How To Extend Your Wireless Network with dd-wrt-Powered Routers?

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Are you having trouble establishing a reliable wifi connection in your home? Does your signal sometimes drop? If your answer is yes, you could have considered wireless repeaters a possible choice. However, wireless repeaters tend to be on the pricey side.

On the other hand, DD-WRT firmware could be a choice that will not blow a hole in your wallet. This reliable open-source firmware includes a feature known as a repeater bridge, which can make your life easier in various ways.

A single wifi router will not provide for a larger home’s network requirements. You will inevitably enter a dead zone at some point, at which point it will be too late to do anything, especially if you have children. The good news is that there is a solution to sidestep all of the unpleasantness, and all that is required is a backup router.

This article will show you how to extend the range of your wifi network by using a second router and the DD-WRT router firmware.

Configuring a DD-WRT router to function as a repeater

Before you begin, you will need to take some notes on the security settings of your principal network (see the setup page of your main router). WARNING! You shouldn’t click “Apply Changes” until after you have finished setting up everything (after hitting “Save” in step 10). Should you choose to proceed in this manner, it is possible that your repeater router would become unavailable (bricked).

1. Select “Disable” for your Connection Type on the Configuration > Basic setup screen. This is necessary because the router will not be plugged into a modem.

2. If you want to, you can give the router and the host a name with some significance. This step is optional.

3. Modify the “Local Router IP address” to a value unique among the other routers in the network (changing the last number to 8 or 9 is usually a safe bet). This is significant because if two routers share the same IP address, then the network will be inaccessible to everyone who tries to use it. Click the “Save” button since the next modification could undo the adjustments you just made.

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4. Make sure that the DHCP Type is set to “DHCP Forwarder.

5. Under DHCP Server in the next section, enter your router’s IP address, which is typically also your modem. Hit the “Save” button once again. If the page would not reload, check to see that you have entered the repeater’s updated IP address (Step 3).

6. Navigate to the Security page and turn off all the security settings by clearing all the checkboxes since your router will be responsible for providing all the security. Hit ‘Save’.

7. Navigate to the tab labelled “Wireless,” and then set the Wireless Mode to either “Repeater” or “Repeater Bridge.” If you select “Repeater,” you will only be able to use the repeater wirelessly; but, if you select “Repeater Bridge,” you will be able to utilize the repeater’s Ethernet ports, which is ideal if you want to plug in a Smart TV, games console, or any other cable-only internet-enabled device (which will also be able to see other devices on the network, great for sharing video files and the like). However, as we merely wish to increase the coverage area of our wifi, we will select the “Repeater” option. Then select the “Save” option.

8. In the field labelled “Wireless Network Name (SSD),” you will need to input the name of your primary network, i.e. the name of the router that serves as your major hub. This must be input in its entirety, including all capitalization and spaces. Hit ‘Save’.

9. Navigate to the Wireless menu and select the Wireless Security tab. Adjust the settings so that they are consistent with those of your network (primary router). After that, you’ll need to select ‘Save’ and ‘Apply settings.

The router will restart so that all of the adjustments can be applied, and as you travel around your home or workplace, you will see that the quality of your wifi connection has much improved!

You should be aware that configuring your router in this manner such that it acts as a repeater will prevent you from accessing the router’s web interface. Because of this, the operation can only be performed in one direction, and if something goes wrong, the router may become permanently bricked. You might be able to circumvent this problem by going to Step 8 and selecting “Repeater Bridge.” Doing so should enable you to access the interface through a direct Ethernet connection to the router. 

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What Role Does DD-WRT Play in the Operation of a Repeater Bridge?

Using a wireless connection and DD-WRT, it is possible to create a wireless bridge that connects two separate LAN segments. Because the two subnets are part of the same larger subnet, broadcasts can reach every machine. The DHCP server in the other segment can provide addresses to DHCP clients in the first segment to use those addresses.

This indicates that you can strengthen and expand your wireless signal using any existing router combined with DD-WRT. Check out the DD-WRT page dedicated to explanations for more information in full.

What exactly is the distinction between the Client Bridge and the Repeater Bridge?

Wired clients can be connected to a secondary router using a typical wireless bridge, also known as a Client Bridge. This gives the appearance that the wired clients are connected to the primary network via cable. The primary router and the secondary clients would divide the total available bandwidth of a wireless connection. Because of this, it is still possible for clients to connect to the primary router via either wired or wireless connections.

Because the Client Bridge only supports wired connections, only wired clients can establish a connection to the secondary router. A Repeater Bridge is required to enable wireless clients to connect to the secondary router.

Whether wireless or wired, clients can connect to the secondary router through a Repeater Bridge. It also enables a wireless connection between the primary and secondary devices.

The technology behind wireless internet is still very new, despite how pervasive it is in our daily lives and homes. Although the first fully functional “wireless internet” was shown in Hawaii in the 1970s, it took several decades for wireless networking technology to advance to the point where it was both powerful and affordable enough to be a viable option in the home.

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Even though they are so convenient, wireless networks are significantly constrained in their functionality. All wireless signals and networks use radio frequency broadcasts, just like the radio in your car or in your home or the television you receive over the air. However, the signals used by wireless networks exist on frequencies that are somewhere between those your microwave naturally produces and those that radio stations are broadcasting to your vehicle. These frequencies can be thought of as falling somewhere in the middle.

Because it broadcasts via radio waves, your wireless network is susceptible to the same constraints you will generally discover with other types of radio communications. As a consequence of this, the signal strength or coverage area of your wireless network at home may not be adequate due to the same concerns that affect other types of radio technology:

Obstructive factors that contribute to a diminished received signal

  1. Interference from other devices that are transmitting radio waves.
  2. Weaker signals transmitted by wireless equipment that is both older and less efficient
  3. Because of potential problems with the receiving apparatus, the signal can appear to be very weak.
  4. Insufficient power is provided by the wireless router, which results in a less robust signal.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the organization that determines the criteria for the radio frequencies acceptable for usage by wireless networks. At this time, your home’s wireless networking equipment could operate on the 900 MHz bands, the 2.4, 3.6, 5, or even the 60 GHz frequency band. These are just some of the possibilities. At the moment, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are the frequency bands used by most home routers.

Check to see which radio frequency band your wireless router or any other networking equipment is using before attempting to remedy any problems you may be having with signal strength or range. This information may make it easier for you to troubleshoot difficulties related to your range and strength.

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