Can Two Routers Be Used on the Same Home Network?

Two routers under one roof
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Question: Can Two Routers Be Used on the Same Home Network?

You or your family might be considering whether to buy a new home network router to upgrade an older one. Or perhaps you have a very large home network and are wondering whether a second router can improve performance.

Answer: It is possible to utilize 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 your first router is the wired Ethernet kind, it supports only a limited number of connected devices (typically only four or five). A second router provides more open Ethernet ports enabling additional computers to join the network.
     
  • support for mixed wired and wireless network setups: If you have a wired home network and want to also connect some 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 greatly 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 all of its attached devices.

Choosing a Router

There are many different types of routers available.

From most economical to the best rated, here are some of the top ones on the market, and they’re all available on Amazon.com:

802.11ac Routers

802.11n Routers

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.  Buy the Netgear WGR614 from Amazon
  • Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G: People have said that this Linksys router is a cinch to install and consistently has a strong signal range. And if you run into any problems, the customer support is helpful. Buy the Linksy WRT54G from Amazon

    Installing a Two Router Network at Home

    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, consider adding 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, consider adding a wireless access point rather than a second router.

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