How to set up a Wi-Fi range extender

Take your home network to new heights in 4 easy steps

With the spare room becoming the home office and kids doing schoolwork from their bedrooms, we need ripping Wi-Fi connectivity everywhere! Even a good-quality router (which is what distributes your internet connection to other devices in your home) may struggle with sending a signal around corners, through hallways and up or down stairs. Check availability.

How to improve Wi-Fi coverage
Most range extenders are multifunction devices that can also be used as a wireless access point or even a simple standalone router – but most often, they are used as a signal repeater. In this mode, they 'tune in' to a weak Wi-Fi signal coming from your router, then amplify it and resend a stronger signal to and from nearby devices. Check availability.

Although the details might vary slightly depending on what model of extender you're using, the general connection process is common to most devices. Once you've configured your extender, all you need to do is select it from your list of available connections on your computer, phone or tablet, and enter your Wi-Fi password as you would with your router.

Using the WPS function
The simplest way to connect your extender is using WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) protocol.
1. Check whether your router supports WPS: if you don't have the manual, just look for a button marked WPS on the device.
2. Switch on your extender and make sure 'repeater' mode is selected.
3. Press and hold the WPS button on the device until it enters pairing mode: this is often indicated by a flashing LED on the device.
4. Press the WPS button on your router. This will fast-track the configuration, having the same effect as manually entering the network password (below).

Configuring your extender manually
If your router does not support WPS, or if you prefer to access more advanced settings, use a computer to log into your extender's UI (user interface).
1. With the extender plugged in and set to 'repeater' mode, open the network settings menu on your computer.
2. The extender's name will appear as one of the available connections. Connect to it, and open your web browser.
3. Enter your extender's IP address in the address bar. This will be listed in the manual and usually also on a sticker attached to the extender itself.
4. Log into the extender using the password in your manual or on the extender, then simply choose your Wi-Fi network's SSID and enter the password.

-April 2020

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