2 Ways to Connect Your Philips Hue Bridge Without a Router

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Do you Have the Skills to Go Routerless with the Hue Bridge?

The Hue Bridge is an awesome smart home device capable of completely transforming your living space. For the uninitiated, you can think of the Hue Bridge as the brains of the Philips Hue Smart Lighting system.

It’s a small, sleek, user-friendly terminal with the ability to connect wirelessly up to 50 smart lights and various smart accessories. Via this magical little box, you can schedule timed lighting, create dazzling light sequences that ripple throughout your home, and customize individual light hues and vibrancy.

The Hue Bridge brings so much ambient potential to space that I like to call mine, the Mood Mind. It gives you the power to create thousands of different atmospheres depending on the mood you're in and the activities you’ve got planned.

Perhaps best of all, you can operate the Bridge’s numerous control parameters with your voice alone — the future genuinely is now!

You simply won’t find another smart device out there that gives you such comprehensive control over the ambiance in your living or workspace. Yet despite this fact, it’s very reasonably priced. Don’t believe me, take a look for yourself here: Philips Hue Smart Bridge.

What’s more, installation is a total breeze. Just plug it in, hook it up to the web, and then complete some preliminary setup sequences using the wonderful Hue app. Once you’ve covered all the basics, even the more complicated functions such as setting up custom light scenes are easily mastered.

However, the Philips Hue Bridge is designed to make all of its wireless connections via a router, something many people don’t have and don’t want.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the technicolor majesty of the Hue Bridge. Allow me to introduce two routerless methods of integrating this awesome smart device into your home.

How to Connect the Philips Hue Bridge (No Router Required)

Before we jump into the first method, I have a little confession to make. Neither of these workarounds is perfect. The first can be kind of pricey, and the second, well...if you don’t have some serious electronics know-how, the second can straight-up destroy your Hue Bridge.

Regardless, I feel you have a right to know your options. You’ve made it this far, and by gosh, I’m going to give you what you came for!

So, without further ado, here is the 1st method for connecting your Philips Hue Bridge without using a router.

Method 1. Investing in a Wi-Fi Range Extender/Access Point

I know that Wi-Fi range extenders and access points can be costly little devils, especially the good ones, but I truly think this is the best of your two options. It’s easy, noninvasive, doesn’t involve any specialist knowledge, and the extender will come in handy for numerous applications.

Your first port of call for this method is choosing a Wi-Fi extender/access point. If you have the budget for it, I recommend the TP-Link Omada AC1200. TP-Link is a titan of the industry, and on a dollar to performance ratio, I feel the Omada AC1200 is a cut above the competition.

This Joowin Wi-Fi extender/access point is a good mid-range option that I managed to dig up, but if you’re looking for something really cheap and cheerful, you can’t beat the TP-Link N300.

Once you’ve got your Wi-Fi extender/access point on lock, you’re only a couple of simple steps away from connecting your Hue Bridge to your house and dazzling your guests with a light display that rivals the Aurora Borealis!

Here’s what you’ve got to do…

  1. Install your Wi-Fi device with Ethernet ports - Companies usually strive to make the installation process as quick and pain-free as possible. Just follow the instructions that came with the device and all will be well. Some brands even post video installation guides online to ease you through the process step by step.
  2. Set your Wi-Fi device to Bridge Mode in order to link it to your hotspot - Bridge Mode allows multiple wireless access points to communicate with one another in order to merge LANs. Once everything is interconnected, you’re free to fire up that Hue Bridge of yours and let your creativity run amok.

This is by far the best way to connect a Philips Hue Bridge without a router, and to be honest, I really don't recommend trying the second method, but it’s interesting to learn about nonetheless.

Method 2. Popping the Hue’s Hood and Making Some Changes

Psst! Not many people know this, but beneath that clean, modern enclosure, the Hue Bridge has a dirty little secret. Any guesses what it might be? No? I don’t blame you, it’s pretty strange.

Hidden below each and every Hue Bridge deck, there is in fact a concealed Wi-Fi transmitter (that’s your cue to gasp).

I know, right? Secret Wi-Fi transmitters...what the heck’s going on here? Well, I’m not exactly sure why Philips has bothered putting them in there, but what I do know is that they’re going to help us connect the Hue Bridge without a router.

This surreptitious transmitter is disabled, which is why we need to pop the hood and perform a little open-Hue surgery. Unless you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of electronics, I wouldn’t even bother trying to locate this hidden feature. You’re much better off just buying a Wi-Fi extender/access point and putting the issue to rest.

On the other hand, if you do fancy yourself as a bit of a tinkerer, feel free to give this method a shot. Do bear in mind, however, that opening up your Hue Bridge and messing around with its guts is a sure-fire way to obliterate the warranty, so you have to be confident in your knowledge and abilities.

Feeling up to the challenge? Fantastic, here’s an abridged guide, and I’ll link to a more detailed version below…

  • Open the Hue Bridge - The sleek design can make finding an entry point quite tricky, but flip it over, remove the sticky feet, and you’ll see screws. These are your ticket inside. P.S. You’ll need a Torx T10 Screwdriver to remove the screws.
  • Here’s where things get technical. You have to solder a 1x6 header to J6. I’d like to think that you own a soldering iron if you’re willing to try this method, but just in case you don’t, this Anbes soldering iron kit is a fantastic place to start.
  • You’ll also have to hook up a board connector to the pins.
  • And, finally, you’ll have to engage in some pretty complex overwriting protocols on the Hue.

Check out the full guide for this complex undertaking here: Enabling the hidden Wi-Fi radio on the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0.

I must again reiterate, this method isn’t for the faint of heart. It only takes a brief scroll through the advanced guide to understand just how technical a challenge it is.

Knowledge of electronics is essential, and a spot of computing expertise wouldn’t go amiss either. When you’re fiddling around with the internal components of your Hue Bridge, it’s easy to make a small mistake and ruin the whole unit.

On the other hand, if you pull it off, you can enjoy an enormous sense of well-being in that you solved the issue all by yourself using your big, technical brains!

Final Thoughts

There you have it, friends. These may not be the seamless solutions you had in mind when you arrived at this article, but they are your only options.

I recommend investing in a Wi-Fi extender/access point, as it’ll solve your problem in a flash, and they’re generally a handy gadget to have around the house.

That said, if you enjoy any opportunity to open up electronics and have a poke around, best of luck, and godspeed.