Is it possible to run two 'separate' networks at home, one regular, one adfree with pihole?

Hi all,
I am currently planning to set up pihole. Since quite a few different owner/devices are using the network, with different purposes, I am wondering if the following setup is possible, and if yes, how best to go about. (I couldn’t find info on this, if this has already been asked, sorry - I’d be grateful for the link!)

The idea would be to have two ‘separate’ networks, i.e. “Regular Network” and “Adfree Network”, and each user could then choose which one to connect to, with pihole only running on one of them.
If this is possible, what would I need? My current router is only the “Smart Hub” I got with the contract, but I wouldn’t mind buying a better router if this would make such a setup possible.

Sorry I am not being more technical (yet), I am just at the planning stage of how to best use pihole within the (social) constraints of not being the only user in the network. :wink:

Thanks!

I would get a second router, connect it to the modem in parallel with the first router, and set up a separate network with different SSID and password. Connect the Pi-Hole to one network.

If you only want your devices on Pi-Hole, then you could use a single network and leave the router pointed to the DNS it currently uses. Install the Pi-Hole, but instead of setting the Pi-Hole as DNS in the router, manually point just your clients to Pi-Hole DNS. To the rest of the network users, Pi-hole will be invisible, but your devices will be using it.

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Thanks for your reply!
For the second solution, I have seen a few guides on how to do this around, so if the other way would prove unworkable, I’d go for this. :slight_smile:

But generally, the idea would be to give each user the option how to connect, without them having to know anything about DNS, and without having let me configure their devices. Make it as ‘user friendly’ as possible: “Just connect to the network of your choosing.”

That sounds like a way forward, thank you!

There is currently no separate modem I think, seems to be integrated in the router (EE Smart Hub). Does this mean I’d have to buy a modem + a second router or is there a way to connect the second router directly to the first and still get the desired outcome?

A single modem should drive two routers, although you may have to install a switch after the modem as many only have a single ethernet output.

You can connect the second router to the first, but you can run into problems with double-NAT configurations.

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(Answering for anyone still looking, as I think this is a much simpler and cheaper approach than what was suggested originally)

If your goal is simply to be able to choose whether a particular device either uses pi-hole DNS or unfiltered DNS, probably the simplest way to go is to just configure DNS manually. Let’s say your router’s address is 192.168.1.1 and you have a pi-hole running at 192.168.1.100.

If you want pi-hole to be ON by default but devices can opt out:
Configure your router to use 192.168.1.100 for DNS. Anyone who connects to your network would get pi-hole DNS by default. For any devices that you don’t want to use pi-hole, configure their DNS to use the DNS server of your choice, e.g. 8.8.8.8 (Google) or 1.1.1.1 (Cloudflare). Those devices will never touch pi-hole.

If you want pi-hole to be OFF by default but devices can opt in:
Configure your router to use the DNS server of your choice (e.g. how you’d configure it without pi-hole). Any device that connects to the router will by default not use pi-hole, but you can override this by setting the DNS server on those devices to 192.168.1.100 so they use pi-hole.

Hope this helps!