Monday, 17 November 2014

Have an old router and a wireless blind spot?

Ever had one of those situations where you have your wireless network set up, but it misses just a little bit in range of your house? I mean sure you can go to your local computer shop and pick up a wifi repeater or wifi extender as they are called - in fact these devices are so slick, you can set everything up pretty much with a click of a button - but hey... where is the fun in that?

With the new wireless ac protocols in place, I thought it was time to upgrade from my wireless G router... I mean its supposed to be much faster and go further right? Sadly I was mistaken. I mean, yes it is much faster and even though the product promised a wider range; it pretty much went the same distance as my old G.

Luckily, not all was lost. Turns out I could still salvage my old wireless G router and convert it into a wireless repeater! This does require some time and effort though - but it will save you $30; and is much better than throwing out an old piece of equipment that is otherwise fine.

Right on to business, I'll say outright that if you decide to mod your router, there is a chance you might not be able to bring it back to life... but you were throwing it out anyway yeah?

The name of the firmware is dd-wrt (their website They have a list of routers that they have firmwares for.

The part I got stuck on is looking for a WAN IP. I mean if I am bridging two routers, I should be creating a subnet with its own configuration different from my original wireless network. Turns out that is not the case, in fact; there is no WAN at all to connect to. This is most crucial.

Note that in most cases, you want to take your existing wireless network, and simply put your extender in a place where it gets its signals from the original router and simply extends that signal. This is called a *Repeater Bridge*. This is exactly the option you want in the configuration. Nothing else really worked for me.

I am attaching the steps from the dd-wrt wiki page. These must be followed verbatim.

The results are actually pretty good. I have been using the router for a while now. Except for the occasional drops in signal quality, I didn't find any trouble with browsing the web and doing my work. I haven't of course, put this to the test with for example, large scale file copying - I do expect there to be a performance lag there.

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