Setting up the old wireless router
Now that you've gotten the parts needed for the project, we will show you how to setup your old wireless router.
- Deciding on a location
First of all, you need to decide where to place the router. If you are in a three floor town house like us, you should ideally have the main router (which is connected to the Internet) on the first floor and the second (or third, if your place is that big) on the third floor. I placed the router under our bed on the third floor and that way it covers the second floor too, with ease, as well as all of the third floor and the balcony with full coverage.
Once you've decided on a location for the router, power it on and run a cable from your notebook or PC to one of the spare LAN ports on the back of the old router. Now you need to login to the old router - refer to your manual to do so if you are having issues. Most routers are configured using a local IP of either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. Type the old routers IP address into your Internet browser and then login to it using your username and password. By default, most ship with the factory default username of "admin" and a blank password.
- Old Router Settings
Now that we've logged into your old router, we are ready to begin changing the required settings. First up you need to disable the DHCP server, as you can see in the screenshot below. It does not matter if the DHCP server on the main router is enabled or disabled - if you want the main router to automatically assign IPs for your wireless devices on the first floor (or in range of the main router) so that you don't need to configure them manually, then enable it.
This is where things start to become a little more difficult. Now you need to find out what IP your main router is using and to do this you'll need to login to that router and write it down. Our D-Link main router is using the IP address of 192.168.0.1, so we set the IP address of the old router to 192.168.0.2 - this is an important step, so that both routers can talk to each other without any conflicts. Also ensure that the subnet mask on both routers is the same - as you can see from the screenshot above, both routers we used were set to the subnet of 255.255.255.0, which is the default setting.
Okay, now that your old router has its own unique IP address and you've disabled DHCP, we need to change some more settings...
Next up you need to disable UPnP on the old router - this option can usually be found under the admin section or advanced settings in most common routers.
Now we are going to disable the firewall of the old router since we already have a firewall in place provided by the main router. Head to the security section settings of the old router and disable it.
- Configuring Wireless Settings
Now let's configure the all important wireless settings of the old router. We set the WRT54G to the wireless mode of "G-Only", as this mode provides the best performance. If you set any router to mixed mode, they usually see at least a slight drop in performance, as they need to negotiate between the two modes.
Next up we setup the SSID (or wireless network name) and we changed the name to "Bedroom (3rd floor)" so that it is easy to identify when selecting a network from the list - it doesn't matter if you enable SSID broadcasting or not. It just means that if it is disabled, it will be hidden, and you'll need to manually enter in the wireless connection details on your PC or network device.
Most new routers have the ability to auto scan and select the wireless channel (or frequency) which is best to use but older ones such as the WRT54G do not. For the best results, you should chose one unique channel for the main router (we used channel 6 that uses 2.437GHz) and a different channel for the old router, as you can see we used channel 11 that uses 2.462GHz.
It's up to you whether or not you decide to enable wireless security on the old router but it is highly recommended, unless you want to share your Internet connection with all of the world and its dogs. We have found during testing that WPA2 Personal (with the AES only cipher) provides the best performance and have hence used that. For added security, use an uncommon password unrelated to you with a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols. It will be very hard to break.
- Finishing up with the old router
Now that the old router is fully setup and ready to go, run the Ethernet cable from a spare LAN port on the main router (or via a power line device) and plug the other end into one of the spare LAN ports (don't plug into the WAN port, as it will not work) on the back of the old router and then we are ready to move onto setting up the devices connecting to the old router.