In the event that you switch your network provider or terminate an internet subscribption, chances are you will be left with a router. With many players in the market including Safaricom, Zuku, Faiba and many others, competition is stiff. During installation, these companies also provide everything you will need so a router from one company may not serve you once you switch to another provider.
Most network providers ask that you return the router to their shops. Most people lack the time or the patience. But if you still have an old router lying around in your house, there are some interesting ways you can put it to good use.
- Using it as an Repeater
In some cases, your home Wi-Fi is strong in some rooms and very weak in other parts of the house. Locally, network providers suggest that you make an extra purchase of a WiFi extender to achieve maximum coverage.
You can use your old router to connect to your new wireless network using the WiFi signal. You will be able to share the WiFi and get better coverage.
2. Setting up a Guest network connection
In some cases, you may have people requesting for your password or trying to hack into your home WiFi. You can use the old router to connect to your password protected home network and give password-free access to new devices. This way, your guests or neighbours who are continually asking to use your WiFi can connect without accessing your password.
3. Increasing the Network Switch Ports
More functions in the home front are now programmed for ethernet connection. Your network router could have as little as four or six ports. You can use your old router to increase the number and even connect to your smart home devices which require a physical ethernet switch as opposed to WiFi.
4. Set up Internet Radio
This is not very easy, but some routers are configured to be able to play internet radio. You will need some extra software and a soundcard for audio output.
5. Set up a Smart Home Hub
Routers can in some cases come with a number of extra additional ports such as USB or a serial port which can be used as a home automation server. The server can be connected to your browser through your PC or Smartphone.
6. Wireless Bridge
Some of the latest routers do not come with ethernet ports. To connect your smart home devices to your network, you will therefore need a wireless bridge.
Use the old router as you would a wireless repeater only that in this case the wireless bridge will offer ethernet rather than sharing WiFi. The old router will connect to the current wireless network and you can then connect your devices to the ethernet ports.
7. Set up a NAS Drive
A Network Attached Storage (NAS) is attached to your home network using a hard disc drive. This is achievable by using routers that can run USB ports and with custom firmware like DD-WRT. This will also allow you to browse the contents of any USB connected to the router. The USB port allows you to connect the hard disc drive or flash disc to the router.
8. Set up your Own Web Server
If you can host NAS or a smart home hub on your old router, you can also host a web page. You can use the router as a server for basic websites. You can install wordpress and use the server as a staging medium where you test code, plugins and new themes.
9. Set up a VPN
You can set up the old router with VPN software so long as it supports Custom Firmware. Some old routers already have a provision for VPN but will only work when set to modem-only mode.
10. Sell it
Second hand shops and a number of tech enthusiasts could also be willing to buy the router. So if you are not able to use it up as described above, simply sell it.