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
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.
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.
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.
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