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Setting up a second router as a slave on your network


Ok, this has been asked multiple times already, and each time one of the members has pointed someone in the right direction of a guide on the internet, and some guides understandably are better than others!

In order to save endlessly repeating information I thought I would post a 'how to' for those that are interested. (If I have missed anything or you think anything should be added PM me and I will amend this guide ;))

In all the following scenarios the primary router will be the one that is connected to the phone line and the slave will be the router used to extend the network (The slave is more correctly termed a wireless access point when used in this way).

Now, there are basically 2 ways of gaining extra wireless coverage utilising 2 routers. (And if you want to plug in a device to one of the slave routers LAN ports this will work too, so it can also make the slave a hub for a smart TV, YouView box, Blueray player etc to plug into and connect to your home network as well as extend the wireless network)

The first method............

I will say right here and now this should only really be used as a last resort as it will severely restrict wireless performance, the second method is preferable and is the one to use unless you have no other choice!

This first method uses the slave router as a 'wireless repeater' and you need at least one of your routers to be capable of being used in this way, a great many home routers won't connect like this, and that includes all of the talk talk supplied ones.

WDS (Wireless Distribution System)



this is the easiset wireles repeater to set up, you activate the WDS function on both routers if they have it and they will find each other/pair themselves up and start working, simples!

If you only have one router with a wireless repeater capability then this will be used as the slave, you will need to log in to that routers internal pages and activate the repeater function and insert the wireless name/password to connect to the primary router wirelessly just like setting up any other wireless device like a laptop etc. again once this has been done they should 'just work'


The second and preferred method..............

This does require a few more steps, but you will get superior performance to any other method as it using all of the available wireless bandwidth for your devices and there is no signal degradation issues between routers. Our slave will be connected to the primary via an ethernet connection, whether this is a physical cable* or you want to use 'home plugs' makes no difference, the principles are the same.

Our primary router


 this will issue all IP's on our network and it typically will have its own IP of and its subnet mask will be its own default gateway will be your outward facing IP and this is automatically inserted by the router itself.

We are going to use the next available IP - - to give our slave router (we will set this as a static IP in the primary routers config pages), so on the primary router I am then also going to alter the DHCP pool (the IP addresses the router will issue devices when they want to connect) so that this IP is not issued to anything else. So in this example the primary routers DHCP pool will now be changed to -

Our slave


this will to be given an IP on the subnet of the first router (not strictly required we could use any IP range for the slave, but we are going for a simple solution here ;)) So in our example above I would give the slave router an IP of (this will often be called 'own IP' in the routers interface) and I need to turn off DHCP on this slave, remember I do not want it to issue IP's, I only want to use its wireless function or its LAN ports to connect to my primary router, and then out to the internet!

You will need to connect to the slave via ethernet cable to configure it, and very often this set up will only work using LAN port 1 on many home routers...

I would also turn off any firewall functions on the slave and UPnP too for good measure, as the primary router will now do all of these functions. For subnet on the slave I would still use and I would give the slave router a 'default gateway' IP of the primary router (our gateway to the internet), so in our example

Both routers will use the same wireless network name and password, when it comes to wireless channels some guides will say to use the same channels for 'roaming', but this can easily confuse your wireless devices as the slave wireless will then compete with the primary wireless, I prefer to use a different wireless channel on each access point, primary and slave, to prevent this.

That should be it!

* An ethernet cable can be up to 100 metres in length with no signal degradation, you can either buy them ready made (recommended) or make your own, remember when making your own that they should utilise a crossover cable because they will be connecting a LAN port to a LAN port, this is where many users go wrong when making their own and make straight through cables and they don't work, some routers will not mind incorrectly wired cables they have auto correction on the ports, some do not, and most TV's, YouView boxes etc aren't smart enough to correct this common error, this is why some of the bright sparks installs with self made cables are failing lol

And when you configure your routers you will need to connect them one at a time to your computer using a LAN cable and do all the changes before connecting everything together on your home network ;)

Team Player

Hi Fred


I have tried this with an old TalkTalk router - a D-LINK DSL-2640R and my Huawei HG532, however, I cannot seem to set a default gateway on the D-LINK. I was wondering if you knew if the D-LINK is compatible with your preferred method of setting up a slave router?




Have you first changed the D-Links own IP to for instance?


with some routers you may have to leave DHCP enabled and set up 2 seperate sub nets


so primary router has own IP of the default and uses DHCP pool of -


and slave has own IP of and uses DHCP pool of - for  example


You may even find it easier to set up other way around (swap primary and slave around)


not all  'home' routers work properly with this kind of set up, you can buy a 'plain router' from fleabay for around £15 that will do all that you need as a slave and work as expected.

Enlightened One

can you use homeplugs instead of cat5 (lan cable) from Master router to Slave router ?

oops I see in Freds Main post you can use homeplugs instead of Lan cable

First Timer

Hi Fred,


A useful response.

I am mainly wishing to extend range for my smartphone when I am in one extreme of my house, the majority of my network is wired or uses HomePlug LAN as wired. I am using "WiFi Analyser" on Android to check wifi network coverage. My chosen SSID is ForbesWiFi. I have tested using the slave as a LAN both direct from the SLAVE to a PC and from SLAVE to a PC via a Homeplug, this works great.


I have a:

Huawei HG533 -Primary

Netgear DG384G -Slave (Secondary AP)


I erased all the ISP settings from the DG384G, and entered the same SSID and password settings. I noticed that I see two networks competing when I selected the same channel, and have switched them to "8" Primary and "2" Slave (see attached image) my problen is that when I am right next to the second AP the signal can be very low. Unless I switch WiFi off on the handset and back on again. Is this normal?

In the Wifi List on the phone I only see 1x SSID.
Since my phone will automatically switch between different SSID's anyway as it drops signal and pick the strongest, is there any real advantage to having the same name here, since I could just configure a different SSID on the slave router, and have my phone seek that out when the signal is weak.

Thanks v much

2013-10-14 23.44.52.png

If the extended wifi AP is only really for your phone, then configure it with a second SSID and see if works as expected.


The only reason most users want to use the same SSID/passwords is so they don't have to do anything when moving around the building, there are no right or wrong answers really, just what works for your needs.


Channels 1, 6 and 11 are the only true 'clear channels' the rest have overlapping ferquencies to greater or lesser degree, so if you have no competing networks around you, use those channels, you may find the switching between the AP's is cleaner.

First Timer

Thanks Fred, I was just trying to clarify that this solution is NOT the same WiFi with enhanced range, but rather a duplicate, mirror of the first.
My experience is that with either the same SSID, or different, my phone tends to latch onto one router(well, AP really) or another until either:

a) I go out of range of that one

b) I switch off wifi and switch back on (on my device)


at which point the phone then connects to the SSID with the striongest credentials that have already been authorised. The benefit of the same SSID is that it "tricks" the device into usibng the same credentials to log into a different router/access poibnt (AP)



Enlightened One

Hi rickjforbes :smileyhappy:


If you have got a android smartphone, you can download a app called 'Wi-Fi Roaming Fix' this help's me out alot as many phones if not all, have issue's with access point's roaming, so give that a try see how you get on :smileyhappy:

- Everyday Is a good day to be alive, Whether the sun's shining or not! -
First Timer

Hi all


I am struggling setting a tl wr841n as a slave on my network.


I have followed all the instructions above, is anybody aware of any different settings on this router. E.g. The difference between WAN and LAN settings?


Many thanks

First Timer

I have an older TT Huawei HG532a which I want to use as my master router and a new TT D-Link DSL-3780 which I want as my slave connected through home plugs.


I tried following the guide above and really couldn't understand it! Everything I did the routers would either knock each other out or just not connect. Could someone help me out on which settings to change?






Welcome to the forum both


The first thing to check, are they both using different IP addresses for their own, by default all talk talk routers for instance use as their own IP, unless one of them is changed (i.e. given for instance) they will conflict and 'kick each other off'


As for WAN (Wide Area Network) this is the connection to talk talk and we have no need or want to do anything with this.


you need to configure your own LAN (Local Area Network) i.e. the devices inside your own home.



To configure each router, you need to connect them one at a time to a PC wired and set them up, the guide does walk you through it step by step already.


Only when they are configured should they be connected via cable, homeplugs or whatever.


I have deliberately tried not to make it overly complicated. The primary router is in standard set up in all but a single parameter, the changing of the DHCP pool.


This is to give us an unused/unissued IP to give to our our slave as its own IP.


The slave has no DHCP pool, it is switched off, and its own IP is changed to the one we kept out of the pool earlier on the primary router. The only oither issue is the slaves 'gateway', its 'way to the internet', which is our primary routers IP typically if using a talk talk router as a primary.



If you want a more complicated set up read this;



Who knows, maybe you would need to use subnets with your routers for them to work as expected.


The only real issue you normally run into is having IP conflicts, all deviuces MUST have a unique IP address, and DHCP should only be handled either on a single device, or all devices issuing IP's via DHCP have to have restricted pools of non-overlapping IP numbers to use.



First Timer

Thanks Fred.


I have checked the settings you have detailed on both routers and everything looks correct.


I think the issue may be with the LAN settings on the slave. There are only options for IP address and Subnet but no option for gateway.


I can't find anywhere obvious on the settings where this is hiding, or another way to force a LAN gateway.


Anybody any ideas?


Thanks once again.


I was having a play with several of my talk talk routers yesterday to get them playing nice in a network as primary and slave.


I am on fibre, so have the HG533 as a primary, and tried my second HG533 as a slave, as well as some of the other Huawei routers I have, but I had some issues getting them set up, I didn't have time to explore all set ups, only the most basic so far, but it didn't work as I would expect.


They are quite limited in their interface settings for this purpose, they seem to be geared up to be the one and only modem/router on a home network, I will try again over next few days with other methods like subnetting, or maybe even VLAN's, although this is not always ideal as it can restrict the ability to share files easily between networked devices..


I will let you know how I get on with them, but the bottom line with all talk talk supplied kit is that if it doesn't do what you need it to on your internal LAN then you have to buy your own kit that will do as you need.


Think I may have to get some plain routers from a well known auction site...





I did connect my HG533 with another HG533 and this works almost as well as I would like....


First of all, in the interests of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) I started again,


first thing, I gave the slave an 'own IP' of


Then, disable DHCP, and set up no forwarding rules etc, and simply put it in bridge mode and connected the Ethernet LAN port 1 to a port of the primary router (as I use homeplugs, this bit was easy, I plugged in the cable that went from the homeplug to YouView box intto the slave router instead on LAN port 1, I wanted my extra ports near TV anyway for games consoles and any computers I want to use with my TV).


This lets the slave act as a switch, and all my devices worked happily plugged into the ethernet ports.


The only notable exception was the YouView box, this did not recieve any IP details via DHCP, so instead I simple gave that an IP manually in the YouView system settings, if I recall, doesn't matter really as long as it is in the primary routers DHCP pool range.


WiFi has proved a little more problematic, however I have not yet fully explored all options in that regard yet, will keep you posted...

First Timer
Thanks Fred, I managed to add my router following your tutorial,,, very pleased. Thanks again.
First Timer

Hi Fred,


I was wondering if you had had any more luck regarding the Wi-Fi signal?


I have 2 HG533 routers, the main one with the Fibre going to it in the Lounge and the other at the other end of the house connected via TP-Link Powerline Adaptors.  Ultimately what I would like to do is to have 1 strong Wi-Fi signal running through the house but all we seem to have (on a good day) is 2 different signals that are cancelling eachother out.


I should have a few hours to tinker with this tomorrow so will try the method stated above to see if it works but am slightly reluctant to fiddle with Router Settings if I wont be able to get the good signal throughout the house that I'm after.


If anyone else has any suggestions then please let me know.


Many thanks in advance!


You need to use seperate wifi names/passwords and channels in my testing to stop them competing, so your devices if used all over the home need to have both networks stored, then the devices will switch between networks as you roam when they sense the other network being stronger.


using same SSID and passwords just proved too problematic.


I did also find that it was best to give each network its own IP range, it worked without this step, but it seemd to confuse connecting devices, setting each to have their own subnets was best.



For me I turned off wifi on second router as I dont really need it, so beyond initially testing I haven't played with it at all, after al for me personally 'if it aint broke, dont fix it' comes to mind...

Wizz Kid

I've just followed the instructions to the letter. Connected my main router (netgear) via network extenders (TP-Link) to a network switch (Linksys) and onto the second router (Sky) for WIFI  roaming. Absolutely delighted. Roaming works perfectly and signal is 100% everywhere in the house. Now considering another router in the garden so we'll have WIFI outside for the summer.


Massive thanks for the post. :smileyvery-happy:

Joined TalkTalk - Went grey in 3 days :-)
It's Good to Talk - "allegedly" Took 17 days to get a working service :-)
Follow me on twitter - @VeteranBandit

I successfully set up HG532 as access point / slave to my HG533, and using the same wifi settings so that it works as a single wifi network. The two devices are connected by ethernet cable (in my case this is a single physical cable, but it would also work through a powerline adapter).


HG533 (master/router): no special settings, but in wifi make sure that channel is set to 'auto' and that SSID index is 'SSID1'


HG532 (access point /slave):

  1. connect your computer to HG532 directly by ethernet cable (to one of ports LAN2-4) to make the settings via its web interface.
  2. you might have to set a fixed static ip on your computer in order to reach it (I can give separate instructions for this if needed). The default address for HG532 is and username/pwd is admin/admin, so if you become unable to reach it you can reset it physically and then start over
  3. connect HG532 (slave/access point) to HG533 (master router) via ethernet cable into LAN1 socket
  4. on HG532 - enter 'Advanced' settings, then 'Basic'
  5. on HG532 - disable all WAN settings
  6. on HG532 - set wifi settings all the same as the master router, again making sure that channel is 'auto' (this should stop them competing for the same channel), and SSID index is 'SSID1'
  7. on HG532 - set a fixed ip that is on the same subnet as the HG533 but will not be used by it for DHCP (this is so you can reach the web interface of the HG532). After the ip changes you will have to reconnect to HG532 at its new ip address.
  8. on HG532 - disable DHCP
  9. on HG532 - under 'DHCP Option', tick 'DHCP port transparent transmission' and then tick SSID1 and LAN1

This is probably a dumb question, but here goes.

Am I correct to assume that setting up a second router as a slave cannot be used to achieve the function of a WiFi Repeater? i.e. where the second router only connects to the first via WiFi.

If I can't use my old spare router then I need to find a suitable Repeater



John, it depends on the router but I doubt it can work with HG532, did you try it? But you should be able to use powerline adapters to make the connection between your primary router and the secondary, these can be obtained for about £15 for a pair if you don't already have some. You would need a couple of ethernet patch cables too.


I have had problems with the repeater technology (in a different situation, using Edimax hardware which was supposed to support this setup). I would recommend you try to use an ethernet-based connection between primary router and the wireless access point if possible, it should be faster and less prone to dropouts.