Wi-Fi Extender Suddenly Stopped Working (How To Fix)

This is a problem I’m getting sometimes with my current extender setup. It can be working fine, with a totally decent signal and speeds, and then it suddenly stops working and my video/film stops playing, or I can’t browse on my laptop anymore. The connection to the internet via the extender has dropped. Why does this happen and how can we fix it?

The main thing to do first is properly diagnose what’s actually caused the loss of internet connection/signal, and whether it’s restricted to the extender or is more widespread.

In general, temporarily moving the extender closer to the router and moving it back again can refresh the signal and get it working again. It may have lost it’s signal to the router in it’s current location.

But let’s first cover some initial diagnostics to try to narrow down why and extender suddenly doesn’t work anymore.

Step #1 – Check Your Internet Service

The first thing to check is that your internet service is online. Check whether yours and other devices can connect to your main router, or whether your router light is orange/red. The internet in your area, or for your provider, might be down.

You can also check the status of your ISP on Downdetector or another tool, or on your provider’s Twitter account if they’ve got one.

Step #2 – Check Other Devices

This is basically some useful initial diagnostics to narrow down the problem. If your internet is fine, also check that other devices and not just yours can connect to the extender (if the problem is limited to just one device, try moving closer or restarting that device).

If it’s all devices that can’t use the extender any more, or the light on it is orange/red, you know it’s a wider problem and you can move to the next steps.

Step #3 – Try Moving The Extender

The simplest and most effective solution to this problem, since it most often happens because the extender has lost connection with the router, meaning it can’t forward traffic/data any more. This is the most likely cause if your extender connection/signal keeps going down intermittently and isn’t a one off thing.

The best way to fix this is to:

  • Move the extender close to the router again for a few minutes (you can unplug and move extenders and they’ll save settings).
  • Make sure you can connect devices again and the signal is good.
  • Try moving back to the original location, or try a new one as needed

Sometimes the extender’s signal/connection with the router just needs refreshing, and it will work fine again. When I find my extender suddenly stops working, this always seems to be the problem, and quickly moving it downstairs close to the router, and then back again restores the connection.

As a follow up on this point, see our post on how and where to best install an extender for best performance, so you don’t get these signal drop-outs so often. In general, try and get it at a mid-point between your router and devices/dead-zone, but because Wi-Fi is so variable, you might need to try it in a few different places to find what works best in your house. Or you might need to get a better model of extender with more reliable/wider coverage.

Step #4 Check For Firmware Updates

Although honestly it’s rare for Wi-Fi extenders to suddenly stop working altogether because it needs a software/firmware update, but it’s worth checking within your extender’s settings.

Here are the general steps:

  • EITHER: Plug your extender in a place where it CAN connect to the router and get online, OR: download the firmware updates to a separate device via your main router and upload to the extender manually.
  • Connect to the extender’s network.
  • Type in the login URL (eg. tplinkrepeater.net) into a browser address bar, and enter the admin username/password (these are all found on the label, or custom values you’ve set them to).
  • Once inside the extender’s admin/settings panel, there will be a section on Settings/Firmware/Maintenance/Updates/Advanced or similar. Browse around for it.
  • Follow the steps to update the extender’s firmware to the latest version. If you can get online via the extender, this is easy. If you can’t you’ll have to do it manually, but it’s very rare to have to do this.

Here are links to firmware update help guides for common brands:

This is just another diagnostic thing to tick off.

Step #5 – Factory Reset & Re-configure The Extender

If you’re trying all these steps and still can’t get the extender to work again, your last ditch option is to factory reset it and re-configure it from scratch, connecting it to your router and running through the setup process all over again.

Sometimes, it may just have bugs or glitches “stuck” in the firmware/software, and the only way to fix it is to wipe all settings and start fresh with default settings.

To do this, push a pin into the reset hole on the extender when it’s plugged in, and hold it there for a few seconds until the LED blinks/goes out. Then wait 30-60 seconds for it to fully re-initialize.

This wipes all settings (including hopefully any software/firmware glitches and bugs) and restores the extender back to it’s default state like when it was new out the box.

Then it’s a good idea to unplug it again, write down the default login details on the label again (as you’ll need them during setup), and then plug it back in again close to the router where it can get a really good signal.

Then run through these general setup steps from scratch (you can either use a device browser or the WPS/Pair button):

Using a device browser:

  • 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.

See our full article on extender browser setup for more detailed steps.

WPS/Pair method:

  • Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup
  • Plug your extender in and wait for it to initialize
  • Press the WPS/Pair button on your router until it flashes/blinks
  • Press the WPS/Pair/Connect/Wi-Fi button on your repeater. Sometimes you need to press and hold for a few seconds until it starts blinking.
  • Give up to 2 minutes for the router and extender to “find” each other via the WPS feature.
  • Once the LED on your extender turns solid green, you know the router and extender are connected.
  • When setup via WPS, your extender will share the same network name (SSID) and passwords as your main router.

See our full article on extender WPS setup for more detailed steps.

If, after doing even this, you still can’t get the extender to work again or the light on it persistently remains orange/red, it’s likely broken and you need a new one. Contact Customer Support for your extender brand, or check out our page with some reliable, well reviewed extender models in different price ranges.


Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

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