To expand the range and signal strength of your network you will need to add a second wireless router and bridge the existing routers for them to be connected to each other. Here are the steps on how to bridge wireless routers.
- Test the coverage area. The first step to take is to determine how far your routers can reach. This is important when adding another router for you to have an idea where to place your second router. Remember that when two or more routers are working, it is best that the areas they cover are equally divided between the two. To determine the coverage area of your router, place your laptop as far as you think your router can reach. If it still has a network connection, move farther away until the network connection failed. The location where the network failed is the farthest location your router can reach. When you already determine the coverage area of your router, move your first router to match the position of your second one.
- Set the primary router. After placing your routers on their corresponding position, it is now time for you to decide which of your routers are going to be the primary one. To give you an idea how to choose, the primary router is the router that you are going to directly connect to the internet, usually through wired LAN connected to your cable, DSL or other modem. Choosing the primary router will very much depend on the positioning you made earlier. Remember that the primary router should be close or the closest to the wired network connections and also visible to the new wireless network.
- Antenna. The next step is to acquire an antenna. You should look for an antenna with wide range and good signal strength. It is common that antennas coming from routers don’t perform very well. So if you can afford to look for antennas in the market it is very much recommended. Quality omni-directional antennas that can be found in the market can reach good range and has a pretty strong signal too. Don’t worry about spending on good working antennas, using quality antennas can reduce the expenses you make for you will only need few routers for wider area coverage. Just be sure the antenna is compatible with your router. Most new routers contain an internal antenna, but some older routers, like the Linksys WRT54G have external antennae that can be extended.
- Deploy your primary router. Deploying your primary takes a little effort and caution. If you are not very familiar with doing this, you may need the help of someone who already did this kind of job before. Or better yet call an expert or professional to do this job for you. Since it is the primary router, it is the essential and will require the most time to be set-up. First, you need to set up the network name (SSID) and the security key (WEP or WPA). After successfully doing that, configure your internet connection and try your router with some computers. Don’t fret if this task sounds a little complicated, once you completed this step the next procedures will just be a piece of cake.
- Deploy the secondary routers. The secondary routers should be configured as bridge and should work in a bridging mode.
Enjoy your wireless internet connection!