Are you looking for a way to deal with your old router? There are many factors that you should consider. To start with, routers have become critical components in modern homes. This is because most home owners have appreciated the need to install modern equipment and appliances that use internet in their homes. These devices can help network devices that interconnect two different networks.
For instance, you can use your router to connect your internet connection with a private local network. From modern smart TVs to the security apparatus in your home, there are many things that need an internet connection to work optimally. All this has been possible due to the proliferation of modern tech devices out there. However, there are instances when your router can get faulty or even become obsolete over time. Chances are, you might be tempted to throw away this router.
Even if you have upgraded your router, you should not discard the old one. The new router might offer high performance and speed at the moment. However, your old routers can help in several ways. From improving the new network to providing network authentication, there is a lot you can do with your old routers. Here are the numerous you can use your old router.
13 Creative Ways You Can Use Your Old Router
1. Turn it into wireless repeaters
Sometimes, Wi-Fi reception might not be very optimal in every part of your home. This is usually the case if you have a large home. If this happens, you should not panic as your old router can help you avert this problem. Here, you will turn your old router into a wireless repeater. To understand better, wireless repeater is used to create a second network from the already existing signal. This will thus help to strengthen your home’s network. This way, everyone in your home will be able to access the internet over the Wi-Fi network.
2. Use it as a wireless bridge
Besides turning your old router into a wireless repeater, you can turn it into a wireless bridge. This is usually the case if you have network devices or laptops that need to be connected to the network, but your new router has no Ethernet port.
Instead of running a wire from one room to another, your old router can help work as a wireless bridge. This wireless bridge will help you to create an Ethernet that helps you tap signal from existing wireless network to your laptop or network device through connecting it to the Ethernet ports. This can help you enjoy more convenience, especially when you have installed a new desktop computer in a room that is far from the new router. Since the old router will bridge the Wi-Fi gap, you will be able to go online seamlessly.
3. Turn it into a hotspot
If you have a business away from your home that relies on an internet connection, you can consider using your old router to connect your computers to the internet. Also, if you have an office where you usually offer freelancing services, you can use this router to connect your devices to the internet. All you need to do is to convert it into a hotspot gateway, and you will be good to go. This has worked well for many people out there.
4. Guest Wi-Fi Connection
There are instances when you might have some visitors who come to your home from time to time. If this is the case, you should create them their own network. This might resemble the wireless repeater project, but it quite different.
Here, your router will connect to your network, which already has a password. However, it will give password-free wifi access to your guest’s new devices. This way, they will not access other devices on your network.
5. Utilize it as a network switch
For most routers, they usually have 6 Ethernet ports. However, there are others that have fewer ports. Since you might have several appliances and devices that need an internet connection, this figure might be as low as three or two. This is the reason why you should know the devices that should be connected over Ethernet to prevent instances where you run out of ports.
For instance, if you have a TV decoder with a smart TV functionality, different home appliance monitoring devices, and other gaming devices, you might run short of ports. This is because these devices do not have wireless networking. As a result, they need a physical connection to your network by the use of an Ethernet.
If there is an acute short of ports, you can add more using a network switch. Since your old router has 4 or more ports, you can use it as a network switch. By connecting it, you will have more ports to utilize. As you do this, you should ensure that you power your old router. Apart from this, you should disconnect wireless networking on the old router because it can interfere with the internet connection.
6. NAS storage
Some routers come with the latest technology and can therefore support USB port. If your old router has these features, you can readily turn it into NAS.NAS, in other words, mean Network-attached storage. Here, you will be able to save data for backup using the network.
All you need is a USB hard drive or a pen drive to connect the router USB port to your computer or mobile phone. You can transfer data from your computer to the storage memory card in your router and vice versa.
7. Modding your old router to repurpose it.
If you are a wild person, you can reuse your old router this way. From an electronics perspective, your old router is an embedded system that can be programmed to do one task or another. To start with, these routers usually have GPIO pins, wireless, and Ethernet port connectivity, and even a USB host port support.
The good news is that you can use any of these interfaces to serve some needs as far as home automation is concerned. Once you are done with modding the router, you can use to do several things.
From making an LED blink to turning on and off the water valve, there is a lot that you can do with your router. Sometimes, you can remotely switch on and off different electrical appliances using a relay and so forth. All you need to do is to be creative.
8. Extend coverage by using your old router as a new access point
Although wireless routers are made to connect and distribute internet connection, they can still be used for their Wi-Fi capabilities. Therefore, you can still use them as AP or what is commonly referred to as an access point rather than just the normal wireless router. This point helps to extend signal coverage range of an existing network and also increase number of your network users.
This is very helpful when you have a small network with a single wireless router. Here, your old routers can double your own wireless coverage. Fortunately, this will be free of charge.
9. Convert it into an internet radio streamer
Did you know that you can use your old routers to play internet radio? Well, this might surprise you, but some old routers can actually be configured for radio streaming. However, for this to be effective, you have to install the Open Wrt or DD-WRT custom router firm ware. Apart from this, you might require other software. Finally, you need a USB sound-card to put your audio in output mode.
Although this project might not be easy for beginners, it can offer a good opportunity for you to learn several things you did not know your router could do. Once you are done with this project, you will enjoy listening to several internet radio stations.
10. Make a VPN router
If your old routers support custom firmware, you set it up configured with VPN software. For instance, if you are subscribed to a VPN account such as Express VPN or Nord VPN, you can set it up on your old router.
What makes this interesting is that your old routers will now become a VPN router. Any device that you connect to this network will be protected through a VPN. Therefore, you will not require a different app when you want to connect through this network. In fact, you can use your old router for protected browsing. Here, no one will be able to tell your actual IP address.
11. Sell your old router online
If any of these ideas prove too challenging to implement, you can consider making money out of your old routers. Luckily there are people out there who usually buy these devices at a relatively lower price and later upgrade them or use them for a different purpose.
In fact, by doing this, you will make money to buy another new gadget that will meet your daily internet needs. Some of the platforms where you can sell this device include eBay and Amazon.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Is it advisable to throw away your old routers?
No. If you had rented the router or it was supplied as part of the contract without any monthly charge, you should not dispose of it until you have the legal permission to do it from the supplier. This is because some ISPs usually take the surplus old routers to refurbish them later. However, if you bought the router with your own money, you can then dispose of it. However, this should be in accordance with the laws that govern how people recycle and dispose of such devices. Finally, if you can recycle it then the better.
Is it possible to use old router with a new service provider?
Nowadays, it is difficult to do this. In fact, using a router not supplied by your provider might be termed as a breach of contract. However, there are some providers who will allow you to use your own router even if it is an old one. These providers include TalkTalk, BT, Plusnet, and many more.
Most providers are still against the use of different routers when accessing their services. In fact, you might get less customer support. Therefore, it is important that you use the old router with the same service provider who supplied it to you.
It is possible to use my old router as a Wi-Fi extender?
If your router does not support running as a repeater or an extender using the manufacture’s firmware, you can consider an alternative. Here, you should check to see if your router can readily use open-source firmware such as DD-WRT. If this is the case, you can be sure that you will use your old router as an extender.
However, it is vital that you be careful with routers from 802.11b and geras. This is because they hardly work well due to their lower maximum band-width. This actually creates bottlenecks in your network.
In case I need to dispose my old router, what should I do?
If you truly intend to dispose of your old router, you should take it for electronic recycling. As you do this, you should be concerned about your privacy. Remember that the only confidential information in the router is the WPA key and the admin password. These details are very difficult to extract. However, some router might retain your browsing history.
This can make you get worried. To get rid of this history, you should power the router and then hold the reset button for about 30 seconds. This will help ensure that your router is restored the factory setting of the router. After that, you can then dispose it.
Is it healthy to buy an old routers?
Yes. However, you need to do a factory reset and then update the firmware. Once this is done, you can readily start using the old router. Sometimes, the previous owner might have installed a custom firmware or even changed its configuration. However, once you perform a firmware upgrade and factory reset it, you can be sure that your old router will serve you more effectively.
Your old router is not as useless as you might think. In some incidences, these routers can be as useful as new routers. The above-mentioned ways can help you reuse your old router wisely without necessarily disposing it. These ideas will also help you save lots of money. Consider them today, and you will not be frustrated.