Can I Use My Present Router With New Mesh Community {Hardware}?



There are just a few conditions the place you would possibly want to preserve utilizing your present router alongside your new mesh community. In some instances, you would possibly even be required to take action! Right here’s what you have to know.

Why Use a Mesh Community With Your Outdated Router?

Usually whenever you purchase a brand new router, whether or not it’s a stand-alone conventional mannequin or a bunch of mesh nodes, you substitute the outdated one altogether. There are, nonetheless, conditions the place you might have considered trying or have to preserve your outdated router operational.

Your ISP Requires It

Typically you’ve gotten a mixture router modem, whereby one piece of {hardware} is the modem that connects you to your ISP, a router, and a Wi-Fi entry level all rolled into one. In that case, you’ll have to preserve the machine round to serve, at minimal, as a modem.

In lots of instances, you should preserve the {hardware} your ISP gave you energetic both as a result of the modem is constructed into it and/or as a result of the MAC handle of the {hardware} they gave you is assigned to your account and required for authorization.

When confronted with that scenario, you may flip off the routing and Wi-Fi operate of the combo unit your ISP gave you with a purpose to use a multi-node mesh equipment for each higher Wi-Fi protection in your own home and improved High quality of Service guidelines or parental controls.

You Wish to Retain Options From Your Outdated Router

For those who actually like sure options your present router gives however the Wi-Fi protection is dangerous, you would possibly preserve the routing operate turned on however use the Wi-Fi mesh community to offer higher protection to your house.

Possibly, for instance, your present router gives precisely the parental management options you want in addition to help for the precise VPN protocol you utilize or another particular use case. Whereas we’d advocate upgrading to newer {hardware} with the options you need, we do perceive the enchantment of sticking with a well-known tried-and-true system.

Let’s check out the alternative ways you may mix your present {hardware} and a mesh community. Make sure to examine the documentation and settings to your explicit {hardware}—each your present {hardware} and the {hardware} you’re contemplating including—to make sure it helps the options and settings required for the actual setup configuration you’re taken with.

Router Bridge Mode: Your Mesh Community Takes Over

Someone plugging in an eero router.

We’ll begin with one of the crucial frequent setups: utilizing your new mesh community as your main router. That is the popular approach to do it for most individuals as a result of it downgrades your modem/router/Wi-Fi combo unit to only a modem and permits your new {hardware}, like an eero mesh community, to deal with the whole lot else.

To do that, you’ll have to entry the configuration management panel of your present router (and in some instances, you’ll have to name your ISP to have them make the change).

What you’re in search of is an choice to put your router combo unit in “bridge mode.” Typically, significantly within the case of lots of the new fiber modems AT&T makes use of, there isn’t a true bridge mode, however there’s an choice known as “passthrough mode.”

eero Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Community

Wi-Fi mesh networks just like the eero are a terrific substitute for the cruddy underpowered Wi-Fi router your ISP gave you.

The aim of placing your present router in bridge mode is to instruct it to easily cross alongside community site visitors with none of the additional parts a router normally supplies, like DHCP handle project.

Then, plug in your new mesh community {hardware} to the router and configure the brand new mesh community utilizing an internet browser or app, as instructed by the producer.

Make sure to double-check the Wi-Fi standing on the unique router. Typically placing a mixture unit in bridge mode turns off the Wi-Fi radios, however generally it doesn’t. You don’t want the outdated Wi-Fi setup (nor would you like the congestion from working it proper subsequent to your new mesh community) so take a second to disable it.

From this level ahead, you’ll use your new mesh community to handle all of the points of your private home community, and your former router and Wi-Fi entry level will merely function a gateway to attach your mesh community to the web.

For anybody caught with utilizing ISP-supplied {hardware} however who needs to improve to raised gear, it is a easy and simple approach to improve your community.

Mesh Community Bridge Mode: A Very Combined Bag

A TP-Link mesh node setup like an access point.

On the alternative finish of issues, as an alternative of placing your present router in bridge mode in order that your new mesh community can do all of the heavy lifting, you may as an alternative put the mesh community in bridge mode to retain the options of your present router whereas utilizing the mesh nodes as entry factors.

We’re going to warning you on this plan of action, nonetheless, as a result of it is rather a lot a “your mileage could fluctuate” scenario. Completely different mesh community programs deal with bridge mode in several methods. Additional, the vast majority of client mesh platforms are designed to be put in as a cohesive end-point resolution for the buyer, not shoe-horned in with different {hardware}.

Some mesh {hardware}, when put in bridge mode, continues to operate as a cohesive mesh platform, albeit minus the routing features and, normally, among the superior options.

The eero platform, for instance, will operate as a related mesh community when put into bridge mode (although you do lose entry to a few of the extra superior options that require the routing element.) You possibly can’t use eero nodes as stand-alone entry factors; it’s an all-or-nothing factor.

Different platforms like Google Nest Wi-Fi help bridge mode, however just for a single node at a time. In different phrases, in the event you put your three-node Nest Wi-Fi system into bridge mode, the first node will operate as an entry level to your present router, however all the extra nodes will merely drop off, and main options will likely be inaccessible.

Lastly, different platforms like the favored TP-Hyperlink Deco lineup help stand-alone entry level mode. On this configuration, your present router handles all of the routing features, and the entry factors merely deal with the wi-fi site visitors. Usually you’ll lose all inter-node communication, the superior options, and the entry level setup would require a wired backhaul with Ethernet connecting every entry level again to the router.

In the end, until you’ve gotten a very particular have to slap mesh community {hardware} in bridge mode on high of your present router, we strongly advocate towards it. Mesh programs have superior a lot and supply so many options it might be a disgrace to overlook out on nearly all of them.

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