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Adding WiFi to an existing cabled network (router) system?

By agi_shi
Mar 8, 2008
  1. Hi all :). Not sure if you remember me, been gone for a while.

    So far, I have a cable linksys router for my 2 rigs at home. Works great - constant internet access, no hiccups, it's awesome. However, lately I've been thinking of using some WiFi devices (mainly Apple's Ipod Touch) when I'm just bored around the house or something.

    But, there's a slight problem - how do I get WiFi? I guess if I had a wireless router, it'd all "just work". However, I like my current setup, and don't want extensive switching to a whole different router (what am I going to do with these cables I spent so much time on routing around doors and walls?). Is there some kind of WiFi "antenna" I can connect to my router (2 more open slots right now), which I can use for wireless devices? Or... maybe connect a wireless router to my cabled router O_o? Also, after I get a wireless thing, do I expect it to "just work"? Or is there some complicated setup involving WiFi?

    I searched Newegg, but didn't find anything of the sort (other than wireless routers, obviously). Any cheap solution :D? I don't want to splurge another 50+ bucks after getting $300+ handheld WiFi-enabled device -_-.
     
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    A wireless access point should be the solution. They look a lot like routers usually - but without the routing stuff. :).

    This device would basically just add wireless capability to your existing setup without interfering with your current configuration.

    An issue to consider though is that APs tend to be just as expensive as their router counterparts, despite routers having more versatility. For this reason, you may want to consider getting a router, but turning off its DHCP-server function and not plugging any devices into is WAN port (basically turns it into an AP). It would add a little extra confusion, but the extra utility might be nice...
     
  3. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 507

    Aha, interesting... Any specific pointers for a wireless access point? I actually read about them in a how stuff works WiFi article, but I couldn't find anything specific on Newegg. If I were to get a wireless router (again, any specific pointers? :)), do I have to replace my main router? Or can I connect the wireless router to one of my main router slots :evil:?

    Either way, thanks for the quick reply :D
     
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    No. If you purchase a new router, you may use it in conjunction with your old router - but only if it is configured properly. Our goal will be to make your new router work just like an AP (access point). Here's a synopsis:
    1. Unbox and power on your new router.
    2. Connect a network cable from one of your new router's LAN ports to your computer's network port
    3. Type your router's IP address into your Internet browser's address bar (Refer to your manual - usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.2.1)
    4. Next, you should be asked for a user/password. (Refer to your manual for the default user/password - usually admin/admin or <blank>/admin or admin/password or <blank>/password or <blank>/<blank>)
    5. You should now be looking at your router's web admin interface. Find the option to set your new router's LAN IP to something that won't used by another network device. (For example, if your current router is 192.168.1.1, then change your new router to 192.168.1.2. We can help you out if you need assistance). Apply changes.
    6. Find and disable the 'DHCP server' option. If you see an 'Access point mode' option, this should be enabled (available only on some routers). Also keep in mind the terminology may not be word for word, it might say "Distribute IP addresses" or just "DHCP" for DHCP. Apply changes.
    7. Power the new router off. Connect any of your new router's LAN ports to any of your old router's LAN ports. Power it back on.
    8. Give it about 30 seconds and you should be ready to connect wirelessly
    9. Once you manage to connect to it, you will want to go back into the web setup by typing in the IP address you assigned your new router. Configure your wireless security options so that your new wifi network is secure.

    This very generalized and simplified, but what makes a home router special is that it has a WAN port and it distributes IP addresses using something called 'DHCP'. Every computer on a network (including the Internet) has to have a unique number assigned to it, called an IP address. The problem with having two routers is they both use DHCP to assign IP addresses so you end up with computers that have the same IP, invalid settings or even on the wrong sub network.

    To avoid this, you must disable the DHCP server capability on the new router, this way your old router will still maintain its DHCP duties without the new one causing interference. Connecting your new router using LAN ports instead of WAN ports is because you don't want your new router routing anything... You just want it to make a virtual network cable that flies through the air and attaches itself to your wireless card. :)





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  5. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 507

    Thanks :). Seems like I'll have to splurge another $50 indeed :haha:

    Another question: For example, take this LinkSys router: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124190
    From looking at the pictures and at the description, it is not only wireless, but it has 4 LAN ports. Does this mean I can simply replace my old router, keeping the cabling around the house for the hard wired computers, and still making use of the wireless capabilities? That'd be a lot easier, I'd say, than adding and configuring such a device as a second router/access point.
     
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