Setting up a D-Link DI-524 router as a switch

  • Update 21-June-2014: Add an IP address to the router to enable further configuration (see green text and box below)
  • Update 17-April-2015: Screenshots from the D-Link DI-524 setup (see red markings in directions, and actual shots below). You may click on the images to open them in full size in a new window or tab.

The only reason for this post is that I have an old D-Link DI-524 router, that I needed an extra switch for my home network, and that I finally figured out how to make this work. It’s not that hard, really. One problem was that most guides I found tended to talk a lot of nonsense between the lines, which was confusing, or they included steps that weren’t needed, which didn’t help at all.

This quick step-by-step disposes of (most if not all) the needless and confusing chitter-chatter, and is hopefully basic enough that most people can follow it. It also requires that you have a D-Link DI-524, which in the year 2013 may not be all that likely, and that you’re not easily freaked out by horrible technical terms like “cable”, “reset”, “browser” or “log in”.

  • Start with just the router, connect only the power supply.
  • Reset the router (press and hold the Reset button for 10-15 seconds), because it’s easier when you begin from scratch.
  • Connect your computer to one of the four LAN ports by a network cable.
  • Open a web browser, type “192.168.0.1” in the address box and press Enter. Log in with username “admin” and leave the password blank. And of course, you never actually type the “quote marks”.
  • Click “Wireless” on the left hand side and set up the wireless bit the way you like it, or disable it if you prefer, then click “Apply”. (Fig.1)
  • Click on “DHCP” on the left hand side, disable DHCP, then click “Apply” again. (Fig.2)
  • NEW: Click “LAN” on the left hand side, type in your preferred IP address in the “IP Address” field, then click “Apply” again. [See new section below] (Fig.3)
  • Connect the network cable coming from your broadband modem to one of the four LAN ports.
  • Connect nothing to the WAN port. It’s dead.
  • Know that you won’t be able to change any settings without resetting the router first and doing it all over again.

Your precious D-Link DI-524 router should now be a plain network switch, if you turned off the wireless, or a wireless access point, if you left it on.

My first mistake on previous attempts was that I expected to still be able to access the router interface, forgetting that “switch” means the “router” part is out of the equation.

My second mistake was that I thought the cable from the broadband modem was still supposed to go into the WAN port, whose being dead does account for its not working.

Or maybe the first mistake was the second, and vice versa, but I’m not going to lose sleep over that.

Anyway, my newly configured D-Link switch now plays host to an old computer chugging away as an improvised media centre, a cabled connection for my laptop whenever I play games that don’t like wireless, and there’s even a so far unused network port in case I need it later, all running on one single ten metre long network cable between the D-Link in the living room and the modem on the far side of the apartment, rather than on three separate ten metre cables making a mess of things, and there is not even any noticeable lag when running speed tests through the D-Link, compared to running them directly through the modem, which is a pleasant surprise. Works for me!🙂

EDIT 21-June-2014

Under the above scenario (minus the new addition in green), the User Interface (menus) of the D-Link is inaccessible so that you cannot make further changes to the settings without resetting the router and starting over (there is a way around it, but it is somewhat complicated). That is a rather inflexible solution, so I decided to try this approach (as suggested by Karl in comments below).

  • Click “LAN” on the left hand side, type in your preferred IP address in the “IP Address” field, then click “Apply” again.

But what is a good “preferred IP address”?

If you set the LAN IP address of the router to something within the IP range used by your modem, that is, something in the same range as the IP address your computer gets when it is connected to the modem, you can access the D-Link menus easily. You do however need to know a couple of things about your network.

  • Which IP range does it use?
    Common IP ranges for modems and routers are “10.0.0.X” and “192.168.0.X“, and computers and other devices are assigned IP addresses where “X” can be from 1 to 254, and no two devices can have the exact same IP address. However, there are variations on those, for example “192.168.1.X“.
  • Which static IP addresses within that range are safe to use?
    If you set an IP address for your D-Link which collides or conflicts with something else on the network, you’ll have a problem.

To use my own network as an example: My Internet modem is a Zyxel P2812 modem/router from Telenor, which uses a DHCP IP range from “10.0.0.1” to “10.0.0.137“, and the Zyxel menu is at “10.0.0.138“. Since the last number can be anything from 1 to 254, this means that I can use any number from 139 to 254 as my D-Link’s address without crashing with anything else. I decided on “10.0.0.140” because it should be reasonably easy to remember.

If you do not know or cannot find out yourself which parts of your network’s IP range is safe to use, you may want to consult your Internet Service Provider, or the modem/router manufacturer, or simply a friend who knows a little more about networks.

How severe is the damage if you pick a “wrong” IP address? Not very. You may accidentally block one device (the one already holding that IP) from getting on the network and the Internet, or you may not be able to access the D-Link on that address, or both. Worst case scenario: Reset the D-Link router and do it over again with a different IP address.

Odds are that you may pick an IP address more or less at random and not suffer any ill consequences at all. With 254 to choose from, the chance of conflict is minimal. And even if it does happen, it’s easily fixed.

 

Screenshots


Fig 1: Wireless setup. Choose your own network name (SSID) and password.


Fig 2: Disable DHCP Server.


Fig 3: Set a router IP address for access later.

34 Responses to Setting up a D-Link DI-524 router as a switch

  1. kristof says:

    Very usefull explanation on how to set your old router as a range extender for your Wifi.
    Thanks!

    • inshadowz says:

      Thanks for the reply, kristof🙂 I’m pretty sure a similar approach will work for most routers, also newer ones, but how and where to get to the various settings will of course be different compared to the DI-524.

  2. Karl says:

    Hi, great summary. I just want to add that I needed to restart the other router and the DI-524 after configuring it to get it to work. Also I am still able to access the DI-524 configuration on the IP I configured as the LAN IP in the DI-524 (and I’m of course able to access the other router as well)
    Cheers

    • inshadowz says:

      Hi Karl. Thanks for that extra info. To my recollection I didn’t need to restart either of them, but it never hurts to do so. However, seeing as you set up a LAN IP on the D-Link (something I’m going to try now, by the way), that might be why your restart was necessary.

  3. Mike says:

    Best article describing how to configure a router as a range extender for your Wifi. I followed the instructions and everything worked. I noticed that the signal strength from the DI524 was not full – it was 2 bars out of 3 on my smart pad but haven’t lost a connection yet. Anything to get a stronger signal?

    • inshadowz says:

      Thanks, Mike! I’m glad you found this post useful. Signal strength will depend on a few things, such as distance from the router. Near the antenna, say, within a couple of metres (ca 7 feet), you should certainly get full bar. If not, it could be that the router’s age is beginning to show.

  4. danny says:

    Thank you… it’s very helpful…

  5. Daniel says:

    Awesome, thanks!! That saved me some time. I was just given a dl-524 to plug into my shiny new powerline network adapters to get some better network connectivity upstairs. It’s all working now🙂

  6. Mike says:

    Is there anyway to be able to make it a switch and still use the wan plug so you can have all four LAN plugs available

  7. andremartins says:

    wow!!! It worked in 3 minutes, right out the box!!! I had this old DI-524, and I have 2 Aiport Express (2nd gen as primary and the 1st gen as extender). I “almost” bought this afternoon a new switch from D-Link, then I remembered my old do-524 and thought, “should have a way to made that little thing as a switch”. Bingo! Thanks Karl, I followed your simple and straight instructions and now I have my macbook, my ASUS netbook with Lubuntu and my Mac mini all together, wired, at the same time. Thanks a lot! Cheers from Brazil!

  8. inshadowz says:

    Updated the post to include a section on setting an IP address for the D-Link router so that you can access the menus to make further changes without resetting it.

  9. Sunil says:

    I know this thread is old, but I just did this now and I have a question. My main router is set up with a password for the wifi. When I try to set up the 524 wifi with a password it does not work. Without a password, the 524 wifi comes up as a different network, which defeats my purpose.

    • inshadowz says:

      Hi Sunil. Thanks for chirping in. This is an old post, true, but it’s still the one that gets the most hits out of everything on my blog; several visits every day, which is more than I can say for any of my other posts🙂

      So far I haven’t tried to set up my D-Link and my broadband modem with the same SSID. They overlap each other and all my devices manage to swap between the two without any noticeable issues. What I do know is that you’ll have to set up the two networks with precisely matching settings; same SSID, same network password, same encryption type and so on, or there will be trouble. Seeing as the D-Link DI-524 is quite old, you’ll most likely have to modify (“downgrade”) your main router’s wireless settings, too, in order to make the two compatible.

      I may have to try it now, though. Will update the blog post when or if I get around to it😉

      • Carlos says:

        Have you tried this? It happens to me also.

      • inshadowz says:

        Minor update on setting up two routers with same SSID: I’ve learned that, in addition to having to set up the two with entirely identical wireless configuration, swapping between them may be awkward or difficult. Moving from one to the other, the computer will hang on to the router it’s currently connected to until the signal disappears entirely, even if it’s utterly weak and you’re well within a strong signal range from the other router. So either way, you risk having to switch manually. One solution may be to weaken the signal from both routers, so that you effectively shorten their range, but that may lead to needing more routers to cover the same area, and even then it’s not perfect.

  10. Chus says:

    Hi, I’m having some troubles in order to do the same thing with the very same DI-524 router and I’m hoping you can help me.

    I have the DHCP disabled on the DI-524 as I want it to work as a switch, and I gave it an IP (192.168.0.2) within the range of the gateway. This gateway(192.168.0.1) has DHCP enabled.

    With this setup everything works fine if I set manually the IP(192.168.0.3) and the default gateway(192.168.0.1) on my computer. But as soon as I use the automatic configuration it doesn’t reach the gateway and doesn’t get the proper IP.

    Any idea about what might be the problem here?

    Thanks.

    • inshadowz says:

      Unfortunately I’m unable to duplicate the problem, in part because my primary modem/router/gateway uses an entirely different IP pool (in the 10.0.0.x range) set by the ISP, and, long story short, changing this around would get me into quarrels with the rest of the family who for some reason or other also insist on using the Internet (try depriving two teenagers of Facebook for five minutes, and you will see what I mean)😉

      Your problem might have to do with your gateway being originally configured to hand out 192.168.0.2 as the first address in its DHCP pool, which may cause a conflict when your DI-524 already claims that one, but this is just a rough guess. A properly and well configured DHCP server should be able to avoid this altogether, but then again a wise man once told me you shouldn’t trust technology any farther than you can throw it.

      My own modem has 10.0.0.138 as its gateway address, and hands out IP addresses in the range 10.0.0.1 to 10.0.0.137. I’ve set my DI-524 as 10.0.0.140, well out of the way of the DHCP server, and suffered no ill effects.

      My suggestion would be to try changing the address of the DI-524 to something higher up in the range, such as 192.168.0.99, or anything else that doesn’t risk colliding with the IP pool of the gateway.

  11. vineeth narayanan says:

    please add screenshots of steps(because i have a DI-524 but setup is different from mentioned above)

    • inshadowz says:

      Hi! I’ve been thinking about doing just that, and may do it at a later date. For the moment, alas, I’m utterly swamped with too much to do, and not enough time.

  12. inshadowz says:

    Minor update on setting up two routers with same name (SSID): I’ve learned that, in addition to having to set up the two with entirely identical wireless configuration, swapping between them may be awkward or difficult.

    Moving from one to the other, the computer will hang on to the router it’s currently connected to until the signal disappears entirely, even if it’s utterly weak and you’re well within a strong signal range from the other router. So either way, you risk having to switch manually.

    One solution may be to weaken the signal from both routers, so that you effectively shorten their range, but that may lead to needing more routers to cover the same area, and even then it’s not perfect.

  13. inshadowz says:

    As per request I have added a few screenshots of the process.

  14. Rob says:

    Thanks for this guide. I also found a couple of useful generic guides (not specific to the DI-524) on smallnetbuilder, and came here just to find some extra tips on the DI-524 specifically, but found your guide most helpful in the end.

    Two clarifications may be useful. First, general guidance is to use different SSIDs for different networks in the same home so that you can manually switch, due to the stickiness issue – as you’ve called out here. It’s also useful to choose two different channels, ideally two out of the three of channels 1, 6, and 11 (assuming you are using the 2.4 GHz band, which I believe you will be if you’re using the DI-524). You can find more information about this with some simple google searches (eg “how to choose wifi channel” but without the quote marks).

    Second, inshadowz’s statements from the original post that “Know that you won’t be able to change any settings without resetting the router first and doing it all over again” and “My first mistake on previous attempts was that I expected to still be able to access the router interface, forgetting that “switch” means the “router” part is out of the equation” should probably be deleted (or replaced with strikethrough text) since those are not true after the June 21 2014 edit.

    Again, thanks so much for your guide, inshadowz!

    • inshadowz says:

      Thank you very much for your feedback, Rob, and apologies for the late response. I’m thrilled to have been of help, and your points are of great value. I’m thinking about making a new, updated and tidier blog post, as that’ll probably be easier than to edit the current one in place. It is after all still by far the most visited post on my entire blog. Though when I’ll get around to it is a whole different story.

  15. Ken says:

    I’m another one who found some useful tips in this article and the comments. I had a momentary hiccup but resolved it by upgrading The DI-524 from the 1.03 (2003) firmware to the 1.23 rev. It’s still not doing quite what I want but I think it’s doing everything it should. It’s amazing that it’s still doing anything all !!! 🙂

    • inshadowz says:

      Hi, Ken. I’m glad you managed to sort things out. To be honest I never checked which firmware version my router is running, though I think it is the latest. The DI-524 has proved to be a faithful, reliable and hard-to-beat little workhorse, almost like an old Nokia cellphone (pre-smartphone that is). It even looks friendly, and ought perhaps have the phrases “Mostly Harmless” and “Don’t Panic” written on it.

  16. stad says:

    Hi all, I’m using my DI-524 as a switch (had not read these posts – but we I’m glad I’ve done the same steps) and it works fine. I have disabled the wireless part and the WAN and it switches my two PCs quite fine. The only problem that I have is that I haven’t been able to set it so as manage the unit remotely, from another location. I use static IP and have configured my router to port-forward external port 8080 to port 80 on the Dlink, but still something’s wrong. Since the WAN part is disabled, and the LAN section does not include a field to enter gateway IP address, seems to me that it can’t work. If someone has an idea, would really appreciate it.
    cheers//stad

  17. stad says:

    Hi again, just figured it out i.e. how to remote manage the DI-524: here’s how in case someone is interested.
    in WAN settings, chose ‘static IP address’. and then in IP address entered the static IP used for the DI-524 in my LAN network. Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0, ISP Gateway address: 192.x.x.x which is the IP of my router. Primary DNS address: same as Gateway address.
    then after a short reboot, it works like a charm. Can access the DI-524 from anywhere in the world ! (of course is important to have the correct port forwarding settings in the router as mentioned in previous post).
    Cheers
    stad

    • inshadowz says:

      Hi Stad! I’m glad you found this useful. Quite frankly I hadn’t even thought about a need for accessing the router/switch from the WAN side, and big kudos points to you for not only sorting out your problem, but also for sharing the method with us. Cheers, mate!

  18. Erik Drew says:

    If I want to use this as just a wired access point, do I need to mess with setting a “preferred IP address”? I have my ISP signal coming off my router, ethernet wired, to a powerline adapter (*TP-link), sent down stairs over 110v line, which is then also ethernet wired at the output…. Do I need to set an IP address if I just want to use ethernet cables?

    • inshadowz says:

      Hi Erik. If you’re only going to use it as a wired access point (in other words, a switch) then you should have no need for setting the IP address, as it is only necessary for accessing the router if you want to change its settings without having to reset it.

  19. Max says:

    Many thanks,
    I finally got my good old router working as a switch, if I have got time I would try to setup the WAN side as suggested,

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