Multiple wireless routers - good, bad or ugly?

My home network consists of a DSL modem, which connects to a Linksys wireless router. We recently had some service outage problems, and Qwest replaced the existing modem with a different model with 4 ports and built in wireless.

The extra ports give me some flexibility to run network cables to other devices in my home, such as the satellite TV receiver which will then allow on-demand programming, etc., but now I have 2 wireless routers. Currently I’m still using the Linksys for WiFi in the house, and have the Qwest wireless disabled.

If I turned them both on, with the same network settings, would it boost the signal strength like a repeater, or would they interfere with each other?

How about if I set up 2 different networks? Would there be any advantage to that?

I should note that the current setup has no problem reaching all areas of the house, but I was more curious about the physics involved.

I currently have four wireless routers running in my house, mainly because they are here and partly to give anyone trying to break into our network a harder time - only one is connected to the broadband line, or anything else.
They don’t interfere with one another.
The laptops would initially try and hop onto the one with the strongest signal, usually the closest one and one is three ‘virtual’ routers that they would select the wrong one sometimes.
Doctoring the list of available routers fixes this problem.

You dont want to do this. In a network you only want one router doing NAT and DHCP. Im not sure if enable wireless in your scenario turns that device from a gateway into a router. You dont want two routers.

Secondly, even if you can get it to go into a gateway mode wirelessly, you’ll have interference problems if they are both on the same wireless channel. No, there wont be any “boosting” or anything.

Id leave it as is.

Putting together several snippets already mentioned …

If you had need to extend the area of your coverage, putting them at opposite sides of the house and on different channels woud do the job. Assuming you run a wire from the distant one back to the DSL modem. And assuming you can correctly configure NAT & DHCP to preclude confusion at those levels in the protocol stack.

Having both on one channel just causes radio interferance whether they are at opposite sides of the house or sitting side by side.

Just curious about this, are they all wireless routers or perhaps access points and 1 router? How are the 3 connected to your network that aren’t hard wired? They connect to each other wirelessly or to the hardwired router wirelessly? Sorry, just doesn’t make sense to me unless 3 are access points and not actual wireless routers. Thanks.

Why not? I’ve got three Routers all doing that and it doesn’t seem to cause any problems.

DHCP overlap can cause duplicate IP addresses and multiple instances of NAT can make port forwarding/upnp impossible.

I don’t entirely understand NAT but as far as I can tell so long as the various routers manage different domains for DHCP there wont be a problem.
Having something like:
Router 1 manages 192.168.0.x
Router 2 is hooked into router 1 and manages 192.168.1.x
Router 3 is hooked into router 1 and manages 192.168.2.x

Port forwarding can be tricky with a setup like but I’m pretty sure that’s only because I don’t know what I’m doing and every routers config software calls all the same options by different names. Especially across different manufacturers but even sometimes among the same manufacturer.

If I’m wrong here I’d love to know how and why this is a bad idea. But as far as I can tell the only draw back is I can’t find any way to get computers on router 2 or 3 to talk to computers on the other router. Or computers on router 1 to talk to ones on 2 or 3. But I’m pretty sure this should be possible I just haven’t spent much time trying to figure it out since I have no actual use for it.

What am I missing here? Why are you using 3 routers for one internet connection? Is it because of the insane cost of access points vs. routers? You ought to be able to disable DHCP on your daughtered routers and have them act as access points to your primary router.

I suppose the computers on your 192.168.2.x subnet are reasonably well protected against port scans and other nefarious connection exploits.

It’s at least partially because I’ve never heard of access points before this thread. I’m reasonably familiar/comfortable with routers so when it came time to get wireless access in more areas of my house I just bought more routers.

Well, you’re kind of answering your own question. You have a bad layout and you’re going to have little annoying problems like this.

You do have subnetting/DHCP correct, but you’re still doing double or triple NAT, thus your problems with port forwarding and inter-router communication. Not sure why you need this many subnets. Most routers can be turned into access points by plugging into the non-WAN port and disabling DHCP, NAT, and firewall.

If youre willing to manage an elaborate ruleset for forwarding and have simple networking requirements, then I guess its probably doable. Im not an expert on multi-NAT setups. Its just considered bad practice and probably has other downsides we havent explored other than port forwarding issues.

As others have said, I would keep one single router as the DHCP server and the source of truth. Let’s refer to this as Router 1.

I would then disable DHCP on the other routers and configure them as Wireless Access Points. This is often as simple as turning off DHCP and plugging the cable from Router 1 into one of the LAN ports. I often make a little label that says “WAP Only - Do Not Remove” and slap that right across the WAN port to help avoid mistakes.

I would then configure all routers with different wireless channels (and possibly different protocols).

An arrangement like this for 3 wireless routers seems to work fine:

Router 1: Channel 1, ssid=“happynet”
Router 2: Channel 6, ssid=“happynet”
Router 3: Channel 11, ssid=“happynet”

If the security is configured identical for any one, then computers seem to quite nicely flit between the networks.

I made an arrangement like this at my nephew’s school, albeit with no security enabled, and as people move about with their laptops the wireless connection simply switches from one WAP to another seamlessly.

A related point…

Given the opportunity, choose a different subnet from the default 192.168.0.x or 192.168.1.x

I found out the hard way when trying to configure VPN between a home network and an office network that when they both have 192.168.1.x as their subnet, the VPN magic doesn’t work.
It makes lots of things easier if you set your home network to be something like 192.168.73.x