2 routers

I'm trying to extend my wireless signal into my backyard. When I position my router (Netgear MR814v2) to reach all rooms in the house, the backyard is beyond range. So I added a second router (another Netgear MR814v2) with one of its LAN ports wired via Ethernet to a LAN port on the first router. The WAN port on the second router is unused. The second router sits next to a window facing the backyard and is on a different channel than the first router. It seems to work but I'm wondering if anyone sees problems I'm overlooking. So now I can roam anywhere within the house and pick up a strong signal from Router #1 on my notebook. When I go outside into the backyard, I tell the client radio to connect using the SSID of Router #2 and I also get a strong signal. Here's how I configured the routers:

Router #1

--------- Get dynamic IP and DNS addresses from ISP Use Router as DHCP Server Router IP Address Channel 11

Router #2

--------- Static IP Address IP Mask Gateway

DNS servers (got these using ipconfig /all)

Router IP Address uncheck Use Router as DHCP Server (not a DHCP server) Channel 1

all other settings at default

On the client end, I'm using a low cost Zonet ZEW2501 usb adapter. Everything seems to work if I use static addresses on Router #2. At first I thought I could let those be assigned automatically but that doesn't seem to work. Is that because I need to use Router #1's IP as the Gateway for Router #2? I hope I don't run into trouble by using a static DNS address. Is the DNS address likely to change (I have cable Internet service)? I hope I'm asking sensible questions. Setting things up has been sort of like looking into a mirror backwards :)

I'd appreciate ideas from anyone doing something similar.

My next step is to improve the antennas on Router #2 and the client radios using some great suggestions from Jeff Liebermann and others posting here.


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I think you should be able to connect to the WAN port on router #2 and keep the DHCP turned off as you have it on that router and any clients to that AP should get its DHCP from router #1. I don't think you will need to manually have to assign the DNS to router #2 but sometimes I have seen that you do.

It seems like you say that router #2's IP is set to .50 and .100 which is it? I think you should set it to a higher number liike .250 so to make sure Router #1 does not give out a .50 address and get an IP conflict. You would still be able to access the router by putting in its IP addess (.250) in your browser. Or you can set Router #1 to only be able to give out say 50 IP address like from .100 to .150 or where ever it happens to start assigning them from and to be sure it won't assign one that you have given to Router #2.

One last thought is do your AP's do WDS??

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I don't think so, it's probably because it's only the WAN port on Router #2 that would act as a DHCP client (to Router #1) not the LAN ports?

I hope I don't run into trouble by using a

They shouldn't change but would normally be 'given' to Router #1 by your ISP and that in turn would issue them to all the client machines (even those hanging wired or wirelessly off Router #2)?

I believe the reason you don't simply connect the WAN port of Router #2 to the LAN port of Router #1 (like any other DHCP client) is that some of this important setup stuff isn't routable (and that's what happens when you go from LAN to WAN)?

Seem so to me ;-)


It *can* be very complicated and I only generally know what to do to make stuff work rather than all the details re *why / how* it works ;-)

That's ok then .. ;-)

Yep. If Router #2 is only *supposed* to feed clients in one direction then directional aerial(s) (Yagi?) could help the range (rather than just going for higher db omnidirectional ones).

All the best ..

T i m

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T i m

Thank you both for your follow up posts.

I just tried that. Interesting result but no joy. The client on Router #2 shows a strange IP address (not 192.168.0.x like I'd expect). When I'm connected wirelessly to Router #2 and run ipconfig, I get:

IP (where did that come from???, it's not the IP assigned to Router #1 by my ISP) Mask Gateway blank (don't understand why there is nothing here)

No luck getting onto the net with those settings. I can't set my router to get a dynamic ip address and static dns addresses. I have to have both the ip and dns set to dynamic or have them both set to static. I had them both as dynamic for the test above.

That's a good idea about .250 in general but Router #1 DHCP assigns IPs starting with and I don't expect to have more than 48 clients (unless I win the lottery :)

The .100 address is the one I use to get to the Router #2 config screen.

I'm confused by the way Netgear asks for those addresses in the config screens. I put the first .50 address in a section labeled Basic Settings where there are also fields to enter the Mask, Gateway, and DNS servers. I can't leave those fields blank or it won't let me turn off dynamic addressing. When I connect with a client to Router #2, the address shown by ipconfig is which seems to come from Router #1. I can't get pings back from I can ping and connect to which gives me the Router #2 config screen. So I don't know why .50 works of if it can be anything different. As far as I can tell, that .50 address isn't used anywhere. I didn't think much about it when I put it in except that I figured it should be higher than the number of clients. Any ideas? I also don't know what will happen if I try to connect more than one client to Router #2.

Unfortunately (or the opposite from some points of view), no.

Thanks, Bruce

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I forgot to say in the message above that there's another section in the Netgear Router #2 config screen named LAN TCP/IP Setup where I put in the address So there are 2 config screens where I entered numbers. I put .50 in the Basic Settings screen under static IP and .100 in the LAN TCP/IP Setup screen. I don't understand why there are 2 sections or why the .50 address is needed. I can get to the Router #2 configuration screens by browsing to If I enter, I just get a "Page Cannot be Displayed" timeout. Also, I can't ping so it doesn't seem to be an address on my network. What is it?


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Well, I tried a few other things and thought I'd let you know what happened in case it helps someone else.

It seems that none of the IP, Mask, Gateway, or DNS address settings in the Basic Settings configuration screen matter at all. I put in crazy numbers for all of them and things still worked fine. As long as I tell Router #2 to use static settings not dynamic settings, things work. The actual values of the static settings are ignored. I suppose they apply only to the WAN port.

I also tried connecting a second wireless client to Router #2 and it worked fine. So I can have multiple clients connected through the additional router.


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The 169.254.X.X address is Microsoft's default address for DHCP when it cannot locate a DHCP server to obtain an address. "169." is an address that Windows will simply make up in order to have an address - but most things won't work.

169.254.x.x addresses (not 169.x.x.x) are from IP autoconfiguration. These are usually obtained when a DHCP server is unavailable. You should not be seeing these addresses from the Internet. If your router has one of these addresses, it is most likely it couldn't talk to your ISPs DHCP server.
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As long as I'm in bad form tonight replying to my own posts, I suppose I should follow up with another.

It turns out that I was making things more complicated than necessary. There's no need to set Router #2 to use static IP and DNS addresses. Leaving them at the default of dynamic in the Basic Settings screen is ok too. Again this implies that those settings apply only to the WAN port.

So, in summary, all I had to do was connect a LAN port on Router #1 to a LAN port on Router #2, turn off DHCP in Router #2, and set Router #2 to use a different channel than Router #1. I also gave Router #2 a different SSID name so I could easily identify it.

Hope this helps someone.


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Just a minor nit pick.

The 169.254.xxx.xxx is not just Microsoft's idea. It was recently codified in RFC3927:

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is generally assumed that this was just the IP address that MS defaulted to when it couldn't get a DHCP lease. It's apparently far more complex than that.

There are some interesting notes on the appendix at the bottom on how it works in Windoze and other operating systems.

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Jeff Liebermann

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