A router provides wireless signals within a fixed range. When planning to increase the wireless range or security of your network, the first thought that comes to mind is using multiple routers for the job. This might be optimal in some cases where more is better, but sometimes employing multiple routers can do more harm to your network than good.
So should you use multiple routers to improve the wireless range or transmission speed of your network, or is a single router enough for your needs? Let’s find out.
Pros of Using Multiple Routers
Apart from increasing the signal strength and coverage area of a network, an additional Wi-Fi router can also help you secure your network or create a separate network alongside.
1. Extended Wireless Range
If you only have a single wireless router at your home or office, you’d know about the dead zones where the Wi-Fi signals don’t reach: the room on the first floor, your garden, or the spare bedroom turned into a home office. Installing an additional router can help you cover these dead zones and bring them back to life again with superfast radio frequencies.
All you need to do is set up the second router as an access point by connecting it to the primary router either using cables or wirelessly. For wired connections, you’d need to connect one end of the Ethernet cable to the LAN port of your primary router and the other end to the WAN port of the second router.
You also get better transmission speeds using multiple routers as a single router can only serve so many devices at a time. Having multiple Wi-Fi routers helps share the load caused by several devices requesting packets simultaneously.
2. Enhanced Security Due to Multiple Networks
Creating two different networks can help you protect your devices against attackers and unwanted access. When you use two routers, the second router will be able to access all the devices connected to the first router but the converse will not be possible. This makes the second router more secure and less prone to attacks than the first one.
Having a secure network by compartmentalizing your devices is also crucial if you want to set up an impenetrable home or office network, which brings us to the next point.
3. Compartmentalizing Devices on the Network
Not only can you increase your Wi-Fi performance with two different routers, but you can have a more secure network environment by connecting devices that are more prone to vulnerabilities to the second router.
Anyone connected to the main router won’t be able to access the devices on the second one, and hence, devices with poor security protocols like voice assistants or smart home devices stay isolated from the outside world.
You can also dedicate separate Wi-Fi routers for devices that require high-speed internet, like smart televisions and gaming consoles. This way, the additional router will solely be responsible for delivering data packets to specific devices, as opposed to the basic scheme where all the devices in a certain area share the same router, overloading it in the process.
4. Minimized Downtime
If you’ve got a small server or an application hosted on your computer, you can maximize your uptime by having multiple routers set up so that the device connects automatically to the secondary router, in case the primary one fails.
This is especially useful for organizations and businesses where downtime directly translates to a loss in profit, be it monetary or in the form of trust.
5. Increased Ethernet Ports
A wireless router also has LAN ports that allow you to connect devices using a cable. Since a router only has a limited number of ports available to connect, installing an additional router can help you bypass that limitation by increasing the number of wired devices that can connect to the network.
Cons of Using Multiple Routers
On the flip side, there are certain drawbacks to installing multiple routers.
1. Connection Switches Are Annoying
Every router has a separate SSID that helps users distinguish their network from other available networks. In places with multiple routers, when you transition from the coverage range of one router to that of another, your smartphone or laptop has to disconnect from the previous router and connect to the new one.
This causes delay and downtime and can be critically damaging to some businesses, where uptime and availability are of priority. You’ll also face connection switches every now and then if the two routers have poor connection range and are at almost equal distance from your device.
2. Signal Interference
Almost all routers operate on the same frequency, also known as channels. Having multiple routers using the same channel close to each other might cause signal interference, meaning the routers will interfere with and prevent each other from operating at their best.
You can fix signal interference easily, though. All you need is information about the coverage range of the routers. You can then place the routers at different locations so that their coverage range doesn’t overlap. It’s impossible to have zero overlaps, as that’d mean having dead zones in the middle, so you should always aim to have minimum range overlap.
3. Complicated Setup (Including Cables)
The most obvious disadvantage of installing multiple routers is often overlooked by most people. Networking is a complex concept in itself and pairing it with real-life hardware makes it even harder. Not everyone might be willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to physically set up a new router, let alone configure the software side of things afterward.
Also, if you plan to get the best experience of having multiple routers, you’d most likely connect them together with an Ethernet cable. This would increase the cost of installing and setting up new routers at your home. And if you’re someone who doesn’t want to configure an additional router by yourself, the next best choice is consulting a professional, which might cost a lot more than expected.
It’s Important to Understand How Routers Work
Routers are crucial to how the world of superfast wireless internet works. Learning the basics of networking and how routers and modems interact with each other to deliver packets is a must for everyone.
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