How To Setup a TP-Link Extender
Does your WiFi signal have trouble reaching every room? Do you have an older home with thick walls or areas that a WiFi signal can’t penetrate? If so, you need a network extender. One of the most popular around right now is from TP-Link. It’s cheap and effective, but a couple of TechJunkie readers have had trouble setting it up and asked for help. We’re only too happy to help, so here’s how to set up a TP-Link extender.
Network extenders are useful for reaching places your router WiFi signal can’t. They’re small hardware devices that usually plug into a wall socket and connect to your router. They act as a signal repeater and/or booster, and gives your network a very wide range.
Usually, setting up a wireless extender is straightforward, but networks can be complicated beasts. In our effort to be genuinely useful to all our readers, I’ve put together this quick guide on setting up a TP-Link extender. I hope it helps!
First things first
Before we do anything with the extender, we need to identify the router IP address, the WiFi SSID (broadcast name), the type of encryption it uses and the password to access the network.
- Log into your router. This is usually achieved by typing its IP address into a browser. Most often it’s 192.168.1.1, but it can be something else.
- Access the wireless part of your router GUI and write down the details above: the router IP address, SSID, encryption method, and password to access the network.
- Stay logged into the router for now.
If your router doesn’t respond to 192.168.1.1, it may have a different IP address. My Linksys uses the 10.XXX range. If yours is the same, try this:
- Right click the Windows Taskbar and select Task Manager.
- Select File, New Task and check the Run as Admin checkbox.
- Type CMD into the box to open a command line box.
- Type ‘ipconfig /all’ into that CMD box and hit Enter.
- Look for Default Gateway. This is your router IP address.
Setting up your TP-Link extender
To begin with, we need to connect the TP-Link extender to your computer with an Ethernet cable. This is so we can program the wireless settings into it so it can connect.
- Plug your TP-Link extender into a wall outlet.
- Connect it to your computer with an Ethernet cable.
- Open a browser on your computer and navigate to http://tplinkrepeater.net. If that doesn’t work, try http://192.168.0.254. You should see a TP-Link web page appear.
- Select Quick Setup and Next.
- Select your region and Next.
- Let the TP-Link extender scan for wireless networks. It might take a minute or two depending on how many networks there are around you.
- Select your wireless network from the list, and select Next.
- Enter the wireless password when prompted.
- Select ‘Copy from main router’ if you want a single larger wireless network or ‘Customize’ if you want to create a different network.
- Select Next.
- Review the network settings in the final window and select Finish if all is correct.
The TP-Link extender will reboot and will hopefully allow access to the internet. Test it first with the Ethernet cable, and then without it using wireless. Depending on your model of TP-Link extender, there may be a light on the front which signifies whether it’s connected to the network or not. Monitor this to ensure it’s able to maintain a connection.
Configure TP-Link extender with WPS button
If your router has a WPS button, you can use that to set everything up too. WPS is WiFi Protected Setup which allows you to configure networks automatically and safely. The button is a physical button, usually found on the back of a router, hopefully labelled WPS.
Some TP-Link extenders also have WPS buttons so you can use this to set it up.
- Plug the TP-Link extender into a power outlet close to your wireless router.
- Press the WPS button on the back of the router. You should see a WPS LED blink. If not, press it again.
- Press the WPS button on the TP-Link extender. The WPS light should blink here too. Press it again if it doesn’t.
Using WPS means you don’t have to manually configure the settings on your TP-Link extender. By physically pressing the WPS button, you tell the router that you’re authorizing it to connect with a device that has also had WiFi Protected Setup enabled. There is a finite, two-minute window, within which the router will accept connections to add a little security.
WPS can be a little hit and miss, which is why I didn’t suggest using this method first. If it doesn’t pick up the wireless network, reset both devices and try again. If that doesn’t work, configure it manually as above.
Once you follow the basic procedure for setting up your TP-Link extender, you should enjoy a fast connection from every corner of the house. If you’re not getting the desired results, experiment with placing the extender in different locations until you find the one that delivers the best results.