When you decide to order internet service for your office or home, it is also inevitable that you will set up a complete home network that will allow you to access the internet through all your devices. These can include anything from your smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops, Scanners, printers, and so on; as long as they can connect to the internet.
The tool that is most essential to enabling the internet access of these devices is a router, which is a box that connects to a satellite or cable modem and gives you internet services all over the area, both through the use of Ethernet cables and wirelessly. This sounds great in theory, but it sometimes fails to work due to certain obstacles such as walls, or many people using the network at the same time.
This eventually results in an area of your home called the ‘Dead corner’ where there is no Wi-Fi signal at all, or the signal is very weak. This is not a new problem either – it has been there ever since Wi-Fi first came into existence; but among the best solutions is finding a way to extend the range of the router.
There are a number of options you can use if you want to eliminate those infamous dead zones, and we will look at some of them in this article.
How does a range extender work?
A range extender will basically work as a way of getting and re-distributing Wi-Fi signals coming from the wireless router, which allows extra coverage areas to open up for use. These extenders will come in two kinds:
- Power line-based extenders – these will rely on the electrical system in your home, such as a wired network that is already present, in order to transmit signals of the internet through and across various obstacles, and feed them into a wireless signal.
- Antenna-based extenders – these just add an extra broadcasting node to the network that is already present.
How to use a TP Link router as an extender
The good thing about TP Link routers these days is their ability to be useful as range extenders, as there are multiple modes that are available in the dashboard. Here is a step-by-step process of using them as range extenders:
- Log in to the dashboard of the router. If you want to access the server, you can go to the main website http://tplinkwifi.net/, or alternatively use the IP address http://192.168.0.1/
- When you access the login page, type ‘admin’ in the password and ID fields
- You will see a menu on the left side of the page, which shows you a few options. Select the ‘Range Extender’ option, and follow the instructions shown. Note that the ‘Operation mode’ (the third option) will provide the options that you want to use the wireless router in.
- A page will come up, and it will display all the Wi-Fi networks that are available in the area. Choose the one you use in your office or home, then enter its password.
- The TP Link router should now reboot and change the Operation Mode. You can now plug it into a location that removes the Dead Zone.
How do you maximize range without extenders?
If you do not want to install an extender there are some things that you can do instead. Regardless of what you decide to do, you should remember that signal/distance strength and network speeds are closely related.
There are three factors to keep in mind, which are:
- Thickness of the barrier – each barrier in your home will interfere with the strength of the signal, and this can change depending on the composition of the barrier, and its thickness. The heavier the barrier, such as walls comprised of cement and bricks, the weaker the signal becomes.
- Electromagnetic interference – the presence of electromagnetic waves will also interfere with the strength of the signals. This becomes more complicated when you consider that every electromagnetic device uses these signals to some extent, and the routers will have different signal strengths depending on whether they are for office or home use. However, the good thing is that network frequencies will not make a big difference in many situations.
- The physical environment – the alignment of the router and its positioning will have a major impact on the performance. If you are installing it outdoors, for instance when you want a wireless network for CCTV cameras, you need to factor in the external weather conditions such as rain, which can interfere with speeds.
Types of extenders
- Wi-Fi repeaters – they are the simplest form of extenders, and will just take in the signal from your router and re-distribute it across a bigger area.
- Wi-Fi extenders – these will use the ‘backhaul’ technique through wires or cables that extend the range of the network.
Range extenders are a great choice when you want to broaden the range of your current Wi-Fi networks, but it is also important to keep other factors in mind when you select an extender option to make the most from it.