How to use a DSL Modem with Wifi as an Access Point without DSL

This post is how to add wifi to a wired network if all you have is a modem/wireless/router unit but without a WAN port to plug into, just LAN ports.

I have an actiontec wireless n dsl modem with built in wifi and router capabilities (model GT784WN-01 ), but I dont want to use it as a modem – I want to use it to add a wireless access point for an existing wired network. At first I thought it would be easy to just plug into an existing network cat5 cable into the modem/wifi/router without needing to use the modem part of the unit. Not so tru but it can be done, at least with my model.

Here is the trick: Disable DHCP, otherwise the router side of the modem is trying to hand out network addresses and this mucks up the whole process of multiple DHCP servers on your network handing out conflicting IP addresses.

This took me a couple hours to figure it out, I have to give credit to this forum postin on using a modem/router as an AP at (an awesome website by the way) specifically, this entry with step by step instructions. awesome

anyhow, on actiontec modems you will find the DHCP settings under the “ADVANCED” menu tab, picture below of what you are looking for (at least on my version)

By the way, this modem/wifi/router is terrible according to newegg reviews for many reasons. I should have never bought it but for wifi it seems to be okay. Among many gripes, there are security issues with ports being open if used as a modem.

screenshot of actiontec GUI for DHCP

goto advanced setup and turn off DCHP, you can see the radio button at the bottom of this screenshot . the scroll down and hit apply. DONE!

Hope this helps someone, this is one of those posts I make just for my future personal reference to make wireless Ethernet bridges (as well as to burn it into my memory. If it helped you, drop me a comment – all are much appreciated!


5 thoughts on “How to use a DSL Modem with Wifi as an Access Point without DSL

  1. exactly the unit I have, and this is exactly what I want to do. I will try to disable DHCP and hope that disables the modem part of this combo unit.

  2. Well it sounds like I have found the solution to getting the connection working. Let me tell you what I have and see if it’s similar to yours. My Granddaughters dorm room has a single Ethernet jack in the room. If you plug your Ethernet cable into the jack and the other end into your Ethernet port on the laptop, everything works fine. Very fast internet, but I don’t know what is on the other side of that wall. My Granddaughter wants to use a wireless printer in the room. Wireless is not offered by the IT department for that dorm. I plan to install an Actiontec GT784WN modem (used at a former address as DSL Modem/Router with ATT DSL service.) Next I will disable the DHCP as you advised, next I will connect a cable from the wall jack to one of the LAN ports on the Actiontec. Then with another cable I will go from another LAN port on the Actiontec to the Ethernet port of the laptop. Assuming everything is electrically ok, things should work just the same as it did before I started the changes. I will then have a wireless signal that I can configure to work with the wireless printer. Again, should work the same as before but this time have a wireless printer on line.

    Does this sound like it should work? Any other changes need to be made to the Actiontec? Would appreciate any information to help me get this printer working for my Granddaughter. Thanks very much.

    • Figured it out–after doing autoconfiguration of internet and it failing I was able to get in. Worked once. Then when I tried to connect again it didn’t. Have to reboot the access point each time to get wifi working. Probably because of some sort of ip conflict.

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