Use Wireless Router as Repeater
Whether you’re upgrading your router and wondering what to do with your original or you’re like me and just seem to end up with old ones – there is a way to put them to use. You can use a wireless router as a repeater if you put a little work into it.
They might not be made for purpose but if you can get the firmware to take one network and repeat the signal you have the same thing as your average WiFi repeater. Actual results may vary because they were not actually designed for this but if it doesn’t cost you anything then you might as well try transforming your old router. If it supports it then it only needs an outlet just like a normal repeater. The difference is usually going to be the speed and range of the wireless signal. Personally I’ve found actual wireless repeaters which were made for purpose get a much better signal but if you don’t need a big range extension you might be fine and it is certainly worth a try.
There’s two ways to go about this.
You might get lucky. Some routers out there actually have a setting on them to repeat a network. Obviously this is situational and either you have it or you do not. Newer routers are more likely to have it but if you have an old router you might want to try doing a firmware upgrade and check just in case.
If your router is directly from your ISP then you might also be out of luck. Even if the router can support it from a hardware point of view they tend to disable a lot of things like this so you don’t call their tech support with problems. You might be in luck but based on my experience ISP’s don’t want you doing anything with your network in case you make it their problem.
To check have a look on your router for a name and stick it into Google. Look for a feature list or any mention of repeating. You can also use your browser to check the firmware. Usually something along the lines of 192.168.1.1 (you can check your router manual or tech support if you don’t know) and then looking for a repeat option.
Unfortunately it does not seem to be one of the more common features in a router so you might be out of luck but it is worth checking just in case.
DD-WRT is an open sourced firmware which can be installed to some routers and give you a lot of extra functionality including the ability to repeat another network. It is unlikely you will find this already installed on your router so you will need to do it yourself.
First you need to check the compatibility list to see if your router will actually support it. Then the install guide to get it installed properly. Then you can use the repeater settings to repeat another wireless signal using that router.
Now really this depends how comfortable you are with computers. The instructions are pretty clear and the install shouldn’t be difficult if you feel confident about it. But it is not the kind of thing I’d leave my mother to do. You can always get someone who is to do it for you (which also saves you the work). If your router is not compatible or you can’t manage the install then you’ll need to find a different router or get a purpose made WiFi repeater.
Buying a Real Wireless Repeater
Whether a router just cannot handle repeating or it doesn’t do a good enough job there are a lot of repeaters out there. There’s one we consider the best wireless repeater and if you’re just looking for something a little simpler there is a list of the cheapest wireless repeaters.