Making the Netgear WGR614 a bridge

August 16, 2014

For the longest time, I’ve had a Netgear WGR614 acting as a NAT for my wifi traffic. That meant I had a separate network for wifi traffic, rather than sharing traffic with my wired network.

Eventually this lead to problems. Some phone apps want to search the network for printers or set top boxes, for instance – and because the wireless devices were on a different network, they’d never find the wired devices.

After a long time thinking about this, I decided to see what it would take to turn my wifi router into a bridge. Turns out the Netgear WGR614 is very nicely suited to that. All it takes is one plug change and a few settings changes, and now my wireless and wired traffic is all on the same IP address range.

I found a few useful posts for this:

http://www.fieldsnet.com/2009/10/how-to-use-a-netgear-wgr614-wireless-router-as-a-bridge/

http://puzzling.org/uncategorized/2006/08/netgear-wgr614/

http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19852

Note that this assumes you’ve got something else on the network that’s going to serve IP addresses for you. If you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t do this.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Unplug the Netgear WGR614 from everything except one laptop. Make sure the laptop is plugged into a regular port, not the WAN port.
  2. Hard-reset the Netgear WGR614 (push the button that’s inset next to the WAN port for 10 seconds).
  3. After the router reboots, connect to http://192.168.0.1 from the laptop. After a reset, the account is “admin” and the password is “password”.
  4. You’ll be asked if you want to step through the configuration. Select “No, I know what I’m doing”.
  5. First off, change that password. Choose the “Set Password” tab on the left and make it something better.
  6. Next, go into the Wireless Settings tab. Set the SSID, security to WPA2-PSK and passphrase for WPA2.
  7. If you know what channels other routers in your neighbourhood use, now is a good time to set the wifi channel as well.
  8. Go to the LAN Setup tab and unclick “Use Router as DHCP Server”.
  9. Next, on the LAN Setup tab set the IP address for the router to something in your static address range.
  10. Now unplug the laptop and plug what was the WAN uplink cable into a regular port (non-WAN) on the router.
  11. Unplug and re-plug the router.

Once you’ve done all that, your router will be acting as a bridge for traffic between the wifi and wired networks.

One warning: I originally didn’t hard-reset the router. This left it with an IP address of my internal wired network on the WAN port. Once I’d done that, I couldn’t connect to it over the LAN interface, since it saw that as an address conflict. So just hard-reset it.

Incidentally – this isn’t strictly a bridge, since the router has an IP address on the LAN. But it’s routing the packets from wifi to wired and back.

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