ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router – Access Point
In this article we are concentrating on using the popular ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router as an access point (AP). That is we are extending access to our existing network to new wireless clients.
The diagram shows one of the ways in which an additional router like the R36 can be used to extend the range of existing local area network by adding a wireless router. Existing router (Router 1) has wired clients A,B,C and D which are computers on the Router 1 network segment. The new router (Router 2) is connected to Router 1 by an ethernet cable directly to LAN ports on both routers. Note WAN ports are not used here.
In this case clients E,F,G and H are connected on the same LAN segment as A,B,C and D and all are visible to each other. Client G is connected by ethernet cable to router 2, while clients E,F and H are wirelessly connected to router 2.
Click images to see more detail
Characteristics of this connection type
- Router 1 provides the IP addresses for all clients on both routers via a DCHP server
- Router 2 has DCHP server switched off
- Router 2 has a unique wireless SSID broadcast name that clients use to connect to LAN
- Router 2 uses a separate wireless channel to avoid interference with other local AP signal channels
- Router 2 employs WPA2-PSK wireless security encryption for its wireless clients
- All clients are allocated IP addresses from the DCHP pool provided dynamically by router 1
- All clients can potentially see each other – for example on a windows network
- Router 2 is allocated a fixed IP address different than the IP address of router 1 but on the same LAN segment
- Router 2 is allocated a fixed IP address outside the IP pool addresses provided by the DCHP pool of router 1
- If Router 1 has an LAN IP address 192.168.1.1 then Router 2 is allocated a fixed IP of 192.168.1.2 for example
ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router AP set up
Connecting to ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router
From the ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router LAN port connect an ethernet cable to your your computer. The LAN port is directly adjacent to the power input socket. The router has a default IP address of 192.168.2.1. Power up the router and in your web browser, put in the address http://192.168.2.1. If you are connected properly you will see a log in popup window. Type the default user login: “admin” and password: “admin”. Then the screen picture above should show up in your browser. If you cannot see the login popup window then ensure that your ethernet port is set to receive an automatic IP address in which case the router will give your ethernet port a temporary IP address and you should see the router web interface picture above.
Now select the AP(bridge) option. You will then see the next screen.
Choose ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router operating mode and security
In this screen choose a name by which your AP will be known and enter this in the SSID field. Then choose security mode as WPA2-PSK. This will then show
In this screen choose WPA Algorithm as “AUTO” and choose a pass phrase that your wireless clients will use to connect to your AP. Then click “Done”. Your router will then reboot. There is a progress bar on the screen while the router reboots. A message pops up when it is complete an a status screen indicates the router is set up as an AP. From the advanced TAB choose LAN settings and you will see the following screen.
Configuring the ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router to connect to your LAN
This is a CRITICAL step to ensure your router appears on your local LAN. First you need to know the IP address of your main router. The one that hosts the connection to the Internet probably via a ADSL/Cable or other modem. To do this disconnect your cable from your R36 and connect it to a LAN port on your main router. The router should allocate an IP address to your LAN connection. In windows you can see in the tray your “network connections” choose the wired LAN connection and click it to display the connection status. In the pop up dialog for the connection click the “support” tab. This will show you the Ip address allocated to you from your main router. It shows the network mask normally set to 255.255.255.0 and predefined Gateway IP. This gateway address is the LAN address of your main router. Lets say this is 192.168.15.1. We now need to choose an IP address for our router outside the IP pool addresses on the same LAN segment which is identified by the third octet in the routers IP address shown here in brackets 192.168.(15).1. So we need our R36 to be on LAN segment 15. Note you should use the LAN segment address you see for your router which is commonly 192.168.1.1 so in that case your LAN segment would be 1.
Using the suggested values enter the R36 routers LAN address as 192.168.15.2. Set the network mask to 255.255.255.0 and the Default Gateway and primary DNS server to 192.168.15.1. Ensure the DCHP server setting is set to disable. Then click apply. The router will save these settings. The router can now be connected to your LAN.
Connect the ALFA R36 3G Mobile Router to a Primary Router LAN Port
With a suitable network cable connect your R36 LAN port to an available LAN port on your primary router. You are now good to go. In your computer disconnect any wired connection to your R36. In your software look for available wireless connections. You should see your new AP. Choose to connect to this and use you new pass phrase to do so. You should now see you are connected to the Internet and you can see your allocated IP address using the available connected wireless “network connections”. You should now see your IP as something like 126.96.36.199. Your Router is on LAN segment 15 with an IP of 100.
Your primary router has allocated you IP 188.8.131.52 from its pool. Quite often router pools by default set up pools from 100 to say 199 to support in theory 100 clients.
Securing you R36 Admin access
The final step is to secure your admin login to prevent others accessing your router. The default’s “admin,admin” are commonly known so take this final step to secure your router. While wirelessly connected to the R36 put its new IP address into your browser. In our case we enter http://192.168.15.2 to see the default router status screen.
On the “advanced TAB” chose system management to see the screen above. Change the admin user password and save the settings. You are now up and running with your R36 functioning as a Wifi Hot spot (AP).