I am sometimes asked how to extend the range of your home or business Wifi network using cheap hardware and the ADSL Router your ISP gave you for free and I wanted to share with you my tips.
Extending your home or business Wifi network can be a great solution to connect a remote set of devices like printers, home consoles, desktop computers to a Wifi enabled router that sits in another room.
I have used this solution to extend physical networks into remote offices and also connecting home computers and even XBox 360 to a broader network.
The key to all of this is the amazing D-Link DWL-2100AP, which you can pickup for about £55 and it’s a much cheaper and tidier alternative to running cables around and also using the ethernet over power devices.
The D-Link DWL-2100AP is a great little device and I’ll take you through how I connected a remote home office at the bottom of a garden to the BT Homehub back in the house.
To extend the range of a BT Homehub you need a few things:
- D-Link 2100AP with firmware 2.2eu, the one it usually comes out of a box with.
- BT Homehub v1 - the white one. NOTE: This does not work with the black v2 Homehubs as BT disabled the WDS feature that you need
- Your network needs to all be running on the same sub-net, the simplest way to do this is to simply change your netmask on everthing to 255.255.0.0.
The trick is in configuring the software correctly *AND* not upgrading the firmware beyond the build-in v2.2eu as the newer versions tend to cause more incompatibilities and they don’t add or fix any problems you’ll have with this configuration. Stick with firmware v2.2eu.
- Setup your D-Link and connect via the web management interface, usually found at http://192.168.0.50
- Navigate your way through the menus to Home->Wireless
- Select Mode: AP Repeater
- Under Site Survey, hit Scan to find all the devices on your home network.
- You should now see your regular home network listed, select your network and you will see the information be copied above into the ‘Root AP MAC Address’ and ‘SSID’
- Make sure your Authentication details are identical to your Homehub, if they’re not then it simply won’t work.
- Select ‘Apply’ and then you’re done here
- ** at http://192.168.1.254
- Go through the menus: Advanced -> Configuration -> Wireless -> Repeater
- Scan for wireless access points to discover all of the Accessible Access Points
- Tick the box next to your network in the Accessible Access Points list
- Hit Apply and thats that.
That’s it, once your devices have rebooted themselves your 2 networks should be able to see each other. I’ve done this a few times now and it’s worked like a charm every time.
This has failed for me if I’ve tried to change settings or upgrade firmware (v2.3, v2.4, v2.5) and all have caused me much grief. Stick with firmware v2.2 and it’s a breeze.
- D-Link DWL-2100AP - 108Mbps Super G 802.11G Wireless Access Point
- OPTIONAL - Netgear GS108 8-port Gigabit Hub The 2100AP sadly only has 1 network port so you’ll need a little network hub if you want to connect more than 1 device to the endpoint. I’ve had great success with the small but fast 8-port hub.
- Alternative to 2100AP: D-Link DAP-1160 Wireless G Open Source Access Point/Router