How to Use a Router as a Wireless Adapter

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Updated February 12, 2023

If you are experimenting with the various features of the type of router you have, you may wonder how to use a router as a wireless adapter. The best routers offer a whole bunch of nifty features, but can they operate as a wireless adapter? Keep reading to find out.


  • A great use for an old router is to turn it into a wireless adapter, increasing the range of wireless networks and Internet access.
  • Thanks to the powerful antennas that typically accompany routers, they can make better wireless adapters than devices that were engineered for the job, all without requiring Ethernet cables or another wireless network card.
  • The main step here is to download third-party firmware that will allow the wireless router to function as an adapter.

Why Use a Router as a Wireless Adapter?

The main reason to do this is that routers naturally include more powerful antennas than standard WiFi adapters. In other words, using an old router as a wireless adapter may offer a better overall experience than even using a dedicated adapter. Plus, it is a good way to recycle hardware you no longer have a use for. This can be useful if you just learned how a modem and router work and are searching for something to do with the gadgets that no longer have a place in your network.

For more helpful articles, check out our guides to learning what mesh WiFi is and how to check your router speed.

Insider Tip

This can be a great way to eliminate any dead spots you notice as you try to access a wireless network throughout your home.

How to Use a Router as a Wireless Adapter

Before attempting this process, note that this should be done with an old router and not the router you are currently using if you are wondering how many routers you can have and what old routers are used for.

STEP 1Get Third-Party Firmware

Basically, the only thing you need to turn your router into a wireless adapter is to integrate firmware software. However, most official firmware is not compatible with this feature, so you’ll have to download and install some decent third-party software that allows for this feature. There are plenty of options here but check ahead of time that the firmware can function with the router you are using. There should be a list of makes and models that can access the software. Most third-party DD-WRT firmware works with hundreds of different routers.

STEP 2 Update the Firmware

Install and update the firmware according to instructions. Make sure you are using the latest version and that you reboot your router after installing the software.

STEP 3 Change the Router’s Settings

Change your router settings from Wireless Mode to Client Bridge. This should be it. Your router will now act as a fancy wireless adapter, increasing your coverage throughout the home or office.


How do I test my WiFi speed?

Contact your Internet service provider for a detailed list of your speeds, no matter your router model or WiFi router type. Otherwise, there are dedicated apps that can do this for you.

What does a WiFi router do?

No matter the router model, a wireless router sends Internet data from the cable modem provided to you from an Internet service provider to any connected device.

Can my WiFi be hacked?

A wireless connection can be hacked, so it is important to keep your Wi-Fi networks protected with a strong password that you change often. If you suspect hacking, contact your Internet service provider.

STAT: Downloading and installing the latest driver for your wireless adapter can resolve issues with wireless Internet connections, especially issues related to performance or intermittent dropped connections. (source)

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