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Can I Use An Old WiFi Router As A Repeater?


There’s hardly a home or an office without at least the tiniest WiFi black spot. This is especially a case with big spaces and houses. If you’re lucky, you have a small enough home for one router to cover every inch of it. Even then, you might still find yourself moving from one spot to another just because your WiFi is patchy.  

This doesn’t have to happen to you. Fortunately, you can use your old WiFi router to spread the signal and cover all those areas where it’s weak. So, if you’re not up to buying the expensive mesh-network systems that are sold today, you can start a new DIY project and turn a router into a repeater.

Even if your router isn’t from the same manufacturer as the router you’re currently using, don’t despair. You can use different routers as long as they allow this. To test your luck and see if you can get WiFi everywhere, use the following guide.

1. Learn the IP Address

Check the router you use at your home to learn some details about it. The things you need to check are the security type, the channel it broadcasts, and its IP address. To do this, open the Control Panel on your laptop and find the Network and Internet (or simply Network) folder.  If you are using Vista, this folder will be named Network and Sharing Centre. 

Once you open the folder, you’ll learn the router’s IP address. Take a paper and note it down.


2. Connect to It

Now, open your web browser and type the IP address you wrote down. Once you hit Enter, you’ll see a screen for the primary router. If the screen requires a username and a password, you’ll find them underneath it or online. There are sometimes default username and password details for some router types. 

3. Check the Settings

Now, you’ll find plenty of settings there that allow you to reconfigure a router. Check the wireless settings to find out the router name, security type, and channel. Note this information down, too.

4. Reset the Router

If you’ve been using this router, you should definitely reset it. Find a hole at the back of it and press it to reset it to the factory settings. You might have to get a paper clip to press the button. Hold it like that for few seconds. When the router’s lights turn off then on, you’re good to go.

5. Configure the Router

Now take the other router and use a network cable to connect it to a PC that’s not connected to your WiFi. Go through the first step once again to configure the router. Then, enable the wireless and change the name to be exactly the same of that of the first router. Match their password and security type. 

Finally, give the second router the fixed IP address you noted down before. This is how the first router will recognize the second one and send WiFi signal to it. Visit the LAN setup page to give the router the IP address that is in the same range as the ones given by your first router. 

6. Disable DHCP

Un-tick the DHCP option on the configuration page. Give your second router an address that’s not in the DHCP range of the first one. Remember it in case you need to once again access the router. 

‘When I followed the guide, I found this step to be the most complicated. I had to go through each configuration page and confirm each choice by saving it. Many times, the router had to reboot and I had to type the new IP address in the address bar of my router. But, it was totally worth it.’ – says Peter Frenzy, a freelance writer from superior papers who struggled to get Wi-Fi signal on his terrace where he most loved to do his writing.

7. Connect the Dots

When you’re done with all these steps, you are ready to connect everything. Use a long network cable or, if the router allows it, go wireless. If you don’t know how to set up the powerline network adapters, use this guide. 

Are you done? Now test your network by using a smartphone or a laptop to see if those black spots in your home are eliminated. 

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Note that if your router does not have a built-in WDS, you will have to install some custom firmware. Your options include the OpenWRT, DD-WRT, and Tomato. You will need some technical knowledge to do this, but you can also use the instructions provided with the products. 

If you choose to do this, make sure to follow the instructions very carefully. If you make mistake, let’s say, with a DD-WRT instalment, you might have to throw away the router. If you do it right, it can be done much faster and easier. 

To download this, you have to own a router that’s compatible with the programs. Check the router model to find out.