How to Connect Two Routers & Have the Same SSID

Extending the WiFi network is something that most people seem to want nowadays. It’s quite often that someone asks me how they can extend the range or cost-effectively expand their network. It’s getting more important than ever to always be connected, wherever you are in your house, and everything should be wireless. This is where double routers are coming into play.

People often start by purchasing a new router to extend their WiFi. The mistake they do afterward is to throw the old router away. Why not use it to further extend your network? Connecting the second router to the first can greatly increase your network coverage. It is also possible to use the same SSID on both routers, so you don’t have to switch depending on where you are in the house.

But there are also other benefits of having two routers except for better WiFi. You can expand your network with more ethernet ports in other parts of the house/apartment. Most routers have USB which you can use om multiple points in the house for mass-storage, network printing or whatever you want. But the best of all is that it is much easier than you might think to add a 2nd router to your network.

Why Would You Connect Two Routers?

Connecting two routers might not be the first option that you think of when you think about extending your network. However, if you have an old router laying around at home, then what’s the point of purchasing something else like an extender or a power adapter, when you can just use your old router?

Having a second router means that you can get more ethernet ports, for example. I have two routers at home and this was the main reason why I wanted to set up the second router in the other room. But it was also because I needed USB ports over there. This meant that I could either purchase a power adapter with a USB port (which most of them doesn’t) and then connect it to a switch for the ethernet ports OR that I could just use the old router that I had laying around.

But we also need to talk about the WiFi extension, which is the reason you are looking for a solution to this, I guess. I don’t have such a big apartment that I needed two routers. However, since I decided to go with a 2nd router, I now have an apartment where every single part of it has a wireless network. The balcony has full WiFi access as well as the sofa in the living room, which is on the other side of the apartment.

So, if you have an old router at home and want to get a better WiFi network in other parts of your house or apartment, I highly recommend that you dig up the old router that you have, instead of running to the store to purchase new hardware. Down below, I have written a detailed guide on how to set up, and you can easily follow along.

Does Any of the Routers Have AP Mode?

Before we get started with how to use two routers and yet, have just one network, we first need to understand how the second router should be set up. Nowadays, you can purchase something called access points, or WAP, wireless access point. This is a product that is doing nothing other than to extend your WiFi connection.

A big difference between a router and an access point is that a router is doing so much more than an access point. A router will, for example, use DHCP to give devices an IP address in your network. A router can also do stuff like port forwarding and other types of networking stuff. An access point can’t do these things. If an access point gets a DHCP-request, it will forward that request to the router. What we need to do, is to make one of the routers more like an access point.

There are two ways to do this. If you have a router that is just a few years old, there is a high chance that the router has something called AP Mode. When a router is set to AP Mode, all things that are different between a router and an access point is turned off automatically. However, if you do not have this setting, you will need to turn off these things manually. To make a guide that is good for everyone, I have explained both ways down below, so do not worry if you don’t have this easy setting on your router.

But how do you know if you have AP mode on your router? Well, I wish I could tell you how you can see this on your router but unfortunately, there is no big red message on routers with AP mode. You can either:

  • Go to your router settings and start looking for something called AP Mode, most likely in administrator settings
  • Search your router model and “AP Mode” to see if you can find anything
  • Read the instructions guide for your router

If you have purchased a new router and found out that there is an AP Mode on that but not on the old router, do not switch. The newest router should always be the main router which is taking care of all the network stuff. This will ensure that you have new and fast hardware that takes care of network requests. New routers are often much more secure and since they are connected to the internet, that is a huge benefit.

For this guide, I am using my old Asus RT-N56 router as the secondary router while I am using my current main router, the Asus RT-AC68U, which you can find on Amazon, to be the master router.

Step 1: Configure the 2nd Router

Time to start configuring your router. I usually start with the 2nd one. Make sure to disconnect the power from both routers so that no one is connected to your network. We don’t want to configure the wrong router.

Take the 2nd router and make a factory reset on it to make sure there are no old settings on it. This is usually done by pressing a reset button on the back of the router and holding it in for a few seconds. Another way is to take a needle or similar and put it in a reset-hole on the back of the router. Please look in the manual or search Google to find out how to reset your router.

When your router has been reset, connect an ethernet cable to LAN 1 on the back of the router and the other end to the computer and turn the router on (if it isn’t already on from the reset). Open a web browser on the computer and go to the default IP address of the router. This is usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.

Since you have done a reset of the router, you will most likely have to go through a starting guide where you have to enter some information. When it’s time to choose the SSID and password, choose the name and the password that you want as your WiFi.

Since an IP address is unique, we also need to change the IP address of this 2nd router as the first one will likely have the same IP as the 2nd has right now. This would mean that you would have an IP conflict in your network and it would not work as you expect. In the router’s settings, change the IP to something else. My recommendation is to change the last number to a 2 instead of a 1, so it looks like any of these:

  • 192.168.0.2
  • 192.168.1.2

On my Asus N56U, I can find the IP settings under the LAN-category in the settings menu. Set the IP address and confirm and then let the router restart. You will also lose connection to the router since you have changed IP, so you will need to go to 192.168.0.2 or 192.168.1.2 in your browser to get back to the router settings.

The only thing left now is to turn off router-specific settings. Down below, I have explained how to do it with and without AP Mode, so choose the one that is suited for your router.

When Your Router Have AP Mode

If you have a router with AP Mode, you need to go to the settings for your router. Most likely, the IP address is now 192.168.0.2 or 192.168.1.2. On my Asus router, I can find the setting under Administration in the settings menu. Choose Access Point (AP) Mode and click Save. This will restart the router again, but this time it will turn off all the router-specific settings, which is what we want.

When the router has restarted, you can disconnect it from the power outlet as well as the computer as it’s time to configure the main router now, which is almost the same steps.

When Your Router Doesn’t Have AP Mode

If your router doesn’t support AP Mode, you will have to manually turn off router-specific settings. This is almost as easy as AP Mode. This is because settings on a router are based off one specific setting so if you turn it off, the router will stop with other settings as well.

This setting is DHCP. On my Asus router, I can find DHCP settings under LAN and then DHCP Server. Here, I can choose to turn off the DHCP server, which is exactly what we want. This will stop the router from giving out IP addresses to devices in your network and will also stop giving out the default gateway and DNS servers and such. So, turn off the DHCP server and apply the settings. Let the router restart.

When the router has restarted, you can disconnect it from the power outlet as well as the computer as it’s time to configure the main router now, which is almost the same steps.

Step 2: Configure the 1st Router

We have now done the hard part of configuring one router and it’s time to do the same on the first router that will act as the main router. There isn’t much that needs to be configured here at all, the starting guide will take you through most of the settings and we don’t need to change anything either.

If you have been using the router before and you already have it up and running, there is no need to factory reset it. Just make sure that the SSID and the password are the same on this router as it is on the 2nd router that we just configured. If it is, continue to step 2b.

If the router is not yet configured, plug-in power and connect it to your computer using an ethernet cable. Now, go to the default IP address of the router, which you have learned by now is either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. When you first get there, you will have to go through a starting guide for the router, choosing admin passwords and set up your wireless network. Here you must choose the same SSID and password that you chose for the 2nd router that we just configured.

Step 2b: Configure DHCP Settings

When you are done with the starting guide and you at the router settings, there is one thing that we need to do on the first router. That is to change the DHCP server settings to not interfere with the 2nd router. Many routers have DHCP configured to start already at the .2 IP address. This is something that we want to change.

Under your DHCP Server settings, which can be found under LAN > DHCP Server on my Asus RT-AC68U router, you need to change the IP Pool Starting Address. I have mine set at 192.168.1.100. This means that any device that connects to my network will have an IP address that is higher than .100. The max for networks is .254, so technically, I can have 154 devices in my network that is using DHCP. However, I also have a lot of other devices in my network with static IP addresses that are below .100.

If you are someone that doesn’t need static IP addresses, I suggest that you have this set on .10 so that you have a few reserved IP addresses if something would come up. It doesn’t affect the performance at all so it doesn’t matter. You just don’t want it to be .2, that’s the main goal.

Step 3: Connecting the 2nd Router to the 1st Router

Now that both the routers have been configured, there is only one small thing left and that is to connect them. To do this, you will need an ethernet cable. Depending on how far away these routers will be to each other, the ethernet cable might need to be quite long. Yes, it is possible to do this by connecting them wirelessly, but I highly suggest using a cable as both routers will talk a lot to each other and it’s best with a stable connection then.

Connect the cable to one of the LAN ports on router 1 and then route the cable through the house to the placement of router 2. This next bit is very important and is the biggest reason why people have problems with this solution:

DO NOT CONNECT THE ETHERNET CABLE TO THE WAN-PORT, CONNECT IT TO A LAN-PORT INSTEAD!

connecting the ethernet cable to the WAN-port of the 2nd router will fail and the setup will not work as expected. I’ve had at least three friends calling me about their setup not working and then it’s just a matter of switching port. So, make sure the ethernet cable is connected to a LAN-port on both routers.

Once they are both connected with the cable and they are powered on, you are done. Congratulations, you now have two routers in your home where one is working as an actual router while the other one is working as an access point, extending your WiFi and giving you more ethernet ports in other parts of the house.

If you want, you can go an extra step further to make sure that they do not interfere with others. This is something I highly suggest that you do if you have done all the work to set up everything, as it’s nice to know it works as good as possible.

Making Sure They Don’t Interfere with Each Other

Since you now have two routers that are relatively close to each other, you need to make sure that they do not interfere with each other. What do I mean with that? You see, when a router is putting out WiFi, it does so in a channel. If both routers are using the same channel to put out WiFi signals, they will interfere and disrupt each other. So, you want to make sure that they use different channels.

A channel is a certain frequency. As you may know, radio comes in at a special frequency, and if you want to change the radio channel, you change the frequency. But you may also have heard that two radio stations interfere with each other, if you are in the middle of two cities, or if you are using an FM Transmitter, for example. It’s the same for routers.

In your router settings, you can change the channel on your WiFi signal. However, if you live in an apartment, you most likely have neighbors around you that also have their routers and you don’t want them to interfere with you either. To solve this, there is a program that you can download for free called SSIDer that can help you choose the best channel for your WiFi.

The problem with SSIDer is that it can be complicated at startup, with a lot of graphs and numbers. MetaGeek, a fantastic company that is creating WiFi solutions for companies and professionals, have made a guide on how to use SSIDer and how you can find the best channel for your situation. Check it out down below.

Easier Alternatives

As always, there are other options to extend the WiFi. The latest technology and the best thing that is currently on the market is a Mesh WiFi system. This is when several routers are creating a “net” with WiFi. You can have two or three routers in your home and they all talk to each other to improve your WiFi and making sure that you have a stable network at home.

But nowadays, it doesn’t have to be routers either as many companies have released mesh-packages. An example of this is the Google Mesh Network, which you can find on Amazon. It is a product with three smaller routers, called nodes, that work together to build a mesh system. One of them is the main router that is connected to the network while the others are extending the WiFi connection further.

The biggest advantage with mesh systems instead of connecting routers together the way we have done is that everything is wireless, and the products are made to be wireless all the time, without ever needing a cable. This means that they will communicate on one channel (frequency) and send out WiFi signals on another, which doesn’t interfere with each other. They also work better if you would go from one room to another, as everything is seamlessly connected.

If you would like to know more about mesh systems and why it’s the big buzzword in WiFi today, you should check out How-To-Geek’s guide on mesh systems, as they have made a great explanation of it.

You can of course just get a range extender as well but as they tend to perform bad, losing a lot of speed and often lose signal as well, the mesh system is much more preferred, as well as connecting two routers as we did in this guide.

Now, let me know, how do you extend your WiFi at home?

3 thoughts on “How to Connect Two Routers & Have the Same SSID”

  1. I must be doing something wrong. Following the procedure if I change the router #2 ip address (using 192.168.0.2) in LAN settings and reboot at that point, I can no longer talk to the router #2 to finish the configuration.
    I have changed chrome browser to use the new IP, but it says address not reachable.
    If I do the whole #2 configuration (no DHCP and channel number) and reboot, I still cannot talk to it. If I continue and do router #1 configuration and hook up the routers, it seems to work. I tested this by leaving the router#2 SSID something different than router #1. And then wireless connected my phone to router #2 ssid and it was successful, so I think it works.
    I also tested using ping. Factory reset #2 and before changing anything I could ping 192.168.0.1 ok. But after the #2’s ip address change and reboot #2, the ping said host not reachable. But something funny. I typed ping 192.168.0.2 and the ping attempts were to 192.168.0.106. why 106??
    Thanks in advance for your help

    1. Hey,
      Are you connected directly to the router with a network cable and not connected to anything else? It could be that you are on a laptop that is connected to a wireless network and that can cause problem.
      Regarding the 106, I would think that this is the IP address that you are working on. When you ping, the computer can’t reach anything other than itself. Did the computer get it’s IP address from the router that you know have changed IP on?
      Make sure that the computer is on 192.168.0.X network. And connected with a cable to the router and you should have no problem reaching it. Good luck 🙂

      1. Yes i am using a laptop connected only to the router. Wireless is turned off.
        I figured it out though, the 106 was a clue. I did ipconfig /flushdns and ipconfig /renew.
        Then I could connect to the router with its new IP address.
        Apparently when I first booted the laptop it WAS connected wirelessly to my network and that information was cached.
        One other thing that I didn’t expect. If I selected AP mode in the router#2, upon reboot of the router, I could not contact it directly from the laptop, and the ping said something like media not connected. But then when I plugged the routers together, then I could get to the router#2 web page by connecting to its IP address through the final network.

        Thank you for the information and response.
        I will be doing this for a neighbor and wanted to test the procedure at my home before

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