How to Add Mesh Network to an Existing Router

Use an old router to build a mesh system

What to Know

  • Mesh networks are designed to replace your current router, but you can use them with existing routers if you need to.
  • It's generally recommended you remove your existing router when installing a mesh network.
  • Using a router with a mesh network will disable some of that network's features.

This article explains using your existing router with a mesh network and whether it’s a good idea.

How to Add a Mesh Network to an Existing Router

If you need to use your existing router, you can add a mesh network by putting it into bridge mode.

  1. Check your mesh system to ensure it supports multiple nodes when connected to a router. As of this writing, for example, Google Mesh only allows one node to be connected to an active router.

    Also, check to ensure you aren't losing any features you want. Most mesh networks rely on serving as a router to provide some of their features, so examine their documentation carefully. For example, here are Eero's unavailable features in bridge mode.

  2. Connect your "gateway" or "network" node to your router and follow the configuration instructions. You will be prompted to put your gateway into "bridge mode." This disables any router functions in the gateway.

    If you do not see a configuration screen, bridge mode will be under your device's app's "advanced networking" tab. In Google Home, for example, it's available under Wi-Fi > Settings > Advanced Networking > Network Mode.

    Wi-Fi > Settings > Advanced Networking > Network Mode in Google Home
  3. Place your nodes and follow the configuration instructions in the app.

How to Add a Mesh Network to an Existing Router/Modem

If your modem has a router built into it, and you only want to use the modem part of it, you can instead turn off the router inside your modem and use the mesh network instead.

  1. Disconnect any Ethernet cables from your router/modem. This will reduce demands on the router and prevent signal interruptions.

  2. Open your combined modem/router's web portal or management app and enable "bridge mode." You may need to check your device's documentation, but this is generally found under "Wireless Settings" or in a similar area.

     If you’re renting a device from your internet service provider, you may need to contact customer service and have them do this remotely.


  3. If your router doesn’t automatically reboot, manually reboot it.

  4. Connect your mesh network device and follow the configuration instructions provided in the app.

Can You Add A Mesh Network to an Existing Router?

Adding mesh networks to an existing router is possible, but it may not be the best option. In most situations, you’re probably better off removing or disabling your current router, yet if you need to keep it, you can still use mesh networks.

Traditional routers have an area of effectiveness; think of them like a radio station, where the further away you get, the weaker the signal becomes. This signal can be pushed further with Wi-Fi extenders, but it still has a range that fades.

Mesh networks work by placing “nodes” around a space with one node connected to your modem to serve as a router. As you go around your area, the nodes stay in contact with your device and each other, maintaining a signal at a higher strength. As long as the nodes are placed effectively, you’ll have a connection.

When you combine the two, you risk “double NAT,” short for double Network Address Translation. Essentially, your mesh network and traditional router fight over who gets to direct your internet traffic. One of the two has to be disabled to prevent this from happening.

FAQ
  • How do you add a mesh network to an AT&T Fiber modem?

    After connecting your modem, go to 192.168.1.254 and select Firewall > IP Passthrough, enter the access code from the sticker on your ATT modem and change the allocation to Passthrough and IP to DHCP-Dynamic. Next, go to Home Network > Wi-Fi > Advanced Settings and turn off the 2.4 and 5.0 Wi-Fi bands. Next, unplug the modem, factory reset the mesh system, use Ethernet port one on the modem to connect to the mesh system, power everything on, and follow the setup process.

  • How many Samsung Smart Wi-Fi hubs can I add to one mesh network?

     A single Samsung SmartThings hub covers up to 1,500 square feet. You can add up to 32 hubs for additional coverage.

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