How to Use a Router as a Switch

by David Lipscomb

Although modern routers usually have at least four inputs for distribution, it's not uncommon to need more in larger networks. If you have a spare router lying around but do not need its actual routing or wireless broadcasting capabilities, you can often alter its operation to have it perform as a simple switch. Although this adds additional Ethernet connections, you must configure the hardware properly to prevent network interference from two or more devices connected to the switch itself.

Connect your computer directly to the input of the router you wish to convert to switch duty using an Ethernet cable.

Enter "" to access the router's setup screen. Consult the user guide for the device for the specific address if you are in doubt or if this address does not work.

Look for and turn off the "DHCP" and "DNS Server" functions. The former assigns Internet protocol addresses to various devices, while the latter handles conventional website addresses. If you leave these on, they will conflict with your primary router.

Disable the router's firewall entirely. You do not want any filtration of data as it passes from the primary router to the secondary unit you are converting into a switch.

Click "Save" in the "Settings" page on your switch. Unplug the unit for 30 seconds or depress the small "Reset" button on the back of the unit to reboot the device.

Connect your computer to your primary router. Connect one of the primary router's outputs to the "Uplink" port on the new switch with an Ethernet cable.


  • Large data tasks like torrent downloads and online gaming may cause data constriction over a switch. This is because the switch does not assign different addresses to each device to keep the flows separate.

Items you will need

  • Ethernet cable

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

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