Windows Networking: Access Router (USB) that's Wired Into Connected Router

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Unconnected

Occasional Visitor
Windows Networking: Access Router (USB) that's Wired Into Connected Router

I found the title difficult to describe, but the topology is a fairly simple setup. I have two routers:
  1. RT-AC3200: has many WiFi devices connected to it and I've also added a USB drive for media
  2. RT-AX82U: a new router that has a Windows machine connected to it via WiFi and has RT-AC3200 connected via ethernet
When I connect to RT-AC3200 from the Windows10 machine, I can see it in the Network section in File Explorer (and browse the file system)--I've even used it to source songs for iTunes. When I'm connected to RT-AX82U, the USB drive no longer appears in the Network area because I'm no longer directly connected to it; however, since it is hardwired to my connected router, is there a simple way of accessing it via File Explorer?
 
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ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Is the RT-AX82U in Access Point mode or Router mode?
 

Unconnected

Occasional Visitor
Is the RT-AX82U in Access Point mode or Router mode?
Router mode.

To clarify the AX82U is the one directly connected to the modem/internet. They are both in Router mode. I considered setting up the AC3200 as an AP, but I think that would mean it would no longer have unique SSIDs, which was my main reason for keeping it, so I didn't have to update the SSIDs for all the connected devices (Google Play, Amazon Alexa, iOS, Android, IOTs, SmartTVs, etc). I also wanted the new SSID for dedicated traffic for the WiFi6 devices (gaming and new phones). I'm not a networking guru, like many of you, so feel free to correct me if this doesn't make sense.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Having both devices in router mode is the cause of your problem. You have created two separate networks. Clients on one network cannot "browse" devices on the other network. This is the expected behaviour.

If you put the RT-AC3200 in AP mode you can name its SSIDs anything you want. Make them the same as on the AX82U if you want clients to roam between them, or make them different to stop them roaming.
 

Unconnected

Occasional Visitor
Having both devices in router mode is the cause of your problem. You have created two separate networks. Clients on one network cannot "browse" devices on the other network. This is the expected behaviour.

If you put the RT-AC3200 in AP mode you can name its SSIDs anything you want. Make them the same as on the AX82U if you want clients to roam between them, or make them different to stop them roaming.
I can't browse in File Explorer, but I can still access the device through the IP via HTTP (Edit: I was wrong on this, I must have been directly connected to the AC3200). Like you mentioned, these are separate networks, which I kind of prefer. I can use different DNS, firewalls, passwords to manage, etc -- my preference would be to keep it a little more locked down, since it has the shared USB files.

I just want to confirm that we're thinking about the setup the same way. The AX82U is the highest hardware that has a client, AC3200+USB, hardwired to it in router mode:

192.168.1.3 (Windows10) -> 192.168.1.1 (AX82U/Gateway)
192.168.1.2/192.168.2.1 (AC3200) -> 192.168.1.1 (AX82U)

The IP address for the AC3200 is different depending on how it's viewed. It has a LAN IP of x.x.2.1 when acting as a gateway for its devices. As a client of the AX82U, it is assigned the x.x.1.2.

I would think it's possible for two different LANs to talk to one another as part of AX82Us LAN, since AC3200 is hard-wired to the AX82U. Shouldn't there be an easier way for the devices connected to AX82U to see the AC3200 LAN? Is that what Windows Home Server was supposed to solve? Or is there something I can configure in the ASUS settings or on the Windows machine?--the "Route" tab under the router's LAN settings seems promising:

LAN - Route
This function allows you to add routing rules into RT-AX82U. It is useful if you connect several routers behind RT-AX82U to share the same connection to the Internet.

Sorry if this seems all kinds of ignorant. I would just think if I have the IP of router, then I should be able to also add the router's network through Windows network / file system.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
EDIT: See section at bottom of post.

You can allow devices on each network to talk to each other but it requires some work. You need to make changes to the firewall and routing. You may also need to make firewall changes on the clients (i.e. Windows Firewall). It's do-able but it takes some work and won't actually solve your original problem.

You would be able to explicitly connect to any device by its IP address but you still wouldn't be able to "browse" one network from the other. This is a basic principle of having separate subnets, they're separate.

If you want to try this these are the changes you need to make:

AX82U: Create a static route for Network=192.168.2.0, Netmask=255.255.255.0, Gateway=192.168.1.2

AC3200: Disable firewall (Firewall). Disable NAT (WAN - Internet Connection).

Windows PCs will need their firewalls changed if you want devices on the "other" network to connect to services on them, e.g. shared folders. Otherwise they can be left alone.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

If you're only interested in being able to connect to the USB drive on the AC3200 from the AX82U network you might be able to get away with only creating a port forwarding rule. This means the above changes are not required.

I haven't tried this, but in theory if you create a Port forwarding rule on the AC3200 as follows it might work:

Service Name = SMB
Source IP = <blank>
Port Range = 445
Local IP = 192.168.2.1 (192.168.2.1 is the LAN address of the AC3200)
Local Port = <blank>
Protocol = TCP

You would then access the USB drive like so: \\192.168.1.2\ASUS (192.168.1.2 is the WAN address of the AC3200). Where ASUS is whatever you have named your shared folder.
 
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