Almost all Wi-Fi extenders have some kind of light or LED on the front, or even multiple of them, but it can all be a bit confusing when you first plug it in and there’s lights flashing on/off all over it. What color should the light on an extender/booster be? What color signals that the extender is up and running, working fine and ready to use?
After configuration, The LED on your Wi-Fi extender should be solid green, which indicates a good signal and working connection between the extender and the router.
An orange or red light on your extender usually indicates some kind of problem, which moving or re-configuring the extender can generally resolve.
And that’s pretty much it! Much like traffic lights, green is for go and amber/red means some kind of problem. But there’s some intermediate states as well, so let’s dive into this in a bit more detail.
The LED Colors/Symbols On A Wi-Fi Extender Explained
Here’s a quick overview key of what the different colors on an extender light mean:
- Solid green light (when first plugged in) – Some extender lights can display green even when first taken out the box new and plugged in, but this doesn’t mean they can be used yet. You still need to connect to the extender’s default open network, and begin the setup process to connect the extender to your router.
- Solid green light (after setup) – Connected to the router and working fine with a good signal. When it’s also broadcasting it’s own secured network/SSID on your device’s Wi-Fi list, that is when it’s actually ready to use to connect to the internet via the router.
- Flashing green light – Searching for the router when using the WPS/Pair feature to set it up.
- Orange light – Extender is still working, but there is a weak or insufficient connection between the router and extender.
- Red light – Some kind of fault or problem. Either not connected properly to the router when first plugged in new, or lost connection. Or some kind of technical fault with the extender. Or you might need to give it another 30 seconds or so to re-connect with your router if you’ve unplugged or moved it.
All this assumes that the extender has just one LED that changes color on it’s own to denote “all good” or “something’s wrong”. However, some fancier extender models might also have multiple symbol LEDs to denote different state of connectivity and function.
Here are some common examples of these:
- Wi-Fi/wireless light – Denotes a successful connection between the router and extender. Usual key – green for good; orange/red for something wrong
- Internet light – Denotes whether internet data/traffic is actually being sent back/forth via the extender’s network. Orange/red light may indicate a problem with the router, or the internet service being down.
- WPS/Pair light – When using the push button WPS quick setup feature on your router/extender, this light will blink on and off green when the router/extender are “searching” for each other, and then turn solid green once they’re connected.
How To Correctly Set Up A Wi-Fi Extender (Solid Green Light)
To get a Wi-Fi extender properly working with that solid green light that indicates you can connect to it and start browsing the internet through it’s network., you need to use it’s configuration tool to connect the extender to your main router.
This is pretty easy and there are in fact 3 main ways to do it; here a quick summary of the different setup methods (follow the links for detailed guides for each way to do it):
- WPS Method – Quickest and easiest way. Plug your extender in, then press the WPS button on your router, then within 2 minutes press and hold the WPS/Pair/Wi-Fi button on your extender and wait for the two devices to sync. A solid green light means you’re done and ready to go!
- Browser Method – Allows more customization. Plug your extender in, connect to it’s default open network, and use any browser to log in to the settings panel via the default credentials on the extender label, and manually connect to your router via the “Setup Wizard” or “Quick Setup Guide” within the extender’s menu.
- Tethering App – For TP Link models only. Works very much the same as the browser method, but you do the set up via a special app you can download to your phone, instead of using a browser.
What An Orange Extender Light Means (And What To Do)
An orange light on your Wi-Fi extender usually indicates that it is still working, but does not have an optimal connection with your router.
Of course, brand function differs and sometimes an orange light can actually mean what we’ll cover below about a red light – not working at all. But generally, an orange light means it’s still working, just not optimally. This means you’ll likely get a reduced signal and speeds, and perhaps intermittent service drop outs.
Here’s what to try if you get an orange light:
- Try moving the extender to a wall socket closer to the router. Where possible, place it in direct line of sight of the router.
- Try to limit the amount of walls/floors and other obstacles the signal has to pass through between the extender and router.
- Try not place extenders behind or under furniture or other obstructions
- If the extender has got antenna, point them in the direction of the router if possible
In general, you’re looking to improve the connection between the router and extender, which should get the LED to turn green again.
What A Red Extender Light Means (And What To Do)
A red light on a Wi-Fi extender means it has lost connection entirely with the host router, or has lost internet access, and is therefore not working at all. Occasionally, it can also mean the extender is either broken internally, or needs a firmware update. Some brand new out-the-box extenders can also display a red light when first plugged in, indicating they haven’t been configured yet.
Assuming the extender has been set up already and should be working, here are some quick things to check first:
- Make sure your internet service isn’t down. Check using Downdetector or another tool.
- Check your main host router is working fine and doesn’t have a fault.
- Try moving the extender as covered in the section above. Move it close to the router for a few minutes to refresh the signal, and then move it back again to where it was if desired.
- Sometimes, you may need to re-configure the extender from scratch. Plug it in near the router and run through the setup steps again.
- Try accessing the extender settings and checking for firmware updates.
- Try factory resetting the extender as a last resort and re-configuring.
See our guide on diagnosing and fixing an orange/red extender light for more detailed troubleshooting steps
If you’ve tried all these steps and still have a solid, persistent red light on your extender, it could be broken and need replacing.