Use Two Routers To Separate N and G Wireless Network Clients

[If you'd like to completely separate the G and N clients, set up the two routers to use the different SSIDs, and follow the instructions here for setting the second router to a Static IP from the first router.]

I had this problem, however strange, of a mixed wireless G and N network, where my MacBook Pro would drop its internet connection, or become really slow whenever my wife booted up her Asus Windows laptop.  My assumption was because her laptop was 802.11G, and mine was 802.11N.  I use a DD-WRT equipped Linksys WRT-350N for my home use and didn’t want to switch to G-only wireless.

What I figured I could do is similar to what I’ve done in the past, separate my  wireless network to two different routers.  What I didn’t want, though, is to have a separate network for the connection.  I didn’t know if it would work, but I had a Buffalo router laying around and figured it was worth a shot.

First you set up your router as you normally would, in my case it’s DD-WRT, but this should work on the standard Linksys firmware as well.  I have a cable connection, so my router gets its address via DHCP from Optimum Online.  You are going to want the first router to handle DHCP.  I set the DHCP to the second half of the IP range for the subnet (10.0.10.129), although this really only matters if you want to worry about setting up subnets. I don’t really do anything with subnets either, but I do have both routers, three printers, and a LaCie NAS, all with static IP’s.  This way I don’t have to worry about my setting a static IP in the DHCP range, which could cause problems.

So the first router (the DHCP server) I set to the IP 10.0.10.1, the gateway to 10.0.10.1, and the Local DNS to 10.0.10.1.  This is the first available address in that IP range.  Turn the DHCP on, set the range to 10.0.10.129, and the number of clients to whatever you think you may need (25 to 50 should be fine, if you’re doing this for your house.)

Basic Router Settings--Router 1

Basic Router Settings--Router 1

Next, setup the wireless N network.  Under the Wireless tab, Basic Settings, fill in your SSID.  Wireless mode is AP(access point), Wireless Network Mode will be N only (or G only if this is your G router.)  See screen shot below:

Wireless Settings--Router Connected to Modem

Wireless Settings--Router Connected to Modem

Don’t forget to setup the WPA encryption in the Wireless–> Wireless Security tab.

Next, you will set up the second router to be an access point in tandem with the first router, only to be a N (or G…opposite of whatever you did for router 1) only host.  You want the WAN port set to disable, and you want to set its gateway as 10.0.10.1 (or whatever address you decided on for the first router.)  The IP address for the router, which I set to 10.0.10.127, which would be the last addressable range in that subnet if I decided to set that up. Technically it would be the broadcast address for the .0 address range of the /25 subnet, but that’s why I did it. So I’d remember.  Nevertheless, here are screenshots of the second router, now set up as a regular access point serving G-only clients:

Router 2 Setup

Router 2 Setup

Router 2 Wireless Settings

Router 2 Wireless Settings

The SSID is different, although I did make the WPA key exactly the same.  This way you don’t have to worry about managing people coming over, they get one key for their iPhone, laptop, whatever, and the network hands it an address from the appropriate router.  Seamless.  This has stopped my connection issue, and my link is a consistent 130Mbps (it used to fluctuate wildly from 36Mbps to 78Mbps) on my MacBook Pro. No more dropped connections, either.

Also, for all of your shares it still works, because the actual network is still the same.  Everyone will still be addressed to the 10.0.10.0/24 network.  Meaning, all of your shares still work without issues, even though the wireless clients are on two different SSIDs, they are still connected to the same network.  Beautiful!