Second life of your modem-router as Access Point (AP) and switch

Your wireless signal is weak in some point of your office or home? You’ve an old modem-router but you haven’t an access point? Here you’ll read ho to turn your old modem-router into a powerful Access Point and switch!

The test was done with an old Netgear modem-router following this useful howto. It’s a summary with some addition to improve security and some tips.

  1. Reset the modem-router to factory default: usually you have to press some buttons on the modem-router itself
  2. Access the admin page in this way:
    1. Power up the modem-router with the only power cable in: do not plug any network table now
    2. Look for your modem-router IP address using the command arp -a (Windows): look for the MAC address of the modem-router (it’s printed somewhere on the modem-router with the default IP address)
    3. Connect to the wireless network of the modem-router from your computer
    4. Open the browser and access the modem-router IP address with default credentials
  3. Assign a new password for the administrator interface of the modem-router and choose a strong password easy to remember by human
  4. Disable DHCP server: the real router will do the job
  5. Disable WPS because it’s insecure
  6. Enable the strongest wireless encryption available (here a list) with a good password (point 4) you can tell to your friends when they are at your home begging for wifi
  7. Disable and then enable wifi to apply the changes
  8. Choose a network address in the available range of the real router: if your router has an address like 192.168.x.y then your Access point usually must have 192.168.x.z, where z is an unused number of that range: you can also statically assign that address statically from your real router
  9. You can also set a DNS server if you want to bypass the default one by the real router
  10. Now plug the incoming network cable to one port and check if you can reach the other network nodes: to do so you can use the command arp -a on Windows and look for the new router address or for the MAC address printed on the router

Now you can connect to your brand new access point via Wi-Fi or plug a network cable into the free ports of yout brand new switch. It’s a little degrading for an ex-router to be routed but come on, you’ve got a very powerful AP without spending a cent and you’ve one less electronic junk piece in your garage.

Photo: University of Texas at Austin

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3 thoughts on “Second life of your modem-router as Access Point (AP) and switch

  1. Bibek Ghimire

    it works for me and i am very happy with this. Now my laptop lost the job to share internet through hotspot.

    Reply
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