Wi-Fi is Great! The ability to whip out your phone and be connected to petabytes upon petabytes of data in seconds with no wires in between you and that magic little box that connects you up! What’s not so great is when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get a reliable signal in some places, this is a particular problem I’m having and therefore needed a solution.
I had a BT Home Hub 3 lying around that hasn’t been used for many years (We now have a BT Hub 5) and so I decided to put it to good use. I found an excellent guide by unixetc.co.uk that you can see here, but I will summarise the steps here.
In essence, there are three main parts to using an old router as an extender, you also don’t need to use a BT Hub specifically, this method will work with virtually any router on the market!
Part 1: Turn Off DHCP
DHCP is the service that assigns IP addresses to all your devices on your network, this is important since an IP address is an identifier for each device on a network, but you can’t have two of them on one network, so you must disable DHCP on the router you intend to use as the repeater.
Part 2: Change the IP Address of the Router
This is only necessary if both routers have the same Default Gateway, in my case since both devices were BT Home Hubs their Default Gateway was “192.168.1.254” however, just as you can’t have two DHCP servers on one network, you can’t have two devices with identical IP addresses on a network.
Part 3: Connect it up!
After that, just connect an ethernet cable running from your main router to your repeater and plug it into any port (Not the Infinity WAN port!) and there you go! Any devices that connect wirelessly to the repeater or via an ethernet will have internet access! In my case, I needed the additional signal a fair distance away from the main Hub so I elected to use a “Powerline” adapter, these work by sending the ethernet signals through the electrical wiring of your home, thereby I was able to easily connect the two routers together with no long cables or pulling apart the walls!
In conclusion, this method works well for someone who just wants to make their Wi-Fi go that little bit further, I did find that the ping according to speedtest.net had increased, so maybe this isn’t the best solution for gamers, but for casual surfing this worked more than well and I was able to get Wi-Fi in places it has never reached before!
Having now used the extended Wi-Fi network for a while, I found that it works well, as I leave the range of our main hub my phone or computer will connect to the extended network, however, I sometimes found that when I sat on the boundary of the two networks my phone couldn’t always decide which one to connect to and would frequently switch networks.
I have now updated this setup using the BT Hub 5 as an extender, you can see it here.