Connecting a Wireless Router to an Existing Router

or how I connected a D-Link DIR-825 wireless router to my existing D-Link DI-704P router

posted: 2009-03-02 | updated: 2020-06-04

D-Link DIR-825 wireless router with koala climbing antenna

D-Link DIR-825 wireless router with koala range extender

This is a story about how I spent an “enjoyable” afternoon connecting a wireless router to a wired router. If you would prefer to skip wading through all the non-essential drivel, cut to the chase here. If you’re patient enough to humour me, I’ll try to humour you in the process, read on…

It seems I’m always plotting, then applying Band-Aid solutions to aging computers, forever trying to eke out another year or two from hardware that would rather sit in front of the tube watching Coronation Street while slupping Earl Grey tea from a slightly cracked, Royal Doulton Bunnykins mug. Usually I’m shoe-horning one of Promise Technology’s disk controller cards into a boat anchor so I can run newer, larger, faster, hard drives—whew, I’m getting excited. But this time I just wanted to hang on to my aging router/print server, a D-Link DI-704P. My wife got a new laptop, so wireless internet is a must, or so she tells me. I’m a cable curmudgeon myself, a borderline Luddite some would say. I’ve resisted wireless. Until now.

Going wireless is usually a matter of [insert undergarment joke here] retiring your old wired router, running out and purchasing a sparkling new wireless router, then spending many happy hours wondering why it won’t work. We can’t dispense with our Precambrian D-Link DI-704P router because its parallel printer port allows us to share our coal-fired Brother HL-1660 laser printer—don’t laugh, it gets 9,000 pages per toner cartridge. Since no self-respecting, modern day 802.11n router would be caught dead with a parallel port protruding from its heinie, the aging DI-704P is assured a place of honour on our computer desk.

Problem: How to retain the parallel print serving function of the DI-704P and add a wireless access point. Hmm. Can’t I just plug a friggin’ wireless router into my existing router? Turns out you can. But why would you want to? Pick one or more reasons:

  • Your friends have stopped visiting you because you don’t have wireless internet access
  • Your neighbours won’t talk to you because they can’t steal your wireless-challenged router’s (differently cabled?) bandwidth
  • Your cat purchased an iPaws touch and is demanding Wi-Fi to keep in “touch” with friends on Furry-Facebook
  • Your kids keep telling you to make the leap into the 21st century, “Get with the program, Dad. Parental units, honestly!”
  • You actually enjoy being bathed in radio waves, and your cell phone alone doesn’t provide enough juice
  • Your spouse just bought a new laptop and wants to enjoy the internet without trailing an Ethernet cable to and from the bathroom. Hope the onboard camera is disabled (I get flushed just thinking about this one).

Enough folderol, here’s the ruse:

  1. Decide which wireless router(s) you can’t live without;
  2. Discard first (and second) choice for being too costly—hey, I want to buy it, not take out a mortgage;
  3. Discard third choice because, although you’ve found it on the web, no one actually stocks it: “Yeah, I’ve heard of that one”…then…“no we don’t stock it”
  4. Settle on fourth choice which is more than you wanted to pay, but the dang thing can actually be found sitting on a shelf in a real store. Give yourself bonus points if the shop is within walking distance from your lair, or warren. My choice? A D-Link DIR-825. Why? We’re not really sure.

Before laying cash on the line, I like to download the user manual from the manufacturer’s website so I can check out the specs and see if a product will actually meet my, er, um, my wife’s needs. I downloaded the DIR-825 manual from the D-LINK website and, whoa, Dude! The manual describes exactly what I want to do on page 10: Connect to Another Router.

Here’s my setup:

  1. I have a shiny new D-Link DIR-825 wireless router sitting on my desk mocking me;
  2. I have a broadband modem (ADSL in my case, but it matters not) connected to a D-Link DI-704P wired router which connects to a couple of computers. It works and I’m happy, but my wife is not;
  3. The DI-704P is configured as a DHCP server and, of course, the Network Interface Cards (NICs) in the two computers are configured to acquire IP addresses automatically. The DI-704P is the default gateway. This is a common configuration for home users sharing an internet connection.

Gettin’ down and dirty, or go configure

For those of you who opted to cut to the chase, this is the chase: In brief, or boxers if you prefer, here’s what I did to configure the DIR-825 wireless router for this particular setup:

  • disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
  • disable Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • assign a new IP address not already in use
  • configure wireless security

And now, a little more detail:

  1. Configuring the DIR-825 wireless router
    Power up the unconnected DIR-825 router then use an Ethernet cable to connect one of the router’s LAN ports—not the Internet (WAN) port—to the Network Interface Card (NIC) on one of your computers.
  2. Log into the DIR-825 router’s Admin panel
    Open a web browser, type (the router’s default IP address) into the address bar and pummel Enter. At the login window, set user name to Admin and leave password field empty. Click Log In.
  3. Disable UPnP
    Click on Advanced, then Advanced Network. Uncheck Enable UPnP. Click Save Settings. disable wireless router’s Universal Plug and Play
  4. Disable DHCP Server
    Click Setup, then click Network Settings. Uncheck Enable DHCP Server. Click Save Settings. disable wireless router’s Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
  5. Assign router a new IP address
    Under Router Settings, enter an IP address not already used by your network—I used and left the default subnet mask: unchanged. Click Save Settings, then reboot the router. assign new IP address Note: after rebooting, you can’t connect to the router with the newly assigned IP address. Your computer is expecting the wireless router to assign it an IP address dynamically, but we’ve just disabled the DHCP Server function on the wireless router. Not to worry.
  6. Disconnect the Ethernet cable from the DIR-825’s LAN port and reconnect the computer’s NIC to one of the DI-704P’s LAN ports—just like it was before we started all this silliness.
  7. Using an Ethernet cable, connect one of the DI-704P router’s LAN ports to one of DIR-825 wireless router’s LAN ports (the Internet (WAN) port of the DIR-825 doesn’t get used in this configuration).
  8. Don’t put the kettle on quite yet. If all goes well you should be able to fire up your browser and log into the DIR-825’s admin panel using its newly assigned IP address: Time to enable wireless transmission, configure security measures, and apply an intimidating Admin password. I won’t cover the details here, but the manual has all that good stuff. Okay, now it’s time to put the kettle on.

Admittedly, the setup wasn’t entirely smooth. I had to reset the DIR-825 twice when, mysteriously, I couldn’t save the new settings in the admin panel. Never did figure out why. “Dear…have you seen my Bunnykins mug?”

Update: 2020-06-04

The D-Link DI-704P croaked on 2013-02-19—nothing lasts forever. Fortunately, a parallel to USB cable works well with our ancient Brother HL-1660 printer and was cheaper than a parallel port add-in card. It’s still chugging along today.

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