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The current setup in my home network is

DSL Modem -- Router 1 -- Router 2 --(Wifi/Wired)-- Computers(192.168.2.X)
                |(Wifi/wired)
            Computers(192.168.1.X)

However with this setup, it's not easy to communicate between computers on two networks. IP addresses are not uniform and it's hard to keep track of them. I also need to do port forwarding for computers behind Router 2.

The reason I have two routers is because of the wifi coverage in my new house.

Is it possible to setup a network such that the router appears as one single node(or as close as possible) and computers can communicate seamlessly without much manual config?

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't know how you have Router 1 and Router 2 connected but I'm assuming it's a cable from one of Router 1's LAN ports to Router 2's WAN port. I'm also guessing that both routers have four "LAN" ports on the back of them, meaning they are not only a router, but a 4-port switch as well.

A possible solution is to "dumb down" Router 2 by not using the router functions. Disable DHCP on Router 2, and connect a cable from one of Router 2's LAN ports to one of Router 1's LAN ports. Make sure nothing is connected to Router 2's "WAN" port.

In this way you are bypassing the routing function of Router 2 and only using its switching capabilities. Anything you connect to Router 2 will use Router 1's DHCP server and depend on Router 1 for NAT. So you can manage everything from Router 1.

If you have issues, I'd say ditch/return router 2 and purchase a switch instead.

Now, if you really want 2 separate wired subnets, you need a router with 3 interfaces (all ports of a built-in LAN "switch" on a consumer router are equivalent to a single interface). I don't know of a cheap consumer-level item that lets you do it, but I use a Linux box with 3 NICs to accomplish a similar thing.

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I've got a similar thing set up at my folks' home. One thing though: Can you get 'wireless' switches? As in, if he ditches Router 2, and replaces it with just a switch, he'll lose wireless, no? –  boehj May 15 '11 at 4:06
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Have a look at DD-WRT with WDS. At a minimum you need to get router 2 acting like an access point rather than a router.

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If you can, disable the router function on router 2. If not, cable it up "backwards" with a cable running between the two private sides of the routers. Then have both routers give out IP addresses from the same /24 subnet, but router 1 gives out from the first half and router 2 from the second half. It's not ideal, but it might work for a home setup.

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