Linksys wireless router as a range expander?

Posted on 2007-07-28
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I have two Linksys WRT54GS wireless routers. One is v.1.1, the other, v.2.0. I am receiving poor wireless transmission in certain parts of my home and I would like to use one of the rouers as a range expander. Apparenty, at one time, I could go into the settings window and choose "wireless repeater" in the "AP screen mode." Problem is, I can't find such an option.

Is there a way to use my second wireless router as a range expander? If so, how do I do this.
(Note: Only one router is currently in use.)

Thank you.
Question by:ckarlan

    Expert Comment

    I've tried using multiple wireless routers in a school environment. Of course, simply as access points. After some trial and error and a phone call to India for support (which didn't help) I figured out a little trick that worked.

    Set up the wireless router as dhcp client, with a static ip address for each additional router. It was just that simple. Make sure you plug into a network connection (Cat5e wall outlet or long cable to the remote part of the house.)

    Author Comment

    I am not able to plug into a network connection. My goal is to use my second wireless router in lieu of purchasing a range expander. From reading comments on, one of the postings stated, "don't buy a range expander, instead use a second wireless router" (which I happen to already have). I just can't figure what settings to use to make it work as a range expander (without cables).
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Hi ckarlan

    Most routers will not act as a wireless repeater. I have used a Netgear WG102 as a repeater with success but the down side is that it only supports WEP encryption, which now can be cracked in under a minute.

    Netgear produce a product that allows you to use your power points for networking if you cannot run a cable.

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Hi Ckarlan

    Looking up your make and model of router it seems that it does not support that funtionality by default.

    You can however upgrade the firmware ( totally at your risk!) Although i have played around with my routers. What you need is the WDS functionaity please check: for firmware updates

    Or you could simply buy 2 routers that do it by default. Draytek are alright expensive but good

    Please remember the signal or quality of the link is only as good as the link between the routers/AP ie If the Signal between AP 1 and AP2 is poor do not think you will get a amplified signal  meaning you get better speeds. Coverage yes speed no.. anyhow that a separate thing.

    Author Comment

    When you say I can upgrade the firmware at my own risk ... what risk is there? If it does not work, can I change the firmware back to the Linksys firmware? Or will I ruin my router?

    Buying a second router is not an option. If I am going to buy a second router, I would instead purchase a range expander. Since I already own a second Linksys WRT54GS, I was hoping to be able to use it instead of spending more money.

    I appreciate your thoughts. Please let me know of the downside to 3rd party firmware.


    Expert Comment


    I believe when he says you can upgrade your firmware at your own risk, it means that once you change the firmware, if it doesnt work, then the router will no longer boot or function correctly.  Which means the software inside the router that's supposed to obtain the firmware when you send it from your computer, will cease to function.  Basically, if you get a bad firmware or failed firmware upgrade, the router is toast.

    The WRT54GS was not built to function as a wireless repeater, it has a router function built into it, which means it's made to act as the primary router.  To verify what they are saying, you are pretty much out of luck on using the WRT54GS as a repeater unless you wish to risk destroying it with bad firmware upgrade.  You can obtain the firmware from other people in their garage that think up and tries to do what you are asking for (making this "router" into a range expander / repeater).  This is risky because there is no support, no warranty, possibly very confusing instructions, and you can only try "one" of the firmwares out there because if it fails, the router is toast (unless you have crazy geeky materieals to fix it with.)

    Bottom line, buy a range expander, or the a specific device which is geared towards this purpose, which does have the repeater function in it.  I know a lot of it is repeating the above and probably not what you wanted to hear, but unless you are an engineer that can re-program the router, there isn't really another choice.

    Hope this helps...

    Author Comment

    Thank you. I appreciate the frankness!

    Expert Comment

    I think you can think about your problems solution as a bridge configuration of your second router. There are some descriptions on the net that maybe could help you.
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    BAsically all post are revolving back to the point that the routers doent support WDS as they stand but can be accomplished by upgrading the firmware.

    The most widely used is talisman. At the end of the day the firmware is a cutdown version of linux. Most people upgrade to get additional functionality.

    This is a good article to get you started


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