Last updated on May 24, 2020
Are you wondering what to do with that old WiFi Router after you upgraded? You might be able to use it like a WiFi Access Point to improve coverage in your home.
I just replaced my old Cable Modem / WiFi Router combo Netgear C3700 with an Arris Surfboard SB6190 Cable Modem along with a LinkSys EA4500 WiFi Router. I did this to better utilize my broadband internet service, as the SB6190 has some good reviews, and I wasn’t sure if the C3700 was getting me the best bandwidth, and also tended to lose connection at times. The combination of SB6190 and EA4500 seems to be working well so far.
So what do I do with my C3700? I could try and sell it, but I was wondering if I could use it as a WiFi Access Point to get better WiFi coverage in my house. I decided to give it a try and did some research online.
Here is what I tried. My LAN subnet on my main router — the EA4500 — is 192.168.1.*. So, I set up a reserved DHCP IP address of 192.168.1.2 for my C3700. Then I disabled the DHCP server on the C3700. After this, I connected one of the LAN ports of the C3700 to my home LAN from my main router. I enabled both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz wireless on the C3700. I also left the “broadband port” on the C3700 unconnected. This way my C3700 acts as a “WiFi bridge”.
Now, any device that connects to the C3700 through WiFi gets its IP address from the main router’s DHCP on the 192.168.1.* subnet. The C3700 just provides wireless to LAN bridging and appears transparent to the main router. This way all the devices on my home network — either connected to the C3700 through WiFi, or to the main router EA4500 through the WiFi or the wired LAN — get an IP address on the 192.168.1.* subnet. This allows me to use all the various features on my EA4500 to control all the devices on the home network. For example, I can set up media prioritization, or access limits to any of the devices on the network from the EA4500.
Since the C3700 is configured as a bridge and not as a router, I can get a list of all devices on my home network by checking status on my main router, the EA4500. This greatly simplifies maintenance of my network and also helps me monitor its status remotely if I need to, using the Linksys Smart WiFi app.