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is it possible to add Google Wifi to an existing router?

iWhisky
Community Member

hi ... so i'm trying to expand coverage of my home with a mesh network, treating Google's wi-fi points as bridge units to my main router, an ASUS RT-AC88U.

i've punched port holes through my existing firewall to access my NAS, and MY Q app for the garage — so am reluctant to reconfigure my ASUS as the bridge unit in case i have configuration issues. it also has a lot of physical ethernet ports that i need to run my NAS units and security cameras. is it problematic to keep the Asus router as the main access point to my network?

in any event, i tried setting up the Google Wifi unit as a bridge, and after setting it up as a new mesh network was able to to change the settings to 'bridge'. now i'm trying to connect the 3 other Google wi-fi points to my network — and my intentions were that two would have ethernet connections and one would just be a wi-fi point. 

the Google Home app recognizes the units, but can't seem to connect them. as there's no user manual (what's that?) in the box, i'm kind of at a loss how to set the remaining three wifi units up. It's not the easy, hands off setup described — but possibly because i haven't setup the Google router as my main NAT device. 

am i just setting my network up wrong or is there no hope of getting all units to work as repeaters or a bridge to my ASUS RT? any help would be appreciated. thanks.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Hello @iWhisky 

When a Google WiFi unit is set up in bridge mode, it does not support mesh/secondary units. It has to be in router+firewall (NAT) mode to support mesh/secondaries. When it is set up this way, it will be creating a new "inner" network separated (by the firewall) from the "outer" network it is connected to (the one created by your existing ASUS router, in your case). Having some devices connected to the outer network and some devices connected to the inner network will result in them having difficulty communicating with each other (the auto-discovery protocols in particular won't work across a router/firewall).

Lastly, just to be clear, Google WiFi is not a WiFi "extender". The primary unit must be connected to the internet via Ethernet.

I hope the above information helps you understand the behavior you are seeing. I typically recommend using Google WiFi in a router+firewall (NAT) mode, and then building your wired network off of the Google WiFi primary unit's LAN Ethernet port using unmanaged Ethernet switches. In that configuration, it should connect directly to your internet service rather than going through another "outer" router/firewall. You can then also (optionally) connect the Google WiFI mesh/secondary units back to the primary through that Ethernet network to "skip" the wireless mesh interconnect for their traffic. However, they cannot be connected to the same outer network that the primary is connected to.

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5 REPLIES 5

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Hello @iWhisky 

When a Google WiFi unit is set up in bridge mode, it does not support mesh/secondary units. It has to be in router+firewall (NAT) mode to support mesh/secondaries. When it is set up this way, it will be creating a new "inner" network separated (by the firewall) from the "outer" network it is connected to (the one created by your existing ASUS router, in your case). Having some devices connected to the outer network and some devices connected to the inner network will result in them having difficulty communicating with each other (the auto-discovery protocols in particular won't work across a router/firewall).

Lastly, just to be clear, Google WiFi is not a WiFi "extender". The primary unit must be connected to the internet via Ethernet.

I hope the above information helps you understand the behavior you are seeing. I typically recommend using Google WiFi in a router+firewall (NAT) mode, and then building your wired network off of the Google WiFi primary unit's LAN Ethernet port using unmanaged Ethernet switches. In that configuration, it should connect directly to your internet service rather than going through another "outer" router/firewall. You can then also (optionally) connect the Google WiFI mesh/secondary units back to the primary through that Ethernet network to "skip" the wireless mesh interconnect for their traffic. However, they cannot be connected to the same outer network that the primary is connected to.

Davy123
Community Member

Michael, running all the devices off the Google Wi-Fi primary via a switch sounds fine. But when I tried it the PCs and NAS could not discover each other. I think they both need to be on a Windows-managed network?

MichaelP
Platinum Product Expert
Platinum Product Expert

Not sure what's going on there, but auto-discovery (mDNS, UPnP, and NetBIOS) protocols should work as long as all of the devices are on the same local area network, since they are all based on multicast. I would make sure your PCs and NAS are configured to get their IP address and default route, etc. via DHCP and that they have been rebooted since changing how they are connected.

Davy123
Community Member

Ah Michael, I did not reboot. I will try rebooting then maybe PC and NAS will get DHCP IP addresses from the GWFM router.

iWhisky
Community Member

WPA3 + MyQ has become another barrier to adoption, but i found the network settings where it could be turned off.

thanks very much @MichaelP for your succinct and clear explanation. i'll attempt to reorganize according to this strategy and then weigh the pros and cons.