I was recently tasked with boosting the Wi-Fi signal within the office premises. The primary Wi-Fi source was 10 m away from the office and within a separate building. The device was in a small study room and about four walls stood between us and the device hence a low signal reception. Two solutions presented themselves:
- Buy a Wi-Fi repeater
- Use an existing Wi-Fi router as a repeater
Solution no. 2 seemed better in the long run as it made both economic and scalability sense i.e. the router can be different modes unlike a repeater which, once bought, remains a repeater. I had two Wi-Fi routers, a Cisco Linksys and a TP-Link.
The Cisco Linksys E900 was the original router connected to the ISP modem but I replaced it with the TP-Link one since it was more powerful in terms of signal range. The Linksys would therefore act as a repeater. But I would bridge both routers without the use of an Ethernet cable since both devices were located in two separate neighbouring buildings. The solution was to create a wireless bridge as explained in this article.
However, the firmware loaded on the Linksys router did not have the option of creating a repeater. This limitation prompted me to do more research and I come across an open source firmware called DD-WRT for routers and embedded systems; this firmware supports Repeater mode for routers as indicated on this blog article. There’s a database list for supported devices; the E900 is on the list and therefore I followed the instructions at this link.
I followed the instructions to the letter since any mistake would have bricked the device. So ensure that when you’re flashing your router with a new different firmware, your device type/ model is supported.
Brian Birir May 20, 2014