I have a very large house that, unfortunately, lacks in-wall networking and I haven't dealt with it yet. My cable modem is unmovable and is in a remote part of the house. Wireless access has worked fine for more activities, but I'd like to set up a Steam Link for streaming games from a computer to a nearby TV. Performance over wireless has been lackluster, so I really need hardwired networking.

I have a second router that can reach both the computer and the Steam Link. I was thinking about setting up the router as a wireless bridge and connecting both devices, with the assumption that they would be able to utilize their gigabit ethernet connection since they're on the same device. However, I'm not sure if this will work in practice - I assume that the 2nd router would end up acting as a switch and I don't know enough about networking to understand if the router has to actually route packets itself or if the switch+devices are smart enough to figure out the best route to one another.

Can I make use of the 2nd router in this fashion?

I suppose I could leave the 2nd router acting as a router and plug it into the Steam Link (which does not need Internet access) and use the 2nd ethernet port on the PC (which does need Internet access) but I'm also unsure if the PC will know how to manage Steam communicating across both NICs.

Would the 2nd option be better?

  • Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Ramhound
    Sep 27 '17 at 16:58

How/if/how well this will work is somewhat dependent on the specific router firmware you're using. In general though yes, this should work. The PC and the Steam box should be able to communicate directly through the switch which they're plugged into. This is all automatic because of how switches work. They are exactly for connecting two devices on the same network/subnet directly and automatically.

The only real possible hiccup in all this is how the router works as a wireless bridge for Internet access. It's possible in some router firmware that it will still route (rather than switch) traffic going to/from the upstream wireless Internet connection in which case the devices behind this router will be "double NATted." That may or may not cause problems with other things in your network such as file and printer sharing, it really depends on your network usage. As I said, it may not be a problem at all if the router can stop routing and really just work as a wireless bridge.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.