Suggestions for turning a spare Linksys WRT54G into a Wi-Firepeater

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. My older sister, in another state, has a problem with Wi-Fi reception,
    and she has a spare Linksys WRT54G broadband router which I'd like to
    talk her through setting up over the phone as a Wi-Fi repeater.

    I can find generic instructions, such as:

    But, before I start walking her through the process (she's not technical),
    may I ask you for advice?
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014
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  2. I too have relatives living in different states that I assist from time
    to time. I have found that talking them through an installation of Team
    Viewer usually aids me greatly in assisting them. Nice being able to
    watch what they do or even taking control if need be and doing things
    from my end.

    As for your situation, if your sisters current router is using the as it's own you may not be able to use the Team Viewer
    method to work on this problem. Linksys routers by default usually want
    to use this and the two would fight you.

    If the existing network is not using for her network then
    you should be able to take control of her PC and through it the second
    router once she plugs it into her existing network. Just default it to
    factory using the button and it will be back to and waiting
    for you.
    GlowingBlueMist, Dec 7, 2014
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  3. I just found out that the Linksys WRT54Gv2 can NOT be set up as a wireless
    repeater without flashing the software with DD-WRT or equivalent, so I was
    apparently doomed to failure from the start.

    I guess I can flash the router with DD-WRT over TeamViewer, but she's on
    iPads and I'm on Linux so that might be difficult considering that I have
    never installed DD-WRT before on any router, not even my own.
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014
  4. I've never had a good experience with repeating the signal. I got it
    work a few times but something always go wrong. The last thing I did
    which is by far the best solution I've had in my flat thus far are these
    TP-LINK devices which use your electric outlet as a bridge.

    *IF* you have two outlets on the same circuit, but a good distance from
    each other, you can plug one of these devices into each outlet. These
    boxes each have an Ethernet jack. So I have in the front of my flat and
    one all the way in the back, which WiFi extenders have always failed to
    reach. Now I have A switch on the other side.

    So a switch in room A (front) and a switch in room b (back). The TP-LINK
    connects these two together. And then I have Cisco wireless access
    points on both connected through the wired switches and they work
    together as a pool with a single SSD. Now I get wireless access across
    the flat and I have faster wired ports via the switch on both ends.

    The TP-Link gets broadband speeds, not LAN speeds. I might just go ahead
    and wire the flat. But this might be a good solution for someone who
    just wants a simple out of the box experience.
    Marek Novotny, Dec 7, 2014
  5. For my Linksys WRT-54Gv2 router (same as my sister since I bought
    both of them at the same time), I was successful setting it up
    as a *wired* repeater (which does not require reflashing).

    I used the instructions that were posted on this forum which
    I found by searching in Google.

    Here is a repeat of those instructions, but bear in mind that this
    requires running a wire from the current router to the old Linksys
    WRT54Gv2 router, which my sister isn't going to do on her own.
    - Connect the primary home broadband router numbered port to the wall plate
    - From the primary wall plate, run a cat5 cable to the secondary wall plate
    - The wiring order was as follows for both ends of all cables:
    (1) solid brown, (2) striped brown, (3) solid green, (4) striped blue,
    (5) solid blue, (6) striped green, (7) solid orange, (8) striped orange
    - From the basement wall plate, connect to a numbered port on the spare WRT54Gv2

    - The spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 firmware was at Firmware Version v1.02.8
    - Disconnect all connections on the spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 router
    - Tape shut the Internet WAN port of the spare WRT54Gv2 router
    - Connect the power supply to the spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 router
    - Hold the reset button for 30 seconds (keep holding the reset button)
    - Remove the power for 30 seconds (keep holding the reset button)
    - Power the router back on for 30 seconds (keep holding the reset button)
    - Finally, let go of the reset button when the third 30 seconds are up
    NOTE: This is often termed the 30:30:30 factory-reset procedure.

    - Turn off the wireless NIC on the laptop (usually by a hardware switch)
    - Connect an Ethernet cat5 cable to the laptop eth0 port
    - Connect that cat5 cable to a numbered port on the WRT54Gv2 router
    - Set the laptop eth0 IP address to 192.168.1.X (anything higher than 1.1)
    (e.g., on Ubuntu, I used: $ sudo ifconfig eth0
    - Make a note of the MAC address of the laptop wlan0 network interface card
    (e.g., $ sudo ifconfig wlan0 | grep HWaddr) ==> 00:A0:00:9B:88:C1
    - Log into the WRT54Gv2 using (blank/admin)
    Make a note of the MAC address of the spare WRT54Gv2 router LAN ports
    (the sticker on the bottom of the spare WRT54Gv2 says 00:16:B6:88:A0:8A)
    (the spare WRT54Gv2 Setup->MAC Address Clone reports 00:16:B6:88:A0:8B)
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Internet Connection Type->Automatic Configuration - DHCP
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Network Setup->Router IP->Local IP Address=
    (where 200 is anything unused on the primary router's network, and also
    outside the primary router DHCP range of to
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Network Setup->Router IP->Subnet Mask=
    - Setup->Basic Setup->Network Setup->DHCP Server=(o)disable
    (This makes the primary router the only DHCP server, for all connections)
    - Wireless->Basic Wireless Settings->(set up the same as the primary router)
    (i.e., SSID = whatever, Security = WPA2-PSK [AES] with the same passphrase)
    (If the primary router is on ch1, then put the secondary on ch6 or ch11)
    - Change the spare WRT54Gv2 default administrator name & password as needed.
    Administration->Router Password->Password=snafu (repeat)
    Note: There is no way to set a WRT54Gv2 username (i.e., use a blank username)
    - Disconnect the wires, and now the spare WRT54Gv2 is a wired access point

    - Turn on the wireless switch for the WiFi NIC on your laptop
    - Select the spare router SSID (which is the same as the primary router SSID)
    - No need to enter the passphrase if this is the same SSID as the primary router
    - Connect to the Internet, as desired!
    NOTE: The SSID & security is the same on both routers; so, the only difference
    is the signal srength and the channel. Your equipment should roam seamlessly.

    - While wirelessly connected to the spare Linksys WRT54Gv2 router ...
    - Using any web browser on the laptop, log into
    - Enter the previously set blank username and "snafu" administrator password
    - Check to ensure you're actually connected to the spare router SSID AP
    $ nm-tool
    Reports the primary access point SSID strength of 58 (84:1B:5E:AF:89:A4)
    Reports the secondary access point SSID strength of 100 (00:16:B6:88:A0:8F)
    Reports that I am connected to the (stronger) secondary access point SSID
    Note that nm-tool will place an asterisk next to the SSID you're connected to.
    Note the two duplicate SSIDs will have different frequencies listed.
    Note the two duplicate SSIDs will have different MAC addresses listed.
    Note the two duplicate SSIDs will have different signal strengths listed.
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014
  6. This is an interesting suggestion, if I understand it correctly.

    Are you saying that the signal goes over the 120V (USA) electrical

    Googling for "TP-LINK", I see they have a "powerline" product line:

    Are you suggesting sending the signals across the power lines?
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014
  7. Yeah, that's the device. You'll get good broadband speeds out of it. Not
    the full speed of your LAN and setup is very simple. If the devices
    detect each other on the same circuit they'll just go green. That's it.
    Plug one end into your existing LAN and the end is merely an extension
    of your existing LAN now. Now just switch your LynkSys to Wireless
    Access point mode so it merely provides WiFi to the existing LAN. Plug
    that WiFi AP into the other end and you've go extended wireless backed
    up by the wired network. Much more robust.
    Marek Novotny, Dec 7, 2014
  8. Howard Schornstein

    stepore Guest

    Instead of as a repeater, you could set up the WRT54G as an access
    point, if she's willing to run one long cat5/6 cable from your main
    router to the WRT54G.

    stepore, Dec 7, 2014
  9. These are the options, as I see it:
    1. Replace the home broadband router with a more powerful one
    2. Move the home broadband router to a better location
    3. Set up the spare WRT54Gv5 router as a wired access point
    4. Set up some other sort of wired access point (e.g., TP-LINK)
    5. Flash the WRT54Gv5 with DD-WRT & set it up as a wireless repeater

    All 5 I can do if it were me at my house, but, all 5 have
    complexity issues for the non technical.
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014
  10. Howard Schornstein

    Java Jive Guest

    This may help for that:
    FWIW, I don't recommend these Ethernet-over-power devices. I can't
    remember details now, but I'm fairly sure that here in the crowded UK,
    they've been known to cause interference in neighbouring properties.
    I've done this with a WRT320N to turn it into a client-bridge to the
    house's principal router. Here are some useful links:


    Wrt to the latter wiki, note that, once re-flashing and configuration
    are complete, to get the result to work you will probably have to
    reboot TWICE. Also that any time subsequently the principal house
    router goes down or is rebooted, probably also you will have to reboot
    the secondary client-bridged router once the principal one is back up,
    in order to reestablish the connection.
    UK Residents: If you feel can possibly support it
    please sign the following ePetition
    before closing time of 30/03/2015 23:59:
    Please always reply to ng as the email in this post's
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    Java Jive, Dec 7, 2014
  11. Clearly 1 and 2 she has already practised when she set up her current
    system. They are probably the easiest and should be tried first.
    William Unruh, Dec 7, 2014
  12. Howard Schornstein

    stepore Guest

    Well, wired back to your main router, but it acts as a wireless AP.
    Not all that difficult to set up. Have her plug it in to one of her PCs,
    then you teamviewer into her PC to set it up via the admin page. Once
    it's set up, she can put it where she wants and it'll be ready good to go.
    stepore, Dec 7, 2014
  13. The cable connection and telephone connection (mainly for the fax)
    come in downstairs in her house, so, the wire would have to run up
    the steps, which would be dangerous (she's frail).

    Otherwise, I would have asked her to wire it long ago.
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 7, 2014
  14. Howard Schornstein

    gregz Guest

    I bought 3units on eBay already set up with DD-WRT pretty cheap. Look for
    older models. I had a repeater set up for a good while.

    gregz, Dec 8, 2014
  15. Howard Schornstein

    Jasen Betts Guest

    IIRC the WRT54G is the one with not enough RAM to run linux, so don't
    try to install Open WRT on it. (WRT54GL is the model with enough ram)
    Jasen Betts, Dec 8, 2014
  16. Howard Schornstein

    Jasen Betts Guest

    best solution is to go there, or have her send you the hardware.
    Jasen Betts, Dec 8, 2014
  17. Howard Schornstein

    Jasen Betts Guest

    well, no it could go out the window and up the outside of the house
    or up the inside of a closet and through the ceiling... OTOH if the
    floor is wodden it probably passes wifi signals well enough, but if
    it's steel backed concrete no so much.
    Jasen Betts, Dec 8, 2014
  18. Jasen Betts wrote, on Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:27:44 +0000:
    Too bad I just gave away my nanobridge because I could have
    used the horn to transmit the signals from the router at 1Watt.
    Dennis O'Neill, Dec 8, 2014
  19. I had written the version wrong. It's the one with too little ram.
    Howard Schornstein, Dec 8, 2014
  20. Howard Schornstein

    Java Jive Guest

    You seem to be mistaken on this point ... Try typing wrt54 here ...

    UK Residents: If you feel can possibly support it
    please sign the following ePetition
    before closing time of 30/03/2015 23:59:
    Please always reply to ng as the email in this post's
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    Java Jive, Dec 8, 2014
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