Home routers are generally aren’t up to the job of broadcasting a clear and strong signal throughout a home. The reason for this is varied, the software on the router is not up to the job or the amount of interference a home produces can effect the overall distance that a wireless signal can be sent. There are many options to get your internet connection shared throughout the home, some are expensive for example cabling up your home with physical access points or use a wireless repeater. This guide will show you the basic steps of creating a wireless repeater using a LinkSys Wireless-G WRT54GL.
This versatile router had a built in linux operating system which allows itself to be upgraded or flashed with 3rd party software. This third party software can be obtained from the DD-WRT website. Search for your particular router in the database and the website will inform you whether it’s possible to flash the DD-WRT firmware (linux system) onto your router. Once flashed, follow the steps below.
1. Configure the router you wish to repeat;
The router which has the internet connection needs to be setup first and some properties will be needed to be written down to use in the repeater router. In order to simplify the network configuration, make sure that the wireless access security is set to ‘None’, and the wireless channel used is set to a specific number (6, 9, or 11). In addition to this two settings, adjust the wireless mode to G. For now, do not worry about the fact that your network is open, you will reconfigure this once you have ascertained that the repeater is actually working. Note the SSID at this point.
2. Configure the repeater router;
Once you have flashed the DD-WRT firmware onto your new repeater router, connect to it using you browser (generally 192.168.1.1). Reconfigure the IP address range to something unique, making sure that the subnet is the same. So for example, if the main router has an IP address of 192.168.1.1 configure the new repeater to 192.168.2.1 using the same subnet as the main router (i.e. 255.255.255.0). Make sure that DHCP is enabled at this point.
Once the properties are saved, then reconnect to the repeater using the new IP address, i.e. 192.168.2.1.
Under the wireless tab, setup the ‘wl0’ interface making sure that the SSID is set to the main router’s SSID. Setup the channel and mode to be the same of the host router. Set the wireless mode to ‘Repeater’ and the network configuration option to ‘Bridged’.
Now create a wireless virtual adapter, and specify the SSID of the new repeated network.
Now head over to the ‘Wireless Security’ tab to setup what security mechanism is used to connect this repeater to the main router. In this case, select ‘disabled’, and set the security mode of the repeater to disabled as well.
Remember, on each page, to click the ‘Apply’ button. Once all the above is configured, head over to the ‘Administration’ folder, select the save button and then the reboot button. The wireless router will now reboot.
3. Check internet connection
Once the repeater is rebooted, the connection to the internet should have been established. If the connection is working, go through each router and apply the wireless security settings (i.e. WPA or WPA2), making sure that these settings are exactly the same. Once the settings have been applied, reboot the first router, and once it’s up and running, reboot the repeater. The repeater should automatically connect and pass through any requests onto the primary router.
Repeating a wireless network isn’t very difficult as long as the hardware used is compatible. In this example, a Cisco WAG320 and a LinkSys WRT54GL were used. It’s important that both routers have exactly the same security and wireless channels correct, and always start off with the most basic of settings and work your way upwards until you have configured it to your satisfaction.