Wi-Fi Extenders/Boosters/Repeaters can be great devices for boosting wireless coverage in a home, but setup can seem intimidating for people who haven’t used them before.
Realistically, there’s no need to be put off by extender setup, as it’s very easy to connect a repeater to your router, and in fact there’s usually several different ways you can do it.
If you’ve got physical access to the router, you can use the simpler WPS/Pair button method. You can also plug in directly with ethernet, but without access or a cable, you can still connect an extender to your router via Wi-Fi using any device with a web browser.
Here are the general steps:
- Note down login details on your extender and plug it in.
- Find the extender’s SSID (network name) on your device and connect
- Open a web browser and type in the access URL
- Enter the default username/password
- Set up a new SSID/username/password if desired
- Find and connect to your router’s Wi-Fi network.
- Either copy or modify your router’s credentials for the repeater.
- Save settings and connect the device to the new network.
- A green light indicates the repeater is connected and working.
Let’s run through these steps in more detail, with screenshots.
Step #1 – Get Repeater’s Access Details
This step needs to come first because you often can’t do this once the repeater is plugged in. All repeaters should have a label/sticker on them with a bunch of access credentials.
Note down the following:
- Default SSID (network name)
- Default access/login/URL (eg. repeaterlogin.net)
Often the sticker is in a place that won’t be able to see once the device is plugged in, so get these details noted down right away.
Step #2 – Plug the Repeater In And Connect
Next, plug the repeater into a wall socket, and give it a few minutes to initialize.
After several seconds, it should start broadcasting it’s Wi-Fi signal, which you need to find and connect to on any device you have to hand.
Click the Wi-Fi symbol to search for Wi-Fi networks in range. The repeater’s name (SSID) you noted down in Step #1 should be visible (eg. TP-Link-Repeater-24AC6). If it isn’t visible, make sure you’re close enough, and that the SSID hasn’t been hidden or changed (if it has because it’s been used already, factory reset the repeater first). Find it and click to connect to the repeater.
Mostly, there isn’t any username/password you need to enter just to connect to a new repeater initially when you first use it – it’s an open network. The username/password you noted are for the next step of logging into the repeater to configure access. Just click on the repeater’s network to access it.
Step #3 – Log Into The Repeater
Once your device is connected to the repeater, open up any web browser on it and type the router’s default login/URL you noted down in Step #1 into the address bar:
Some common default access URL for popular extender brands are:
- TP Link – http://tplinkrepeater.net
- Netgear – http://mywifiext.net
- Linksys – http://extender.linksys.com
- Wavlink – http://wifi.wavlink.com
The username/password are often both “admin” for a lot of repeaters.
Punch in the correct credentials as listed on the sticker (or find online) and click Login to enter the extender’s configuration/setup panel.
Step #4 – Set New Access Credentials For The Repeater
Most repeaters for security reasons will ask you to set new access credentials for the repeater once you’ve logged into it for the first time, changing it away from the defaults listed on the sticker you just used. In other words, set a new username plus a new password to access it’s interface like you’re doing now. Some repeaters have a character limit (eg. 15 characters) that you can’t go over when setting new credentials.
Configure new credentials by giving your extender a name (eg. MyExtender1234) and setting a new password to access different from the defaults on the sticker you just used to access it. This just makes the extender a bit more secure going forward so it can’t be accessed by just anyone.
Step #5 – Connect The Extender To Your Router
Once you’re logged into your extender’s settings panel, a list of nearby Wi-Fi networks should be listed within the interface. Find the main router you want to connect to on the list, and then enter it’s normal password.
Sometimes, you might need to specifically connect to only the 2.4 GHz band, if it’s a dual band router. Some extenders don’t support 5 GHz connections.
Once you enter the correct password, and confirm, there will usually be an option on whether you want to copy your router’s SSID/name for your extender, or give it a new or modified one. I like to keep it the same, but just add “Extender” or something else on the end to differentiate it. Or you can copy the router’s name – it’s up to you. The password is copied and remains the same as your router.
Confirm and save your options and give the repeater a few seconds, and it should connect to your main router and start capturing it’s signal to amplify and boost.
A solid green light confirms that your router and extender are now paired.
Step #6 – Connect The Device To The New Network
Most extender setup steps will require you to complete and confirm the setup by connecting the same device you’ve just been using to configure everything to the new extender network you just created.
Find the new extender on your Wi-Fi list (eg. BobExtender) and enter the password, which should be exactly the same as your main router’s password (the passwords clone). Once your device is connected, confirm the setup within the extender’s interface, and that usually allows you to click a Finish button, and that’s it – you’re done. Log out of the extender’s settings.
That device is now connected to the extender, and all other devices in range can also connect by finding the SSID and punching in the router password.
What If The Setup Doesn’t Work?
Connecting your extender to your router doesn’t always work first time. Sometimes there’s problems you can run into and light remains orange or red, or the setup just never seems to apply once you save it, and you’re thrown back to square one.
Here’s some things to check and try if this happens:
- Make sure you actually complete the setup fully if instructed to by connecting the same device you just configured to the actual new Extender network you just created, and then confirming within the interface to complete the steps.
- Make sure any new names you created for your repeater don’t exceed any character limits. Try using a shorter name, and also without any dashes or other special characters
- Make sure the new password you set was identical and correct in both boxes
- Make sure the extender is close enough to the router to catch a reliable signal from it.
- Factory reset the extender by pushing something into the reset hole for a few seconds, and then run through the entire setup again from Step #1, with the default credentials.
- Try using WPS setup instead once you have physical access to the router.