Do a web search for “how to use two routers on a home network” or something similar, and the overwhelming majority of the search results will be blog posts or forum topics directing you to put one of the routers in “bridge mode” and/or to turn off DHCP.
(Bridge mode is a mode that, in a nutshell, has the device simply forward whatever traffic it receives from the “downstream” router. It effectively disables that router as a recognizable network device. Rather than a true “stop” on the network, it is a bridge. You can then forget connecting anything to that router and expecting to get a functional Internet connection, unless you have a non-bridged router in between. DHCP is a protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses to machines on a network. The idea behind turning it off for one of the devices is to avoid getting conflicting addresses assigned to machines.)
I have a rather unique situation in my home network, and it is such that neither bridge mode nor deactivating DHCP would work well for me. The network has two devices with routing capability — a Westell 6100 combined DSL modem/network router with a single Ethernet port, provided by the ISP, and a Netgear WGR614 wireless router that I own. I had been using the Westell in bridge mode, with the Netgear acting as the DHCP server and the router for the network. There are four computers that could conceivably connect to the network, two of them requiring wireless because of their locations, and the Netgear’s capabilities were clearly required.
There was a problem, though, and a pretty significant one. (Read more…)