Setting up a home network with two routers

Recently, I solved network connectivity problem at home by setting up a slightly complex network using an old BSNL wa3002g4 router. Earlier I wrote about how I used this BSNL wa3002g4 router as a WiFi switch and lot of people said that the post was very useful. So I decided to document this setup as well, so that it will be useful for someone who wants to do the same thing 🙂

Problem

First, let me explain the problem that I was facing. I have half a dozen devices running multiple OS (two desktops, a Mac, an iPhone, couple of Android phones, couple of Raspberry Pis.. you get the idea right 😉 ) that I wanted to be in the same network and share my single internet connection. Also, I live in two floors and my WiFi signal was too week to penetrate the concrete across the floors.

In my old setup, the cable from my broadband provider was connected to a Netgear router, that acted as a network switch as well as a WiFi router. This was in my top floor where the desktops were present. But when I am in the bottom floor, the WiFi signal was too weak to be used in my laptop or in my phones.

Solution

My first thought was to buy a WiFi expander and use it to boost the WiFi signal in the bottom floor. When I was about to buy the signal booster, I remembered that I had an old BSNL wa3002g4 router, which I was using earlier as a WiFi switch. I know that it is a multi-functional device, so I was trying to see if I can use it to expand my WiFi range.

Unfortunately, it can’t act as a WiFi expander. But then I realized, I can still use it as a switch. I started to experiment a bit with it and after some trial and errors, I made it to work in the way I wanted 🙂

My current setup

The cable from my broadband provider (currently ACT broadband, who gives me 15 Mbps 😉 ) is connected to the input of my Netgear router which is placed in the top floor. It gives out both wired and wireless connections to the devices in the top floor. One of those output port from Netgear is connected to my old BSNL wa3002g4 router which is placed in the bottom floor. This second router gives wired and wireless to the devices in the bottom floor.

After I had this setup, I realized that both the routers were creating their own sub networks and the devices are not in the same network. Also I had to use two different WiFi ssid’s which kind of defeated the whole purpose.

DHCP relay

It was at this point, that I discovered that my BSNL router has a feature called DHCP relay, which allowed me to configure the connections so that they can be in the same network.

DHCP relay, allows you to specify a different DHCP server from where the device should get dynamic ip address instead of generating ip address on its own. I specified the ip address of my Netgear router as the DHCP server in the DHCP relay config of my BSNL router.

This allowed the BSNL router to relay all DHCP requests to the Netgear router instead of generating the ip address on its own. Now all my devices were connected in the same network.

Configuring WiFi

The next problem that I had to solve was setting up the WiFi ssid’s. Again by trial and error I found that if I configured both routers with the same WiFi ssid and same authentication parameters, then the devices can connect to both the routers seamlessly. I changed the WiFi config in both the routers to be the same and then my devices started connecting to the network without any issues even when I moved across floors. The devices always pick up the router which has the best signal.

And now I am finally happy that all my devices are in the same network and that I can connect to my network from any part of my home, without worrying about the signal range 🙂

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8 Comments so far

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  • Cooltootle says:

    Could not able to find the DHCP relay config of my BSNL router. Could u plz assist me to configure. Exact issue i am having..

  • Anisha says:

    Hii guys, you have a nice blog. Now i can setup a home network between two routers.

  • Jalaj Garg says:

    Hi – great blog, solves a major part of the issue I have been facing. The remaining part is: given the physical configuration of the floors in my house, i need to split the wire that comes from my internet provider’s pillar into 2. One of these 2 needs to connect to a router in the basement, and the other will go up to the terrace (from where it will come down to the higher floors through the shaft). So what can i use to achieve this split? Is there some simple kind of a splitter that just breaks an input broadband wire into 2 output wires? Thanks a lot

  • So you actually used the second one as a repeater. Is their any way to use two broadband to connect to single connection and as a result doubling your speed. Is it possible with BSNL?

  • Tawatchai says:

    Hey..!!! 🙂
    This is really cool…!!!
    A useful post for people who are not too much into this technology stuff and still want set up their private networking system.
    Keep it up buddy..!!!

  • saurav says:

    Hi, nice detailed information. saved my day and lot of hardware after i bought the router. Thanks a lot.

  • jalaj says:

    Hi – I have a bit of a problem in setting up my home network. My main modem+router is a Huawei one and my internet connection is VDSL (not ADSL). Internet works fine on this (>15mbps actual download speed). However, I need a strong signal on another floor, so I’ve installed a cat6 wire that runs from the Huawei modem+router to that floor. Now from my earlier internet connection, I have a Beetel 450TC3 modem+router which I want to use as an access point on the other floor and create a separate wifi ssid/password. My internet provider tells me it is absolutely possible to turn off the modem functionality of the beetel machine, but refrains from telling me how as it is not in their mandate. When I connect the beetel machine with the previously mentioned cat6 cable, I am unable to access the configuration page. Ipconfig gives me the default gateway of the huawei machine. Can you please help? I dont want to buy a new router if this issue can be solved. Thanks a lot!!

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