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Use an old wifi router as just a wired router (no wireless)

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[OP]
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Jul 26, 2013
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Use an old wifi router as just a wired router (no wireless)

So I have an old netgear WNDR3700, I don't use it anymore since I got a newer router. But I'm wondering if I can just use it as a wired "splitter" since I have a wired Ethernet to the living room, but its just one wire. I would like to use it for a couple of devices. Would love to make use of something I would otherwise toss out. Save on cash and the environment I guess.

Can I disable the wifi completely?

Is there anything else I need to do to make it work? The wired ethernet is coming from the basement, connected to my other router. For now I tried just connected it as is, but it doesn't seem to work properly (Internet light is orange, and no internet).

Thanks!
24 replies
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Mar 23, 2004
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Err splitter? You mean as a switch. I believe you can but you'll have to make sure to turn off stuff like DHCP. Just do a google search for "use old router as switch" or something like that. Some routers allow you turn off the radio in their setup, some don't. There also ways around this like using aftermarket firmware (if possible) or just opening it up and removing the wireless card (in the case where it's a card on the board), lol.

Also consider that gigabit switches aren't that expensive these days, so you could just buy a standalone switch and be done with it.

And if you're going to "toss it out" otherwise, don't do that. Take it to your local HHW depot, like you should with all electronics items you're discarding.
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Aug 1, 2006
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Yes. You can use it as a dumb hub/switch.

Do NOT use the WAN/Internet port. (If you use the Internet port, it'll create a sub-network -- not what you want [double NAT, etc.])
The cable from your existing network should plug into one of the WNDR3700's LAN ports.
  • disable WiFi (though I didn't see that as an option)
  • disable DHCP
  • assign it a local IP that does not conflict with your existing network (since your router will likely assign a range like 192.168.0.100 to 192.168.0.200) such as 192.168.0.50 so you can still log into it to configure
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Dec 20, 2015
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You definitely can use it as a switch for other devices. But only drawback is that, since it will utilize another IP network scheme, you won't be able to do things like DLNA, or other resources that utilize network IP scheme. So be careful of what you connect to the "dead" router.
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Apr 4, 2009
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I generally advise, in situations like this, if you have to ask a friend, then don't do it.

Yes, you can disable this puppy, such that it is a dumb switch to you can share the one Ethernet connection in the living room.

My concern is not now, but later, if you have a network issue. This WiFi router needs to be debugged as part of your network. (i.e. Wired internet is slow, WiFi is weak, disconnecting.) Or someone sitting beside the disabled WiFi router complaining they have weak signal, right beside your WiFi unit!

You now have to troubleshoot this guy with all it's complexity. Are you going to remember the setup 3 years from now? How about the id and password?

I personally, would buy a plain gigabit switch when they go on sale for $15 and discard this. (Logic: Out of the box, this WiFi router will definitely create a mess on your network, you are setting up a special mode, disable all, to use it as a plain switch. So you have to support this unit as a SPECIAL configuration.)

Not to mention, if the WiFi radios go turned back on (by accident or by RESET) and no WiFi security was enabled, someone can steal your Internet or worst have open access to your computers. (Did I mention ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN, enough times? For a network savvy user ... this risk can be managed/tolerated.)

If you needed another WiFi unit to get strong WiFi signal in the basement or on 2nd floor of house ... then I'd use this guy.
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lamboman wrote: You definitely can use it as a switch for other devices. But only drawback is that, since it will utilize another IP network scheme, you won't be able to do things like DLNA, or other resources that utilize network IP scheme. So be careful of what you connect to the "dead" router.
Not true.

With DHCP disabled and other such router features also turned off, all LAN ports can be used for additional hosts on the house network. (Do not use the WAN port.) All devices will DHCP to the new router and will be assigned the correct IP addresses for the single network.
[OP]
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Thanked all responses.

Okay so I disabled the wifi and DHCP, and it didn't work. And funny thing is after I did this, my OTHER router (the asus) seems to have glitched up as well, I couldn't connect to that either. I had to power cycle the rogers modem and my Asus router to get those back. Netgear one still not working though (power cycled that too). I made sure NOT to use the WAN port, just plugged it into the first LAN port.



This is the actual router manual by the way.
http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/ ... pt2015.pdf

I followed the instructions from page 114:

"To disable the DHCP server feature in the router:
1. Launch a web browser from a computer or wireless device that is connected to the
network.
2. Type http://www.routerlogin.net or http://www.routerlogin.com.
A login screen displays.
3. Enter the router user name and password.
The user name is admin. The default password is password. The user name and
password are case-sensitive.
The BASIC Home screen displays.
4. Select ADVANCED > Setup > LAN Setup.
The LAN Setup screen displays.
5. Clear the Use Router as DHCP Server check box.
6. Click the Apply button.
7. (Optional) If this service is disabled and no other DHCP server is on your network, set your
computer IP addresses manually so that the computers can access the router"



I didn't touch anything regarding IP addresses, that stuff really confuses me. Can I leave all that alone? Step 7 above...
[OP]
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Busybuyer888 wrote: If you needed another WiFi unit to get strong WiFi signal in the basement or on 2nd floor of house ... then I'd use this guy.
Do you think it's "easier" to set this up simply as a second wifi "extender" for 2nd floor? I did read some stuff about how it's possible to use your second router as a wireless extender of your "main" router (my Asus).
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SuperDuperFox wrote: Thanked all responses.

Okay so I disabled the wifi and DHCP, and it didn't work. And funny thing is after I did this, my OTHER router (the asus) seems to have glitched up as well, I couldn't connect to that either. I had to power cycle the rogers modem and my Asus router to get those back. Netgear one still now working though (power cycled that too). I made sure NOT to use the WAN port, just plugged it into the first LAN port.

...

7. (Optional) If this service is disabled and no other DHCP server is on your network, set your
computer IP addresses manually so that the computers can access the router"

I didn't touch anything regarding IP addresses, that stuff really confuses me. Can I leave all that alone? Step 7 above...
Weird. There's no reason why your modem or other router should have been affected.

#7 doesn't apply as the Asus is (still) a DHCP server. You don't need to manually assign IP addresses to any connecting devices (computers, smartphones, etc.). Your Asus router will respond to DHCP requests coming from devices connected to the Netgear and assign addresses automatically.

You will, however, need to know the IP address of the Netgear in case you ever need to log into its portal to make any changes.
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Make sure you manually put IP addresses on the secondary router to route all traffic through the first main router. for instance, if your main router has an IP address gateway of 192.168.1.1 make sure the secondary router has an IP address of 192.168.1.2 and a network gateway of 192.168.1.1. Also make sure both subnet's match (ie 255.255.255.0). Number one thing to also make sure is that R1 is connected to LAN port of 1 to R2 (NetGear) LAN port of 4.
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[OP]
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lamboman wrote: Make sure you manually put IP addresses on the secondary router to route all traffic through the first main router. for instance, if your main router has an IP address gateway of 192.168.1.1 make sure the secondary router has an IP address of 192.168.1.2 and a network gateway of 192.168.1.1. Also make sure both subnet's match (ie 255.255.255.0). Number one thing to also make sure is that R1 is connected to LAN port of 1 to R2 (NetGear) LAN port of 4.
This stuff with the IP addresses is what confuses me. I thought JTCN was saying above that I don't need to worry about setting a manual IP for the netgear, but your saying I should. So confused. :cry:

My Asus is definitely 192.168.1.1. I know that for a fact. I also have a small voip modem attached to it. And that's it, no other attachments, except this netgear that I want to use as a wired switch/router - no wifi.

Ugh....is it easier to just set up a second wifi "extender" instead of just making it a switch like I'm originally planning?
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SuperDuperFox wrote: This stuff with the IP addresses is what confuses me. I thought JTCN was saying above that I don't need to worry about setting a manual IP for the netgear, but your saying I should. So confused. :cry:

My Asus is definitely 192.168.1.1. I know that for a fact. I also have a small voip modem attached to it. And that's it, no other attachments, except this netgear that I want to use as a wired switch/router - no wifi.

Ugh....is it easier to just set up a second wifi "extender" instead of just making it a switch like I'm originally planning?
Well only reason you would assign an IP address is so that other "network" sensitive uPNP devices such as ATV 2/3/4 or miracast devices which connects with other user devices such as phones, tablets, and PC's, require that you be on the same network address to be able to communicate.

What will you be attaching to the slave router? If you just want internet w/o any network play or share, then you won't need to worry about IP address scheming and can just connect your main router from port 1 of LAN to slave (netgear) router port 4.
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[OP]
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lamboman wrote: Well only reason you would assign an IP address is so that other "network" sensitive uPNP devices such as ATV 2/3/4 or miracast devices which connects with other user devices such as phones, tablets, and PC's, require that you be on the same network address to be able to communicate.

What will you be attaching to the slave router? If you just want internet w/o any network play or share, then you won't need to worry about IP address scheming and can just connect your main router from port 1 of LAN to slave (netgear) router port 4.
Slave router netgear will have a android TV box and a PS4 connected. PS4 needs multiplayer obviously.

Are you saying the wire from my Asus (main router) has to go into LAN PORT 4 of the Netgear? I was putting it into LAN PORT 1. I didn't know it made a difference.
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SuperDuperFox wrote: Slave router netgear will have a android TV box and a PS4 connected. PS4 needs multiplayer obviously.

Are you saying the wire from my Asus (main router) has to go into LAN PORT 4 of the Netgear? I was putting it into LAN PORT 1. I didn't know it made a difference.
Yes it has to go to PORT 4 of the Netgear, and looking at the devices you'll be attaching to the slave router, I guess you can try to just disable DHCP and let the main router do the routing without inputting any IP addresses.
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[OP]
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Thanks maybe thats why it didn't work then, I was using port 1. Good, I will try this later, hopefully it works.

I have some other questions too, but just getting it to work first is most important. Like, how will QOS work. My asus has QOS and my Netgear does too. Sounds like I would have to set up QOS from ASUS to Netgear, and then again in the Netgear settings for Android Box and PS4. Is there a best way to setup the QOS? Or maybe I should just disable it completely if it gives me issues. I just prioritize the VOIP phone connected to the ASUS right now.
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lamboman wrote: Make sure you manually put IP addresses on the secondary router to route all traffic through the first main router. for instance, if your main router has an IP address gateway of 192.168.1.1 make sure the secondary router has an IP address of 192.168.1.2 and a network gateway of 192.168.1.1. Also make sure both subnet's match (ie 255.255.255.0). Number one thing to also make sure is that R1 is connected to LAN port of 1 to R2 (NetGear) LAN port of 4.
This is incorrect.
There are no gateway IP for LAN. Page 112 of the manual.
lamboman wrote: Well only reason you would assign an IP address is so that other "network" sensitive uPNP devices such as ATV 2/3/4 or miracast devices which connects with other user devices such as phones, tablets, and PC's, require that you be on the same network address to be able to communicate.

What will you be attaching to the slave router? If you just want internet w/o any network play or share, then you won't need to worry about IP address scheming and can just connect your main router from port 1 of LAN to slave (netgear) router port 4.
Again, incorrect. Any device (UPnP or otherwise) connected to the Netgear will show up on your home network as long as it gets an appropriate IP address issued by the Asus router.
It also does NOT matter which LAN port you're using.
lamboman wrote: Yes it has to go to PORT 4 of the Netgear, and looking at the devices you'll be attaching to the slave router, I guess you can try to just disable DHCP and let the main router do the routing without inputting any IP addresses.
What I said originally. Disable DHCP on the Netgear, assign it an unused IP address on your network*, connect it via any LAN port into any LAN port on the Asus.

*I doubt you even have to do this. I've turned plenty of old routers into switches without caring what their configuration was. Most routers aren't smart enough to block traffic from a different LAN and just pass through anything connected to their LAN ports.
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JPTN wrote: This is incorrect.
This is incorrect.
This is incorrect.
This is incorrect.
This is incorrect.
...

*I doubt you even have to do this. I've turned plenty of old routers into switches without caring what their configuration was. Most routers aren't smart enough to block traffic from a different LAN and just pass through anything connected to their LAN ports.
traffic on the switch is handled by hw. Even if the router's software was smart, it still couldn't selectively block traffic. It general what the software can do are: enable/disable the switch and turn-on/off features such as jumbo frame.

One way to ensure the router become a pure switch is to brick the software part. But it wouldn't work if the switch doesn't turn on at powerup and must be enabled by software.
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Not sure why it so difficult to do this. Here's the steps I use all the time.

1. Change the IP of the second router to an unassigned IP on your network. My network is 192.168.0.1, so I assigned my secondary router to 192.168.0.2.
2. Turn off Wifi
3. Turn off DHCP
4. Reboot Secondary Router
5. Plug secondary router to LAN cable that's plugged into your main router. Any port is fine 1-4. Just dont use the WAN port.
6. Go to your computer and type in 192.168.0.2 (assuming thats what you changed your secondary router to) > if your secondary router web page comes up, you are good.
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Dec 7, 2015
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EPcjay wrote: 3. Turn off DHCP
I followed the same steps once, but didn't turn of the DHCP. Using DD-WRT, there was a setting "DHCP Forwarder" instead of DHCP Server. YMMV
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willilumplump wrote: I followed the same steps once, but didn't turn of the DHCP. Using DD-WRT, there was a setting "DHCP Forwarder" instead of DHCP Server. YMMV
Havent done one on DDWRT for some time, but I do recall something like this.

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