I am in the process of setting up my home network. Below are my router configurations:

China Telecom (fiber optic)
Wired router (connected to China Telecom)
Linksys EA4500 (LivingRoom)
Linksys EA4500 (GuestRoom)
Linksys WRT160Nv2 (Bar) 
Linksys EA6500 (Office)  (DHCP server
Linksys EA4500 (MainBedRoom)
Linksys WRT300N (KidsBedRoom)

All wireless routers are connected to the wired router which is connected to the China Telecom internet access point. For the GuestRoom and MainBedRoom routers, I strangely need to plug the network cable into the Ethernet (LAN) socket, while for all the other routers, I need to plug it into the Internet (WAN) socket on the router. I have no idea why this is.

I set up each wireless router in sequence, making sure that when I set it up, it was the only router turned on, so that I was sure that my computer was connected to that specific router. I then did the router configuration and tested access to the internet.

Specifically I am keen to understand if my DHCP server configuration is correct. Only the office wireless router acts as DHCP server, it's turned off for all the other wireless routers. To be honest, I don't know if it's on or off in the wired router, still need to figure this out.

The network works, although it sometimes takes quite a long time for Apple devices to connect. As some routers are dual band, I have set up two SSIDs for the wireless network, on for 2.4 GHz and one for 5 GHz.

What I am keen to understand is if this is the correct setup for my situation, and if not, what do I need to change? Will this be stable?

  • 1
    I've setup hospitals with less wireless Access points! Too many APs actually decrease performance. – spuder Aug 3 '13 at 14:33
  • 1
    What are you trying to accomplish? – Fred Aug 5 '13 at 17:55

A couple of things...

I would avoid using the WAN ports if possible. The network traffic going in or out of a WAN connection will likely have the IP addresses and ports mangled by NAT in the various connections. Instead, I would only use a WAN port where the network actually connects out to the internet, and use only the LAN ports to connect the routers together. This should effectively make the various "routers" into "switches" which is a good thing.

If possible, I would also try to configure the WiFi channels on the routers to not overlap. WiFi devices are basically two-way radios, and being such, it would be advisable to prevent radio interference between them. To do this, consider that the routers are broadcasting in a fairly circular pattern around them. If two routers are near each other that are both on channel 1 then they will likely be interfering with each other. Due to the way the WiFi channels are laid out, channel 1 has some overlap with channels 2 and 3, while channel 6 has some overlap with channels 4,5, 7, and 8. Channel 11 has overlap with channels 9 and 10. Due to this overlap I would suggest using only channels 1, 6, and 11, but arrange the devices so that there is maximum distance between any two routers that share the same channel.

You will also want the WiFi password and encryption type to match across all the routers. This, combined with a single SSID should allow a WiFi client device (laptop WiFi, mobile phone WiFi, table WiFi, etc.) to freely "roam" from one access point to the next without having to drop off the network, reconnect, and then re-negotiate the DHCP lease.

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