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Windows 7: Multi Router Network - Configure

Multi Router Network - Configure

How to Set Up a Network Using 2 (or more) Routers
Published by severedsolo
16 Jun 2010
Published by

How to Set Up a Network Using 2 (or more) Routers

Note   Note
Before attempting this tutorial, please be familiar with the following terms:

Note   Note

DCHP, LAN, NAT, Switch, Gateway.

Also please be familiar with how to configure your router(s) Every router is different so I can't provide a "one-shot" solution. I would only recommend this if you have at least a basic knowledge of networking.

For the above reasons I haven't included screenshots. There really is no point. Screenshots on my router's will probably not help you at all. Sorry.

(VERY IMPORTANT) Configure everything I am telling you to do here via Ethernet NOT wireless, the last thing we want is for your wireless to drop at the wrong moment and screw the settings over

(VERY IMPORTANT 2)! Keep both routers disconnected from each other until I tell you to connect them! Otherwise they screw each other over and give you no network access. Also don't connect other machines except the one your configuring the router with. The reason for this is we are messing with settings, so any rules which apply now won't apply once you have done it. Hence no network access.

(VERY IMPORTANT 3) BACKUP YOUR ROUTER SETTINGS If you follow this guide then I see no reason why it shouldn't work. I have done this on several routers now. However! there is always that one time it doesn't work. Therefore either, write down the settings before you start fiddling, for both routers. or if your routers have the option, back them up (My router has this option under the "Maintenance" section)

Section 1 - Placing The Network's Infrastructure

Lets Get Started

1) Decide which router is the gateway (which will bind the network together), I chose it to be the one connected to the Internet, I would recommend you do the same.

2) Login to your new gateway and give it an IP address of and set the subnet

3) Enable DCHP and the NAT firewall and change the DCHP pool to assign addresses from through to (there is a very good reason why we don't use all the addresses as you will see in a minute)

4) logout of the router and disconnect. Then reconnect and check everything is working (IE you can get on the internet etc.) then disconnect again.

5) Connect to the 2nd router (from this point on I will call it "the switch" as that is really what it is now, we don't want it to act like a router any more)

6) Log in to the switch, give it an IP address of and a subnet of (see why we didn't use all the addresses now?) It is very important that you give it a IP address which is OUTSIDE the DCHP pool of the gateway.

7) Disable the NAT firewall, you don't need it, thats what the gateway is for. and it will cause you problems down the line.

8) Turn off DCHP in the switch. Now it is entirely possible at this point that you will lose connection to the switch. Don't worry, that is normal. hence why I told you to set everything up before hand. The reason is that the switch is no longer handing out IP addresses, this will all be handled by the gateway in our final setup. If you want to test that it is working then give yourself a static IP address: - Free Help Setting up Your Router or Firewall and reconnect. (Incidentally, that is also a guide on how to change the default gateway which may be needed later on)

9) Disconnect from the switch (Pull the cable)

10) REMOVE your static IP address if you used one in the last step. (change it back to "Auto")

11) Connect the Gateway to the Switch via Ethernet. Depending on the router's you may have to use Crossover Cable for this. In my experience though, most modern routers come with what is known as "Auto Uplink Sensing" which means it will not need Crossover Cable. Otherwise you will I'm afraid. You can test whether you need Crossover Cable in the next step.

12) Connect via Ethernet to the Switch. Now with a little bit of luck, everything should work and the Gateway will report itself to Windows and assign you an IP address. If it doesn't then one of two things have gone wrong:
a) The Gateway isn't reporting itself properly, in which case you need to change the Default Gateway (thats in the Static IP address guide above) If this is the case, then you will need to reconnect to the Gateway directly and change the DCHP pool so that you have a Static IP which is outside the Pool.

b) You need Crossover Cable (as detailed above)
Note   Note
A note about networks with more than 2 routers. There must be at any time only ONE gateway. Therefore any additional routers introduced to the network must be configured like the Switch

Section 2 - "Look Mum No Wires" - Making the Network Wireless

Setting up the wireless is probably the easiest part of this tutorial. If you have followed me so far, then this last little bit will be very easy. In this section, our ultimate goal is to have a network where you can log into any access point with the same credentials, and your PC will see it as the same network.

Lets Get Started

If you already have the Infrastructure set up, then you can do this by plugging into either router. Just remember, the gateway is at and the switch is the following options need to be changed in BOTH routers:

1) the SSID (Wireless name) needs to be Identical in both cases (including Capitalisation)

2) Any Security (WPA, MAC Filtering etc.) needs to also be Identical, including passphrases. otherwise your PC will not be able to log in to any router.

3) Set the Channel to Auto. There is so much conflicting information out there on this one, some say set it to different channels, some say make them the same channel. I say set it to Auto and let the router decide. It's never failed me.

Now, if you have done this right. After the first time you log into the network, you PC should automatically log into the closest router. Hence always giving you the best Wireless signal.

Note   Note
If you are in the habit of moving about, your PC will NOT automatically "jump" routers if another one has a stronger signal, you will need to disconnect and reconnect manually

information   Information
This tutorial is the intellectual property of (c)2009 Martin Joy a.k.a severedsolo and is only authorised to be hosted on This tutorial is not to be copied without my explicit consent and when consent is granted the original author must be credited along with a link to this tutorial

16 Jun 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit

Well done, Martin. Very clear.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64

Nice tut Martin. May I ask, what is the purpose of a multi-router setup?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2010   #3


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jonathan_King View Post
Nice tut Martin. May I ask, what is the purpose of a multi-router setup?

I can think of two situations where there would be a need for more than one router.

First is in order to expand the wireless coverage area. With the one "Gateway" router and other "Bridged" wireless routers placed at strategic locations one can keep sufficient signal strength over a larger area. For example a three story home, or extending signal to a back yard patio or porch.

Second, one can use a second router to create and maintain a "Virtual Private Network" separate from the "Gateway" router that connects to the Internet. This allows for both a "Public" network and a "Private" network accessing the same Internet Access Provider.

Just a couple possibilities ...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Jun 2010   #4


Very good tutorial.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jonathan_King View Post
Nice tut Martin. May I ask, what is the purpose of a multi-router setup?
Thank you Jonathan, Kari and Robert

Jonathan, well the reason that I use a multi router setup is because I needed the extended wireless coverage as Robert said. I didn't want to go out and buy a Wireless repeater or Homeplugs as I had a spare router lying around, so I wired her up and fiddled with it until I figured this out.

The poster who I originally made this for wanted it because he had alot of machines in various places about his home.

Although I do admit that in most cases it probably isn't needed. Unless you do it "Because I can"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2010   #6


Jonathan, this tutorial by Martin shows the easiest way to extend wireless network's range, using a second router as a repeater / switch. I'm using this kind of setup at home, getting nice wireless signal throughout quite a big area.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2010   #7

Windows 7 x64 finally!

Very nice tutorial Martin
Do you know if there is a way to connect the router to the switch wirelessly, like a repeater would? I don't think they can "talk" that way, can they?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2010   #8


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wallyinnc View Post
Very nice tutorial Martin
Do you know if there is a way to connect the router to the switch wirelessly, like a repeater would? I don't think they can "talk" that way, can they?

For a home network, not all switches or access points can function as a repeater. For those that can, as I understand, you give up half your bandwidth because a wireless repeater must now receive the original signal, then rebroadcast the signal to the computer. Then from the computer, it must again receive the signal, then rebroadcast it to the 'gateway' and the Internet Connection. A 'wired bridge' to a wireless access point avoids this bandwidth limitation.

Of course there is the more expensive 'commercial' equipment but for most home users the cost is just to much.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2010   #9

Windows 7 x64 finally!

Got it, thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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