Linksys WRT1200AC as an Access Point

Because of a nearby lightning strike we had to replace a lot of hardware on the home network (in spite of battery backups and surge protectors and lightning bleeders). This included our old reliable WiFi access point.
I was already thinking of replacing the access point, wanting 5GHz coverage and the future of blowing in a new OpenWRT if needed (I have an ancient LinkSys 54G, which I did that with already, use it for occasional bridging needs). Anyways, the unscheduled $150 purchase and I’m adding the “Linksys WRT1200AC Dual-Band WiFi Router” to the home network. I selected this device because it was in-stock at BestBuy, no internal fan, and I’ve seen good reviews for it.
And – the case styling – has a retro look like the old WRT54G which I just love.
And – the antennas are removable so I can use my 2-foot long antennas for whole house coverage. I considered the WRT1900, but decided not to spend the extra money.
As you’d expect, our network is non-trivial and I wanted just a WiFi access point, and I wanted it to have a static IP, and nothing else.

But it took me many tries to disable the built-in DHCP and its built-in NAT functions. There was even a setup screen with a radio-button for NAT – but it could not be turned off. That radio-button was laughing at me – just the one radio-button with no way to turn it off.
The DHCP was similar but worthless – a checkbox to enable/disable the DHCP server. But – disabling the DHCP basically bricked the device and I had to go back to a factory reset.

I was stymied – how to disable the fancy router/NAT functionality and get a dumb but fast switch and access-point.

In one of the screens – there is the “Connection Type” drop-down. It was set to “Automatic Configuration – DHCP”. I tried “Static IP” a few times no luck, but then I tried “Bridge Mode” (which is somehow different from “Wireless Bridge Mode”). To me “Bridge Mode” is the same as “Wireless Bridge Mode” – which (in my book) is connecting two wireless access points as a bridge between two sub-nets. However, the net effect in this case is that the “router” turned into an Access Point. In “Bridge Mode” the DHCP and NAT options magically disappeared and the screens slimmed down to what an access point should have.

In other words – “Bridge Mode” disables the fancy features and gives you a fast and reliable WiFi Access Point with some added ports on the back if you need them.  I am now quite happy with my “Linksys WRT1200AC”.