Add new router as a wireless and wired access point

Hello,

I am so sorry for the newbie question, but here goes:

I installed OpenWRT 2 years ago and love it - it's terrific (call this router1). So terrific, in fact, that I purchased the same exact router to give wireless to the teenagers in the upstairs of the house (out of the range of router1 - call this router2).

I have an ethernet connection (router2 is connected to LAN1 port on router1). How can I make it so that router1 serves up the same SSID upstairs and I can connect a few machines to the LAN ports on router2 as well?

Thanks in advanced!!

You don't have to do anything special for either of those. The LAN ports are by default bridged together, so you can plug in a wired device and it will be switched by hardware to the cable going downstairs. If you have 4 LAN + 1 WAN ports you can even configure the WAN port to be an additional LAN port, but the way to do that varies by model.

For wifi there's no problem with having different APs send the same SSID, since a client uses the AP's MAC address, not the SSID, to direct packets to its AP. A client is expected to connect to the strongest AP when there is more than one found with the same SSID, but this is a client decision and it varies how well it is implemented in different clients. The 802.11r option coordinates clients switching from one AP to the other from the AP side but only recent model clients support it. It would not hurt to enable it on your APs though.

Edit: As @PatrickOReilly said below, it needs to be a LAN to LAN connection to work. If you are connected LAN to WAN, a necessary first step is to reconfigure the upstairs OpenWrt box as a dumb AP instead of a router.

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Maybe this helps...

(Have not done it yet myself, but it looks logical enough)

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Super helpful! thank you both!

One question (curiosity only): why use a LAN port and not the WAN port on the dumb router? Thanks again!!

So Mike helped me with a related question, and I think I kinda understand - see my topic here:

If my answer is not right I think Mike will jump in and correct me...

Thanks @mk24 !

Well, LAN to WAN makes the second router a child of the first router, and will have a separate subnet that's inaccesible by the first router or its clients (unless you configure it otherwise), so probably not what you need for your usecase. It's more suitable for other cases, like for example if you are sharing a flat and you want to isolate your devices (connected to the child router) from other devices. For this LAN to WAN connection, you need to make sure that the LAN IP of the routers are on different networks. For example, if the main router's IP is the default 192.168.1.1 then make the child router 192.168.2.1 (/24 of course).

If, however, you want all devices to be on the same network, and just extend the coverage, then it's LAN to LAN that you want (or wireless if you wish). In this scenario the second router is acutally functioning as a switch (and optionally AP) only, so the whole thing is one network. It goes without saying that you will need to change the LAN IP of the second router to be different from the first but on the same network (192.168.1.2 for example)

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There is no such thing as dumb router. You probably meant switch (which would require LAN to LAN connection). And switches are not dumb either; even though people sometimes say dumb switch to mean unmanaged switches, that's not correct because a dumb switch would be a hub.

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If you want the new OpenWRT router where everything is to be on the same subnet and the secondary router you are adding is to be configured as a dumb Access Point with additional bridged LAN switch-style ports available, that can be accomplished several ways. I am assuming the final step you plan to take is to run a LAN cable which connects a LAN port from your primary cable/fiber router, run through the house, wall etc up to another room where you want to install the secondary router and unlimitedly this will mean you plug that same cable into one of the LAN ports on the secondary router (Normally the WAN port would be used if you weren’t simply extending your network with a dump Access Point function.)

Now let’s stop a second to say DO NOT DO THIS YET, that is do not hook the two LAN ports of the two routers together without first configuring the router with the proper IP address and secondly disabling the secondary router DHCP server (but only after IP address change and as the final configuration step). By making the mistake of initially attaching the two routers would result in having two DHCP servers running at the same time on the same subnet and will cause each router to begin passing out conflicting IP addresses to your various devices while this will create a sever disturbance as device connection and duplicate IP address assignments, so don’t make this mistake. It is correctable by rebooting everything on the network but it’s a hassle you don’t want to endure.

So the initial thing you will need to do is while you have a Windows PC attached to the original network or any device that will report the router our network gateway address, you need to make note of it. You can use on a Windows command line the IPCONFIG command (IPCONFIG /ALL for full info) to get the name of the “gateway” on your home network. This will likely be 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 but for the sake of this exercise we could say it could be anything and perhaps you might see your gateway listed as 192.168.3.1 which will mean we will arbitrarily set the new router with a new IP address such as 192.168.3.253. (Had your gateway been 192.168.0.1 we would make the new router 192.168.0.253, if the existing gateway was 192.168.1.1 the new IP would be 192.168.1.253, etc.) ((In some cases in foreign countries the main gateway is at the extent in the final number, many times for instance the main gateway will be 192.168.1.254 which means you must select for the new router a new IP address at the opposite end of the spectrum from that, perhaps 192.168.1.2 or anything that is out of the range of regular IP addresses that are assigned by the DHCP server, which usually start at around 192.168.x.50 and go up to 192.168.x.250)

To configure the new router, use any PC that has a LAN cable attachment and one you can easily disconnect from all other networks. If you will be needing to change the new OpenWRT router being installed to a different subnet, e.g. the router defaults to 192.168.1.1, and in our example if 192.168.3.253 is the new desired router IP address for a system with the gateway 192.168.3.1, then with any subnet IP change on the Luci standard OpenWRT menu interface, you may be up for some trouble due to the auto roll-back switching to the new IP address before all your equipment has switched and that comes from a (for some) unwanted recent feature of Luci which is an automated software roll-back that asks for asks for verification and if anything goes wrong, the change gets lost because it is not verified, and in many instances there seems no work-around.

This is particularly true if the configuration PC is running Windows. If this is to be a new IP with a subnet change for the new OpenWRT router (e.g. changing from its default 192.168.1.1 to e.g. 192.168.0.253) is going to involve a subnet change in the IP address, then it may be a good idea to download the free Windows app named WinSCP before the configuration PC is disconnected from all networks while being ready for exclusive new router configuration purposes. WinSCP provides provided a familiar Windows file structure and allows editing files on the OpenWRT router with a Notepad-like editor to where configuration files are easily editable and the changes can be saved, router rebooted and then they will show up in Luci without the frustrating roll-back. Additionally since OpenWRT was developed by Linux programmers, notpad was not a mainstay for them and editing has always been difficult so they have had to struggle with things like VI for editing so they therefore developed a “dotted phrase” style of language that can be executed used from the Putty remote terminal app which is a method of changing these configuration files which is a little less clear to comprehend for a windows user but either method will work in the case of updating the entry in the Network file to define the routers IP address we wish to change to and a method to find a way around an overzealous roll-back that is not incorporated into the Luci standard browser accessible interface. That’s why you may want to download WinSCP or if you prefer, PuTTY prior to disconnecting the configuration PC from an active network because you may end up needing to call on them in order to complete the configuration

Once WinSCP (or PuTTY if using he terminal command) is downloaded in anticipation of the need for a manual IP address change, let’s begin by first disconnecting the configuration PC from the local network. You will need to unplug any LAN cable supplying the PC and disable all wireless network connections. Now with a dedicated LAN cable, connect any LAN port of the new OpenWRT router into the LAN adapter on the PC. By default of a virgin OpenWRT install, this will allow you to access the OpenWRT new router on the pc from 192.168.1.1. On first boot you will see the mandate to set your new password. Do that first. Second step will be to set the router to the appropriate IP address needed for the upcoming installation on your existing LAN. This IP is chosen based on an unused IP, one outside of the DHCP range and in the same subnet as the home’s network. In the example of the existing local home network showing that 192.168.1.1 as the existing gateway, then our new router would be added to the same network using the same 192.168.1.x subnet which would mean we would arbitrarily give our new router an IP address of 192.168.1.253 (if not already in use). Had the home network gateway been 192.168.0.1, then our net router IP address would be 192.168.0.253 and this means a subnet change would be occurring which is the red flag to notify us that using conventional easy to operate Luci can fail when we attempt to change the Router’s IP address to another subnet and we would need then to stand by with the WinSCP tool to override the standard menu system (known as Luci). Using WinSCP would allow a connection directly to the router using the router current IP, and once accessed via this method, an edit to the /etc/config/network file can be made and saved to get around issues with changing it via Luci.

Now remember not to shut down the DHCP server in the new OpenWRT router until the very last step. We will be sure to keep the new router plugged into the PC until the last step and as the absolute final step when the DHCP server is disabled in the new router – only then can the LAN to LAN cable will be run from any LAN port on the original router up to the auxillary room and connected (NOT YET) to the LAN of the new OpenWRT router at the new location.

Let’s begin by changing the IP address of the new router from the configuration PC. Will the router subnet be changing (e.g. from the default of 192.168.x where the x value is changing? If yes, be on standby to use WinSCP to try the change another way and you’ll know if this is needed if the Luci easy menu fails and it says that the change was rolled back because you didn’t confirm it (trust me, conventional Windows PC is not fast enough to automatically switch and allow you to verify a subnet change so you’ll likely have to do the change manually. If otherwise, only the IP address is going to change within the same subnet (e.g. the OpenWRT router by default is now 192.168.1.1 and we will need to change the IP to 192.168.1.253, well that should work. However, I have seen this fail the auto roll-back as well so be forwarned and have the WinSCP method on standby if the changes don’t take and hold.

Changing the IP address of the router will normally occur by selecting Network, Interfaces and then clicking the Edit button next to the line containing “LAN”. The IP address is easily spotable here and by default it appears as 192.168.1.1 and it is easy to type over the number with the new number and click the Save and apply button at the lower right of the screen. However on many occuasions of changing the IP address, the new auto roll-back is a problem and you may receive a message saying that the verification did not take place in the allocated time and the change you made were “rolled back”, meaning you are back where you started and seemingly cannot change the IP of the router. If this is the case this is where we will need to start WinSCP and define a SCP address which is that of the current router IP address and this IP will normally be the last one of the router before the Luci interface failed the roll-back test which in most instances will be 192.168.1.1 and this is the address you will connect to with the WinSCP tool. A nice thing about WinSCP is that it opens files for editing on the Linux file sytem of OpenWRT just like Notepad works in Windows. Once you connect to the new router on the configuration PC via WinSCP, navigate to the folder /etc then select the /config sub-folder and in that you will see the file (no extension) “network” that needs to be edited. (your “network” file may look different but modify only the IP address line)

config interface 'lan'
	option type 'bridge'
	option ifname 'eth0.1'    < (this changed from device to device so never change this value)
	option proto 'static'
	option ipaddr '192.168.3.253'      <============= set to the IP as calculated above
	option netmask '255.255.255.0'
	option ip6assign '60'

Once you have closed the Notepad-like editing window of WinSCP, saved the "network" file you edited via WinSCP, you should reboot the router. Now coming up, you will direct the configuration PC browser to the new IP address you set for the router, perhaps 192.168.1.253 or the one you chose based on the home network subnet where it will ultimately be installed. If you can’t reach the new router by using this new IP address in the configuration PC browser, disconnect and reconnect the LAN cable on the configuration PC for a few seconds and try again. Now you will access the router on your configuration PC at the new IP address. You can either set up the wireless network now or you can do it later, as once you solidify the new IP address, such as 192.168.1.253, it will become the new IP to always access the new router that you will always access to via the home network.

Once you are sure you have everything else set up correctly, you can navigate using that new IP address from the configuration PC . Once you sign in, as the final step go to Network, Interfaces, edit LAN and check the box to disable DHCP. Once you have killed the DHCP server function inside the secondary router and clicked at the bottom to save your settings, your secondary router will now be in the condition it will no longer be accessible by simply plugging into the configuration PC because there will be no active DHCP server to pass the correct IP to assigne itself, so while you can go in and set up a temporary IP address for the configuration PC such as 192.168.0.88 or anything in the subnet range, then you could accessed it in an emergency while not losing your configuration effort to this point, but you would have to remember to set the configuration PC network IP4 customization back to “auto” once you had completed repairing the mistake. Of course holding in the reset button for the prescribed time for your router model is always an option but it means you must start from scratch in the configuration process. Once the new configured router is placed on your home network and you sign into the home network the router will always be accessible at the IP address 192.168.1.253 or whatever you used for the IP address to meet the subnet number of your home network.

***** Sorry for the mess above, I've already allocated my spare time for the day; I will try to consolidate these multiple edits later.