For those of you who do not know a Range Extender is, it’s a device that lives on your wireless or wired network to expand its wireless reach. It can also be referred to as a Repeater.
So let’s take my case for instance. I have a neighbor that rarely uses the Internet and as a favor to them, I extended my home network into his home to allow him to use my wireless signal. Without the extender at the edge of my doorway I was not able to make the signal more powerful. He would see the network with one or no bars.
After installing the WRE54G he gets a full strength signal. Sure I could have moved my router so I would not have needed an extender but then my network would have been centered around my router being in my foyer and who wants that?
So like I said, I added a range extender FTW! Setting it up is not as easy as it should be so I will now walk you through how to set up a WRE54G. If you do not have security enabled on your wireless network and you only have one access point available then the auto-configure button will work. If not let’s check out the manual process.
First of course you need a WRE54G. If it is not new and we do not know the settings and passwords we will need to start by restoring it to its factory defaults.
To do this we will grab a paper clip or something similar to stick into the reset button. This button is located in a small hole on the left side of the Extender. You will need to push in and hold the button until you see the link light turn a solid red. If the link light starts to flash and/or turns blue then you held it too long – you will need to repeat the reset process until you get a steady red light for the Link LED.
Alright, now we have a new extender ready to be put to use. Out of the box this device is set to use 192.168.1.240 as an IP address. The easiest thing to do is to change your IP address (unless it is in the 192.168.1.1 – 192.168.1.254 range) to be 192.168.1.1 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. Then connect an ethernet cable directly from your computer to the device.
We will next need to configure your current router to use WDS Bridging. This is what will allow the extender to extend the network. Different routers have different locations and terminology, on my router it is called Bridging. I needed to enter the MAC address of the extender which appears on a bar code under the device. Some devices will also require you to check a box to enable WDS. An example is shown below:
Next up we will need to connect to the device using WiFi. Scan the network and you should see a linksys followed by the last 8 characters of the MAC address – it will look something like this. Obviously your MAC address will vary:
Alrighty! Now we are almost there. After successfully connecting to the device (you might have security warnings as security is not in place yet) open up your browser and point it to http://192.168.1.240 – you will see a login box. The default user needs to be left blank. The default password is: admin. Once you are logged in you will see the console that looks like this:
You can see the arrows pointing to where you can change your IP address of the device to be on your network. Also the SSID to match the SSID to your wireless network to allow for seamless passing back and forth. Or if you want it as a separate network, change the name to something else. Don’t leave the default SSID.
You can also enable security and modify other settings in here. Once you are done save your settings. Change your local IP address back to what it was if you changed it and plug back into your network.
You have successfully extended your network! This shouldn’t be as hard as it was! Check out this post from Ryan Dube, called Free WiFi Software Downloads to Get Most of Wireless Networks to get the most out of your network!
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments.