Recently, my parent’s DSL modem died (after about 10 years of constant use) so I had to replace it with a Belkin router that also has a DSL modem integrated. Well, now they are left with a useless Linksys router because the Belkin does both, acting as both a DSL modem and router.
I did have a Linksys WAP54G access point that I used as repeater for that Linksys router before but the repeater was never powerful enough to work well. After doing some online research, I found that you can actually turn almost any router into a repeater if you install DD-WRT. Most routers don’t come equipped with repeater settings but routers can be many times more powerful than the repeaters you can buy.
Since I have been putting DD-WRT to many of my routers, it didn’t take me too long before my parent’s Linksys WRT54GS into a “super” repeater.
The results were rather fantastic (hence why I am writing this blog post). My parent’s new DD-WRT repeater does an awesome job of extending WiFi signals all over their house, much better than what the stock WAP54G did. I would highly advise now to actually get a router and convert it to a DD-WRT repeater instead of buying a wifi repeater. (Plus think about flexibility, you can always use it as a router too if needed.)
The best part? You can actually turn your router into a “universal” repeater, meaning it will repeat any open WiFi signals. Of course, having open WiFi not sound too smart but for where my parents live, there’s not too many neighbors and it’s in the country so it’s going to work well.
Also, by using DD-WRT, you will be able to repeat from any WiFi host even if you use different brands like me. In my case, I used a Belkin DSL modem/router coupled with a Linksys WRT-54GS router-turned-to-DD-WRT-repeater.
On another thought, you can probably use a universal repeater to extend the range of free open WiFi around where you live (and get free WiFi although it’s probably illegal).
Anyways, just a thought just in case you need to extend your WiFi.
To turn your router into a universal repeater, you will first have to install DD-WRT. You can see if your router is supported by checking the list of supported devices here. The process of DD-WRT is rather easy but just make sure to check that the firmware you are installing has been successfully tested with the model number of your router because you can brick your router pretty easily if you don’t check that. Otherwise, DD-WRT shouldn’t be too hard to install.
Once you have hacked your router with DD-WRT, you can follow directions here on how to set up your new router as universal wireless repeater.
Also on the similar subject, you can check out Repeater Bridge to connect wired devices together. Basically this is another step beyond repeating signals, you can actually setup a wireless bridge to connect different LAN networks in your home/office.
Finally, don’t forget to read my post on how to tweak your DD-WRT router for maximum performance.
Man, I love open-source, long live DD-WRT. DD-WRT is probably the best open-source router software you can install on your factory router to get the maximum performance out of it, I install it on every one of my routers.