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  1. #1
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    Using router as a switch - stop it broadcasting ssid or require secure access

    I have recently upgraded my broadband router - to a FRITZ!Box 3490 - with which I am well satisfied.

    My house is on three floors, fully CAT5 wired. On each of the two upper floors, I am using a retired Netgear router as a switch, one is a Netgear DGND 3300 v2, the other a DG 834G v2 (yes, I said retired!). Both are broadcasting their default SSIDs, but are not set to force secure access, WPA2-PSK (AES). A number of devices correctly alert me to "Weak security".

    As these are acting as switches, they do not have IP addresses to enable me to log-in to their admin pages. How do I gain access to the admin pages to bring them into line? Either I should like to get them to require secure access, or else to stop broadcasting their SSIDs. From the MAC address, I think the bigger problem may lie with the DG 834.

    Please could a WS Lounger help me find the bleeding obvious, but it's escaping me for just now.

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger RockE's Avatar
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    To reuse a router as a switch you need to reprogram it first. Here is a tutorial you can study (note that the example is not a "Netgear" brand).

    "How to Reuse Your Old Wi-Fi Router as a Network Switch" at HowToGeek.
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  3. #3
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    How did you persuade the routers to act as switches?
    If they don't have IP addresses you would need to reset them so you can access them, turn of the wireless, then put them back in switch mode.

    cheers, Paul

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    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    It's a bit of a guess but I'm assuming your network map looks a bit like this:

    netmap.png

    i.e. the FRITZ!Box 3490's using its default IP address and used on your LAN as the DHCP server.
    In turn, each of the 2 Netgear wireless routers being ethernet-connected to the FRITZ!Box (using it as the Gateway IP address) and used as switches/wireless access points.
    The FRITZ!Box and Netgear's using the same wireless channel (away from the neighbours) and the same SSID (that doesn't identify any network device nor family name nor street address).

    It's similar to how I set up my friend's wireless network using the same SSID/password combo on each of her 4 ethernet-connected wireless access points so mobile devices move seamlessly between them. Been working a treat for over two years now.

    If the Netgears are using their default SSIDs then disconnect their ethernet connection to the FRITZ!Box and reset them using a direct ethernet connection to a laptop/PC (their default IPs are 192.168.0.1, i.e. well away from the FRITZ!Box), login to their web interfaces (default user name: admin and password: password - make sure you change this) and re-configure the SSIDs, wifi security, LAN IPs, subnet and gateway (saving each change as you move from page to page of the web interface) plus ensuring DHCP is OFF then powercycle them and reconnect via ethernet to the FRITZ!Box.

    Netgear DG 834G v2 manual: http://www.downloads.netgear.com/fil...al_03Jun05.pdf

    Netgear DGND 3300 v2 manual: http://www.downloads.netgear.com/fil...UM_13Mar12.pdf

    (I use FING for easy network discovery.)

    PS - It's pointless hiding the SSID's. It provides no great security advantage and just makes it more difficult for some devices to connect (or even impossible, e.g. early Kindles). (See Is Hiding Your Wireless SSID Really More Secure? for more info.)

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2018-05-15 at 07:43.

  5. #5
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    Thanks all for your replies.

    RockE - that was a useful link, and there were others, and, slowly, the penny dropped, and I was able to reconfigure the more modern of the Netgear routers. The other appears to be beyond redemption.

    Paul T - thanks for challenging me. The old Netgear was indeed behaving as a switch, though as I could not log in to configure it, I'm going to junk it. It seems to have been the main problem.

    Rick - your diagram was close, but not quite! The DGND was still quite viable, once I had resolved an IP address conflict, both it and the Fritz were using 192.168.1.1! The older Netgear is life expired, and headed for router heaven. I'll buy a new switch to make up for the loss of the DG834G. Yes, I'm a fan of Fing, which was the first clue that my network needed to be reconfigured. Thanks for the links to the manuals.

    Again, to all, many thanks; I think that I can see where I'm going now.

  6. #6
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnFleming
    Rick - your diagram was close, but not quite! The DGND was still quite viable, once I had resolved an IP address conflict, both it and the Fritz were using 192.168.1.1! The older Netgear is life expired, and headed for router heaven. I'll buy a new switch to make up for the loss of the DG834G.
    Strange that the FRITZ!Box 3490 was using 192.168.1.1 as this is not its default IP. Glad you got it sorted.

    I'm assuming that by "The older Netgear is life expired" that you've carried out both a reset and a firmware update on the Netgear DG 834G v2?

    (Sorry to say but I've miraculously resurrected many a modem/router which various ISP support staff have claimed to have died.)

    Hope this helps...

  7. #7
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    Rick - I changed the Fritz IP to 192.168.1.1, for a good reason that now escapes me!

    Yes, I've reset the DG834G more than once, but I am unable to log in to 192.168.0.1, the log-in dialogue completes (admin / password), but the setup home screen does not present, not in Firefox, not in Opera, not in Chrome. I know that it's there, running "arp -a" shows its IP and MAC, and I can ping it. But, because I could not even complete the log-in process, I could not check the firmware, or do anything else, such as uncheck the DHCP.

    Again, thanks!

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger RockE's Avatar
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    Just in case some reader of this thread might not know how to reset the DG834G, here is a link to a video which shows how to perform a factory reset.
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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    It's pointless hiding the SSID's. It provides no great security advantage and just makes it more difficult for some devices to connect (or even impossible, e.g. early Kindles).
    I suggest that you "hide" your SSID by picking a non-descript name for it. For example, if you put "footballfan", no one will be able to pinpoint whose router it is, that is, unless you are the only football fan in a neighborhood of baseball fans! (In that case, I would choose "baseballfan".) I would never put my name or other identifying information as my SSID, because I might have a neighbor who would try to secretly do some mischief to my network if he knew that it was my router.

    Also, don't put a space in the SSID (e.g. "football fan"), because some devices won't be able to connect if you do. Put an underscore rather than a space (e.g. "football_fan").

  10. #10
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    Jim - thanks, I think that I'm making progress on this, and can have my network secure shortly.

  11. #11
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    OK - got it fixed, no more stray, insecure SSIDs from an out-of-date router. And no IP address clashes at 192.168.1.1, though I did not have any Windows reports of IP clashes.

    I replaced the older Netgear with a new TP-Link switch. In the end, I had done a zero-based reinstall of the networking and WiFi, and it all feels a lot better, and I think that I've learned a little about the subject.

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger RockE's Avatar
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    Congratulations on getting it sorted!
    Maybe you should make some notes so you won't forget (and just in case this thread disappears sometime in the future).
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  13. The Following User Says Thank You to RockE For This Useful Post:

    JohnFleming (2018-05-20)

  14. #13
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    RockE - thanks for your support and good wishes, in the best traditions of WSL. Pity that one has to raise fears of the Lounge content disappearing down a black hole in future!

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