Wi-Fi extenders can be great useful home networking solutions, but it’s also true that access by default is pretty easy, since these devices by default always copy or clone the router’s Wi-Fi password. Therefore, anyone that knows your router wireless password can also pretty easily access any extender connected to that router.
Therefore, it might be useful to see exactly which devices are connected to your Wi-Fi extender at any one time, and if necessary implement some access control to protect the extender’s network.
That’s what we’re going to cover in this guide – how to use the Wi-Fi extender’s settings to view connected devices and restrict access if needed.
Here are quick steps:
- Open a browser on any device connected to the extender
- Type in the access URL and admin username/password
- Find the Clients tab to view connected devices
Let’s cover them in more detail.
How To Identify Devices Connected To An Extender
This can be useful just see which devices are connecting to the extender’s network rather than the main router. You can also check if there’s any unauthorized devices on the network, perhaps some neighbors who have hacked the extender and are using it’s network without your permission.
To do this, firstly, you need to log in to the extender’s admin/settings panel
Step #1 – Open up any browser on any device connected to the extender’s network, and punch in the access URL into the address bar. Here are some common ones:
- TP Link – http://tplinkrepeater.net
- Netgear – http://mywifiext.net
- Linksys – http://extender.linksys.com
- Wavlink – http://wifi.wavlink.com
Then enter the admin username/password (this is different from the wireless SSID and password). The defaults of these are on the label, but which you will have set your own values for if you’re already set up the extender network. If you’ve forgotten what you set them to, you’ll have to factory reset the extender and start over.
Step #2 – Once inside the extender’s settings/admin panel, sometimes a list of connected devices might display right there on the first page. Otherwise, you might need to find the Clients or Devices tab, which itself might be under a Status or Wireless or Network tab or similar. It will display a list of devices currently using the extender’s network.
Devices will be listed by device name, IP address and MAC address. Note that the device IP addresses are still issued by the main router, not the extender, which is just displaying what the router has assigned. You can usually identify pretty easily which devices belong to whom if they’re been named, or are identified as “Phone” or “Android” or “Desktop” etc.
How To Kick Devices Off The Extender’s Network
Once you see all the devices connected to an extender, you might find some of them are either unauthorized or hogging bandwidth on the extender’s network, and you want to remove them.
Usually, there’s an option next to devices on the Device list to “Remove” or “block“; select these to kick individual devices off the network. Sometimes, this removes them and blocks them re-accessing the network going forward; other times, you’ll need to do this manually, which we’ll turn to now.
How To Restrict Access To The Wi-Fi Extender’s Network (Access Control)
If you want to be more deliberate and permanent about access control, there are settings on extenders to permanently block or allow only certain devices by MAC address onto the extender’s network.
To do this, find the Access Control or MAC Filtering option within the extender’s settings menu, and enable the feature if there’s a toggle/switch for it. It might be under the Advanced or Wireless or Access tab or similar.
From there, you’ve got two options to limit access – either a blacklist or whitelist option. Let’s explain each.
Blacklist method – You select the devices which specifically are to be blocked from the network, by adding their MAC address to the blacklist. These devices now cannot connect to the extender’s network, even if they have the correct password. Any other devices NOT on the blacklist can access the extender’s network as long as they have the SSID/password.
Whitelist method – A stricter criteria, where you select only the devices which are allowed onto the extender’s network, and any other device by elimination is NOT allowed on the network at all. Add the MAC address of devices you want to be able to access the extender, and any other device not on this list is blocked. Use this method if you really want to restrict access and stop devices hogging bandwidth on the extender’s connection.
Devices are usually easy to identify by their name/MAC, but see this definitive guide to finding the MAC address for any device to sort out which device belongs to who so you can block one you don’t want using the extender.
How To Hide The Extender’s Network
Another nice little security feature you can implement while in the Wi-Fi extender’s settings is to Hide it’s SSID/network, so it doesn’t broadcast and show up to nearby devices when they scan for networks. What users don’t know about, they can’t connect to and hog bandwidth on!
To do this, find the box/toggle to either hide the extender’s network(s), or disable broadcast, and turn it on/off as needed. It might be under Wireless, Network or Security tab or similar.
It works differently on different extender models, and sometimes you either need to check or uncheck a box to hide the network. Be sure to also do it for both networks if the extender is a dual band model that emits both a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz network.
See our full article on hiding an extender’s network and finding/connecting to a hidden network, for more detailed steps.