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That old router gathering dust can help extend the WiFi range at your home.

WiFi Repeater to Eliminate Network Blind-spots

These days no home is complete without a WiFi connection. The convenience of hooking up your gadgets without the ugly mess of wires makes it an obvious medium to get online. The only downside of a WiFi connection is that it doesn’t cover your home entirely.  There are always a few corners which have little or no signal.

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The second router works as a signal distributor to enhance network coverage

You can upgrade your router if you have been using an older model. But don’t throw out the old one just yet. Your modern router might be faster and more powerful, but its reach may continue to be an issue.

You can use the old router to extend the reach of the new router and get a stronger signal throughout your home. It’s not an overtly difficult process and anyone can set it up though some basic technical knowledge would sure come handy.

Also Read : Turn Windows 8 into Your Virtual WiFi Hotspot

Getting the Old Router Ready

To extend your WiFi range you have to connect your new router to the old one. The old router will essentially pass on the signal from the new one – or, in technical terms, it will be turned into a repeater. Some routers support the repeater functionality while some don’t.

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Check your wireless router’s settings for repeater mode availability.

To check if your router supports it, go to the official website of the manufacturer and search through the product documentation for the feature. Most of the popular routers, like Cisco, Linksys, Belkin, Netgear and Apple, are repeaters out of the box.

In case your router doesn’t support the feature, you will be able to turn it into a repeater by downloading a new firmware for it. We’ll discuss this later in the article.

If Your Old Router is a Repeater out of the Box

Once you’ve established old router can function as a repeater, it’s pretty simple to use it to extend your WiFi range.

First, make sure that your primary router (the new one) is up and able to connect to the internet. Once that is done, note down its MAC address.

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Note down the essential details from router admin page.

Next, switch on the old router and let your laptop connect to it. Then, go to the router admin page through your browser.

The address of the admin page is generally something like 192.168.1.1, depending on the brand. If you can’t find the address, you can perform a Google search for it. You would have to enter a username (most routers by default have – Admin as the username) and password (try “admin” or “password”) to access the page.

On the admin page, search for repeater settings and enable them. Some brands don’t support the repeater functionality, but they do let you connect your old router to a new one through an Ethernet cable. This process is known as network bridging. If your router supports a network bridge, you will need to find that feature in the menu.  This is a more complicated process, as you need to enable this feature on both the new router and the old one. You will also need a long cable if you want to cover different rooms in your house or office.

Once you have found and enabled the repeater mode, you will be asked to enter the MAC address of your new device. Just enter and save the Mac address and you’re done! Congratulations, your old router is now a repeater.

If Your Old Router is Not a Repeater out of the Box

If your old router is not a repeater out of the box, you can perhaps turn it into one through custom firmware. Some good free software you can use includes DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato. You can pick any of these 3 – all of them let you turn your router into a repeater.

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Download and install the firmware to enable repeater mode on your router.

First, you need to install new firmware on your router. Be careful with this step – if you get it wrong, your router won’t work properly. Follow the instructions on the firmware website properly. Once the firmware is installed, you will have to find the wireless section on the admin page. Here, you will be given the option to turn your router into a repeater.

Now it gets a little complicated. The process will vary with the firmware package you’ve chosen. For DD-WRT, you need to set up a virtual interface on the old router that matches the physical interface (new router).

First, input the SSID of your new router (Wireless Network Name). Once this is done, create a virtual interface and then assign a different SSID on the secondary router.

In the Wireless Security tab of the secondary router, enter the main router settings (username, password) in the physical interface as well as the virtual interface.

After this is done, give the virtual interface a different IP address in the Network Setup menu. This should be in the outside the range of the new one. If you IP address is 212.193.6.1, for example, make it 212.193.5.1.

In the Firewall section, disable the SPI firewall as well as the Block Wan subsections. Reboot and your old router is now a repeater!

These steps are also explained in this helpful video below:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i063fds6k9s&w=640&h=360]

Final Thoughts

There you have it. An old router and a few easy steps is all it would take to make your home truly connected. But, if your old hardware is too dated to be turned into a repeater, then you might just want to invest in a new repeater. Do give this a spin if you have faced connectivity issues in certain areas of your home.

Have you faced similar network issues at your home? What steps did you take to resolve them? Let us know in the comments below. As always, we look forward to hearing from you.