Many of the routers offers different operation modes that you can use. However, some of them do not really tell you the best situations to use specific operation modes. In this guide, we will provide some basic guidelines to help you decide.

Wireless Router Mode

(Default, Home Internet Sharing)
Connection: Internet -> Modem -> Router -> Computer
Related Terms: Gateway, Default Gateway

Official Tooltip Information
In wireless router/ IP sharing mode, the router connects to the Internet via PPPoE, DHCP, PPTP, L2TP, or Static IP and shares the wireless network to LAN clients or devices. In this mode, NAT, firewall, and DHCP server are enabled by default. UPnP and Dynamic DNS are supported for SOHO and home users. Select this mode if you are a first-time user or you are not currently using any wired/wireless routers.

Wireless Router Mode Usage Notes
If you have 1 router, this will almost always be the default router operating mode that you will implement for your basic home use. You connect the modem to the router, and then the router “shares” its internet connection to all the devices.

Repeater Mode

(Home Wi-fi Range Extension)
Connection: Internet -> Modem -> Router ->Wireless Extend to Repeater
Related Terms: Wireless Hub

Official Tooltip Information
In Repeater mode, your router wirelessly connects to an existing wireless network to extend the wireless coverage. In this mode, the firewall, IP sharing, and NAT functions are disabled.

Repeater Mode Usage Notes
You will generally use repeaters or wireless extenders when you have hard to reach places with your home wifi setup. The repeater acts as a “transition” island between your actual client device with the main router.

The repeaters should carry the same SSId.

In general, if you do need to extend your home wifi range. It may be cheaper to purchase a wifi extender instead of using your router in repeater mode because wifi extender is usually cheaper.

Access Point(AP) Mode

(General Internet Extension – Home, Hotel, Etc)
Connection: Internet -> Modem -> Router ->Wired Connection to AP
Related Terms: Wireless Switch

In Access Point (AP) mode, the router connects to a wireless router through an Ethernet cable to extend the wireless signal coverage to other network clients. In this mode, the firewall, IP sharing, and NAT functions are disabled by default.

Access Point Usage Notes
Use Access Point when you cannot alter the main router, but still need a temporary wireless network. This mode is best to be used in an office, hotel, and places where you only have wired network.

Media Bridge

Or known as Client Mode (Generally for home gaming console)
Connection: Internet -> Modem -> Router ->Wireless Connection to Media Bridge -> Wired Connection to end user devices.

Official Description
The Router can be configured in Media Bridge mode.The Media Bridge mode provides the fastest 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection for multiple media devices simultaneously. To set up the Media Bridge mode, you need two routers: one configured as the Media station and the other as a router. Configure one router as a “router” and another router as an 802.11ac Media Bridge to provide a simultaneous 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection for your media devices such as computer, Smart TV, game console, DVR, or media player via Ethernet cable. Change to Media Bridge mode to provide a simultaneous 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection for your media devices.

In Media Bridge mode, only wireless devices connect to the P-AP. Client devices need to be connected to the Media Bridge with a network cable.

Media Bridge Usage Notes
With client mode or media bridge, it can connect to a wired device and works as a wireless adapter to receive wireless signal from your wireless network.

For a Smart TV, Media Player, or game console with an Ethernet port. Use the Client Mode to make your devices Wi-Fi enabled, granting them access to your wireless network. So imagine the Media Bridge or client router acts as the end user device’s wireless adapter.

The reason for this mode is that it can increase the speed of your wireless connection so that it matches the speed of the Ethernet connection. AC is a relatively newer wireless technology that has not been widely adapted by the major gaming console. For example: Playstation 4 and Xbox One only support up to 802.11 b/g/n standards. However, with the media bridge setup, you can grant them AC speeds by using two AC rated routers that connect wireless to one another.

Finally, although the tooltip states that you need to use two same routers to achieve Media Bridge or Client Mode. It is not true but recommended. The reason is that your wireless speed is capped and bounded by your slower connections or router.

In general, you should however use the same brands of router for the Media Bridge type connection to ensure compatibility.

Other Network Terms

Hubs are used to connect computers on a network with cables so as to communicate with each other. The hub can send or receive information, but it can’t do both at the same time. So if you have alot of information passed in your network, hubs can flood and have poor performances.

Switchesfunctions the same way as hubs, but they can identify the intended destination of the information that they receive. In general, you should use a switch instead of hub when you have multiple devices.


Router Operation Mode Explained — 6 Comments

  1. I’ve been searching all over the web, Utube, Asus forums and finally I got more info here with respect to setting up media mode with 2 routers.
    I have an Asus RT AC5300 and I was told that I could set up an Asus RT AC88U as the base router and use the Asus RT AC5300 as the wireless media access point. I’m not sure about which would work best although I think they would both work but not as well as 2-AC5300 routers. Any thoughts on this ?

    • In my opinion I think you have it backwards you would be better off setting up the 5300 as the router and then 88u as the bridge. The 5300 is a tri band so it will have better capabilities with handling multiple wireless clients. (10 or more) the 88u is a dual band so it will perform just as well as the 5300 just can’t handle as many clients at one time as the 5300. And in fact both routers use the exact same hardware. The only differences is the number of antennas and Ethernet ports. Along with the extra 5ghz band. Performance wise and speed wise they are exactly the same. In fact the only time I would ever choose the 5300 over the 88u is if you have like 15 clients connected at once. U can only connect to one band at a time so it’s useless if you only have 3 wireless clients since 1 5ghz band can easily handle that. If you don’t have a lot of clients to deal with there’s no reason to need a 5300. But since you already have one use that as the router and the 88u as the bridge. The performance is going to be exactly the same CNET’s review on the AC RT88U will go into more depth on The comparison between the two.

  2. I have a question. I recently replaced an asus ac2400 router with the asus ac3100 in order to boost my range. I’m having trouble getting a consistent enough signal to the hp printer to AirPrint from all of my families iDevices. This is critical with school starting and the printing of homework. Unfortunately I’m still not getting a consistent enough strength of signal to reliably print. Can I use the ac2400 is a media bridge and connect it via Ethernet? Or would I be better off using a range extender. If I do use a range extender, I noticed you said that the SSID should be the same name. Can you clarify? Thanks in advance for your help!

  3. We have been using a Wireless-G Broadband Router WRT54G2 in an operating mode. The Internet Connection Type is a static ip 192.168.2…. whilst the Router IP is 192.168.0…. How can i configure the two IP,s on the cisco router 2901?? Thanks

  4. what router do I have sending the wireless the one that is connected by hard wire to the dsl modem or the one I have configured with the 5gb band to all my devices?

  5. I have a asus router and, due to issues beyond my control, I no longer have internet connection except through my phone.
    I would like to use the router to connect my wifi clients to my private, ethernet network.
    I’m using my phone in tethered mode as temporary internet connection. So I have two networks connected when I’m home using the internet. One private, one public. That works Ok (except I have to keep telling Windows 10 which is private). I turn on the router and lose my tethered connection. ie I can access my wifi devices but cannot access the internet. The connection structure appears not to have changed according to PS Get-NetConnectionProfile.
    I have turned off dhcp and everything else I can imagine would be an issue in the asus but nothing changed.
    Can I turn on Access Point Mode and make bothe netwoks work?

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