Whether your ISP has sent you a new router or you just want to upgrade your current router, you will run into a problem.

What to do with the old router?

In the event of switching your ISP, you are often prompted to return your old device. But if you have a spare router running in that location, there are several ways to use it.

1. Build a wireless repeater

What to do if your Wi-Fi network does not cover the whole house? While you can opt for Powerline Ethernet adapters, adding a second router to your router is a good alternative.

This means connecting your old router to your new wireless network using a Wi-Fi signal. It can then share access to the Wi-Fi network, providing wider coverage. While there may be some latency issues, overall this is a quick and easy way to expand your wireless network.

It has a variety of uses, from providing better Wi-Fi access to a remote part of the house, to streaming video to your tablet when you’re out in the garden.

Our guide to expanding the range of your home network. explains how a wireless repeater works and its benefits.

2. Guest WiFi connection

If you have people who regularly log in and use your wireless internet, why not give them their own network?

It’s similar to the wireless repeater project, but with a twist. The router connects to an existing password-protected network, but allows access to new devices without a password. This will use the guest network feature of your old router, which by default will prevent guests from accessing other devices on your network.

If this level of security is not enough, check the firewall settings on the main router for configuration.

3. Cheap Internet Radio Streamer

Want to enjoy your favorite radio stations online? Some routers can be configured to play internet radio if you are willing to install custom OpenWrt or DD-WRT router firmware.

Other software is also required, and you will need a USB sound card to output sound.

Even though it’s not a simple build and there are many other internet radio options available, it’s still a great project. This gives you an idea of ​​the power of custom ROMs and also gives you an idea of ​​how music is distributed over the internet.

However, if you want to do it without fuss, our Raspberry Pi Smart Streaming Speaker project is a good option.

4. Use your router as a cheap network switch

Most routers don’t have more than six Ethernet ports. With the rise of wireless technology in the home, this number may be even lower than four. But if you clearly need to connect devices via Ethernet, you may not have enough ports.

For example, home appliance monitors, smart TV set-top boxes, game consoles, and more may not have a wireless network. They need a physical connection to your network, which means Ethernet.

If you run out of Ethernet ports, you can add more with a network switch. It is essentially a version of an Ethernet network adapter with additional ports connected to a single port on the router.

Your old router usually has four or more ports, so connecting instantly increases the number of available ports. Don’t forget to turn on the old router. You should also disable wireless on your old router to avoid conflicts.

5. Turn your router into a wireless bridge

What if your new router is only wireless? Your ISP may not offer a router with Ethernet ports, or you may be using a 4G ISP. Either way, if you need to connect Ethernet devices to your home network, a wireless bridge is the answer.

Although an inexpensive old router can be used as a wireless bridge.

It works a bit like a wireless repeater, but instead of sharing a Wi-Fi connection, a wireless bridge offers Ethernet. The old router is connected to an existing Wi-Fi network and its Ethernet ports are used to connect devices.

See our guide to using your router as a wireless bridge. for a complete explanation.

6. Build a Smart Home Center

Some routers come with some useful extra ports. In some cases, this can be a USB port, making it easy to flash an OpenWRT or DD-WRT router firmware.

Other devices may come with a serial port and these routers can be used as a home automation server.

Basically, the router is running a web server that you connect to through a browser. This can be on a PC or conveniently via your smartphone. This Instructions section explains how to use this with an Arduino connected to a router and some RF controlled power switches to create a basic smart home setup.

While there are simpler options available, you can use this to better understand home automation.

7. Convert your router to a NAS drive

Looking for a way to store your data on one storage device and access it from anywhere in your home? You need a network-attached storage (NAS), which is a hard drive connected to your network.

Although NAS devices are reasonably affordable and an old router is nearby, you can save money. Note that this is limited to routers that can run custom firmware (like DD-WRT) and a spare USB port, and routers that allow you to view the contents of any connected USB devices.

Without USB, it is not possible to connect a hard drive or USB storage device.

Once set up, the user’s NAS should instantly access important data from anywhere in the home from any device.

Your old router is not that old!

Don’t let that old router clutter your box any more. We have identified seven ways to reuse it:

  1. Guest WiFi
  2. Wireless repeater
  3. Cheap internet radio
  4. Use your router as a network switch
  5. Adapt it as a wireless bridge
  6. Build a smart home center
  7. Convert your router to NAS

These are all great ways to repurpose an old router, and even if your router is really old and lacks some of the key features of a modern wireless network, you can still use it as a switch or even a guest network.

If none of this works, it might be time to consider selling or recycling the device. Check out our tips for reusing old equipment. more.

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