How To Know If Your Wi-Fi Extender Is Working

Wi-Fi extenders can seem a bit intimidating and confusing for first time users, the point where we might not even know when they’ve been correctly set up and are working and ready to use. That’s what we’ll help with in this guide, giving you a simple roadmap to know when an extender is working properly, especially during/after setup, but also just generally.

A Wi-Fi extender is working when it’s LED is solid green, and it is broadcasting it’s own secure network that nearby devices can connect to. An orange or red light indicates some kind of problem with the extender.

It’s usually pretty easy to see when an extender is working, and it’s also easy to find what’s gone wrong when it stops working and fix it quickly. Let’s run through the different states of function of these products in more detail.

Different LED States On An Extender (What They Mean)

The easiest way to see what state your extender is in is to look at the color of the LED on the front. Here’s a quick key:

  • Solid green light (when first plugged in out the box) – Means it’s ready to be be set up. When brand new and not configured yet, extenders broadcast an open network with an obvious name (eg. TP-Link-Extender). A green light signals you can connect to this open extender network, log in to the extender and begin the setup process. Sometimes, un-configured extenders will have an orange/red light instead.
  • Solid green light (after setup) – Connected to the router and working fine. When it’s also broadcasting it’s own secured network/SSID on your device’s Wi-Fi list, that is when it’s actually ready to use to connect to the internet via the router.
  • Flashing green light – Searching for the router when using the WPS/Pair feature to set it up.
  • Orange/Red light – Some kind of fault or problem. Either not connected properly to the router, or lost connection. Or some kind of technical fault with the extender. Or you might need to give it another 30 seconds or so to re-connect with your router if you’ve unplugged or moved it.

In other words, a green light usually means go as in most areas of life, with some exceptions that we’ll cover below.

How To Know When Your Extender Is Working

Let’s summarize all the info so far to give a simple criteria for knowing when an extender is working. You basically need to check these 3 boxes:

  1. The light on the extender is solid green
  2. The extender is broadcasting it’s own secure network, usually with an SSID almost identical to your router (eg. “Comcast-45678-EXTENDER” – unless you manually named it something else during setup), and the password the same as your router.
  3. You can connect nearby devices to this extender network and access the internet through it (on your Wi-Fi list, it will say “connected, internet”, or “connected, secured” once connected to it).

It is true that you the extender light can still be green, but you get the “connected, no internet” error on your device, meaning the extender has temporarily lost it’s connection to the router, but your device is still connected to the extender. The connection to the router often needs refreshing here, or your internet service might be down; see the section further below for fixes.

How To Correctly Connect An Extender To Your Router

To get your extender in this solid green light state and broadcasting it’s own secure network, so it’s ready to use, you need to connect the extender to your router by running through the standard setup process. There’s actually a couple of ways to do this; let’s cover the main methods.

Method #1 – WPS (Quick Setup):

  1. Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup and wait for it to initialize
  2. Press the WPS/Pair button on your router until it flashes/blinks
  3. 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 green.
  4. Give up to 2 minutes for the router and extender to “find” each other via the WPS feature (blinking green light indicates this)
  5. Once the LED on
  6. your extender turns solid green, you know the router and extender are connected. You should then be able to connect devices to the extender’s own network.
  7. When set up via WPS, your extender will share the same network name (SSID) and password as your main router. Find and connect to it on your device’s Wi-Fi networks list.
  8. Then move the extender round for a better signal if needed.

See our full article on extender WPS setup for more detailed steps if you need them.

WPS Extender Setup – Quick Video


Method #2 – Browser setup (longer method, more customization):

  1. Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup
  2. Note down login details on your extender on the label and plug it in.
  3. Find the extender’s SSID (network name) on your device and connect
  4. Open any web browser on your phone/tablet and type in the access URL (on the label) into the address bar
  5. Enter the default admin username/password on the label (see screenshot below)
  6. Set up a new SSID/username/password if desired.
  7. Find and connect to your router’s Wi-Fi network on the list.
  8. Either copy or modify your router’s credentials for the repeater.
  9. Save settings and connect the device to the new extender network, which will have the same password as your main router.
  10. A green light and a new extender network appearing on your Wi-Fi list indicates the repeater is connected and working.
  11. Then move the extender round to where you need it, still making sure it is within range of the router’s signal

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

What To Do If Your Extender Light Is Orange/Red

Setting up a Wi-Fi extender is mostly trouble free once you have the steps to do it. But there can be cases when the setup either doesn’t work, or it suddenly stops working when it was fine. Often, the light on the extender turns red/orange to indicate a problem.

Here are some things to try if you’re getting this problem while trying to set up the extender for the first time:

  • Make sure the extender is within close range of the router and free of major obstacles for a good signal during setup (you can move it after setup).
  • Make sure your router/internet is also working.
  • Factory reset a second hand extender to wipe all previous settings and start with defaults.
  • Make sure all credentials entered are correct (case sensitive).

See our guide on troubleshooting extender setup problems for more detailed tips.

Here are some fixes to get an extender working again if it was already set up and working before:

  • Check your internet service isn’t down using a tool like Downdetector
  • Try moving your extender for a better signal. It’s often good to move it back close to the router for a few minutes to refresh the signal, and then back to where it was. Extenders retain settings when unplugged/moved so you can do this.
  • Update the firmware on the extender is necessary.
  • Factory reset and re-configure the extender from scratch. If the light is still red after a hard reset, the product is likely broken and you need a new one.

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