A router, by definition, is a piece of networking hardware that allows different networks to talk to each other. In a home network, that is most often your internet networks of devices and the outside world, known as the internet. A home WiFi router is really a combination device that combines a router, ethernet switch, and wireless access point into a single box.
A home WiFi router will work just fine without a connection to the internet. The router will allow the connection of wired and wireless devices that will for a home local area network. That network can do a number of different things without requiring an internet connection.
5 Things Your Router can do Without an Internet Connection
- Access Your Printer Wirelessly
- Access Files Stored on a Network Attached Storage Device
- Stream Media From a Network Attached Storage Device
- Host a LAN Party and Game With Zero Latency
- Access Files Stored on Another Device
Access Your Printer Wirelessly
One of the great benefits of having a Wi-Fi network at home is the ability to share a printer with multiple devices. It is now possible to print directly from almost any device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop) without ever having to connect a cable to your printer. Technologies such as Apple’s AirPrint make setting up a wireless printer easier than ever.
Internet access is not required to use a Wi-Fi printer on your local area network. The communication from your device simply travels to your Wi-Fi router and from your router to your printer. No internet is required!
Access Files Stored on a Network Attached Storage Device
Wi-Fi technology makes it simple to set up a network-attached storage device (NAS) on your network. A NAS device has many benefits that make it worthwhile for many people. With a NAS device, you can affordably get terabytes of storage for all of your media files without ever paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee. This can make a NAS device highly cost-effective if you have a lot of files to store.
Additionally, a NAS device can be used to make automated backups of computers attached to the network. This is hugely important if you have important documents that you are not storing using a cloud storage option such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive.
A NAS device is attached to your local network. This means that no internet access is required to use a NAS. It also means that your data is potentially safer than it is with a cloud storage option. However, cloud storage is also pretty safe these days as long as you are using a strong password and 2-factor authentication (2FA).
Stream Media From a Network Attached Storage Device
Many people have large collections of media. Whether that be music, video, picture, or all of the above. With a NAS device, your media library is centralized and available for playback from any network-connected device. This means that if you want to stream media from your NAS to your laptop or tablet, you can easily do that.
The local nature of streaming from a NAS also means that you will never have any issues with buffering or loading. The path your media takes is simply from your NAS to your router and from your router to your streaming device.
Streaming from a NAS device also does not use any internet data. This means that if you have an internet connection with a strict data cap, a NAS is your best friend; you do not need the internet to use Wi-Fi to stream media from a NAS to your favorite device.
Host a LAN Party and Game With Zero Latency
Annoyed by high latency when playing online games? Gather some friends and host a LAN party. With a LAN party, there is essentially zero latency because your devices are all connected to the same local area network. Many newer games lack LAN party options, so make an excuse to dust off some of your old favorites. With a LAN party, you can have that true 0 ms ping gaming experience that you have always wanted.
All that is needed is a few friends, your gaming devices, a network switch or router, and of course, your favorite games. We might suggest some pizza and your favorite caffeinated beverage as well.
Access Files Stored on Another Device
Similar to how Wi-Fi can be used to connect your device to a NAS device, Wi-Fi can also be used to connect 2 or more computers directly to each other in order to share files. This option is much more convenient than running around with a flash drive trying to copy files from one device to another.
Wi-Fi makes this setup process simple and free from any wires. Whether you choose to set this up through a Wi-Fi router or Ad-Hoc directly from computer to computer, Wi-Fi makes accessing files stored on another device a breeze. Best of all, no internet access is required, and therefore, no internet service provider is required!
How to Set Up a Router Without an Internet Connection
The process of setting up a Wi-Fi router without Internet is virtually the same as with Internet. The only difference is that you will not connect anything to the WAN /Internet port on your router since you are not connecting your router to the Internet.
Connect to Your Router via Ethernet
Plug one end of your ethernet cable into one of the numbered LAN ports found on the back of your router. It doesn’t matter which port you choose. Simply make sure you don’t plug it into the single WAN port.
Log in to Your Router
Open your web browser. I am using Chrome, but this process will also work with any modern web browser, including Safari, Edge, Firefox, etc. In the address bar, enter the IP address of your router. If you are unsure of your router’s IP address, open a command prompt window and type ipconfig.
If you are on Mac or Linux, open a terminal window and type ifconfig. Look for default gateway. Assuming you are plugged into the router with an ethernet cable, this will be the IP address of your router. The IP address with most likely start with either 10, 172, or 192 and end with 1.
This will open your router’s login page. You may get a security warning because many routers use a self-signed SSL certificate. This is completely normal and not a cause for concern. Simply choose to proceed anyways. You may need to click Advanced to expose this option if you are using Chrome.
From here, you will reach the login page of your router. If you changed your login credentials when you set up your router, you will enter them here. If you did not change your login credentials, you will enter the default credentials for your router. Sometimes they are printed on the bottom of your router. If not, simply Google the brand of your router and look up the default login credentials.
Once you enter your login credentials successfully, you will reach the admin dashboard of your router.
Set the DHCP Range for Your Network
The first thing you will want to do is to set the range of the IP addresses that your router will assign to client devices that connect it. This range is called the DHCP range or DHCP scope. Your router itself has its own IP address, and this needs to be excluded from the range.
You may also want to leave room at either the top or the bottom of the range for devices utilizing static IP addresses. For example, if the router’s IP address is 192.168.1.1, you could set the DHCP scope as 192.168.1.50 – 192.168.1.200. With this setup, you would have room to assign up to 150 devices via DHCP and still have 49 usable IP addresses below the DHCP range and 54 usable IP addresses above the range.
The most important thing is that the DHCP scope needs to be on the same subnet as your router. If your router uses 192.168.10.1, you do not want to use 192.168.2.2 – 192.168.2.200. The safest bet for someone with little knowledge of computer networking is to only work with the last octet. The last octet is the number after the 3rd dot.
Set the Name of Your Wi-Fi Network (SSID)
The wireless feature on the router is likely already enabled by default, but in rare cases, it may not be. Navigate to the wireless menu and make sure Wi-Fi is enabled. You will likely want both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands enabled on your router. Next, you will want to change the wireless SSID (Service Set Identifier), password, and security protocol. Using a unique SSID is a best security practice, and changing the password is the single most important step to securing your Wi-Fi network.
A default password offers essentially no security at all. It is like locking your front door, leaving the key inside of the lock. Anyone who walks up to the door immediately knows how to get in. Change your password to something unique and at least 15 characters in length for best security. If you want to, you can tape the Wi-Fi password you set to the bottom of your router.
You will also want to make sure that only WPA 2 is enabled and not older encryption standards such as WPA or WEP. These older standards are much less secure than WPA 2, and also disable WPS for maximum security.
Test Your Wi-Fi Connection
Now that you are connected to your router over Wi-Fi or ethernet, it is time to connect all of your other devices to your router. If you want to connect more devices via an ethernet cable than you have ports available on your router, you can use an ethernet switch. Switches come in all sizes ranging from 5 ports all the way up to 48 ports.
The step is to test the connectivity between the devices connected to the network. Let’s assume that one of the other devices has the IP address 192.168.1.50.
Open a Command Prompt Window on Windows or A Terminal Window on Mac or Linux.
Type “ping 192.168.1.50” and press Enter.
If you get a response, this confirms that both devices are connected to the same network and can communicate with each other, without the need for internet.
You can use a home wireless router just fine without internet service; There are a variety of ways that Wi-Fi can be used to access local resources without needing an internet service provider (ISP). If you wish to have access to the Internet, you will need an ISP to connect you to the global network known as the Internet. As long as you are okay with only having access to resources located on your home network, you do not need internet to use a home WiFi router.
Additionally, if you are looking for connectivity alternatives to Wi-Fi, check out our guide to Wi-Fi Alternatives.