Having weak WiFi signal in parts of your home can be frustrating. While you can buy commercial WiFi extenders, they can be expensive. Luckily, with a bit of DIY spirit, you can build your own WiFi repeater and signal booster using spare router parts for a fraction of the cost.

In this guide, I'll walk you through the complete process of building a DIY WiFi repeater and signal booster using an old router. This project requires some technical skills, but if you follow the steps closely, you can create your own affordable solution to improve WiFi coverage in your home.

What You'll Need

To build the DIY WiFi repeater and signal booster, you'll need the following:

How It Works

A WiFi repeater takes an existing WiFi signal, amplifies it, and rebroadcasts it to extend the range. Here's a quick rundown of how our DIY repeater will work:

Flashing the Router with DD-WRT Firmware

The first step is to install DD-WRT custom firmware on the spare router you'll use as the repeater. Here are the steps:

  1. Download the correct DD-WRT firmware for your router model from the DD-WRT website.

  2. Connect your computer directly to the repeater router via Ethernet cable.

  3. Access the router admin interface in your web browser ( typically).

  4. Navigate to the firmware upgrade section and upload the DD-WRT firmware file.

  5. Let the router reboot and upgrade. This takes 5-10 minutes usually.

  6. Log back into the router admin interface once upgrade is complete.

Configuring the Repeater in DD-WRT

Once DD-WRT firmware is installed, we need to configure the router to function as a repeater:

  1. In the setup tab, go to the Basic Setup section.

  2. Set the router mode to "Repeater".

  3. Enter your main router SSID as the wireless network name.

  4. Choose WPA2 encryption and enter your WiFi password.

  5. Select the repeater bridged mode option.

  6. Disable DHCP server and NAT to avoid conflicts.

  7. Set the IP address to something outside your main router's DHCP range.

  8. Click Save and Apply Settings.

Connecting the Main Router and Repeater

For optimal performance, it's best to connect the main router and repeater with Ethernet:

  1. Run Ethernet cable between your main router location and repeater location.

  2. Connect one end to a LAN port on your main router.

  3. Connect the other end to one of the LAN ports on the repeater router.

  4. This provides backhaul connectivity for maximum throughput.

Positioning the Repeater

Positioning is crucial - you want to place the repeater where it can receive a decent signal from the main router but also sufficiently extend coverage:

Testing and Optimizing Performance

Once it's all set up, test the DIY repeater and make any needed optimizations:

Wrapping Up

That covers the complete process of constructing your own DIY WiFi repeater and signal booster with an old router and DD-WRT firmware. While it requires some technical skill, it's a fun project that can extend your home WiFi coverage on the cheap. With proper positioning and optimizations, you can get performance that rivals commercial WiFi range extenders. Enjoy the satisfaction of tackling your connectivity issues with DIY ingenuity!