A Cheap Way to Extend Your WiFi
Do you find that your WiFi doesn’t reach all of the corners of your home? Maybe you have your WiFi router set up in your den, and when you walk to your bedroom down the hall, you compliantly lose connection. A WiFi extender may be an affordable solution for you. Keep watching to learn more and see how to set one up.
First, what is a WiFi extender? Well, it expands your WiFi connection. Simply plug the extender into a neutral area where it can get a good internet connection from your main wireless router, while also rebroadcasting to places that are less covered, therefore eliminating those annoying dead zones.
Next question, how is an extender different from a Mesh network I talked about previously? Well, a mesh network initials a whole network overhaul with all new routers spread across your home that all broadcast the same WiFi network. A WiFi range extender, on the other hand, can easily integrate into your existing WiFi network while also being much cheaper. However, your range extenders will broadcast separately from your main router. So, when you want to connect to your main router, you have to go into your WiFi settings and select it. When you want to switch to your WiFi extender, you have to go back into your WiFi settings and change your WiFi network again. With a mesh router, one network is broadcasted, and in the background, the software will handle which node you’re connected too. That being said, if you have the budget to upgrade to a mesh network, do it. It will be a way more robust and consumer-friendly solution, unlike a patch job with a range extender.
Now, let’s try setting up a range extender for ourselves.
Today’s example is a Netgear EX6100, which can operate as both a WiFi extender and access point thanks to its included ethernet port. But, more on that in a minute.
First, we need to find the best place to put your WiFi extender. The best way to start is to know where your dead zones are by traveling to every corner of your home taking Speedtest. Once you find the areas that need coverage, you can walk from that space to your main WiFi router, continually taking Speedtest on the way. You’re trying to see how far out you can go but still have a really good connection. Once you find the place, you can plug in the extender and start the setup process.
This extender has two configuration options, either as a range extender or an access point. In an access point configuration, you run an ethernet cable from your router to the extender. This way, the extender is broadcasting the full speeds of your network and is very stable. To learn more about running ethernet cables and such, get subscribed and hit the bell icon to be notified of our next video. Alternatively, configuring it as a WiFi Range extender will rebroadcast the WiFi signal it’s receiving. Just note, wireless solutions will almost always be less stable.
Now, let’s dive into the software side of things.
To test out my WiFi extender, I’m going to plug it into an outlet in my living room on the second floor. I’m hoping this extender can take the WiFi connection broadcasting on the third floor and forward it to me in the basement below.
I start off by plugging the extender into the wall and waiting for it to boot up. With the power LED green, it’s time to get started on the setup. So, with the mode set to extender, I’m going to click the WPS button. Then, I’m going to “click” the WPS button on my main WiFi router. In my case, it’s not a physical button on the router but instead a button within its management app. The WPS feature allows you to connect your WiFi device to your network without entering the WiFi password. By putting both the extender and main WiFi router in WPS mode, they can connect to each other without needing to choose the other’s WiFi network or entering a password. So, with both devices in WPS mode, they have two minutes to find each other, once they do, the extender should start configuring its settings, like matching the WiFi network name with the name of the main WiFI network, then adding _EXT. It should also copy the WiFi password.
In my case, it didn’t get the password. I guess there may be some security measures with the Linksys Velop that block it from sharing the WiFi password in that manner. This is where things got a bit complicated. I had to find the network IP address of the extender by scrolling through the list of devices connected to my Linksys Velop network. That process will vary depending on your router. Anyways, I found the IP and entered it into a browser. This took me to the extender’s login page, where I entered the default username and password that was written on the back of the extender and can be found in the manual. Once in the admin console, you can change the WiFi password. I just left the long string of characters and coped and pasted it to connect to the network. You can, of course, change that password to whatever you want it to be. After all of that, I was finally connected to the extender and ready to run some speed tests. Sitting right next to the extender, I got 21 Mbps up and 72 Mbps down. Then I went downstairs and ran another test getting 21 Mbps up and 57 Mbps down. Obviously, this solution works, but I would still recommend going mesh and avoiding all of this.
As I hope I’ve displayed here, a WiFi extender is a great affordable option that can truly expand your WiFi coverage to places that previously got nothing. It may not be the best solution, but it gets the job done.
Thanks for watching! If you enjoyed this video, be sure to like, subscribe, and stay tuned to learn more about other home network solutions. Do you plan on trying a WiFi extender in your home? I want to hear about it in the comments below. Also, check out the links in the description where you can learn more about today’s topics. Once again, thanks for watching, and I will catch you in the next one.
- Apple Guide Internet Playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxXl54ehkg3XRNa_i_LhfM-liH3LNzjp2
More on Range Extenders
- PCWorld: “How to set up a Wi-Fi Extender” — https://www.pcworld.com/article/394819/how-to-set-up-a-wi-fi-extender.html
- Waveform: “WiFi Boosters, Repeaters, and Extenders” — https://www.waveform.com/pages/wifi-booster-repeater-extender-differences
- Consumer Reports: “Should You Buy a WiFi Range Extender?” — https://www.consumerreports.org/wifi-extenders/should-you-buy-a-wifi-range-extender/
- PC Mag: “Wi-Fi Range Extender vs. Mesh Network: What’s the Difference?” — https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/wi-fi-range-extender-vs-mesh-network-whats-the-difference
Best Range Extenders