This can happen for a number of reasons, but most commonly because you’re using a Wi-Fi extender that isn’t brand new and therefore already has some custom settings stored on it. You bring up your usual network list on your device to search for it when it’s plugged in:
But the extender isn’t there when you search for it. They often have very obvious names by default (eg. TP-Link-Repeater-24309), so it’ll be obvious if it’s missing from the list.
Let’s run through some quick fixes for this problem, before the main solution of a factory reset, which tends to get rid of this issue on used extenders.
Reasons Why An Extender Is Not Showing On a Wi-Fi Network List
Let’s run through some more obvious reasons the extender might not be displaying on the Wi-Fi list, plus some quick fixes:
- The signal is not strong enough (move closer)
- Check on other devices (it might just be one device that has a weak Wi-Fi card/signal and can’t pick it up)
- The extender itself is broken
- It’s not been given enough time to fully initialize and start broadcasting yet (give 30-60 seconds).
- It’s been configured to hide it’s SSID/network name and not broadcast it. This can happen if the repeater is not brand new and is second hand – the old settings may still be saved on it (see factory reset option below to fix this).
- The network name might also have been changed to something custom if it’s been used, so you might be looking for the wrong SSID! (again, custom settings are retained by extenders even when unplugged, so factory reset option is best in this case).
Check off these more obvious possibilities before moving onto the next step. If it is second hand/used, and it has been configured to hide it’s SSID, you’ll need the custom login credentials (username/password) that the previous user has configured to access the settings panel and disable this option. Same thing if it’s got a custom SSID/username/password. If this isn’t possible, then see the factory reset option below.
Main Solution – Factory Reset The Extender
If all these possibilities have been checked off and you still can’t get it to display it’s network, the best option is to factory reset the extender to clear all settings on it and start over.
This wipes everything previously configured by other people on the router – including a hidden SSID – and reverts the settings and login credentials to like when it was first new.
Just push a pin or other sharp object into the reset hole on the extender when it is plugged in, and wait for the light to flash or go out:
Then wait a few minutes for the extender to re-initialize.
This reverts all the login/access credentials back to what they are on the label on the back, so you can use them again to access the repeater:
- Default SSID (network name)
- Default access/login/URL (eg. repeaterlogin.net)
It also reverts the extender’s default network back to being open, so you can connect to it again on any device, log into the configuration panel, and run back through the initial setup steps to connect it to your router to make a new network.
If you do get the repeater’s network to display again as it’s default setting, here are the quick steps to get up and running again with setup:
- Note down the default credentials on the sticker and plug in the extender.
- Find and click on the repeater’s default SSID (eg. Trendnet2217) on your Wi-Fi list.
- Once connected, open up any browser and type the default extender login (eg. routerlogin.net) into the address bar.
- Enter the default username/password as on the extender’s sticker.
- Proceed through the setup steps as directed to connect the extender to your router, and then your device.
See our full step by step guide on setting up a range extender via a web browser, where you connect to the extender and log into it’s settings interface to connect it to your router and set up a new network.
If the default network STILL doesn’t display on the network list even after a factory reset, and you’ve tried searching for it on multiple devices within close range, it’s highly likely that the extender is broken and needs replacing.