A router is a device that works to connect connects two or more packed networks/subnetworks. It performs two primary functions:
- It manages traffic between interlinked networks by sending data packets to their selected IP addresses.
- A router connects multiple devices and provides them with the same Internet connection.
Types of a router and its working:
There are 2 major types of routers; LAN and WAN. All the data is passed between LANs (local area networks) and WANs (wide area networks).
In LAN the group of connected devices is restricted to a specific geographic area and it requires a single router. However, in WAN, a large network of connected devices is spread out over a wide geographic area.
Large organizations and companies operating in multiple regions across the country mostly prefer LANs for each location which are then linked with other LANs and form a WAN. As a WAN is distributed over a vast area, it usually requires multiple routers and switches.
- Types of a router and its working:
- How to use an old router: 15 Creative Ideas
- LAN Gaming:
- Use it as an Access point:
- Use it as a guest WiFi:
- Use it as a NAS device:
- Turn it into a radio streamer:
- Use it as a VPN:
- Use it for hosting a website:
- Set your old router for smart gadgets:
- Set your old router as a parental control:
- Use it for a wireless printer:
- Make it an affordable Network Switch:
- Sale your WiFi router:
- Make it a wireless bridge:
- Use it as a WiFi repeater:
- Use it as a key holder:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to use an old router: 15 Creative Ideas
If you’re bored of your old and slow router and want to get a new one, the old one will be devoted to the dusty corner of your home. But what if there are some creative ways to use that old router?
So, in today’s article, I’ve compiled a list of 15 useful ways to use an old router that everyone must know about!
Let’s continue to read this blog post that will help you to get the most out of an old router:
As you all know that a router is integrated with four to six Ethernet ports that allow you to connect multiple devices with it. Each device connected to the router gets equal internet speed without any lags.
So, for gamers, an old router may also serve as a LAN gaming source.
It allows multiple players to enjoy online gaming over the same internet; a good LAN gaming party. By simply plugging every device into the router via an Ethernet cable you’re ready to enjoy the fastest internet speed. Moreover, some modern games don’t allow you to enjoy a lag-free gaming experience without a LAN internet connection. So, this ultimate way to use an old router for playing current and classic over the internet would be the best option for gamers.
Use it as an Access point:
An access point is the best way to extend your internet connection from the main router to other devices and it acts as a WiFi hotspot. The major advantage of using your old router as an access point is that devices connected to your old router can’t interfere with the devices connected to the main router.
So, you can easily enjoy fast internet speed throughout your home. This idea is perfect for a large home so you can easily give internet access to far-flung devices such as smart TV, tablets, phones, etc. Moreover, it’s not tough to set up an access point. Simply put the two routers in place and connect them via ethernet cable. Now change your router setting to access point mode and enjoy fast streaming throughout your home!
Use it as a guest WiFi:
Although, using your old router as an access point is a great idea, but still you need to protect your WiFi with a password so that passers-by can’t check your WiFi properties or device details. So, here is another great idea of using your old router as a guest WiFi in which each device connected to the router can only access the internet. The WiFi and the details of the devices that are connected to the router will be locked in guest WiFi. However, there will be no password in guest mode, so each guest coming to your home can easily avail of your WiFi without a password.
Use it as a NAS device:
Purchasing a new Network-Attached Storage device might be pretty expensive for you. However, here is good news for you, if your router has a USB port then it can be used as a NAS device. A NAS drive allows multiple people to access the data stored on it at the same time. So, if your router doesn’t include NAS functionality in its factory firmware, then by making a few firmware changes you can turn it into a NAS.
For making your old router a NAS device, you need to install NAS firmware in your router and then connect an external hard drive to the router via its USB port. After following these steps, you’ll get into the NAS section of your custom firmware where you’ll see DD-WRT in the NAS tab for setting it all up.
Fill up the complete information there, then save it and apply. Then you can enjoy your old router as a budget-friendly NAS device. However, if your router has NAS functionality firmware, then this process will be different; skip the firmware customizing part.
Turn it into a radio streamer:
What if I say that you can use your old router as a radio station? Luckily, you don’t need to spend extra money for purchasing a radio streamer because some routers can be configured to play internet radio. You just need to install OpenWrt or DD-WRT to your router firmware. Moreover, you’ll need some other software and a USB sound card in your router to output audio. However, it might not an easy build task, but it’s way better than throwing your old router in a dusty corner of your home.
Use it as a VPN:
A VPN is a simple and effective way to protect your device while you’re working online. But installing a VPN on every device in your house can be a frustrating task. No need to worry, as you can avoid this VPN installing hassle by creating a network-wide VPN via your old router. Some routers are designed specially to work with VPN clients.
So, for this purpose, you’ve to install software like DD-WRT but make sure before installing it make sure that your router supports VPN clients or not. By searching DD-WRT’s router database, you’ll get to know about your router VPN support. However, this might be a tough task for you, but it’ll make your life much easier and safe. Moreover, once you’ve converted your router into a VPN, it’ll be automatically applied to each device connected with it. Thus, no need to install a VPN on each device separately.
Use it for hosting a website:
If you want to host a website sitting in your home, then your old router will help you in this case. Installing OpenWRT will transform your old router into a web server that allows you to host content from home. Moreover, if you’re going to host a website via your old router, we recommend you make it local only and use it to host web-based information for your friends and family. Because hosting a website via a local router might cause a violation of your ISP’s terms of service, so make sure you must look into this point before getting yourself in a hot water. However, this project can prefer you well for host a professional website but never replace the dedicated site services.
Set your old router for smart gadgets:
Smart gadgets also known as the Internet of Things (IoT) have made our lives more convenient by allowing us to operate smart devices with voice commands. With this technology, we never have to get up to turn off the lights, open the door, turn on the TV, and much more! But where there is the internet there are always hackers, so for keeping your personal phones and computers safe.
It’s better to create a guest WiFi for your smart devices. By using an old router, you can separate the connection of your smart devices from your personal devices. So, if hackers tried to break into IoT the rest of your devices will be safe. Thus, it keeps your phone or computer-sensitive personal information safe.
Set your old router as a parental control:
Nowadays, it becomes very difficult to keep your children away from sensitive websites. However, setting up your old router as a parental control will let you control internet access on particular devices.
First, you’ve to log into your router setting via a browser. From there, you can easily block sensitive websites and set up a restriction to access adult sites. Now connect your children’s devices with that router so they can’t access those websites that you’ve selected.
The major advantage of this trick is that the parental control software will remain in place even if your kid connects a new device with it.
Use it for a wireless printer:
You can also use your old router for converting your old wired printer into a new wireless printer which makes your printing tasks much easier than ever. For this purpose, simply connect one end of an ethernet cable to your printer and the other to your router.
Now make sure that the printer’s software is installed on your computer or device you want to connect with the printer wirelessly. Now send pictures to your printer wirelessly while sitting at any place just like you do with a wireless printer. Thus, your old printer and router together make a modern wireless printer; in terms of functionality.
Make it an affordable Network Switch:
Most routers don’t contain more Ethernet ports and usually have 2 or 3 ports. But some devices like gaming consoles and TVs may need a wired connection for fast streaming in that case you may run out of ports. Don’t worry, your old router will solve this problem by serving as a network switch.
For this purpose, connect your old router via Ethernet cable with the main router, thus, you can increase the number of ports. This idea would be best for enjoying lag-free online gaming on a console or PC and streaming on a TV decoder.
Sale your WiFi router:
Instead of throwing your router into your home inventory, the best way to get the most out of it is to sell your router. Various outlets and eCommerce stores such as eBay will let you make a few dollars from this old tech. You just need to simply enlist the device with its detail, conditions, and model number on these websites. Those people who’re looking for an affordable option will contact you and purchase your router.
Make it a wireless bridge:
Instead of purchasing a separate expensive wireless bridge, you can easily convert your old router into a wireless bridge. A wireless bridge works just like a wireless repeater, but instead of sharing a WiFi connection, it offers an increase in the number of Ethernets. So, by simply connecting your old router with the new one you can make more wired connections for your home.
Use it as a WiFi repeater:
You can also use your old router to extend your WiFi range. It is one of the most pleasing ways of using an old router to boost your WiFi strength with the help of an ethernet cable. Simply connect your old and new routers via an ethernet cable and switch your old router to AP mode. This will turn your old router into an access point that easily connects to your network. Now your old router will pick up the signal from your main router and rebroadcast it, hence doubling the potential of your WiFi range.
Use it as a key holder:
If you’re tired of always misplacing your keys, then an old router will be the best solution for keeping them organized in one place. Simply attach your old router to the wall near your door and make it a key holder. For making your router a stylish key holder, you can also add decorative hooks.
I hope that this blog post will help you a lot and next time before throwing out your old router think about these creative ideas. All these creative ways will let you get the most out of your old router. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if you’re a standard or built-in modem router.
All these great ways will let you repurpose your old broadband router.
Thanks for reading and sharing your ideas in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Some people found answers to these questions helpful;
Yes, all your personal data including your device’s IP address, PPPoE credentials, WiFi information, URLs, admin passwords, and much more are stored in the operating system of your old router.
Yes, it’s safe to sell your router but make sure before selling it to reset the factory default settings. Simply push and hold the reset button for 15-30 seconds. All the information saved on its operating system is removed after pressing the reset button.
No, a modem connects your home network to the Internet connection. However, the router connects all your wired and wireless devices over the same Internet connection at once.
No, a router works to extend your WiFi range and it can’t connect directly to the internet. You’ve to connect your router to the main modem so that it extends your modem’s WiFi range. However, a built-in modem router can be used separately as they’re integrated with modem firmware.
This article was originally published in October. 27, 2022