8 Ways to Use Your Old Router

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1. Signal amplifier

Wireless REPEATER Mode on Linksys Wireless router | NETVN

If you don’t have a very good Wi-Fi signal in some rooms and want to improve it, you don’t have to buy fancy amplifiers: an old router will work just as well. There are two ways to amplify a signal.

Option one: install the old router in the back room and connect it to the new one with a long LAN cable. Then put the router into Access Point mode, or “Wireless Access Point”.

Option two: put your old router in Repeater mode, and it will connect via Wi-Fi to the main router. Use this method if you don’t want to pull the wires. Just remember that if there are many obstacles between the routers, the connection will not be very good. Therefore, it is better to use a LAN cable for long distances.

How to switch the router to Access Point or Repeater modes is described in the manuals on the manufacturers’ websites – the interface is slightly different for different devices. And if your router does not support these modes, try installing third-party firmware on it like DD ‑ WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato.

2. Guest Wi-Fi

Do you often have guests asking to connect to your home Wi-Fi? Why not give them their own network? To do this, connect your old router to your main router via wire or Wi-Fi.

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Then set it up so that it sounds a signal – you can not assign a password at all or make a simple password for guests. If you wish, you can also limit the speed on it so that friends do not abuse your channel.

3. NAS network drive

Turn your TP-LINK WiFi router to a NAS server

Buying a standalone NAS or Time Capsule is expensive. If your old router has a USB port and you have an external hard drive lying around that you rarely use, you can make your own budget NAS out of it.

Some routers have a built-in NAS mode. Others may need DD ‑ WRT or Tomato firmware installed. On such a network drive, you can place photos, music and videos that will be available from any device on your home network, or make backups there.

4. VPN connection

Tomato router PPTP Advanced Setup | HMA! Pro VPN

DD ‑ WRT or Tomato firmware allows routers to connect to VPN services. Going online from any device through such a router, you will pass all traffic through the VPN – you no longer have to install browser extensions and applications on your smartphone. You can learn more about how to connect a router to a VPN, for example, here.

5. Network switch

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Most routers have a maximum of six Ethernet ports. And even less, given the growing popularity of wireless technology. However, this amount is often not enough to connect all home appliances.

Home appliances monitoring devices, TV decoders with Smart TV functionality, game consoles may not have a wireless interface – they need a LAN cable connection. And even if all your gadgets are equipped with Wi-Fi, it is still sometimes more profitable to connect them via a wire: the speed will be faster, and the connection is more stable.

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So if you run out of Ethernet ports, you can splurge and buy a network switch. Or use your old router as such. Just plug your old router into one of the LAN ports of your main router, then turn off DHCP and Wi-Fi on the old device and it becomes a makeshift switch.

6. Wireless Bridge

For example, suppose you have a computer that you want to connect to Wi-Fi, but it does not have a wireless module. Connect it to your old router with a short LAN cable, and then connect the router to your main Wi-Fi network.

This way you don’t have to pull a long cable through the apartment. Also, this trick comes in handy if your new router does not have Ethernet ports. To implement the idea, you may need to install third-party DD ‑ WRT firmware on your old router.

7. Internet radio station

How To Make A Cheap WiFi Radio

Want to listen to your favorite Internet radio stations without a computer? Some routers can be turned into an inexpensive music player. To do this, you will need to install the OpenWRT or DD ‑ WRT firmware on your router. You also need a USB sound card and speaker to build your own Wi-Fi radio.

8. Hub for a smart home

Home automation server with router

The old router can also be used as a smart home control center. To do this, the device must be equipped with a USB connector. As a result, by connecting to the router from a computer or smartphone and sending commands to it, you can turn on and off the lights in the house or start watering plants in the garden.

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It’s quite challenging, but interesting. The router is old, you don’t mind it, so why not experiment? An example of using a router as a lighting control system can be seen at Instructables.com.

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