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[Solved] "Bridge" two WiFi networks  

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Topic starter

Hi, I fear I know the answer to this question, but I am wondering whether there is any way to somehow link two separate wireless networks?

I am asking because I have had an Orbi system for a few years, but despite intense tweaking and troubleshooting the speed of the network has dropped dramatically. I have therefore just recently installed an Orbi 6 system in parallel (I know this is not recommended, but by using different channels there seems to be no interference and the Eero network is very fast). The two networks have different "third-position ip addresses" (192.168.1.n vs 192.168.4.n).

The only downside is that when keeping my phone/tablet on the Eero network and leaving my IoT devices on the Orbi network, there are some issues where I cannot access all devices/warnings about devices on different networks.

So my question is, is there any way to set up some conduit between these two networks in the house, so that devices see one another across the networks?

5 Answers
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With eero in bridge mode, AND if you give it the same WiFi Name (aka SSID) and password, then you will have a roaming network, and the devices will connect to which every access point they feel like.

 

If you give the eero a unique SSID (password can be the same or different), then existing IoT devices will choose the Orbi, and the Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Windows PCs, Android phones, etc... you want on the eero you change them to the new SSID, and they will stay on the eero.

 

IMPORTANT point for the Apple devices.  Either delete the Orbi access point on each device so it will not automatically connect, or at least on the Macs, re-arrange the Preferred WiFi networks so the eero is dragged above the Orbi.  This is in System Preferences -> Network -> WiFi -> Advanced -> WiFi -> Preferred Networks

 

If you use iCloud to share your keychain, then all your Apple devices using a given Apple ID and also sharing the keychain will get that perferred network re-arrangement.

 

And while re-arranging the preferred networks, make sure the ones you use the most are at the top of the list.

 

Now because the eero is in bridge mode, everyone is on the same subnet and everyone can access all the same resources on an equal basis.

@datafornothinandbitsforfree
Excellent, this sounds exactly what I was hoping to achieve! I will give it a go during the weekend, thanks so much for insightful help!

@datafornothinandbitsforfree
Just wanted to give another shoutout to this forum and @datafornothinandbitsforfree for helping me out! The solution proposed worked flawlessly; after connecting the Eero base station to the Orbi base station and putting Eero in bridge mode (and after a couple of nerve-wracking minutes when Eero restarted and one of my smart home hubs gave a warning of being offline), everything settled in. And it now works exactly as I hoped when purchasing the Eero system; the Orbi network putters along at around 20 Mbps, which is OK for the IoT devices, and the Eero network is rocking at 200-500 Mbps. And all devices are accessible across the two networks.

No-one in the Orbi or Eero forums were able to or did not take the time to respond, but here I found the solution, thanks!!!

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Sound like you have enabled the router function of your wireless base stations. If you put the wireless base stations in bridge mode, then all your devices will be in the same IP address block, so they will be able to communicate with each other. 

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As @cpragman says, you need to put one of the system into Bridge mode.

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First the system connected directly to the broadband modem should be the router.  The 2nd system plugged into the 1st system should be the one put into Bridge mode.

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Sometimes the system you want to put into Bridge mode actually has a "Bridge" mode setting.  Sometimes you are given the option to turn off DHCP (and/or NAT routing).  If these are the options take these.

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Then you will have a single subnet and all the devices will get their DHCP assigned addresses from the first system plugged into the broadband modem.

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NOTE:  If your broadband modem is also a WiFi router, then you should think about maybe turning of its WiFi so it is not interfering, and see if you can put it into bridge mode, so your first WiFi system is the router, or still turn off the broadband modem WiFi Router's WiFi, but if you are going to keep it as a router, then put both WiFi systems to Bridge mode, as in a home environment it is more or less best if you have a single router.  There are exceptions to this rule, but generally that is a more complicated setup.

This post was modified 2 months ago by datafornothinandbitsforfree
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Topic starter

I reckoned that would be the advice, thank you for responding. However, my dilemma is:

  • For the Orbi system, I have a rather complicated setup with many smart home devices with fixed ip addresses, port forwarding to my NAS, etc. that would be a lot of work to redo so I dare not put the Eero unit as the main base station (and connect the Orbi base station to this one in fear that it will mess up the Orbi settings).
  • But the Orbi system has become so slow that I fear hooking the Eero up to the Orbi base station will give just as bad WiFi speed for the Eero network as the Orbi one. Or is it possible that only the wireless Orbi speed is bad and that a wired connection between the Orbi and Eero base stations will be faster?
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I have a few thoughts.

Test the Ethernet performance of Orbi between 2 in house systems connected by Ethernet.  See if it can carry the Ethernet load.  If so, let it be the router, and put the eero in bridge mode.

If the Orbi does not cut it, then consider just making the eero the router, and keep the Orbi "JUST" for internet of things, and use the eero for all your computers, NAS, printer, etc...

 

@datafornothinandbitsforfree
Thanks for your suggestion. Having only basic insights into network setup, could I ask a follow-up question: If I set this up as follows; ISP router (in brigde mode) - ethernet cable to Orbi base station (in NAT mode) - ethernet cable to Eero base station (in bridge mode), how will the Eero system work? Will it be more or less just an extender of the SSID of the Orbi system, but hopefully at better speed? If so, will devices find a way to choose the fastest connection?

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