How to Use a Router As a Range Extender

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How to Use a Router As a Range Extender
Double the size of your network with a range extender. (computer image by Ewe Degiampietro from Fotolia.com)

Wireless routers give you the ability to wirelessly connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. With the explosion of Wi-Fi in the 1990s came the explosion of the personal laptop. Now it seems like every kid and adult in the home has his own laptop with wireless connection to the Internet. Wireless routers work well unless you have a big house. With a large home, the 30-foot radius of a router may be less than sufficient and people connected to the network can routinely experience dropped Internet connections. Using a router as a range extender doubles the size of your network.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Paper clip
  • Cat5 Ethernet cable

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug the router you want to use as a range extender into a laptop computer by plugging a Cat5 Ethernet cable into one of the LAN (Local Access Network) ports located on the back of the router. Connect the other end of the cable into the Ethernet port located on the side of the laptop computer.

  2. 2

    Place the end of a paper clip into the reset hole of the router. Usually, the reset hole is located on the back of the router, next to the power adaptor plug. Resetting the router restores it to its factory settings. This makes it easier to access the GUI and clears any previous settings installed on the router.

  3. 3

    Access the GUI (Graphic User Interface) of the router. Enter the router's default IP address into the address bar on your router. If you do not know the default IP address, reference Tech Spot.com for a list of common router addresses. For example, if you are using a 3Com router, enter 192.168.1.1 into the address field and then press "Return" on the keyboard to load the login screen.

  4. 4

    Enter the default login information to access the GUI. If you do not know the default login information for your router brand, reference Router Passwords.com for a list of common usernames and passwords for routers.

  5. 5

    Locate and disable the DHCP server by clicking on the radio button next to "Disabled." The location of the DHCP server varies depending on the router brand but usually, with most popular router brands, the setting is located on the "Basic Settings" page.

  6. 6

    Locate and change the SSID (router network name) to match the name of the main router on your network. Because the SSID only affects computers connecting wirelessly, the SSID settings are located on the "Wireless Setup" page on most GUIs.

  7. 7

    Locate and change the passphrase for the router's security to match that of the main router on the network. Updating the SSID and the passphrase allows computers to connect from the main router to the extender without issue. Press "Save Settings" to update the router's firmware.

  8. 8

    Remove the Ethernet cable from the router and the computer. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into the LAN port of the main router on your network and then plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into the WAN (Wide Access Network) of the range extender. Place the range extender within 30 feet of the main router to ensure overlapping coverage of your home network.

Tips and warnings

  • It is common for people to use the same router brands or even the same router models. Manufacturers such as Linksys, Belkin and D-Link use the same IP address for almost all of their routers. If you set up routers with the same IP address, you need to manually change the IP address on the router you use as a range extender. While in the GUI, locate and change the setting titled "Local IP address." Just change the last number to something different. You cannot have two of the same IP address on one network.

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