Can Two Routers Be Used on the Same Home Network?

A dual-router system works great for hybrid wireless networks

If you have a large home network, you may encounter difficulties connecting to that network wirelessly from certain points in your home. A second router can improve network performance and help you stay connected from anywhere in your home. 

Can Two Routers Be Used on the Same Home Network?

Yes, it is possible to use two (or even more than two) routers on the same home network. The benefits of a two-router network include:

  • Support for more wired devices: If the first router is the wired Ethernet kind, it supports a limited number of connected devices (typically only four or five). A second router provides more open Ethernet ports so that additional computers can join the network.
  • Support for mixed wired and wireless network setups: If you have a wired home network and want to connect Wi-Fi devices to it, installing a wireless router as the second router allows those devices to connect while allowing the rest of the network to remain on Ethernet. Conversely, a second router also helps when most clients in the home are wireless, but a few Ethernet devices in one room (like game consoles and file-sharing servers) could benefit from a wired setup.
  • Improved wireless reach (signal range): Adding a second wireless router to an existing Wi-Fi network can extend its reach to accommodate far away devices.
  • Network isolation: If you heavily utilize the network connection between certain computers (such as frequent large file transfers or LAN gaming), installing those computers to run from one router keeps that network traffic from affecting the other router and its attached devices.
Family of four using two routers in a multi-story home.
Lifewire / Nusha Ashjaee

How to Choose a Router

There are many types of routers available. From routers that cost less than $50 to the best-rated long-range routers, here are some of the top ones on the market, and all are available on Amazon.com:

802.11ac Routers

  • Linksys EA6500: This is the first smart Wi-Fi router from Linksys and gives owners complete mobile control of their home wireless network.
  • Netgear AC1750 (R6300): A perfect option for bigger homes with 12 or more wireless devices.

802.11n Routers

  • Netgear N300 WNR2000: A great router that also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • TP-LINK TL-WR841N: TP-LINK routers are some of the most popular in the industry. The TL-WR841N features external antennas that make for superior signal reception.

802.11g Routers

  • Netgear WGR614: The WGR614 is a high-quality router with above average signal range (great for homes with brick walls or similar obstructions). It also comes with a three-year warranty. 
  • Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G: People have said that this Linksys router is a cinch to install and consistently has a strong signal range. If you run into problems, their customer support is helpful.

How to Use Two Routers in One House

Installing a router to work as the second one on a home network requires special configuration.

Setup involves choosing a good location, ensuring the right physical connections, and configuring IP address settings (including DHCP).

Alternatives to a Second Home Router

Instead of adding a second wired router to an existing network, add an Ethernet switch. A switch accomplishes the same goal of extending the size of a network, but it does not require any IP address or DHCP configuration, greatly simplifying setup.

For Wi-Fi networks, add a wireless access point rather than a second router.