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Turn an Old PC into a LAN Server with RouterOS, Part 2

Article Description

Want an enterprise router for your network at a fraction of the cost of a Cisco router? You can connect your offices together, remotely access files, run enterprise Wi-Fi encryption, and more. Eric Geier, author of Wi-Fi Hotspots: Setting Up Public Wireless Internet Access, concludes his two-part tutorial on getting a RouterOS machine up and running on a spare PC.

In Part 1 of this two-part tutorial, we discovered how we can load the RouterOS software onto an old PC to get advanced enterprise router features at a very low cost.

In this article, we'll finish up the configuration. Once we're done you'll have a basic router, similar to one you'd get off the shelf, and you can then experiment with the more advanced features.

Configure DHCP to Manage the IP addresses

If you don't have to manually set the IP on each computer that connects to the network, you'll probably want to enable the DHCP server on RouterOS.

This server hands out and manages the IP addresses on the network. Here's how to turn on and configure the DHCP server using WinBox:

  1. Click IP > DHCP-Server and then click the DHCP Setup button.
  2. Make sure that the correct name is chosen for the network interface/adapter that will connect to your local network and then click Next.
  3. Specify the address space/range, for example and then click Next.
  4. Enter the Default Gateway IP address—for example (the router IP)—and click Next.
  5. Ignore the DHCP relay setting and click Next.
  6. Enter the DHCP address range. You'll probably want to change it to something like, so you can use the first 100 addresses for the router and any access points (APs) or servers loaded with static IPs. Then you can better distinguish between the addresses for the APs/servers and the end users.
  7. Specify the DNS server used by your ISP and click Next. It might be auto detected; otherwise, you might just use OpenDNSs: and
  8. The default lease time (every three days) is probably fine; however, if you prefer something else, make the change and click Next.
  9. Click OK to close the dialog box.
2. Enable DNS Relay for Ease of Client Configuration | Next Section