I picked up a used Netgear R6300 cheaply last week to use as an access point. Here’s how to configure a Netgear R6300 as an access point.
I considered DD-WRT, but ultimately decided against it for now. DD-WRT isn’t as foolproof on the R6300 as it is on, say, a TP-Link TL-WR841N. Fortunately, the stock Netgear firmware is reasonably capable, and Netgear has been staying on top of updates for it.
Configure your wireless network
To configure the Netgear R6300 as an access point, connect it directly to a computer via a wired connection and disable the computer’s wireless connection, if it has one. You don’t need to connect the router to the Internet.
Navigate to http://192.168.1.1 and login as admin with the password of password.
Cancel out of any wizard that appears. Click Basic, then Wireless Setup. Enter your SSID and channel for your 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. Use the same SSID as your main router, but pick a different 2.4 GHz channel. The two devices will work out 5 GHz amongst themselves. Use the same security mode as your main router (I strongly urge you to use WPA2-PSK (AES)) and enter the same wireless passphrase.
Double check everything, then click Apply.
Configure a Netgear R6300 as an access point
Click the Advanced tab and click Advanced Setup. Click Wireless AP. Check the box that says Enable AP Mode.
Don’t forget this critical step. Scroll down! It’s incredibly easy to miss this step if you aren’t super-careful.
You’re scrolled down? Good.
Netgear recommends running access points as DHCP. I don’t. By using a fixed IP, if the main router dies, I can connect to the access point and reconfigure it as an emergency router. Assign it an IP address such as 192.168.1.2, with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0, and the gateway is your main router’s IP address.
When you’re ready, click Apply. Your router will reboot and come back up as an access point. Plug one of the LAN ports into your network someplace where your wifi signal is weak, and enjoy. I talk more about positioning access points here.
Be sure to re-enable your computer’s wireless connection and change its network back to DHCP.
Caveats to the R6300 in access point mode
Unlike many routers, the R6300’s switch isn’t functional in access point mode. Don’t expect any of the LAN ports to work. I like my access points to double as switches, but the R6300 doesn’t do it.