Are You Supposed To Connect To The Wi-Fi Extender? (Before & After Configuration)

If you haven’t used a Wi-Fi extender/booster/repeater before, it can all seem a bit confusing. You’ve got your existing router, then suddenly you’ve got this other thing plugged into another wall socket. What exactly are you supposed to connect to? Are you supposed to connect to the Wi-Fi extender itself once it’s been set up? Or do you still connect to your main router, and the extender somehow “boosts” it’s signal?

That’s what we’ll cover in this post for total newbies. Setting up and using Wi-Fi extenders is really easy and there’s nothing to be scared of.

Once it has been configured, you are supposed to connect to the Wi-Fi extender itself, which will create it’s own network/SSID you can find and connect devices to.

In other words, the extender is it’s own separate device that you can and are supposed to connect to separately from the main router, although it does rely on the router to function.

Let’s cover how Wi-Fi extenders work and how to get set up using them in more detail.

How An Extender Works (Simple Explanation)

A Wi-Fi extender simply captures and amplifies the wireless signal from the main router, hopefully spreading it over a larger area for more comprehensive coverage, especially in those Wi-Fi “dead-zones” where your main router cannot reach.

Once installed and connected to the router, they continually “pull in” the signal from the router and broadcast their own signal and network for devices to connect that might be struggling to connect to the main router. They forward data onwards to connected devices and allow for a more reliable connection if you’re finding the signal from the router to be patchy in certain areas.

Therefore, they are unique devices on the network that do broadcast their own Wi-Fi name (SSID), and are supposed to be connected to separately from the router.

Here’s the general process:

  1. You plug in your extender within good range of the main router, and also the Wi-Fi “dead-zone” you’re looking to improve the signal to.
  2. You then connect the extender to your main router. Once configured, it will broadcast it’s own network you can find on your Wi-Fi network list.
  3. You then connect devices to the extender’s new network, and they should now be able to access the internet via the extender, which is in turn connected to the main host router.

And that’s the very general idea of what range extenders are supposed to do – provide another access point in the home somewhere between your router and devices that are currently struggling to get a consistent Wi-Fi signal from the router. They’re a solution to the problem of weak or inconsistent Wi-Fi.

Should You Connect Devices To The Extender?

You are always meant to connect to the extender once you’ve set it up properly, at least for devices that can’t connect properly to the main router, or have a very weak signal. You connect to it by finding it’s SSID/network name on your device’s Wi-Fi network list once it’s been set up, clicking on it and entering the password (which will always be the same as your main router’s wireless password/key once configured). It needs to be properly set up first though, which we’ll cover below.

Devices that don’t have any signal/speed issues can stay connected to the main router if they want; it’s entirely up the user to connect to whichever access point they get the best/most reliable signal from.

The extender will create a separate network name that will by default be almost the same as your main router (eg. if your router SSID is “Comcast-45678”, your extender will name itself “Comcast-45678-EXTENDER”, or something similar). But you can manually edit the extender’s network name to whatever you want (eg. Bobs-Extender) during setup if you like.

Also, if you want to configure certain devices to always connect to the extender’s network whenever in range, you just need to check this box/option on your device’s Wi-Fi/network settings.

On Windows, it looks something like this (check the box when finding and connecting to the extender’s SSID):


And on phones/tablets, it looks something like this (open Wi-Fi/Connections menu, find your extender’s network, and click on the Settings/cog icon next to it):

This makes sure your device will always connect to your extender’s network when in range, without you needing to punch any passwords in. If you enable the same setting on devices with your main router as well, it can act as a good insurance policy, whereby if the extender connection fails, your device will auto-connect back to your router, and vice versa.

How To Properly Set Up & Connect To A Repeater (Easy Steps)

For first time users of Wi-Fi extenders, you will need to set a Wi-Fi extender up first before using it, connecting it to your router and running though some easy setup steps.

There are actually a couple of different ways of doing this. For non technical users who just want to get it working ASAP without any setup steps, there’s WPS, and then there’s the more traditional manual setup on a device browsers.

Let’s cover quick steps for both methods:

WPS/Pair method (quickest, no nonsense method)

  • Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup
  • Plug your extender in and wait for it to initialize
  • Press the WPS/Pair button on your router until it flashes/blinks
  • Press the WPS/Pair/Connect/Wi-Fi button on your repeater. Sometimes you need to press and hold for a few seconds until it starts blinking.
  • Give up to 2 minutes for the router and extender to “find” each other via the WPS feature.
  • Once the LED on your extender turns solid green, you know the router and extender are connected.
  • When setup via WPS, your extender will share the same network name (SSID) and passwords as your main router. Find and connect to it on your device’s Wi-Fi networks list.
  • Then move the extender round for a better signal if needed.

See our full article on extender WPS setup for more detailed steps.


Using a device browser (takes a bit longer, but still quite easy):

  • Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup
  • Note down login details on your extender and plug it in.
  • Find the extender’s SSID (network name) on your device and connect
  • Open a web browser and type in the access URL (on the label)
  • Enter the default username/password
  • Set up a new SSID/username/password if desired
  • Find and connect to your router’s Wi-Fi network.
  • Either copy or modify your router’s credentials for the repeater.
  • Save settings and connect the device to the new extender network, which will have the same password as your main router.
  • A green light indicates the repeater is connected and working.
  • Then move the extender round to find the best signal.

See our full article on extender browser setup for more detailed steps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts