How to Use A Router as a Wireless Adapter

ddwrt-image1There may come a time where you have an extra wireless router on your hands (such as the Linksys WRT54GL) that you’re not sure what to do with.  One thing that I have recently found useful is to use the router as a wireless adapter to connect to a wireless network.

Using a router as a wireless adapter will not only provide you with wireless connectivity, but will also give you a multiple-port switch to connect your wired devices.  This is a great way to allow multiple devices to have network connectivity without needing a wireless network card for each device.

  1. Start by checking if you router supports a 3rd party firmware.  (For this guide, I will be using the free DD-WRT firmware).
  2. Download and install the firmware according to the instructions for your router model.
  3. Enter http://192.168.1.1 into your browser and login using the default credentials, which is typically a blank username and the password admin.
  4. Click Wireless.
  5. Change Wireless Mode to Client.
  6. In Wireless Network Name (SSID), enter the name of the wireless network you would like the router to connect to.
  7. Click Apply Settings.
  8. Click Wireless Security (If the wireless network you are connecting to doesn’t have security enabled, you can skip this step.)
  9. Select the corresponding Security Mode and enter the network key and click Apply Settings.
  10. In the top right corner of the web interface, your router should now get a WAN IP that is provided by the wireless network.
  11. Click Setup and then select Basic Setup.
  12. Change the Local IP Address of your router to something other than the default, such as 192.168.5.1.  This is done to prevent conflicts with your existing network.
  13. Enter the Gateway of your wireless network.  (You can find your Gateway information under Default Gateway by entering ipconfig in the command prompt on a computer already connected to your wireless network.
  14. Optional: Click Setup and select Basic Setup.  Under WAN Port, check the box to Assign WAN Port to Switch.  This will add the WAN port to the 4 port switch, giving you 5 ports to share the wireless connection.

Once the above steps have been completed, your router with DD-WRT firmware will be connected to your wireless network as a client just as if you connected to the same wireless network with a laptop.  Any devices that are connected to the 4/5 port switch will now have network connectivity as well.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/evanw Evan Wondrasek

    Excellent guide – this is perfect for media centers (my TV, Blu Ray player, and Xbox all have ethernet ports now). Xbox 360 users should definitely check this out, it can easily save you $100 on Microsoft's wireless adapter.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/evanw Evan Wondrasek

    Excellent guide – this is perfect for media centers (my TV, Blu Ray player, and Xbox all have ethernet ports now). Xbox 360 users should definitely check this out, it can easily save you $100 on Microsoft's wireless adapter.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Jacob_K Jacob_K

    nice guide. there is a way to set up a router in bridge mode to connect 2 wireless routers. works good for gaming systems and video streaming if you use wireless N router bridge. helps with not having a router that doesn't support 3rd party applications.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Jacob_K Jacob_K

    nice guide. there is a way to set up a router in bridge mode to connect 2 wireless routers. works good for gaming systems and video streaming if you use wireless N router bridge. helps with not having a router that doesn't support 3rd party applications.

  • Matthewbrown

    This is a great article but you need to remember that the ssid is case sensitive when entering it into the router

  • Matthewbrown

    This is a great article but you need to remember that the ssid is case sensitive when entering it into the router

  • W3lshm3n

    it all works fine on the router but still can't get a connection

  • Rags_06

    This doesn’t quiet answer my question on how to make my external HD available to be modified from other wireless computers. How would one do that?

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  • Frankay

    As soon as i hit apply after changing “ap” to “client” it disconnects me from the routerand doesn’t let me make any more changes It goes into a cannot load page. I need help with this part.

  • thanks man

    Damn genius!

  • Jakobud

    Should have chosen Tomato, considering that DD-WRT is pretty much not in development anymore and it has a lot of broken features (like QOS doesn’t work at all, etc).

    • http://www.techerator.com/ Evan Wondrasek

      Unfortunately, Tomato’s development also appears to have been effectively abandoned, as the last update was over 3 years ago. However, many forked versions of Tomato have been created to try to keep it current, but has also caused much fragmentation.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato_%28firmware%29#Feature_comparison

  • Matt

    Terrifically helpful! Thank you!

  • RaymondRicks

    Really an excellent guide. I was able to turn an old Virgin Media DLink DIR-615 into a wireless hotspot/adaptor and saved on running ethernet cables upstairs and also saved on buying a Sky adaptor for my second Sky box. Took me about 45 minutes to get it up and running and now my son can have a decent connection upstairs as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • John Dirk Cañete

    Got the smart tv connected to the internet in just 5mins thank you for the guide 😀

  • Heracleus

    Perfect solution for otherwise useless router and cheap substitute for expensive Wi-Fi adapters, thank you for sharing