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Are there any home-use WiFi routers on the market capable of being initially configured WITHOUT going through The Twilight Zone, i.e. temporarily disconnecting my PC from my regular LAN and connecting as a DHCP client to my yet-unconfigured router just to be able to open its configuration page?

Theoretically, I imagine that the following SHOULD be possible (as in, I believe there are no physical laws or fundamental TCP/IP/DHCP limitations forbidding this):

  1. Unbox the brand-new router.
  2. Connect it to a switch in the wall, the same switch through which my PC is connected to the cable modem.
  3. At this point the router should receive an IP address from the cable modem in exactly the same way my computer does, and it should become a first-class citizen in the home LAN.
  4. In the cable modem's admin page at https://192.168.1.1, "Advanced/DHCP" tab, I should be able to see the IP address that was assigned to the router, say 192.168.1.144
  5. I should be able to go to http://192.168.1.144 and configure my router.

As in the subject and the leading paragraph - are there any home-use WiFi routers on the market capable of this miracle?

I am rather disappointed that the highly acclaimed TP-Link Archer C6 I just received seemingly cannot do this. Specifically, step 5. fails, and I can neither ping (no response) nor traceroute (1 * * * ... 30 * * *) the router's IP that was assigned to it by the cable modem, even though I can ping other devices that received IP from the cable modem and are listed in the Advanced/DHCP tab, including one really old printer.

Am I doing something wrong? What would be a deep reason seemingly no router vendors support this way of doing things?

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2 Answers 2

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If the router insists on being the DHCP server of the network, you need to isolate it from the other DHCP server.

The usual way is to disconnect your computer from the current modem/router and connect via an ethernet cable directly (and only) to the TP-Link router. You might need to reboot your computer.

You may then configure the TP-Link to disable its DHCP server role, and adapt it to whatever role you wish to give it in your network. It can then be connected also to the main router/modem and rebooted, and will function as a member of the network without conflict.

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  • Accepting this after long discussions in the comments under the original post. I just needed to have it confirmed that the "disconnect your computer from the current modem/router and connect via an ethernet cable directly (and only) to the TP-Link router" bit is truly and entirely unavoidable. Apparently it is. I still refuse to accept that avoiding this is fundamentally, technologically impossible. It's just that most routers' factory settings prevent it. Apr 12, 2023 at 14:51
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    Yes, this is one convenience feature that all router firmware developers have consistently ignored.
    – harrymc
    Apr 12, 2023 at 14:54
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You are not doing anything wrong.

The two TP-Link routers I have used have both been very aggressive in being the DHCP server. It takes a while to stop their behaviour. It seems that they have been designed for people with no experience and to minimise support calls.

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