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How Do I Extend My Network’s Range To Cover Blind Spots?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Hardware & Peripherals
 
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Here’s an answer to a question we hear a lot!  Many of you, just like Mike from New Milford, CT want to know how to extend the range of your wireless network.  Mike writes:

“I have a modem/router from ATT UVERSE in the basement. The wireless performance in the kitchen is poor. Can I connect another router in the kitchen from one of the feeds of the ATT router. If I can then does it need to have the same SSID and security settings, including password? “

Yes, you actually can use a second router to extend your wireless network’s range and cover blind spots with poor coverage, although honestly it’s much simpler to buy a wireless range extender instead. These are frequently cheaper than routers and they just plug into an outlet and automatically extended the range of your existing router. If you already have an extra router handy though, you can set your second router to work as a secondary access point, which will increase the network’s range.

You are still going to have to buy an extra long Ethernet cable to connect the two routers together however, (a problem not present by using a range extender) so the savings are minimal, but for those who want the challenge or already have a 16 – 25 foot Ethernet cable laying around, its only a matter of manually changing some settings in the secondary router.

Wireless Range Extender

Before getting started converting the second router, you first need to grab some settings off the primary router. In most cases you can access your router’s settings by typing the address 192.168.1.1 into your web browser’s address bar and hitting Enter (if this doesn’t work, check the router’s manual for specific instructions). Your router will have a username and password set by the manufacturer (which is not the password you set for your wireless network) and is usually “admin” and “password.”

After accessing the settings, take note of the “Name (SSID)” and “Channel” settings, which are typically found by navigating to the “Advanced” tab.

SSID And Channel Settings

Close the browser and disconnect your main router entirely. Grab your secondary router and plug it into a wall outlet, and then ensure all the settings are at their factory defaults by holding down the “reset” button on the back of the device for 15 seconds.

Connect the secondary router to your computer with an Ethernet cable and then access the settings page just as you did with the main router. Change the “Name (SSID)” field to exactly what you noted down earlier from the main router’s settings (if a prompt appears asking to take you through an automated setup wizard, simply close it) and then change the “Channel” setting so it’s something different than the main router’s channel – for instance if the first channel was 6 you could set the extra router’s channel to 1.

Next you need to assign the secondary router its own IP address and ensure that address won’t change, which means you have to turn off the dynamic IP address feature (titled “DHCP”) by unchecking the appropriate box. There may be a tab actually labeled “DHCP,” otherwise this setting is usually located in the “LAN Setup” section.

Turning Off DHCP

With DHCP turned off, you can now manually change the IP address of the secondary router. You’ll want to use a high number that’s unlikely to be assigned to any other device on your network, like 192.168.1.60.

Changing The IP Address

Plug an Ethernet cable into any of the LAN ports on the back of the extra router and run the opposite end to any of the cable to any of the LAN ports on the primary router. Unplug your computer from the extra router and then place the device near your kitchen (or wherever your home’s dead spot is located). Turn the main router back on and your network will now be extended to included the secondary router’s range.

~ Ty Arthur

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5 Responses to “How Do I Extend My Network’s Range To Cover Blind Spots?”

  1. John Cutrone says:

    Great tip. How would you extend your network using an additional wireless router

  2. John Cutrone says:

    What I meant was: can you add an additional wireless router as an access point without using cables?

    • audra says:

      John,

      The router needs to get a connection from somewhere, so no. Any “wireless” device needs to be plugged in somewhere to know what information to transmit, whether it’s a wireless router, keyboard, or speakers. Wireless routers are designed to broadcast the signal from your modem, so it does need to be plugged in somewhere.

      You could, however, avoid stringing a long Ethernet cable by making use of a powerline adapters and connecting these to your second router. These adapters allow you to take an Ethernet cord from your main router or modem and plug it into an adapter plugged into your electrical outlet. Then, you can plug another adapter into an electrical outlet in another room, then connect an Ethernet cord from the second adapter to a second router that you could configure as described in this article.

  3. Bud Harrison says:

    I bought a wi-fi range extender and it only connected to my internet and it would interfear with my router I wifi signal already had. My pc added another wifi signal and it looks like I have 2 internet services. I finally gave up on it. It kept knocking me off line.

  4. Ron Fox says:

    I have Comcast/Xfinity’s combo modem (for broadband internet and telephone service. It is also a dual Wi-Fi wireless router, emitting two signals. One for my personal Wi-Fi and another signal as an Xfinity “hotspot” for visitors. The Wi-Fi signal cannot penetrate a brick wall between the back and the front of my house. Will I have the same problem with the Wi-Fi range extender seeing TWO signals? If so would a second wireless router be my ONLY solution???

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