Just moved into a new apartment that has ethernet wall outlets in 3 different rooms, leading to a patch panel in a closet. In the closet, there is also an ISP provided modem+router combo. I want to disable the router here as I dont want to run wifi from the closet

Here is the layout I'd like to run:

enter image description here

My question is about the wireless router in Room 2. That device will be the main DHCP server and providing wifi for the entire apartment.

In this setup, the router will be a "sibling" device to the switches in the other rooms, as they all plug into the closet modem via the patch panel. Does the main router need to instead be a parent of everything in the apartment? (i.e. everything in the apartment needs to plug into it directly). I'm not familiar enough with networking to know whether IPs will be correctly handed out in this situation

If everything in the apartment does need to plug directly into the router instead, then it will need to go in the closet where the patch panel is (so the outlets can be wired up), and I'm back to the same problem of running wifi from the closet. Whats the best way around this?

Here is what the situation in the closet looks like, if it helps. The white box is the modem+router combo, and I assume the top left blue panel is what all the room ethernet outlets feed into. The 3 wired ports on that panel, I assume, each need an ethernet cable plugging into the white box?

enter image description here

  • 3
    "I want to disable the router here as I dont want to run wifi from the closet" -- You're conflating "router" with "wireless router" (which is unfortunately very common yet wrong). Wireless and routing are two separate functions. You need to have a router (with or without wifi) (providing NAT, DNS, firewall etc.) behind the modem and before any switch. Moving the router (with wifi or not) behind the switch exposes to the public network all of your (wired) devices in rooms 1 & 3 (that are not behind that router), rather than make them part of your local network (i.e. your LAN).
    – sawdust
    Jul 24 at 23:14
  • "The white box is the modem+router combo..." -- What exactly are you referring to? I see a big cylindrical Telus device that has only a power connection and a (Ethernet?) cable, There'a also a (rectangular) box on the right wall that seems to be the other end of that (Ethernet?) cable and maybe a black cable. IOW you need to better identify what you actually have, and figure out what additional connections are needed within that cabinet..
    – sawdust
    Jul 25 at 0:12
  • 1
    @sawdust It looks to me like the big cylindrical Telus device is this (i.e. the modem+router combo with probably a 4-port ethernet switch), the rectangular box on the right wall is just the incoming fiber-optic termination, and the green-headed "cable" running between them is a fiber-optic patch cord. Jul 25 at 8:14
  • @sawdust: The green one is a SC/APC fiber optic connector, could be fiber Ethernet but most likely is GPON (which is very commonly used for FTTH). So it's a combination GPON ONT (frequently called a "fiber modem") + wireless router.
    – user1686
    Jul 25 at 14:18
  • I don't understand why they would need to disable the wireless on the router in the closet. Why not leave it as an access point?
    – blankip
    Jul 25 at 20:24

Generally all devices need to be connected through the "main router", whether it's the modem or not.

I want to disable the router here as I dont want to run wifi from the closet

The "router" doesn't run wifi though.

It's the "wireless" part of a wireless router that runs wifi – the "router" part instead handles things such as IP routing, NAT, getting a public IP address from your ISP, and so on. So you're free to disable Wi-Fi on the device, but it does still need to be a router, not only a plain modem.

One of the reasons is: At least with most home ISPs, you can only get one IP address through the connection – so you can't just connect a bunch of devices directly to a (bridge mode) modem; you have to connect a router, and all those devices have to be connected to the router which will then allow the address to be shared using NAT.

So most likely you'll need to

a) disable Wi-Fi but keep the "router" features still enabled on the modem, so that it could handle the IP address through NAT (instead disabling routing on the "main router" and keeping only Wi-Fi there),

or b) disable routing on the modem, but connect all your other devices to the other "main router" that you have – not directly to the modem.

  • 2
    I think your answer misses a "disable routing in the "main router" device, to use it as a switch+wireless access point only" item
    – Bergi
    Jul 25 at 14:14

You seem to be misunderstanding some terminology. In particular:

  • A ‘router’ has nothing to do with wireless networking. It just routes packets, that’s all. Routers may or may not include NAT (network address translation) functionality.
  • A ‘gateway’ connects two networks with different underlying protocols. Almost all modern gateways also implicitly include some degree of routing functionality, because they need to be smart enough to not send things from one network to the other if they do not need to be on the other network.
  • A ‘wireless access point’ is a gateway that connects a wireless network with another type of network, typically an Ethernet network. An AP does not need to include routing functionality, it may function simply as a switch or hub connecting the wireless network to the wired network.
  • Almost all consumer wireless access points are combined units consisting of a router integrated with a wireless access point, together with firewall and NAT routing functionality. Most actually don’t support any type of routing other than NAT routing.

You can do almost exactly what you want, but you need to do two things differently:

  • The ‘modem’ (note, it may actually not be a modem, but that would warrant it’s own question) should have it’s wireless AP turned off, but the router functionality left on. Without this, anything not connected through the ‘main router’ will need to negotiate with your ISP for an IP address, which is almost certainly not what you want (if it even works, which it probably won’t).
  • The ‘main router’ should be configured in wireless AP mode, which means that the routing functionality will be disabled. This is needed so that you can talk to other things on your network that are not connected through the ‘main router’ (otherwise the stuff on said router will be behind it’s own separate NAT layer).

Alternatively, you will probably get better performance by configuring the modem in ‘bridge’ mode and routing everything through your ‘main router’, though doing it that way will need an extra switch in the closet and two lines between the main router and the closet (one upstream connected to the modem, and the other downstream connected to the switch which you can then connect the wall outlets in the other rooms to).


Added routers in this setup need to be connected to the ISP modem/router. This assumes you wish devices like one printer to service all rooms.

If you do this, you would need to experiment with where to place a wireless router. You need to get an Ethernet cable from the closet to outside the closet if you wish wireless to be outside the closet.

If you wish to have your own main router as in your picture (so the ISP modem is in Bridged mode), then you would need to disconnect appropriate room Ethernet cables from the ISP modem and connect them to your new Main Router. Again this assumes you wish to have, say, one printer service all rooms.

You will need to make an accurate diagram of the starting layout (so you can get back to the starting point) and then experiment with connections.

You goal (I think) in a single apartment, is to have all your devices on a single subnet.

You can make a new Main Router work - just use care hooking it up and make sure your ISP will work that way.

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