As we’ve already covered on this blog, a Wi-Fi booster/extender must be connected to a router in order to work, as this is where it draws it’s signal and internet connection from, amplifying and boosting it across a larger area. Without being connected to a router, a Wi-Fi extender isn’t really of any use.
But with the normal, manual setup on a device browser, you do still need the router password, as this is what you plug into the extender’s setup wizard to connect it to the router, which then allows it to draw from the router’s signal to create it’s own network.
But what if you don’t know or can’t remember the router’s Wi-Fi password to plug into the extender’s setup menu? Normally, the Wi-Fi password is on a label on the back of the router, but what if it’s been changed away from this default, to something you don’t know? What if you changed it yourself and forgot what you changed it to?
Update – if you don’t know the router password, and won’t ever know it as it’s been changed to something custom, skip to the last section below on factory reset – this is the quickest way to solve this problem. Whilst you can connect the router to the extender, you won’t be able to connect to the extender itself once it’s set up, without knowing the router Wi-Fi password.
This would seem to end your chance of connecting and extender to your router, but on modern routers, it actually doesn’t. Most newer routers have a feature called Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS, that allows you to connect devices (including extenders) by simply pushing a button. If this is on your router, and you have physical access to it, you can connect an extender this way (it’s easy).
Here are the quick steps:
- Press the WPS button on your router
- Press and hold the WPS/Pair button on your repeater
- Wait up to two minutes for them to connect
- Your extender will clone your router’s SSID/password.
- A solid green light indicates they are connected.
- You can now connect to the extender as an extra access point
Now let’s run through these steps with pictures.
Connecting An Extender To A Router Using WPS (No Router Password Needed)
Step #1 – Find the WPS or Pair Button on your router. Sometimes it might be labelled WPS or Pair, or have the two circular arrow symbols as in the featured image at the top. Find it and press it until it starts blinking or flashing on and off:
Step #2 – Press and hold the WPS/Pair/Network/Wi-Fi button on your repeater until it also starts blinking or flashing. Sometimes the button just has a Wi-Fi symbol on it:
Once the two LEDs are flashing on and off, you need to wait for up to 2 minutes to let the devices “find” each other via their WPS scans. The LED might start flashing on and off more slowly as the setup gets closer to finishing.
Step #3 – Finally, when the WPS/Pair light turns solid green on both the router and the extender, this means they are connected by WPS. When pairing them this way, the extender often automatically clones or copies the router’s Wi-Fi name (SSID) and password, so the access credentials are the same. But you don’t need to enter the password when pairing by WPS – the two devices just connect up and share/clone credentials automatically.
But what if you don’t know the router password? That also means you don’t know the extender password if it’s copying the router’s one, right? Once the extender has cloned the router’s current password, you still need to enter it to connect to the extender’s new network. If you’re stuck in this catch-22 scenario, skip to the next section – the best option is to factory reset the router to revert the password to the default, so you know where you are again with access credentials.
What If WPS/Pair Method Is Not Available On The Router?
There are some tricky potential scenarios here. You might not know the current router Wi-Fi password because it’s been changed away from the default on the back, but also not have a WPS button on it if it’s an older model. Or even if you do connect them via WPS, if you don’t know the wireless password of the router, you can’t connect to the extender either, as it uses the same one.
In this case, the best option is to factory reset the router, which restores all login and access credentials to the defaults indicated on the sticker on the back, so they can be used again.
To do this, find the recessed reset hole on your router, and push a pin into it for several seconds until the lights blink or flash or go out:
Then wait up to 10 minutes for everything to re-initialize. The default network name (SSID) and wireless password on the label should now work, which means you can now plug this into the extender’s setup wizard to connect it that way, or run through the WPS setups again as covered above, and this time you should know what the passwords are.
See our complete step by step guide on manually connecting an extender to a router via a browser on a device, for more on how to set up an extender this way, by logging into the extender’s admin panel and then entering the router password to sync the two devices up.