Even though Wi-Fi repeaters have become more affordable, they are still tricky devices when it comes to setting them up. So we will be offering you some tips to help you easily set up a Wi-Fi Repeater.
How Does a Wi-Fi Repeater Work?
There are things you need to know before you start up with the wireless repeater setup process. You would need to know exactly how a Wi-Fi repeater works. Essentially, a Wi-Fi repeater extends the coverage area of your existing wireless network. It does this by amplifying the signal and then transmitting that signal to a wider area. Putting it in plain terms, we can say that, it receives a wireless signal from your router and rebroadcasts it to another localized area. It provides a “bubble” of additional network coverage which you can access when you are out of range of your router’s finite coverage area.
This process comes with a reduction in speed, even though the repeater will constantly switch between receiving your router’s signal and transmitting a new signal.
Difference Repeaters and Extenders (and Boosters)
When it comes to Wi-Fi coverage, they are different but similar terms you’ll come across like Wi-Fi repeater, Wi-Fi extender, and Wi-Fi booster. Most times, these terms are used interchangeably, but there are still some basic differences in how these devices operate.
Wi-Fi Repeater – A Wi-Fi repeater refers to a first-generation Wi-Fi extender or one which grabs the signal from your router in a bid to extend its coverage area in a new coverage bubble. This type of device does not connect directly to your network, and it does not create a new Wi-Fi network.
Wi-Fi Extender – Also known as a wireless range extender is a standalone device which uses a wired connection (either a coaxial cable or power outlet) to directly connect to your home’s network. It creates a second Wi-Fi network outside of your router’s original coverage area.
Wi-Fi Booster – A Wi-Fi booster term is used interchangeably among these types of devices as a catch-all term. What this means is that a Wi-Fi booster can either be a Wi-Fi repeater or a Wi-Fi extender.
When You Need a Repeater
A properly installed Wi-Fi repeater can sometimes double the coverage area of your home or office Wi-Fi network. So if your router’s on your home’s far wall, a repeater can potentially extend the network’s range to the opposite end of the house. It also ensures that it covers downstairs or upstairs spaces, or gives you coverage outside the house when you are outdoors.
Wi-Fi repeater comes with caveats, so before you purchase a repeater, ensure your router is in the most central location possible. Preferably it should be elevated and free of signal-dampening obstructions including:
- Stereo systems
- USB 3 devices
- Thick metal, plaster, concrete or bulletproof glass
- Microwave ovens
- Active power cables
- Fluorescent lights
- Cordless landline phones
It is also very important to upgrade your wireless router if you haven’t done so since you first signed up with your internet service provider in 2004. Currently modern routers boost signal range by up to 120% as compared to the models that directly preceded them and much more for models from three or four generations ago. Search for features like dual-band and MU-MIMO support, beamforming and external antennas to help eliminate dead spots.
You have to understand that every Wi-Fi repeater comes with some form of speed loss (sometimes even up to 50% of the original bandwidth). As such the boosted signal will never be 100% as fast as your router’s main area of coverage and will increase the latency.
How to Setup a Wi-Fi Repeater
In setting up a Wi-Fi repeater, it is always best to refer to the original manufacturer’s instructions. This is because the setup details of each make and model differ. If you are rolling sans manual, fortunately, the basics of most Wi-Fi repeater setup processes remain fairly consistent. Even in terms of the long number strings, you have to input. To start this process:
- Start by selecting a placement which is free of the same sorts of obstructions which can interfere with your router’s signal. Thick concrete walls pose more of a problem than wood walls or glass.
- Get the repeater plugged into a working AC power outlet in your chosen location within range of your existing Wi-Fi coverage.
- If you are using a nearby computer or laptop, simply connect the repeater. You can do this by connecting an Ethernet cable directly from the repeater to your PC. This is a method that is often recommended by the manufacturer. Or by connecting to the repeater’s wireless network often known as Wi-Fi Repeater or containing the brand name of the product’s manufacturer.
- When they are connected, just open your computer’s local area network properties. On Windows, choose Start> Control Panel >View Network Status and Tasks >Manage Network Connections. Thereafter, right-click Local Area Network and select Properties then Internet Protocol Version 4 and Properties again.
- Check the repeater’s instructions to ensure that the default IP address you need to type in the respective blank field is usually 192,168.10.1. Here you will also have to type in common number strings for the subnet mask (255.255.255.0)and default gateway (192.168.10.1).
- Click open a web browser and type in http://192.168.10.1 in the address bar. If you are prompted to, enter a DNS server address, leave the field blank. If you are prompted for a username and password, try entering admin in both fields or admin in the username field and password in the password field. This will bring you to the Setup Wizard process.
- Select Wireless Repeater Mode and tap on Repeater – OneKey Setting. Once it pops up, choose the Wireless Network Selection button and click on Refresh List.
- Select your main router’s wireless network to connect the repeater to the router and tap Next.
- Key in your Wi-Fi network’s password in the Pre-Shared Key field when prompted if the network is secured.
- Tap Apply and Reboot and OK.
After your Wi-Fi repeater setup is complete, you will notice that your wireless signal has more range than it did before.