Do you have an old router gathering dust in a closet? Know that it can be the solution to improve your Internet connection. Here’s how to turn that forgotten device into a powerful WiFi booster.
Use an old router to improve your Internet connection
It is common to encounter coverage or speed problems with your WiFi connection. To remedy this, many people think about purchasing a wireless repeater, often expensive equipment. However, a free alternative exists: using an old router. If you have such a device that is no longer in use, it can allow you to increase the number of Ethernet ports available on your main router and extend home WiFi coverage, without spending a dime.
An old router can have many uses. Depending on the model, you can use it as a VPN, server or even to improve the Internet connection. In the latter case, you can use the old router as an access point or a WiFi repeater. Both of these options improve the connection, but they are different.
How to use an old router as an access point?
The first option is to use the old router as an access point. This is the best solution if you need to extend your network to another location in your home. To do this, you need to connect the new router to the old one via an Ethernet cable. So the secondary router will act as an access point and you can connect devices to it, either by cable or WiFi. This option offers the best WiFi performance and all older routers support this configuration mode.
Here are the settings to change on the old router for it to work properly:
- Set the same WiFi network name and password as the main router
- Use different channels from the main router to avoid interference between them
- Disable the DHCP server of the router, you will find it in the LAN section of the router. Set an IP address based on that of your main router. For example if your main router uses the address 192.168.1.1, put 192.168.1.2. This way there will be no IP address conflicts.
How to use an old router as a WiFi repeater?
The second option is to use the old router as a WiFi repeater. This solution may slightly reduce the speed, but it can be useful for improving the wireless network in a specific area of the house where the signal does not reach well. However, not all routers support universal WiFi repeater mode. Depending on the model of your old router, it will support it or not. If it is a very old model, it is possible that it is compatible with DD-WRT or OpenWRT firmware, both of which allow WiFi repeater mode without problem.
The setup is similar to using as an access point, but instead of plugging your old router into your main router’s Ethernet port, connect it to your main router’s WiFi with the repeater option .
Beware of the limitations of old routers
It is important to note that not all older routers will be suitable for these uses. Some may have limitations, like Fast Ethernet ports instead of Gigabit Ethernet, limiting speed to 100 Mbps over cable. Others may not be dual band, therefore offering poorer WiFi results. They may even saturate as soon as you connect other devices to them. It is therefore recommended to use an old simultaneous dual-band router, that is to say with a 5GHz frequency band, to effectively improve the wireless network.