Are there Wi-Fi dead spots in your house or business? Do you want to blanket every corner with strong signals? Try turning an old router into an extender, and spread that signal.
Unlike routers, repeaters typically aren’t plugged into your network with a wire. Instead, they receive the signal from your existing router and rebroadcast it. We’ve recommended Wi-Fi extenders in the past, especially for people with larger houses.
But if you’ve got an old router collecting dust somewhere, there’s a good chance you can turn it into a repeater yourself. The default firmware included on your router almost certainly doesn’t allow this, but alternative open-source firmware DD-WRT does. We’ve already shown you how to replace the firmware on your router with DD-WRT, so check that guide up first.
Once DD-WRT is set up, you’ve got a couple of options. Let’s explain what those are, and then dive into the steps you need to take to set everything up.
Part 1: Decide if you want a repeater, or just a second access point
Wireless repeaters can extend the range of an existing wireless signal, but if your home or office is wired for Ethernet, you might want to consider setting up an access point instead. Put simply, repeaters can’t offer the same bandwidth as a dedicated router.
- A wireless repeater receives existing wireless signals and re-broadcasts them, increasing the range of your wireless network. This doesn’t require a wired connection to the router, but offers worse performance.
- An access point is simply a second router offering wireless access to the network. This requires a wired connection to the primary router, but offers better performance.
If your house is wired for Ethernet, an access point is a better idea. If no wires exist, go for the wireless repeater. Let’s outline both methods, starting with the repeater, but first we’ll do some housekeeping.