Can Two Routers Be Used on the Same Home Network?

A. It is technically possible to utilize two routers on the same home network. The benefits of a two router network include:
  • supports more devices - if your first router is a wired Ethernet router, it supports only a limited number of connected devices (typically only four or five). A second router provides more open ports allowing additional computers to join the network.
  • can simply hybrid network setups - if you have a wired home network and want to connect some new WiFi 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.
  • wireless range / reach - adding a second wireless router to a WiFi network can extend the reach of your network 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 use one router, isolates the network traffic from affecting the other router and all of its attached devices.

Installing a Two Router Network

Installing a router to work as the second one on a home network requires special configuration.
Do the following on the second router to ensure it (and the devices attached) function properly:
    1. Connect as local device or bridge - If connecting the second router via Ethernet cable, plug it into one of the LAN ports on the first router. If connecting the second router wirelessly, ensure the second router is set for client mode. Note that some home wireless routers do not support client mode; these must be connected by cable. Check your router documentation for details on its client mode configuration support.2. Check / change IP address - Most home network routers use a default IP address setting. Often, these default IP addresses will not work in a two router environment. Check the second router's IP address value and reset it if necessary to work within the valid address range of the first router (and to not conflict with any other device on the network).3. Disable DHCP - To avoid IP address conflicts between all of the devices on the home network, only one of your two routers should assign addresses via DHCP. All mainstream routers provide an option to disable DHCP as part of the router's configuration screens.
Instead of adding a second wired router to an existing network, consider adding a network switch instead. 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 configuration.
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