Count down to time for a new router? Maybe your new Internet Service Provider (ISP) sent one, or you’re just considering an upgrade. Either way, you’re facing a problem:
What Should You Do With an Old Router?
In the case of switching your ISP, you will often be asked to return the old device. But if you have a kick around the place, here are several uses for old routers.
what can you do with an old router
It may be in a box; It can clutter up a drawer or get lost in the back of a cupboard. Whatever the case, your old router or modem/router combo unit can be reused.
Let’s take a look at each of these uses for older routers in more detail.
1. Build a Wireless Repeater
What if your Wi-Fi network doesn’t extend throughout the range of your home? Although you can opt for a Powerline Ethernet adapter, adding a second router to the mix is a good option.
This means using a Wi-Fi signal to connect the old router to your new wireless network. It can then share access to Wi-Fi networks, giving more coverage. Although there can be some latency issues, this is a quick and easy way to expand your wireless network.
It has various uses, from boosting your Wi-Fi signal around your home to letting you stream video to your tablet while you relax in the garden.
2. Guest Wi-Fi Connection
If you have regular people coming over and using your wireless internet, why not give them your network?
It’s like the wireless repeater project, but with a twist. The router connects to your existing, password-protected network, but gives new devices password-free access. This will use the guest network feature of your old router. By default, this prevents guests from accessing other devices on your network.
If this level of security is not sufficient, check the firewall settings on the main router to adjust.
3. Cheap Internet Radio Streamer
Still wondering what you can do with an old router?
Why not enjoy your favorite radio stations on the Internet? Some routers can be configured to play Internet radio if you’re willing to install OpenWrt or DD-WRT custom router firmware.
You will need a USB sound card along with some other software for audio output.
While not an easy build, and there are plenty of other internet radio options available, it’s still a great project. It gives you information on how to install custom firmware, as well as how to stream music.
4. Use a Router as a Cheap Network Switch
Most routers don’t have more than six Ethernet ports. With the increase in wireless technology around the home, that figure could be as low as four. But with the obvious need to connect devices over Ethernet, you may run out of ports.
For example, online gaming with a console or PC is more reliable using Ethernet. Your TV set-top box will provide better streaming over Ethernet than wireless.
If you run out of Ethernet ports, you can add more with a network switch. It’s basically the networking version of the main power bar, with additional ports plugged into a single port on the router.
Your older router usually has four or more ports, so connecting one will immediately increase the number of available ports. You should disable wireless networking on older routers to avoid conflicts.
5. Turn Your Old Router Into a Wireless Bridge
What if your new router is wireless only? Maybe the ISP doesn’t offer routers with Ethernet ports, or maybe you use a 4G or 5G internet provider. Either way, if you need to connect Ethernet devices to your home network, a wireless bridge is the answer.
While inexpensive, an older router can be adapted as a wireless bridge.
It works a bit like a wireless repeater, but instead of sharing a Wi-Fi connection, the wireless bridge provides Ethernet. The old router connects to your existing Wi-Fi network— simply connect the device to an Ethernet port.
6. Turn Your Router Into a NAS Drive
Looking for a way to store your data on one device and access it from anywhere in your home? You need a Network Attached Storage (NAS), which is basically a hard disk drive attached to your network.
While NAS devices are fairly affordable, toting around with an older router can save you money. Note that this is limited to routers that can run custom firmware (such as DD-WRT) and have a USB port. You should also be able to browse the contents of any connected USB devices through the router.
(Without USB, there’s no way to attach a hard disk drive or USB flash storage.)
Once set up, your custom-built NAS should give you instant access to your files from anywhere in the house.