How to Convert a Linksys Router to an Ethernet Bridge

By Christopher Williams

One thing many people like about Linksys wireless routers is that they can perform as routers, as access points, as a wireless distribution system, and as a wireless Ethernet bridge. A wireless Ethernet bridge is a great way to add wired devices, such as printers and game systems, to a wireless network. They can also be used to boost network range, allowing access to the wireless network from distances that ordinary wireless access cards cannot. With a bit of tweaking, your Linksys router can make an excellent and affordable bridge solution.

Upgrade Router Firmware

Step 1

Download new firmware for your router. Linksys router firmware (the software installed on your router which allows it to operate and provides the user interface) does not include bridge functionality by default. Many third party firmware does, so pick the one that seems the best for your situation. If you are unsure, Tomato is an easy to use free solution.

Step 2

Access your router control panel. This is typically done by typing your router IP address in a Web browser. Consult your documentation if you are unsure.

Step 3

Navigate to the Administrative section of the control panel. In most newer Linksys routers there is a link for this near the top right of the screen.

Step 4

Click on the button for "Upgrade Firmware." A dialogue window will ask for the location of the firmware files you downloaded. Once you enter the file location, the router will install the files and automatically restart.

Configuring Bridge Mode

Step 1

Access the router control panel again now that the router has restarted. The control panel with the new firmware will likely have a new look and feel from what you were used to, but you will quickly notice all of the same options (and more in many cases) are available.

Step 2

Set the wireless mode to "Ethernet Bridge." This setting can be found in either the basic setup or wireless setup sections, depending on the firmware you chose.

Step 3

Enter the IP information for your network. You will need to assign an IP address, subnet mask and default gateway that are consistent with your network settings. If you are unsure, consult your documentation.

Step 4

Plug in a computer or laptop to a LAN port on the bridge and test connectivity. You should now be able to connect to the rest of your network and the Internet via your wireless bridge.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not turn off, unplug or restart your router while the firmware upgrade is in process. You can lose the ability to access your router at all if you do.