Can a Modem Router Be Used as a WiFi Extender?

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Can a Modem Router Be Used as a WiFi Extender? – Overview

Are you struggling with WiFi inactivity in your home or office?

With the right configuration, you can repurpose an old router to extend your WiFi coverage, but its effectiveness as a network extender depends on the model and its capabilities.

The reconfiguration process is easy and cost-friendly. Read on to understand how to go about it.

Converting a Modem Router into a WiFi Extender

One method to repurpose your router as a WiFi extender involves installing third-party firmware such as DD-WRT, but this is not the only method and is only compatible with certain routers.

The firmware replaces the default firmware of your old modem router, allowing you to change it into a repeater or bridge. Converting your router boosts its performance and gives it more options.

Before installing the DD-WRT firmware, you should find out whether your router model is compatible, and then download the latest firmware. Remember, some routers cannot install DD-WRT.

If your router is incompatible with DD-WRT, researching other compatible models or considering commercial WiFi extenders could be alternatives.

Installing the DD-WRT Firmware

Reset your hardware and use an Ethernet cable to connect your PC to your router’s LAN port. Launch a web browser and key in on the link address bar to acquire the DD-WRT firmware control panel.

If your PC does not automatically obtain an IP address via DHCP, manually set the IP address to be in the same subnet as the router for configuration purposes.

Modify the Wireless Mode

Can a Modem Router be used as a WiFi Extender

Go to the basic settings, which you can access from the Wireless option. The instructions here will vary based on your preferred process.

Select Client Bridge from the Wireless drop-down mode to link wired gadgets such as a game console or television to your old router to facilitate wireless connection on your modem router.

For SSID, Network Mode, and Wireless Channel, configure the same options as available on your basic router.

To extend your wireless network range using your old router, select the ‘Repeater’ mode in the settings, if available, to enable it to re-broadcast the WiFi signal.

Enter your basic router’s SSID in the external interface section and select “Bridged” for network applications.

This will indicate that your repeater modem router will acquire the signal and be connected to your current network.

Pick a different SSID on the internal interfaces section to enable connection to the specific router whenever you are closer to it.

Press Save and Apply.

Configure the Wireless Security

For the repeater and bridge options, select Wireless, Wireless Security, and key in your main router’s security settings.

Change the IP Address

Here, you must select “Setup” then “Basic” Setup, from where you can change your router’s IP address.

If you want to create a bridge, you want the IP address to be the same as your basic router’s subnet. If you are creating a repeater, however, key in a unique subnet.

Check the DD-WRT repeater bridge and client bridge guidelines for more tips and details. To confirm the performance status of your new setup, choose Status, then the Wireless option.

Use the Wireless Repeater Mode on Your Router

Check your router manual or go through the settings to establish whether it comes with an extender, wireless repeater, or bridge mode.

If you doubt your actions, consider checking what your old modem router’s manual says about your chosen model. Remember, your old router should support wireless connections from other gadgets.

The term ‘Wireless Bridge’ typically refers to connecting two routers wirelessly to extend a network. However, depending on the configuration, it may not always allow wireless clients to connect to the extended network.

Any gadgets you linked to your old router through an Ethernet cable will join your network.

The wireless repeater mode configuration changes the Ethernet cable from the previous step. This configuration comes with a warning to ensure users understand the consequences of operating your old modem router as a WiFi extender.

Be aware that using a router in repeater mode can halve the bandwidth available to devices connected through the extender due to the repeater’s need to retransmit data.

As a result, using an Ethernet connection is ideal as it helps link access points to your basic router. A wireless bridge is convenient, but you must deal with reduced speeds.


You do not have to spend money to boost the performance of your home WiFi configuration. An old modem router is enough to help you enhance your wireless signal in your house or office.

Here are additional tips to help you get the best out of your old router.

To optimize performance, consider disabling unnecessary features on your old router when using it as an extender, especially if it supports an ‘Access Point’ mode, which can simplify the process.

Use different SSIDs on your new and old networks. Doing so allows you to regulate how your different devices connect.

See Also

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