access point mode which disables NAT.

  9. Can I connect routers from different brands?
    Yes, you can safely connect routers from different manufacturers together as long the features needed for proper integration are present (DHCP server, static IP assignment, etc.). Brand doesn’t matter.

  10. What do I do if my routers use the same IP addresses?
    If your routers assign devices the same IP addresses via DHCP, make sure to disable the DHCP server on all but one router. Then configure static IP addresses in different subnets to prevent conflicts.

  11. Is connecting routers together secure?
    Connecting routers both wired and wirelessly is generally safe if proper security precautions are taken, like setting strong WiFi passwords and disabling remote admin access. Maintain separate networks for the most security.

  12. How far apart can my routers be positioned?
    With an Ethernet wired connection, routers can be positioned up to 100 meters apart. For a wireless connection, standard WiFi range limitations apply. Long-range WiFi antennas can also be installed.

  13. Why is the WAN port not working to connect my routers?
    If you connect your second router’s WAN port but don’t get a working connection, make sure to release/renew the DHCP lease or reboot both routers. The WAN port also needs to connect to an open LAN port.

  14. What settings should I check if my dual router connection stops working?
    If your multi-router connection is suddenly not working, double check that the DHCP server is still disabled on secondary routers, all static IP addresses are still valid, and subnet masks match between routers.

  15. How can I improve speed and range with multiple routers?
    Upgrading to newer, higher-end routers with fast standards like WiFi 6 can help. Limiting the number of chained routers, positioning antennas optimally, and using wired backhaul links instead of wireless also improves performance.

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