If you’re searching for an answer to this question, then you’ve either installed two routers, or you’re planning to install them. Maybe you’ve tried to install two routers and one of them isn’t working properly, and the internet is slow.
However, this shouldn’t be the case because if we’ve tried it and failed, then the setup is incorrect, and we need to try again. So, does having two routers slow down the internet? Let’s see if we can explain it.
What Is a Router?
Routers have become an essential piece of hardware in every home, and they’re quite important for our modern lifestyle. That’s why it would be good for us to know how they work. A router differs from a modem or a gateway.
As an essential part of our home network, a router performs network address translation (NAT). It’s a device that directs the traffic on a network. Everything we see as content online or downloaded, we experience in visual or audio form.
How Does a Router Work?
Before the signals become any kind of content we can consume, their basic form comprises data packets. Data packets are bits of data that contain a header and a payload. Now, we need to imagine regular mail to explain this.
So, the header is the information on the envelope, the address, the name of the recipient, and other valuable data. In computing, we can regard it as metadata, the data that tells the router where it has to go.
The payload is the letter or any kind of content in the envelope. It’s the bits of information that the software on our device uses to display the content. This is how data packets work. The routers use the header information in the data packets and deliver them to their destinations.
How Many Routers Can I Have?
We can have over one router in our home, and there’s no limit to adding routers. If you have two or more routers, they probably require a more advanced configuration in terms of the IP address and the DHCP.
If we don’t configure the IP address correctly, there’s going to be a conflict between the IP addresses of the two routers. That’s the tricky part. But, sometimes all we need to do is simply plug an Ethernet cable into the modem and router and it works.
We can’t plug a router into another router because of the mentioned IP address conflict. So, a static IP address would be a good way to go, or we can switch the router to bridge mode and that fixes the issue. This is the way to connect two wireless routers.
Does Having Two Routers Slow Down the Internet?
It depends, and here’s why. Your internet speed is provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Depending on the package and the bandwidth dedicated to your home network, i.e. your subscription, your internet speed can be very slow or quick.
For example, according to www.speedtest.net, the lowest download speed recorded is in Cuba, and it’s 4.01 Mbps (Megabits per second). The highest speed recorded is in the United Arab Emirates, and it’s 238.06 Mbps. That’s because these two countries have different resources and very different ISPs.
So, if you have a great ISP with great packages, you should have a great internet connection with top speeds, and it shouldn’t depend on the number of routers you have in your home, assuming that it doesn’t exceed 5.
Imagine it like this, you get water from the city supply to your house, and there are a lot of pipes going through the city to get to your home. There are 2 rooms with faucets (routers) in your home. If you turn them both on, the water can run slower, or it can have the same pressure.
The same pressure means that you have a good water pump. In this case, a good network terminal, a bad water pump, means the terminal should be replaced. Adding another faucet to your home shouldn’t change anything.
If we keep adding faucets, eventually the water pressure gets weaker, but it’s not because of the water pressure in the pipes that lead to our home, it’s because of the pressure in our pipes throughout the house.
In reality, the cables that lead from your ISP to your home support a certain bandwidth. This bandwidth is reserved for subscribers. The bandwidth is distributed from network terminals to the surrounding houses in the neighborhood.
One cable goes to your house and into your modem. Until this point, the bandwidth remains unchanged based on your subscription. Once your modem picks up the analog signal, it converts it into digital form and sends it to your router.
The router then distributes the signal to other devices connected to it. If you have two routers connected to a dual WAN modem (if the modem supports it), both routers do the same with the same bandwidth.
However, if you have a router connected to another router, the bandwidth can be completely blocked with the wrong configuration. So, how do we set it up?
Setting Up a Second Router
Usually, home subscribers have a modem that only has one WAN port, and we can connect only one router to them. So, setting up a second router means we need to do some tweaks to the primary router’s settings.
The secondary router needs to support bridge mode. That’s why we have to figure out which one supports it and select it to be the secondary router. Second, we need to have an Ethernet cable that connects the two routers.
To set up the primary router, we need to connect it to the modem and type the IP address into the address bar of our browser. It’s usually 192.168.1.1. Enter the credentials provided on the box of your router and log in.
There’s going to be a Network Settings or Network Setup section. Once we click on it, we’ll be able to see the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), we need to enable it. Take a screenshot of the Wi-Fi settings (SSID, security method, etc.), and click on Save/Apply.
Now, we need to connect the second router to one of the LAN ports on the primary router, and we need to connect our device to the router.
Log in to the router using the credentials on the box. For this, we need to find a tab or a section depending on the router, and it’s Network type, Connection type, or Connection mode. Then, we need to select Bridge Mode, Repeater, or WDS.
After that, we need to configure the second router so that the Default Gateway is the IP address of the primary router. Then, the IP address for the second router should be 192.168.1.2 (if the primary one is 192.168.1.1).
Next, the Subnet Mask should be the same as the one of the primary router. Finally, we need to configure the wireless network such as the name and password. It shouldn’t be the same as the one you have on your primary router.
Hey, I’m David. I’ve been working as a wireless network engineer and a network administrator for 15 years. During my studies, I also worked as an ISP field technician – that’s when I met Jeremy.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in network engineering and a master’s degree in computer science and engineering. I’m also a Cisco-certified service provider.
In my professional career, I worked for router/modem manufacturers and internet providers. I like to think that I’m good at explaining network-related issues in simple terms. That’s exactly what I’m doing on this website – I’m making simple and easy-to-follow guides on how to install, set up, and troubleshoot your networking hardware. I also review new network equipment – modems, gateways, switches, routers, extenders, mesh systems, cables, etc.
My goal is to help regular users with their everyday network issues, educate them, and make them less scared of their equipment. In my articles, you can find tips on what to look for when buying new networking hardware, and how to adjust your network settings to get the most out of your wi-fi.
Since my work is closely related to computers, servers, and other network equipment, I like to spend most of my spare time outdoors. When I want to blow off some steam, I like to ride my bike. I also love hiking and swimming. When I need to calm down and clear my mind, my go-to activity is fishing.