Setting up and testing two bridged wifi routers

The walls and microwaves of my house have always conspired to cripple the wifi signal in some rooms, especially the ones downstairs and the backyard. I recently got another wifi router to expand the range. They are daisy-chained from the modem with ethernet cables. My servers and printers are connected to the router in the middle, so it takes responsibility for forwarding ports for virtual services and static IP/MAC bindings. The router at the end of the chain is just there for range. I’m just going to quickly document how I set this up and tested it.

I set up the routers through their web interfaces over ethernet on my laptop. Here are some things to double check before you hook up the devices:

  1. The secondary router is set to receive its WAN configuration from DHCP. I tried a static configuration, but it refused to connect for reasons unknown.
  2. If you need to migrate settings (especially between routers of different models/brands), take down all the configuration settings beforehand, including forwarded services, IP/MAC bindings, DHCP and subnet ranges, QoS, static routing, if you’re using them, etc.

After the devices are set up and hooked up in their proper positions, perform a quick AP scan with your wireless card:

$ sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
wlan0   Scan completed:
        Cell 01 - Address:  XX:XX:XX....
                  Channel:  ...

There should be 2 (or more) access point results that correspond to each of your routers. Configure your local wireless card to connect to each router in turn by specifying its MAC address in your OS’s configuration. Run diagnostics and make sure the connection is operational:

$ ip addr
... (an assigned address on the correct subnet) ..
$ curl
... (your public IP) ..

That’s it. Now breathe easier knowing you can watch Netflix in the yard without suffering degraded streams. Hoorah.