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How To Cascade Routers To Isolate IoT Devices

Cascading routers can be a viable strategy to segment your home network and isolate IoT (Internet of Things) devices for enhanced security and manageability. IoT devices, while providing tremendous convenience, can present security challenges, as they might be vulnerable to hacking and can potentially expose your entire network to threats.

Steps to Cascade Routers to Isolate IoT Devices:

Step 1: Setup Primary Router

  • Configure the Primary Router: Setup your primary router, which connects directly to the internet, as you would normally. Assign it a local IP address range, like 192.168.1.1/24.
  • WiFi and LAN: Configure WiFi settings (SSID, password) and connect non-IoT devices (like computers, smartphones) to this network.
  • Update Firmware: Ensure that the firmware of the router is updated to the latest version to patch any known vulnerabilities.

Step 2: Configure the IoT Router

Step 3: Physical Connection

  • LAN to WAN: Connect an Ethernet cable from a LAN port on the primary router to the WAN/Internet port on the IoT router. This setup creates a separate network segment for IoT devices.

Step 4: Wireless Setup for IoT Devices

  • Create an IoT Network: Set up a new WiFi network on the IoT router. Use a different SSID and password to keep it separate from your primary network.
  • Connect IoT Devices: Connect all your IoT devices to this new, isolated WiFi network.

Step 5: Set Up Firewall Rules (Optional)

  • Isolate Traffic: In the IoT router’s settings, check for options to isolate wireless clients, preventing them from communicating with each other.
  • Block Unnecessary Access: You can set firewall rules to block internet access for certain IoT devices if they don’t need it.

Step 6: Monitoring and Maintenance

  • Periodic Checks: Ensure that all devices, especially your IoT devices, have the latest firmware updates.
  • Monitor Traffic: Periodically check the IoT router’s logs for unusual traffic patterns or unauthorized access attempts.
  • Password Update: Change the Wi-Fi passwords and router access passwords periodically.

Step 7: Additional Security (Optional)

  • VPN: Consider using a VPN on the IoT network if the data transmission needs to be secured.
  • Network Scanner: Use a network scanner to check for any unrecognized devices on your network.

Step 8: Troubleshooting

  • Connectivity Issues: If any device has connectivity issues, check IP address allocation, firewall rules, and physical connections.
  • Compatibility Check: Some IoT devices might have specific network requirements; ensure your network configuration complies.

Notes:

  • Make sure that your IoT devices are still able to receive firmware updates and communicate with cloud services if needed, despite being isolated.
  • Regularly check the security settings and logs of both routers to ensure that your network remains secure.
  • Educate yourself on the security features available on your routers, such as guest networks, VPN support, and firewall controls to further tighten security.

Conclusion:

The cascading router setup helps to separate your regular devices and IoT devices, adding an extra layer of security. With the increasing prevalence of IoT devices, creating a segregated network is a prudent strategy to protect sensitive data and minimize risk.

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