How To Setup A TP-Link Extender in 2022? You will invariably wind up setting up a whole home network when you get Internet access for your home or company. This enables the network connection to be used by all of your devices, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, printers and scanners, smart TVs, and linked devices like smart outlets and appliances. A router, a device that connects to your cable modem or satellite modem and disperses Internet services around the area both wirelessly and using Ethernet wires, is nearly always used to accomplish this.
Theoretical and practical range
WiFi networks use radio waves to communicate, which travel well through open air but poorly through solid things like walls and doors. Radio waves can cross such obstructions, but it drains their power. A wireless device’s range may be 600 feet. If you set up that equipment outside, in perfect weather, in a huge open field, with nothing between the two network components, they would work fine even 600 feet apart.
Now do it inside a house with walls, fridges, doors, and stairs. 10% of your network’s nominal range is 60 feet. Weak WiFi is irritating and has several causes. You may have a router that doesn’t broadcast with adequate power or have obstructions in the way of the signal. Obstacles are usually strong walls or floors, but other home items can also. I once wasted four hours trying to find out why a wireless network couldn’t reach surrounding rooms before discovering I was asking the signal to go through 500 pounds of cast iron in a home gym setting.
A wireless network extender may be what you need if you have a large home or office or want to expand your Internet connection to a shed, garage, or patio. TP-Link makes wireless routers, range extenders, modems, and switches. We’ll focus on their range extenders here. Cheap range extenders work well, but home networking can be tricky. This article explains how range extenders function, why you may need one, and how to set up a TP-Link device.
Wireless network extenders rebroadcast your router’s WiFi signals to increase signal in physically obstructed regions. Antenna-based extenders add another broadcasting node to your network, whereas powerline-based extenders use your home’s electrical infrastructure as a wired network to transmit wireless signals across (or through) obstacles.
Consider this house plan. Living room router. Strong signal, good signal, weak signal, and no signal are highlighted on the plan (note that this is a simplified example; in real life, a house this size would be sufficiently covered by one router).
In this example, most of the home has a solid signal, but the left-side bedrooms do not. Moving the router to a more central place may be inconvenient or impossible. Place a wifi extender in the hallway between the living room and bedrooms.
Network range expansion
You can increase your range to avoid installing extenders. In a modest apartment or house, that’s typically fine. Larger or more complicated homes and businesses must plan for network range and performance. For a wireless network, throughput/speed and distance/signal strength are connected; a computer will obtain a faster network signal at ten feet from the router through open air than at sixty feet via three walls and a stairwell. Barrier thickness and material type, interference sources, and antenna operational environment are important.
Every physical impediment affects wireless strength. One wall can diminish signal by 25 to 50%. Barrier thickness and material composition are important. Plywood, drywall, wood, and glass are porous to radio waves and won’t damage your signal. Brick, cement, metal, plaster, stone, or double-glazed glass walls and floor and ceiling panels are more resistant.
Non-porous materials are more resistant to radio waves. Radio waves have trouble penetrating steel-filled elevators and stairwells.
Electromagnetic frequency causes network slowdowns and unreliability. Modern electronics employ a restricted band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Current home and business WiFi employs two different frequency bands, and different electronic equipment uses each band. 2.4 GHz can punch through barriers better than 5 GHz, while 5 GHz has a higher top speed. In most cases, network frequency is irrelevant.
Microwave ovens, cordless cell phones, fluorescent bulbs, video cameras, elevator motors, cauterising devices, plasma cutters, BlueTooth devices, and 802.11, 802.11b, and 802.11g wireless networks use the 2.4 GHz spectrum. 5 GHz cordless phones, radar, sensors, digital satellite signals, 802.11a/n wireless networks, and outdoor 5 GHz bridges use the band.
WiFi antenna orientation can improve performance. A signal that needs to travel down a long, narrow hallway should have a semi-directional antenna, not a multidirectional one. Precipitation can affect range and speed in outdoor applications (such as installing wireless surveillance cameras). Trees and crowds might reduce signal strength. Access points, routers, and receiving antennas should be placed as high as possible. Signals are usually strongest at the ceiling.
Which Extenders Exist?
What gear you need to extend your WiFi network depends on your networking needs. I’ll explain the two main types of WiFi boosters and how they work.
First, WiFi repeaters may extend a WiFi network. Repeaters have a wireless antenna and connect to your WiFi network like a computer or smartphone. It rebroadcasts the signal locally and takes up other devices’ signals. If your laptop is closer to the WiFi repeater than the router, it will connect to the repeater. WiFi repeaters have drawbacks. Because its connection to the router uses the same radio waves as other home technology, the repeater’s link is subject to interference.
Phones, microwaves, and other devices might produce interference, slowing or dropping the router connection. WiFi repeaters connect to local devices and the router using the same frequency. Locally connected devices will get half the repeater’s bandwidth, resulting in sluggish WiFi. WiFi repeaters must have a clean signal channel back to the router. Walls, doors, floors, and ceilings hinder radio signals. A repeater far from the router will have a poor signal and be of little utility.
In situations where the main router won’t reach, a WiFi repeater may be useful. Another example is a space with no heavy applications, such as a guest bedroom where an overnight guest may want to use their smartphone. This older technology shouldn’t be your first pick.
WiFi extenders are revolutionising WiFi expansion. Unlike WiFi repeaters, “backhaul” boosts signal without using wireless bandwidth. Backhaul is high-capacity signal transmission. WiFi extenders require router backhaul. Electrical or coaxial cables are used in homes and offices. Physical links backhaul signals. WiFi extender clones router/modem to boost range.
WiFi extenders are dual-wired. Many households and businesses have coaxial wire from cable TV or earlier networks. Digital cable systems won’t use much of this cable’s bandwidth. This cable is usually used to extend WiFi using MoCA. Internet and cable TV share wiring but don’t interact. One MoCA adapter goes to the router’s coaxial port and another to the WiFi extension.
If homes or offices have coaxial cable, it only reaches one room. Installing MoCA using coaxial wire is expensive and requires exposing walls and floors. A basic coax extension may cost $200 or less. Renters may have little choice.
Powerline backhaul. Power line adapters transmit data across copper cables. The technology is outdated. Early implementations were Ethernet alternatives. Slow, they didn’t sell. Powerline adapters work.
Power lines move data slower than coaxial connections. 200, 500, 600, and 1200 Mbps are power line adaptor speeds (compared to 1000 MBps for coaxial cable). Age, adapter distance, electrical system oscillations, and interference slow power line adapter speeds. In ideal conditions, a power line adaptor operates at 20% of its rated speed. 200+ MBps is plenty for most workloads with high-end adapters.
Choose a technology. MoCA is preferable. Slow, unstable power line wiring. MoCA can stream HD or extreme HD. If needed, use a powerline.
Before you do anything with the extender, you need to get some information about your existing router. To access the network, you need to know the router’s IP address, WiFi SSID (broadcast name), type of encryption it uses, and password.
- Connect to your router. Usually, you type its IP address into a browser to do this. Most of the time, it’s 192.168.1.1, but sometimes it’s not. To find your IP address, go to your computer’s network tab, right-click on your wireless network, and select Properties. If you scroll down, you’ll find your IP address next to IPv4.
- Access the wireless part of your router’s GUI and write down the information above: the router’s IP address, SSID, encryption method, and password to access the network.
- Don’t log out of the router just yet.
If 192.168.1.1 doesn’t work for your router, it might have a different IP address. The 10.XXX range is what Linksys uses. Trying this if yours is the same:
- Right-click on the Windows Taskbar and select Task Manager.
- Choose File, New Task, and then check the box next to Run as Admin.
- To open a command line box, type CMD in the box.
- Type ipconfig /all into the CMD box and press Enter.
- Find “Default Gateway.” This is the IP address for your router.
Setting up your TP-Link extender
To begin with, we need to connect the TP-Link extender to your computer with an Ethernet cable. This is so we can program the wireless settings into it so it can connect.
- Plug your TP-Link extender into a wall outlet.
- Connect it to your computer with an Ethernet cable.
- Open a browser on your computer and navigate to http://tplinkrepeater.net. If that doesn’t work, try http://192.168.0.254. You should see a TP-Link web page appear.
- Select Quick Setup and Next.
- Select your region and Next.
- Let the TP-Link extender scan for wireless networks. It might take a minute or two, depending on how many networks there are around you.
- Select your wireless network from the list, and select Next.
- Enter the wireless password when prompted.
- Select Copy from the main router if you want a single larger wireless network or Customize if you want to create a different network.
- Select Next.
- Review the network settings in the final window and select Finish if all is correct.
The TP-Link extender will restart, which should make the internet work. First test it with an Ethernet cable, then test it without the cable using wireless. Depending on the model of TP-Link extender you have, the front may have a light that shows if it’s connected to the network or not. Keep an eye on this to make sure it can keep a connection.
Set up the WPS button on the TP-Link extender.
You can also set everything up with a WPS button on your router. WPS is WiFi Protected Setup, which lets you set up networks safely and automatically. The button is a physical button that is usually on the back of a router and should say “WPS” on it. Some TP-Link extenders also have WPS buttons, so you can use those to set it up.
- Connect the TP-Link extender to an electrical outlet near your wireless router.
- On the back of the router, press the WPS button. There should be a blinking WPS LED. Press it again if not.
- Push the WPS button on the TP-Link extender. Here, too, the WPS light should blink. If it doesn’t, press it again.
WPS eliminates the need to manually configure your TP-Link extension. By pushing the WPS button, you authorise the router to connect with a WPS-enabled device. The router accepts connections for two minutes to add security. I didn’t recommend WPS because it’s hit-or-miss. If it doesn’t connect, restart both devices. Configure it manually if that doesn’t work.
After setting up your TP-Link extender, you should have a fast connection throughout the house. If you’re not happy with the results, try placing the extender in different places. WiFi problems? TechJunkie includes lessons on how to connect to WiFi without a password, how to identify if someone is stealing your WiFi, how to ban someone from accessing your WiFi, how to connect a Kindle Fire to WiFi, and how to diagnose and fix WiFi-only Internet problems.
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