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03 August 2010 @ 10:53 pm
Network expansion for the ditzy  
This just in: networking bites. Oh, wait, I already knew that.

I appear, finally, to have a functional expanded network. I'm only recording the instructions here because they cost me three hours of my life. Feel free to return to your regularly scheduled life.

Converting a spare Linksys router into a switch:
1. Have the first router already working. Mine's the Linksys BEFW11S4.
2. If possible, get a real switch and follow its instructions. If not, acquire a spare router by hook, crook, or excellent friend, and then continue through this guide.
3. Unplug everything. (Old router, new router, modem.) Just for fun.
4. Plug in the new router, which will henceforth be called "Fred".
5. Patch-cord your laptop to a port on Fred.
6. Go to 192.168.1.1, which your computer will think is Fred. This may require obtaining a password from the prior owner, or simply factory-resetting Fred and starting over with the default user/password of no user and "admin".
7. Readdress Fred. Linksys suggests 192.168.2.1; the one useful guy I found online suggests 192.168.1.254. I happened to use the former.
8. Lose your connection. This is normal; don't panic. Use whatever tools your laptop needs to release and renew the connection.
9. Go to the new address for Fred and turn off DHCP.
10. Lose the connection again, probably. For all I know, you'll have to factory-reset in order to connect to this device again; it shouldn't matter.
11. Take an ordinary Cat5e patch cord, just like the one you used to connect the laptop to the router. Put one end of it into a regular numbered port on Fred, not the WAN port. I'm all emphatic because knowing this would have saved me two hours.
12. Put the other end into the "uplink port" on the original router. (Note: If you were fancy and somehow acquired a "crossover cable", put this end into a numbered port on the original router instead, not the "uplink port" ... or hope the router can sense the cable type automatically. The idea is that a like-to-like connection — such as a router to a router/switch — needs either a crossover cable or the uplink port. Unlike connections — such as a router to a computer — use the regular cables and ports.)
13. Plug in the original router and the modem (as necessary).
14. In theory, once all devices have awakened, you have a functioning network. Note: you can't use port 4 on the BEFW11S4 if you're using the uplink port for the switch/Fred. Nothing should be connected to the WAN port on Fred. If it doesn't work ... don't ask me. I don't do hardware, dammit.

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