How to Build a WiFi Extender from an Old Router

Building your own WiFi extender from an old router is an easy and affordable way to improve your home's wireless coverage. With just a bit of DIY know-how, you can extend your WiFi network into those annoying dead zones in your house.

What You'll Need

Why Use An Old Router as a WiFi Extender?

Using an extra router that you have on hand is a great way to make a WiFi extender without spending any money. Modern wireless routers are powerful enough to broadcast a good quality signal even when configured as extenders. Also, routers have all the internal circuitry needed built-in, unlike basic range extenders which are less capable.

How to Setup the Old Router as a Wireless Extender

Setting up an old router to act as a wireless extender is a straight-forward process that can usually be done in under 10 minutes. Here are the basic steps:

1. Factory Reset the Old Router

First, perform a factory reset on the old router so it goes back to its default settings. This can usually be done by pressing and holding the reset button on the back of the router for 30 seconds. Consult the owner's manual for your particular router model to be sure.

2. Position the Extender Router

Place the router/extender in a location that is able to receive a strong signal from your main wireless router, but also reaches the WiFi dead zone you want to fix. The closer the better, but make sure it's not too close which can cause interference.

3. Connect the Extender to Your Main Router

Connect the extender router to your main router using an Ethernet cable. This connects it to your network so the two can communicate.

Plug one end into one of the LAN ports on your main router, and plug the other end into the extender router's Internet/WAN port. Do not use the extender's LAN ports.

4. Configure the Extender Router

Now, log into the extender router's administrator settings through your web browser. Refer to your router's documentation to determine how to access this.

Look for a setting called Wireless Repeating, Wireless Range Extention, or something similar. Enable this setting.

Finally, give the extended network a new SSID (network name) and password so it is different from your main network. This completes setup!

Connecting to the Extended Network

Once setup is complete, your extender router will be broadcasting the new wireless network. Connect to this extended network with your devices whenever you need expanded WiFi access in that area, such as for a back patio or garage.

Make sure to connect back to your main router's wireless network when you don't need the expanded range so that you don't overload or interference with the extender.

Tips for Improving the Extender's Performance

Here are some tips to get the best performance out of a router configured as a WiFi extender:


Repurposing an old wireless router is a simple and effective way to improve WiFi coverage in your home. With this cheap WiFi range extender setup, you can avoid those annoying internet dead zones and get a strong signal in more areas of your house.