The main Internet point was situated in an upstairs office on one side of the home, but wireless connectivity was poor on the other side of the property and non-existent downstairs. A previous service provider had attempted to use some Linksys Powerline connected to some TP-Link Wireless Routers to extend wireless connectivity around the home. Things were not working well however, and seemed some what excessive.
Having noted the model of the TP-Link routers, I was quickly able to determine that these units were compatible with the very powerful, open source firmware, DD-WRT. I know that the popular practice is to use a Wi-Fi Range Extender device that plugs into a power socket. These devices cost anywhere between $20 to $40.
The process to upgrade the firmware on the TP-Link Router was one that was well documented on the Internet and worked as outlined, as was the process to configure the two TP-Link routers which were used to act as wireless repeaters.
So in this situation I was able to “re-purpose” or use the equipment the client had to successfully achieve the desired result which was to extend wireless Internet connectivity throughout the home, without buying any more expensive equipment, indeed the only additional equipment needed was a booster antenna, to enable the repeater downstairs to pickup the wireless signal.
Now why not buy one of the ready made devices that you simply plug into an electrical outlet? Well while the TP-Link units cost about around US$28, about the same price as some of the better Wi-Fi extenders, the benefits of this solution are far superior as I will outline:
- The wireless router, has 4 ports that can be used for connecting other device. If you had a TV Streaming device, Smart-TV or MagicJack for example in another room, these can be connected to the wireless router.
- The wireless router also offers better flexibility in terns of additional services that could be run on the device.
- If you no longer need a repeater, it can be re-purposed or reconfigured to act as a regular router should your main router break or become damaged.
So with the added power and flexibility provided by replacing the firmware to a router what’s stopping you from extending your wireless signal to your deck, your garden, or that dead-zone of your home?