How to Use Spare Router as 2021 Wi-Fi Extender.
Even the most powerful Wi-Fi routers do not have enough data transmission power to serve large residential buildings. With walls, metal objects, and simple distance, the signal gets weaker until it starts to affect speed and performance. One way to extend your Wi-Fi coverage is to take a second router, usually an old one, and use it as a repeater or repeater.
Unfortunately, all brands of routers, and sometimes individual models, are different. Because of this, it is not possible to provide universal step-by-step instructions that will work with every router.
Plus, there’s a good chance that your old router might not have the required capabilities, or won’t provide enough performance here to justify the cost savings. If it turns out that your old router cannot handle the WiFi repeater function, you will find several alternative solutions at the end of this article.
What You Need to Use a Router as a WiFi Extender
Before we go over the different ways to use a second router as a Wi-Fi extender, we need to look at the items you’ll need to get it to work.
Obviously, you will need a basic router. We will assume that you already have one and that it is a router that directly connects to the Internet.
Next, you need a second router. This router should preferably use the same WiFi standard as the one you are trying to extend. However, routers starting with 802.11N should work reasonably well. The old standards are simply too slow to be useful these days.
If possible, you should also update the firmware on both routers to the latest version and reset the secondary router to factory default settings.
Connect Both Routers Using Ethernet
The easiest and most efficient way to extend your WiFi network with a second router is to use an Ethernet cable between the two devices. This will provide the best performance and is the easiest to configure. The only real problem here is that you need to run an Ethernet cable between two points.
Fortunately, Ethernet cable is inexpensive, and with a few basic tools, you can neatly connect the two points. Once this is done, you will be good in the long run, and it really is worth the little effort. Before permanently installing the cable, check if the connection works.
Connect one end of an Ethernet cable to any of the regular Ethernet ports on your primary router. Then plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into the WAN port of your old router. This is where you usually connect your internet cable.
The physical part of the connection is done. The old router now needs to be configured as an access point. Refer to the manual for that router to find out exactly how to do this. It is commonly referred to as “AP mode” or something similar.
When your old router goes into AP mode, it stops working as a router. Instead, it acts as a network client device. Any devices that connect to the old router will transmit data to the main router at a high speed.
Just keep in mind that the old router’s IP address is now assigned by the primary router. Therefore, if you want to log into the web interface of the old router, you need to first check the list of connected devices in the web interface of the main router and then enter this address into your browser.
Connect Your Routers in Wireless Bridge Mode
If using an Ethernet cable between two routers is not possible, you can also use a wireless bridging connection between the two routers.
However, consider purchasing a Powerline Ethernet Adapter Kit first. This turns the copper power wiring in your home into an Ethernet transmission cable, and you can use it to connect your old router as an access point. Sure, Powerline adapters are much more expensive than Ethernet, but can still be cheaper than buying a whole router or WiFi repeater.
If wireless is the only way forward, check the documentation for your old router (or dig in the menus) and look for wireless bridge, repeater, or repeater mode. Again, router makers take their time to name this feature.
Two routers may have the same name for a feature, but only one actually works as a way to extend the other router. Alternatively, they can have two different names for the same function. The only way to be sure is to try each option or refer to the manual for a description of the feature in question.
The correct option will include a section where you can select the SSID of your primary router and enter its password. Some routers may ask for the MAC address of the main router or other additional technical information. It varies, and most importantly, this type of wireless expansion is not as common. If the old router is a budget model, then it may not be possible at all.
Modify the Old Router With Custom Firmware
If your old router can’t work as a WiFi repeater or repeater, you have no options yet. There are several brands of third party custom firmware that add new functionality to routers not included by the manufacturer. Often different router models will have the same hardware capabilities, but they are artificially limited by the manufacturer. Custom firmware will give you complete control.
The two main examples are DD-WRT and Tomato. You can visit their websites and find the model number of your old router. If listed, then the bridge or repeater function can be one of the enabled functions.
Better Solutions for Extending Your Wi-Fi Range
The main reason you used your old router as a Wi-Fi extender is to save money and avoid waste. However, if money isn’t the problem, then using your old router as a wireless repeater isn’t necessarily the best solution.
Connection performance using this method is usually poor. This may be acceptable for low bandwidth applications such as web browsing or checking email, but not for HD video streaming or file transfers. If you want the best possible experience, your best bet is to buy a dedicated wireless repeater.
If you really need a modern solution, the wireless mesh system is your best bet. It is a set of several small routers that are networked together and act as one large router. You can also easily expand the grid by purchasing additional modules.
Take Your WiFi Signal Further
You may be able to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network without purchasing additional equipment. Check out the Best Ways to Boost Wi-Fi Signals and Improve Performance for some great tips on how to make your WiFi signal more effective. It can be as simple as moving the main router or rotating the antenna slightly. It’s not worth trying, so why not?
How to Use Spare Router as 2021 Wi-Fi Extender
How to Use Spare Router as 2021 Wi-Fi Extender