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Question How do I connect A router to a building WiFi?

s31248

Junior Member
Dec 23, 2020
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My father just moved into a retirement home and they only offer building WiFi for the residents. When I started setting up all of his devices I realized they are all visible to everyone that is logged onto that building WiFi.

What I want to do is buy a router that I can wirelessly connect to the building WiFi and then create a private network (with his own SSID and password) behind his router for all of his devices to connect to. I have never done this before I usually hardwire a modem to the router and then setup the network that way. I was reading about bridging but couldn't tell if that is what I want.

If this is possible, could someone let me know how to do it and if possible what specific router to buy that does this. I bought a TP-Link Archer A8 and tried that but it was not physically able to do it because it needed to be hardwired to a modem.

Thank you for your help!!
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
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Did you checked if it is Legal to do it without permission from the institution Interment service?

:cool:
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,842
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Couldn't you set the internet connection to public, and maybe use a VPN service so all the data between his PC and VPN server is encrypted? That might be the way to go.

5.jpg
 

Lost_in_the_HTTP

Diamond Member
Nov 17, 2019
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**SOME** routers have things like Client or Repeater modes where you can connect the WAN side to an existing network SSID and set a different SSID and PW for the client devices.

I can't state which ones or how well they might work in your situation.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,081
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Yep. What you need is a travel router or wifi extender that can act as a WiFi Client and create it's own SSID and it's own IP range.

I searched Amazon and found one VPN travel router that looks pretty good. It's small but maybe just right for your father's retirement home.


It's got WISP mode that can create it's own private network and it's using open source OpenWRT.


OR search WISP router, there are many of them. Better read their specs or pdf manuals before buying, since the search result is not completely correct.

These Tenda WISP routers (AC6, AC21) are cheap and got good reviews.

Tenda WISP mode setup
 
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SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
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I think it's the tplink ones that always set the bar for proper functionality. The 'Tenda' brand seems to be one of those 'up and comers' from the land of garbage, and I wouldn't trust what pre-installed malware it comes with it...
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
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I think it's the tplink ones that always set the bar for proper functionality. The 'Tenda' brand seems to be one of those 'up and comers' from the land of garbage, and I wouldn't trust what pre-installed malware it comes with it...
I don't have experience with either GL.iNet or Tenda. I personally have a very old TP-Link travel router TL-WR710N that can act as WISP router, however.

Don't know if Tenda is as bad as you described. But Tenda has been on the market for several years.

TP-Link seems does not have more modern travel routers. (up to AC750 only)
 
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SamirD

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Jun 12, 2019
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I don't have experience with either GL.iNet or Tenda. I personally have a very old TP-Link travel router TL-WR710N that can act as WISP router, however.

Don't know if Tenda is as bad as you described. But Tenda has been on the market for several years.
I've read some people's experiences with them and they seem to do some shady stuff. I know tp-link seems to have a lot more integrity.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
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I've read some people's experiences with them and they seem to do some shady stuff. I know tp-link seems to have a lot more integrity.
TP-Link is definitely a name brand now. It's got a huge office/warehouse in San Dimas, CA. Seems moved to Brea, CA now.
 
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JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
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There is also a simpler way.

Get inexpensive Router that can be set to Client Bridge Mode. This Router will make the Public Wireless available to its wire output. Get a second inexpensive Wireless Router.

Use a short CAT6 cable to connect the output of the first Client Bridge to the WAN port of the second Wireless Router.

Configure the Second Router to work as a regular Router.

Since the second Router would work as a Router any wireless or wired connection to it would be protected.

You can use two of the following example and the whole thing will cost less than $90.

Example for the Routers - https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-AC1200-Smart-WiFi-Router/dp/B07N1L5HX1

:cool:
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,081
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Wasn't that the same thing you suggested too? I guess essentially the concept is the same all the way across the board--client connects and then distribute out that signal via another router.
No. What I suggested was OP should buy a travel router or a WISP router and then sell his TP-Link Archer A8 router.
I liked Jack's suggestion was because it's another way that can achieve the same thing.
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
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No. What I suggested was OP should buy a travel router or a WISP router and then sell his TP-Link Archer A8 router.
I liked Jack's suggestion was because it's another way that can achieve the same thing.
Pretty much what I said too except that I didn't know if a travel router can easily also behave as a router while a client, so I just suggested the OP use the A8.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,081
873
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Pretty much what I said too except that I didn't know if a travel router can easily also behave as a router while a client, so I just suggested the OP use the A8.
Yes. It can. Just the WAN part becomes wireless. It's main purpose is for traveler to share hotel wifi with other family members. (with its own IP range), some model will let you convert the physical WAN port into another LAN port when it's in WISP mode.
 
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SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
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Yes. It can. Just the WAN part becomes wireless. It's main purpose is for traveler to share hotel wifi with other family members. (with its own IP range), some model will let you convert the physical WAN port into another LAN port when it's in WISP mode.
Gotcha. Yep, the hotel scenario is almost identical to a hotel situation, so a travel router would have been my first choice.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,675
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May I suggest a solution, that may be even better than Jack's, as far as price goes? It's basically the same idea, just using Asus RT-N12/D1 (Not sure if the "B1 N300" routers have the same hardware or allow 3rd-party firmware like the older RT-N12/D1 stock does. I have one of the newer ones, just haven't tried flashing it yet. I should, "for science", just so that I don't recommend buying the new one and for some reason if it can't be flashed. I don't want to be giving bad info.)

But anyways, the Asus RT-N12/D1 models, with the twin 5dbi removable antennas, nice small routers. They are fairly easy to flash with Advanced Tomato, and that opens up a whole lot of increased options for you, to use the router, including wireless-as-WAN (client or client bridge mode, client being that NAT is still enabled, client bridge makes the devices hanging off of the wired ports, part of the upstream router's subnet).

Those RT-N12/D1 routers run around $30 regular price (*although perhaps more now that the "B1 N300" variant has replaced them), and sometimes I could get them for $20 from Newegg after a promo code or rebate.

If you're willing to spend more, I recommend an AC68U-family (AC1900P, etc. - avoid the T-Mobile "TM" variant) router, those are AC1900, triple-antenna, AC wifi 5 capable, dual-core processing, can router gigabit WAN-to-LAN (the RT-N12/D1 is only 10/100 LAN/WAN ports, and N300 2.4Ghz wifi 3/4). Those also flash Shibby Tomato, Advanced Tomato, and FreshTomato, and I think DD-WRT and probably OpenWRT.
 
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ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
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May I suggest a solution, that may be even better than Jack's, as far as price goes? It's basically the same idea, just using Asus RT-N12/D1 (Not sure if the "B1 N300" routers have the same hardware or allow 3rd-party firmware like the older RT-N12/D1 stock does. I have one of the newer ones, just haven't tried flashing it yet. I should, "for science", just so that I don't recommend buying the new one and for some reason if it can't be flashed. I don't want to be giving bad info.)

But anyways, the Asus RT-N12/D1 models, with the twin 5dbi removable antennas, nice small routers. They are fairly easy to flash with Advanced Tomato, and that opens up a whole lot of increased options for you, to use the router, including wireless-as-WAN (client or client bridge mode, client being that NAT is still enabled, client bridge makes the devices hanging off of the wired ports, part of the upstream router's subnet).

Those RT-N12/D1 routers run around $30 regular price (*although perhaps more now that the "B1 N300" variant has replaced them), and sometimes I could get them for $20 from Newegg after a promo code or rebate.

If you're willing to spend more, I recommend an AC68U-family (AC1900P, etc. - avoid the T-Mobile "TM" variant) router, those are AC1900, triple-antenna, AC wifi 5 capable, dual-core processing, can router gigabit WAN-to-LAN (the RT-N12/D1 is only 10/100 LAN/WAN ports, and N300 2.4Ghz wifi 3/4). Those also flash Shibby Tomato, Advanced Tomato, and FreshTomato, and I think DD-WRT and probably OpenWRT.
Wireless as wan would be a great solution here.
 

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