How to use an old DD-WRT router as a repeater

As you are reading this article on BestVPN, then it is likely you originally bought a DD-DRT router so you could connect all your internet enabled household or office devices through a single VPN connection. DD-WRT routers are great for this, but as we discovered when reviewing the budget Linksys N300, the modest processors found in low cost routers can struggle with the demands of handling VPN, resulting in slow connection speeds.

This is much less of an issue with higher-end routers such as the excellent Asus RT-AC66U, but you if have decided to upgrade (or are thinking about it), then it seems a shame to chuck out your perfectly good older router.

Well, one of the many strengths of DD-WRT is that it is a versatile platform which can be used to repurpose your router, and one of the most useful things you can do with an old router is turn it into a wireless repeater! We’ve covered this, and much more in our Definitive DD-WRT Guide.

A repeater basically captures the WiFi signals from your main router and re-broadcasts them, greatly extending the rage of your WiFi – perfect for picking up the internet in your cellar den, garden, or on the office coffee-break bench.

Setting up a DD-WRT router as a repeater

Before you begin, you will need to make a note of your primary network’s security settings (see the setup page of your main router). Also note that during setup you should not click ‘Apply Changes’ until setup is complete.

1. On the Setup-> Basic setup screen ‘Disable’ your Connection Type, as the router will not be plugged into a modem

2. (0ptional) Change the Router Name and Host Name to something meaningful

3. Change the ‘Local Router IP address’ to something that no other router on the network has (changing the last number to 8 or 9 is usually a safe bet). This is important because if two routers have the same IP address then no-one will be able to use the network. Hit ‘Save’, as the next change might reverse the changes you just made.

settings 1

4. Change DHCP Type to ‘DHCP Forwarder’.

5. Input the IP address of your router (usually also your modem) under DHCP Server below. Hit ‘Save’ again. If the page won’t reload, make sure you input the repeater’s changed IP address (Step 3).

7. Go to the Security page and turn off all the security settings (uncheck everything), as all security will be handled by your router. Hit ‘Save’.

settings 2

8. Go to the Wireless tab, and change Wireless Mode to either ‘Repeater’ or ‘Repeater Bridge’. If you choose ‘Repeater’ you will only be able to use the repeater wirelessly, while selecting ‘Repeater Bridge’ allows you to use its Ethernet ports, excellent if you want to plug in Smart TV, games console, or other cable-only internet enabled device (which will also be able to see other devices on the network, great for sharing video files and the like). We however only want to want expend the range of our WiFi, so will choose ‘Repeater’. Click ‘Save’.

9. In Wireless Network Name (SSD) you need to enter the name of your main network i.e. that of your primary router. This needs to be entered exactly, including capitals and spaces. Hit ‘Save’.

settings 3

10. Go to the Wireless -> Wireless Security Tab and change the setting to match those of your network (primary router). Hit ‘Save’ and, finally, ‘Apply settings’.

settings 4

The router will restart in order to apply all the settings, and you will find your WiFi signal greatly improved as you move around your house or office!

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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48 responses to “How to use an old DD-WRT router as a repeater

  1. Main Router: Motorola SGB6580 (connected to Time warner Cable),
    Repeater: WRT54GS v1 with DD-WRT
    Everything working 🙂 Thank you so much for your time. First time my mobile shows full wifi strength.

  2. Hi,

    If the main router is setup with a VPN so that whatever i connect to the main router goes through the VPN, will this also happen when i use the second router as a repeater bridge with the settings mentioned in this article? Will i need to change any settings or do any VPN settings/setup on the second router?

    1. Depends how you set up the traffic routing on the first router. In theory I think it will be enough to set up the VPN on just the first router using default settings. However, give it a test once set up just to ensure that this is the case.

  3. hello….i have a few questions…..

    Could routers of two different makes(i.e. two different companies) work as main and repeater? For instance, lets say i have a D-link router as one connected to internet and want to use linksys router as repeater, could it be done?
    What’s the method to know that 2 different routers could be setup like this or not?
    Would the above explained method work for the case i am asking about?

    1. Hi Nick,

      I wrote this tutorial using a Linksys N300 flashed with DD-WRT as the repeater, and an Asus RT-AC66U as the “base” router (also flashed with DD-WRT, although this should not be necessary, as a I ran a similar setup using the unflashed router/modem provided by my ISP). So it shouldn’t matter if you use different makes of routers.

  4. Great Douglas,
    I set up as you directed, except I added bridged so I could connect
    a wired computer to one of the wan ports. The problem I am having is that the repeater works very well going to my laptop wireless, however I cannot connect to the Internet via either of the wan ports. Can you help me with this.

    1. Hi Glenn,

      Hmm… simply setting Wireless Mode to ‘Repeater Bridge’ should work. I’m afraid that I no longer have this setup running, so can’t run any tests. Perhaps one of our readers might be able to help?

  5. all this procedure did was wipe my main AP router, overwriting the AP config with the repeater config. Theory is all well and good but this procedure is useless in an all DD-WRT environment.

    1. Hi Fred,

      I’m not sure how the main AP router’s config got overwritten by the repeater’s config! I do know that this procedure worked for me, and that other readers have successfully implemented it…

  6. Just got this to work after several unsuccessful attempts using the “standard” (different SSID) method. Thank you for posting this.

  7. I set up my Linksys WRT54GL as a wireless range extender with DDWRT using the “traditional” method, which results in the extender repeater having an SSID different to the primary router, and it works fine. Furthermore, when the repeater is sat next to my laptop running the Inssider, the repeater’s SSID signal is some 25dB stronger than the distant primary router.

    But I followed the tutorial to the letter 4 times, doing it from scratch each time, and even with the repeater next to my laptop, the repeater/primary SSID shows exactly the same strength on Inssider as it does if the repeater is powered off i.e. the strength of the distant router. And yet, if I put the repeater into repeater-bridge and turn the laptop wifi off and connect by ethernet to the repeater, I can access the Internet. In other words, the repeater appears to work but I see no increase in wifi strength either subjectively wandering about the house or objectively using Inssider. I expected also to see a 25dB boost with the repeater next to the laptop running Inssider.

    Any suggestions as to why this might be?

    1. Hi Martin,

      Hmm. TBO, I don’t know – I would expect you to see a stronger signal near the extender too. I no longer have an extender setup to run tests on, so I’ll throw this question open to our readers.

  8. Many thanks for this tutorial and Happy New Year! My setup is a bit different. I have hard wired CAT5 infrastructure all over the house but I need to to extend the wireless access far away from my main router (Asus RT-AC3100). I want to use two old Linksys/Cisco E4200 dual-band (2.4/5.0) wifi routers that I just converted to dd-wrt. They will be be connected through Gb switches to my main router. Some of the devices that will connect wirelessly to these two routers are WEP-only. For these I plan to use WEP-128 (HEX) plus MAC filtering. For others I will use WPA2-Personal. My main router only uses WPA2 on all bands. My question is the following : what wireless mode should I use for the two dd-wrt routers : AP, Client Bridge or Repeater Bridge? Please keep in mind that these are hard-connected to the main router. I only use their wifi capabilities for local clients. Many thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Uber,

      Happy New Year yourself. Go for repeater bridge, as this will also allow you plug in wired stuff (and will ensure that your router accepts a wired internet connection.) If you choose AP they will not work as repeaters but as discrete Access points (requiring a separate password.) Please note that I accept no responsibility if you brick a router!

  9. I have tried several other configurations on the DD-WRT router that have not worked. I always had issues connecting wirelessly to the repeater. I had pretty much given up until I saw this post. Reading through the steps it sounded promising because the others always failed with the virtual adapter and this option didn’t have that.

    I quickly went through the steps and let out a sigh of relief as this setup finally did the trick! Thank you so much for taking the time to document these steps and help others!

  10. This is very helpful as I try to configure my old Linksys/Cisco E3000 as a repeater bridge. Both my primary router and the E3000 are dual band (2.4 & 5) units. Do I need to set the E3000 to bridge in only one or both bands? I have not been able to find anything about this in the dd-wrt wiki pages.


    1. Hi Bruce,

      Please bear in mind that I don’t have 2 dual-band routers to test this with, but in theory you should be able to set the E3000 to repeat 2 bands (although it might be simpler to only use use one.) I would go with just one at first, and make sure it works before trying to repeat a second band, in order to minimize the risk of bricking the router.

  11. Hi Douglas Crawford,
    First of all…great tutorial! Using the cable the DHCP and internet forwarding have worked very well! However, the wireless signal still are very low 🙁 . I have no idea why. Do you (or anybody) have the same problem anytime configuring it? Any ideas?

    Thank you very much!!!

  12. Dears,

    I just tried the solution between Linksys dd-wrt and Apple AirPort extreme without a success! is there anyone who managed to connect dd-wrt to Apple AirPort like Repeater?


  13. Hi there.
    Thanks so much for the article. I just have one small problem. When I go to change the local IP address of my router from to I can not seem to be able to access the router from either address and I end up having to hard reset the router every time.
    Any Help would be much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi
      You’re computers internet adapter might be freezing up. After you’ve done your IP change, disable and enable your Ethernet Adapter and also restart your computer.
      Hope that helps.

    1. Hi Dazed
      We haven’t tried that, but in theory there shouldn’t be any problems with it. Not sure if you’ll be able to have the same guest network on both though..
      Unfortunately, we don’t have a setup to test this at the moment, so if you do succeed we’d love to hear from you and we’ll make sure to add your comments to the post.

  14. Good tutorial, this is my second time using my old router as a repeater. The first time I was still able to see both my routers when scanning for wifi. I liked this plus now I can’t get into my dd-wrt router to adjust my settings. Could you tell me how to do that or at least get me to my dd-wrt settings, thanks man.

    1. Hi Joel
      If possible connect to them using an ethernet cable and then enter the router IP in your browser ( by default).

  15. Thanks so much for this. It really helped a lot. Should the repeater be on the same wireless channel as my main router, or should it be on a separate channel?

    1. Hi Philip,

      Yes, it is best to put both the repeater and main router on the same channel. Things should work if you don’t, but you are likely to encounter more interference.

  16. Seems like I can not access the repeater GUI after setup via
    Would like to log into it to increase tx power.
    Cannot access accept via 30/30/30 reset and start over..
    Can you help please?

    1. Hi Eric,

      The problem is that both routers now have the IP address, I’m afraid that a reset and start over is probably your only option. On the plus side, this shouldn’t take too long!

  17. Dear Douglas Crawford

    Thank you for your reply. The main router is still in its original firmware, its WEP setting is quite simple just two options: static WEP and dynamic WEP, I chose static with 64 bit encryption, then enter the 10 digits ASCII for the password, that’ s it, other devices can connect with it using its password. But the second router which running dd-wrt the setting of WEP is quite complicated, I don’t know how to set it to comply with the main router. In the dd-wrt WEP security I chose open (instead of share key), then its require the passkey which I entered the exact password of the main router, then there is a button to generate the key 1 through 4, which I don’t know how to use. Anyway the dd-wrt could not connect with the main router.
    I am looking forwards to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards
    A. Hung

    1. Hi A. Hung,

      TBH I am not sure, but perhaps this might help,

      There are two levels of WEP encryption, 64-bit (40-bit) and 128-bit. To utilize WEP, select the desired encryption bit, and enter a passphrase or up to four WEP key in hexadecimal format. If you are using 64-bit (40-bit), then each key must consist of exactly 10 hexadecimal characters. For 128-bit, each key must consist of exactly 26 hexadecimal characters. Valid hexadecimal characters are “0”-“9” and “A”-“F”.

      You may also find this page useful.

  18. Hi Douglas Crawford

    Your tutorial is great, it works for my router (a DLink-615). But in my tests I only succeed when the security of the main router is set to open or WPA, when I tried WEP the second router could not connect to the main router. I like to use WEP (although I know that it is not quite safe) but I didn’t know how to configure the dd-wrt router, in the setup page of the main router with WEP setting there are just two option: static and share key, but in the dd-wrt router there are many other things. Would you please tell me how to connect the dd-wrt router to the main router with WEP static security?

    1. Hi A. Hung,

      Are both routers running DD-WRT? I believe the two routers should both be set to use the same wireless encryption (if using WEP they should use the same Encryption key length, passphrase and key). If both routers do not support configuring the same settings then you are most likely out of luck. Caveat: I no longer have a second router lying around to test this, as it was used for other projects and is now out of my hands. Given that WEP is generally considered much secure than WPA (or WPA2), I am curious as to why you prefer to use WEP.

  19. I too have only the following options:

    AP’, ‘Client’, ‘Client Bridge (Routed)’, ‘Adhoc’, ‘WDS Station’ and ‘WDS AP’.

    I followed everything else exactly as noted and it did not work for me, i even played around and changed some of the settings around. Other instructions on the web seem much more complicated and also required the creation of a Virtual AP. I was glad to find these instructions since it is by far the easiest, however its not working for me. 🙁 Maybe something to do with the WDS option.

    1. Hi James,

      I’m afraid that my comments for Peter apply here too. The steps in this tutorial are the ones I performed to successfully get my router working as a repeater. As far as I can determine, WDS AP = Repeater, and WDS Station = Repeater Bridge (maybe). In addition to the links already mentioned, you may find this article ( helpful.

    2. Hi James,

      I have a Buffalo “secondary” router running DD-WRT but I also did not have the “Repeater” option. I followed the instructions on this page ( for the Qualcomm Atheros heading and it worked fine for me. However, I also had to set my primary router (a Netgear router) to enable Wireless Repeating and entered the MAC address for my secondary router. Hopefully that helps!

    3. The reason your options are different, is b/c the article versions are via RALink radios, and yours (with client, c. bridge, wds station, etc) is an Atheros-based chipset.

      If you want more accurate info, search for “ddwrt Atheros” in whatever criteria you search for. It is a little more difficult/complex to configure these models compared to ralink chipsets.

      I too have gone nuts looking for a wired configuration.

  20. First – Happy New Year 😀

    Next – about the security settings. Since I am not using the common methods I assume this means that I should set the same mac filter I am using on the main router in order to maintain the comfort I am having right now?

    1. Happy New Year Martin!

      Apologies if I misunderstand your question…

      If you mean that you are not using encryption (e.g. WPA), and therefore that no password is required to access the network, then yes, you can limit access by setting MAC filters to only allow permitted IP addresses to connect. However, as traffic on the network is unencrypted, it can be easily monitored (and read) by anyone using a readily available packet sniffer, so I would not recommend this approach.

  21. This is really helpful.

    The only thing that I am struggling with is that at step 8 I do not get the option to select ‘Repeater’ or ‘Repeater Bridge’.

    The only options provided are: ‘AP’, ‘Client’, ‘Client Bridge (Routed)’, ‘Adhoc’, ‘WDS Station’ and ‘WDS AP’.

    Any suggestions what I should do?


    1. Hi Peter,

      As far as I can tell, ‘WDS AP’ (Wireless Distribution System Access Point) is more or less the same as ‘Repeater’. I am less sure about ‘WDS Station’, although it makes sense that it is equivalent to ‘Repeater Bridge.’ Unfortunately, documentation on the subject is rather confusing, so you must proceed at your own risk. This Wikipedia article explains WDS (, and this article ( explains the differences between WDS and repeater modes (although it does not seem to mention ‘WDS Station’)… For general troubleshooting problems you may also find the official repeater bridge page useful…

  22. Seems to be working… I see the router as part of my primary network now. However, is there anyway to determine when you are accessing the repeater or accessing the main router?

    1. Hi Bosco,

      Well, the simplest way is to judge based on signal strength – if you have a strong signal when far from the main router but close to the repeater, then you are connected to the repeater. A more technical solution in Windows is to open cmd and type arp -a, which lists the physical MAC addresses that each each of your PC adapters is connected to.

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