Sometimes we will have Wi-Fi set up in our house, but there will be dead zones without a good connection to the main router. A simple fix is digging out any old routers that you used to use and linking them directly to your new router – a process called daisy-chaining. In this article, we are going to learn how to daisy chain routers.
This is a how-to guide for daisy-chaining routers together. There is a small element of technical configuration that is needed in order to make sure that the routers communicate with each other properly, but this will be explained where relevant.
How To daisy chain routers: What do I need?
- Your main router plugged in and active
- At least one other router to daisy chain
- A cable to connect them – in this case, an Ethernet cable
Different Ethernet cables (technically named CAT cables) have different speeds associated with them. Investigate for the appropriate speed for your needs, but a CAT 5e or CAT 6 cable should be able to easily deal with super fast ethernet.
Step one: prepare your additional routers for the daisy chain
Firstly, do nothing with your main router. You will need this to function as normal. If it is working fine, leave it alone.
Next, you need to reset your additional router or routers. The easiest way to do this is by accessing the settings page for the router via the internet. Find the IP address of the router and type that into your URL bar on your preferred browser – this will bring up the settings. Where “reset router” will depend on which kind of router you are using.
Step two: disabling DHCP on your additional routers
DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This is a protocol that automatically gives devices that are connected to the internet IP addresses (which means that they can then connect to the internet).
You want to have DHCP running on your main router. Like we said, if that is working fine, leave it alone. You do not, however, want it running on any other additional routers that you want to daisy chain onto your main router.
When your main router assigns an IP address to a device connecting to the internet, if another router tries to assign it an IP address, there will be connectivity problems and clashes for the devices. This will mean that they will not be able to connect to the internet as the main router does not know who this mysterious device is.
Determining how to disable the additional routers assigning IP addresses depends on your Operating System (OS), so this may involve extra research to find out the specifics for your machine. However, you can generally find the DHCP settings on the tool that deals with internet connections (e.g. Network Connections for Windows 8 / 10 or Network and Sharing Center for Windows 7). Here you can manually set the IP address that you want your computer to use. This will involve entering the IP address, subnet mask, and the Default Gateway.
Step three: mapping the IP addresses
The IP address is kind of like a postal address for a device that is connecting to the internet – by using an IP address, different devices from all across the world can find your device easily. Mapping these improperly will cause your device to be unable to connect to the internet (as nothing will be able to hear or see it!)
Now that you have prepared the additional routers, access the router page for the main router. You will need to take note of the IP addresses that the router can assign and the subnet mask that it uses.
You can now assign them IP addresses. From their router pages, find the IP address box and manually assign an address. Your main router will probably be 192.168.0.1, so you may want to set the additional routers as 192.168.0.2, 192.168.0.3, etc. until they all have connections.
If two devices have the same IP address, they will not be able to connect to the internet. Make sure that these do not clash.
Step five: subnet mask
Make sure that the subnet mask is the same for all devices. This should be 255.255.255.0.
If the subnet mask is different for these devices, they will not be able to communicate as they will be hidden from each other – basically, this is like a hidden bit of the network, hence the mask!
Step six: plugging everything in together
Now that the routers know how to communicate with each other, you can plug them in. This should be a fairly uncomplicated process, simply putting the CAT cable into the switch ports on your routers.
If you have completed steps one to five correctly, you should be able to connect to the internet successfully through both routers. If not, circle back and see if there are any steps that you have missed.
Step seven: Check your security
Since you have two routers, you will need to configure the security for two routers. Ideally, you will want different passwords and usernames for both devices to strengthen your network. Entering into the router pages for all devices will give you quick and easy access to the password and username pages.
And just like that, your routers should now be connected, working, and strengthened against attacks from the outside world. If there are any errors in your connection, it will most likely be down to incorrect IP address and subnet mask allocation (especially if you are having limited or no connectivity issues). Checking this will be a simple step in identifying your issue. Making sure that you understand how IP addresses and subnet masks work will help you troubleshoot this issue, however, it should be a case of simply copying what is on your main router.
After that, you should now have a daisy-chained router system that extends your WiFi connection. Say goodbye to dead zones for your connectivity!