Routers and Bridges at the Summer House

July 24, 2011

The Hub just returned from a relaxing family vacation at the beach. While the Hub was away at the summer manse, lots happened that piqued our interest: the release of OS X Lion, the new Roku 2 as well as even more titles being added to the Amazon Prime streaming library. More on that later when we get back into the swing of things. Back at the beach house, we found time in the evening for some tech fun. HBO Go and Netflix video streaming as well as Call of Duty zombie hunting were favorites.

While the house did have high speed Internet, its older Netgear wireless-G router couldn’t handle the load. There were nine adults plus children with most having multiple connected devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets and a couple of streaming devices (Apple TV and Boxee). It’s frustrating getting kicked off the network especially when its 11 PM and you’re trying to stream a show after the kids have finally gone to bed. Within a day, I realized that restarting the router wasn’t going to be a solution. Luckily, I brought my spare D-Link DIR-655 wireless N router to deal with a situation like this.

At first, I swapped the D-Link with the Netgear router but that did not work. There must have been some form of authentication in place. I attempted to login to the Netgear to figure it out, but the default password had been changed. I then attempted to spoof the MAC address of the Netgear router on the D-Link but that didn’t work either. So, I decided to create an ethernet bridge between the Netgear and D-Link routers. The theory being that by taking some of the traffic off the Netgear’s wireless network, it would be more stable. In essence, there would be two active wireless networks. Since the D-Link was wireless N, it would be capable of handling more traffic for apps like video streaming. The total amount of traffic going out the Internet pipe wouldn’t change so this solution would not help with whatever bandwidth the cable company was providing.

To create the bridge, I had to follow this specific procedure since there isn’t an stand-alone wireless access point mode for the DI-655. In addition to the spare router, you will need a Cat5 Ethernet cable to set this up.

To set up the bridge:

  • Plug in the new router (do not connect the ethernet cable yet)
  • Log into the new router (usually through a web browser:
  • Disable the new router’s DHCP server
  • Change the router’s default IP address for the LAN. Change it to 192.168.x.100 (write this down on the router so you can connect in the future). Set the default gateway to the existing router’s address (probably 192.168.x.1). (Usually x=0 or 1)
  • Reboot the new router
  • Connect the ethernet cable to LAN ports on both routers
  • Reconnect your clients to the new access point
  • Have a Mojito and watch some Curb Your Enthusiasm
Afterwards, the network was more stable and the relatives were happy. Enjoy your summer vacation!

Tags: networking

One Response to Routers and Bridges at the Summer House

  1. Joki on July 26, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Nice workaround. I like it.

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