How to Setup a Wireless Repeater

Written by:  Paul Campbell

 Do you have a big or old house with solid walls and have a home network with an ADSL Modem/Router or Access Point/Wireless router connected to a Docsis Modem with both wired and wireless devices connected to an Access Points (AP)?

If the answer is yes then you might have problems with wireless internet connectivity, possible wireless signal issue or perhaps there’s a quite distance between rooms or maybe different floors or with solid walls which can degrade the wireless signal.

One solution is to buy a longer straight patch ethernet Cat5e or higher standards cable and move your access point closer to the devices that do not get a good wireless signal. While this is an acceptable solution, you may not want the cables running through your home either trailing across the floor or securing them to run across a wall or through a ceiling looking unsightly or having the hassle of running cable under floorboards creating a lot of work for you.

A great option is to utilize and buy a Range Extender (Wireless Repeater) and use it to boost the wireless signal from the Main router (I will call this the Root AP) to your wireless devices through the Range Extender enabling wireless devices to receive a good signal and be able to connect to the internet with limited disconnection issues or simply not being able to connect to the Root AP.

You will still receive DHCP from the Root AP and be able to use other features that are already enabled. If you use a wireless mac address filtering on the Root AP then you will need to add the mac (physical) address of the Range Extender to the wireless mac address filter on the Root AP for it to connect wirelessly to the Root AP.

The range extender (wireless repeater) I will be using for this tutorial is a TP-Link TL-WA730RE 150Mbps 802.11b/g/n. The router IP Address: 192.168.1.254
Note: You may buy or use a similar wireless repeater but will have a different router IP, and you should be able to follow a similar setup.

The Root AP I will be using is the Buffalo WBMR-HP-G300H ADSL2+ Modem/Router (which will be known as the Root AP) 300Mbps 802.11b/g/n, Router IP address: 192.168.11.1
Note: You may buy or use a similar Root AP but will have a different router IP, and you should be able to follow a similar setup.

Let’s begin the configuration of the TP-Link TL-WA730RE 150Mbps 802.11b/g/n (which will now be known as the Range Extender).

First, power down all devices including modem or ADSL modem/router and access point/wireless router and unplug the mains power.

Please connect a straight/patch ethernet cable from your computer’s ethernet port to the Range Extenders one LAN port on back of it.

See illustration below:

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.

Power on the Root AP (ADSL modem/router in my case) and wait for the lights to stabilize.
Power on the Range Extender and wait for the lights to stabilize.
Power on the computer connected to the Range Extender using the ethernet cable and wait until fully started.

How to configure the Range Extender:

Step 1: First, we have to configure the computer manually to be connected to the Range Extender using a static IP Address as the DHCP server on the Range Extender is disabled by default.

On Windows XP:

Click on Start>Network Connections (or Connect To)> Show all connections:

Right click Local Area Connection click on Properties:

Choose Internet Protocol Version (TCPIP) and click on Properties:

Click on Use the following IP address enter 192.168.1.200 for IP Address and 255.255.255.0 for Subnet Mask click on OK.

On Windows Vista/7/8

Click Start>Control Panel:

Click Network and Sharing Centre>Change Adapter Settings:

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.

Right click Local Area Connection, click on Properties and provide credentials if prompted to do so.

Highlight Internet Protocol Version (TCPIPv4), click on Properties.

Click on Use the following IP address enter 192.168.1.200 for IP Address and 255.255.255.0 for subnet mask click OK and OK again.

You have just setup a Static IP Address to be able to connect to the Range Extender and to configure it.

Step 2: Open a web browser and navigate to the Range Extender IP Address of 192.168.1.254 and logon by entering the default username and password (needs to be changed immediately for security purpose) and click on Log In from the screen below:

In the TP-Link’s Status page, click on Quick Setup.

In the Quick Setup dialog box, click on Next to continue.

In the Quick Setup – Wireless page set the Operation Mode to Range Extender. Set the Mac of AP by clicking on Survey, click on Next to continue.

Choose the SSID of the Root AP in my case it is Desolate (yours will be different) and click on Connect.

In the Quick Setup-Wireless page, will now re-appear with all the settings you have configured and the Mac of AP address now listed see below; Set the Region to the country you reside, click on Next to continue.

Click on Reboot to finish configuration changes and click OK to confirm and reboot of Range Extender will start.

After reboot has finished the status page will appear below. Click on the Wireless tab and then click on Wireless security and the screen below will appear.

In the Wireless Security page, set Wireless Security to either None, WEP or WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK match the encryption to that of the Root AP. Set Version to match that of your Root AP I e.g.WPA2-PSK is most secured if your Root AP supports it. Set Encryption to match the Root AP e.g. AES. Set the PSK Password to match with the Root AP.

In this tutorial we will use the encryption on the Root AP which is WPA2 AES, click on Save.

Click on OK.

This text below will appear on the image, click on click here to reboot.

Click on Reboot button and click OK to confirm and the process will start.

Once rebooted an association should be made with the Root AP it should look like mine below but with your SSID and wireless channel number (The Range Extender is set to this channel also which is essential for it to work correctly) of your Root AP under the Wireless heading.

Note: On the Root AP ensure your wireless channel is not set to Auto, use a manual setting – channels 1, 6 and 11 are the best channels as they do not overlap. The bridge between Root AP and Range Extender will be lost if the channel changes on the Root AP if set to Auto.

You may now log out of the Range Extender.
Check the association on your Root AP with the Range Extender to ensure there are no discrepancies.

Navigate to the Root AP IP Address, in my case it is 192.168.11.1 (yours maybe different) login with credentials and go to diagnostics (check your router documentation for exact location). Click on client monitor and check the Range Extenders Mac Address if it is listed as Wireless and it is Authorized and set as Enable.

See below image:

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.

Log out of the Root AP.
Now that the router associations have been checked and confirmed, you
will need to change the Local Area connection back to DHCP.

Follow Step 1 until you get to Internet Protocol Version (TCPIP) Properties (Windows XP) or Internet Protocol Version(TCPIPv4) Properties (Windows Vista/7/8) and set to
Obtain an IP Address automatically and Obtain DNS Server automatically

Follow the confirmation instructions afterwards to complete the configuration change.

Step 3: If you wish to connect the wireless computers/devices thru the Range extender only and not to the Root AP please follow the guide below to set the Range Extender as the default gateway.

In Windows XP:

Click on Start>Network Connections (Connect to) >Show all Connections:
Right click on Wireless Network Connections click on Properties

Highlight Internet Protocol Version (TCPIP) and click on Properties….

Click on Advanced….

Default Gateways, click Add then enter 192.168.1.254 on Gateway, click Add then click OK to continue.

Confirm the IP address 192.168.1.254 appears against Default gateway then click OK and Close.

On Windows Vista/7/8 Operating Systems:

Click on Start>Control Panel>Network and Sharing Centre>Change Adapter Settings.
Right click on Wireless Network Connection click on Properties and provide the credentials if prompted to do so.

Click to highlight Internet Protocol Version (TCPIPv4) and click on Properties, click on OK to continue.

Click on Advanced…..

Under Default Gateways click Add, type 192.168.1.254 on Gateway, click Add then click OK then OK again.

Confirm the IP Address 192.168.1.254 appears on Default gateway then click OK and OK again.

All configurations are now completed; restart your computer and logon to Windows.

Step 4: Verify if you should have a wired internet connectivity now going thru the Range Extender.

If the connection for wired internet has been established, disconnect the ethernet cable from the Range extender’s LAN port and your computer’s ethernet port.

Step 5: You may now connect one of your wireless devices to your Root AP’s SSID and test for wireless internet connectivity.
Note: If you see an unidentified network, there’s nothing toworry about as this is the wireless bridge between the Root AP and Range Extender and it’s typical.The SSID for your Range Extender is now the same SSID as the Root AP therefore only one SSID will be visible and this is typical. You will not be able to log into the web interface of the Range Extender as it has it’s DHCP server disabled.

If you wish to connect to the Range Extender’s web interface at 192.168.1.254 (yours maybe different)you will have to connect an ethernet cable from your computer’s ethernet port and the other end to the LAN port on the Range Extender first.

Please follow Step 1 again to set a Static IP address in order to login to the web interface.
The increased range for wireless devices will outweigh the above.

Happy surfing!

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2 responses to “How to Setup a Wireless Repeater

  1. Thank you you for your kind comments it is much appreciated, glad you like the article and hope it is useful.

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