Help with setting up an old router as an access point

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Preparing Your Router for Life as a Switch

Before we jump right in to shutting down the Wi-Fi

Before we jump right in to shutting down the Wi-Fi functionality and repurposing your device as a network switch, there are a few important prep steps to attend to.

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First, you want to reset the router (if you just flashed a new firmware to your router, skip this step). Following the reset procedures for your particular router or go with what is known as the “Peacock Method” wherein you hold down the reset button for thirty seconds, unplug the router and wait (while still holding the reset button) for thirty seconds, and then plug it in while, again, continuing to hold down the rest button. Over the life of a router there are a variety of changes made, big and small, so it’s best to wipe them all back to the factory default before repurposing the router as a switch.

Second, after resetting, we need to change the IP address of the device on the local network to an address which does not directly conflict with the new router. The typical default IP address for a home router is 192.168.1.1; if you ever need to get back into the administration panel of the router-turned-switch to check on things or make changes it will be a real hassle if the IP address of the device conflicts with the new home router. The simplest way to deal with this is to assign an address close to the actual router address but outside the range of addresses that your router will assign via the DHCP client; a good pick then is 192.168.1.2.

Once the router is reset (or re-flashed) and has been assigned a new IP address, it’s time to configure it as a switch.

Re-configuring the Bright Box as a Wireless Access Point

To start with, we need to navigate to Basic/Broadband Settings and set :

  • Broadband Type : Fibre/Ethernet
  • Protocol: Bridging

…and then hit Save Settings.

Next, we go to Advanced/DHCP. Here is where we specify a static address for the Bright Box ensuring that it is outside of the DHCP range of the main router:

Gateway IP Address : 192.168.1.10

We also disable the Bright Box’s own internal DHCP functionality : DHCP Server : Disable

Next, we want to disable Network Address Translation (NAT) on the Bright Box as we’re just using it to pass traffic through to the main router. Select NAT from the left-hand menu and set :

NAT module function : Disable

The next two steps are optional. Firstly, I want to change the Network Name (SSID) that the Bright Box broadcasts. To do this, I need to go to Wireless Settings/SSID Management and set :

Wireless Network Name(SSID) : mike1

The second of the optional steps is specific to the Bright Box. The default password for this router is not very secure – you can check this article for details – so I’m going to change it. To do this, I need to go to Basic/Wireless Settings :

OK, so you might want to pick a slightly more secure password than this, but you get the idea.

Finally, click Save Settings.

Once all this is done, we need to power down the Bright Box and then connect the Ethernet cable from the Powerline Adapter to the WAN port (LAN 4) on it.

Now we can power up the Bright Box once more and check the effect of our changes :

Powerline Adapters

Creating a second wireless access point to your network can be a fairly low-tech, low-cost approach to utilising your old router. Essentially, you need to connect it to the main router via an ethernet (network) cable then place it somewhere where your wireless signal isn’t so great. This, in itself, might not seem very practical unless you have a very long network cable. Alternatively, you can use a simple Powerline Adapter. You actually need two adapters. The first is plugged into a power socket near the main router and connected to it via a network cable. The second can then be plugged into any socket on the same electrical circuit. You can then connect the router to the second extender via a (shorter) network cable. Devices will then be able to connect to the network wirelessly simply by selecting the second router as their wireless access point.

NEXT: How to use an old router as a Wireless Repeater

Mark B Mark is a graduate in Computer Science, having gathered valuable experience over the years working in IT as a programmer. Mark is also the main tech writer for MBReviews.com, covering not only his passion, the networking devices, but also other cool electronic gadgets that you may find useful for your every day life.

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