Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

March 21, 2014

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
March 12th, 2018

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

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

  1. BCHeadley says:

    Hey Douglas,

    I originally configured my LinkSys WRT54GS v7 @ DD-WRT v24-sp2 with a complicated version for a wireless repeater, which seems to work very well, but suffers dropouts at random intervals.

    So I tried a factory reset and set up the wireless repeater with the configuration you describe here, but it does not work as expected. The repeater SSID was either hidden or being duplicated and a site survey couldn’t tell the difference.

    I added a virtual interface to allow broadcasting of the SSID and the repeater appeared, however the throughput was incredibly slow.

    Unfortunately, I reverted the configuration back to the more complicated one and dealing with intermittent dropouts.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi BCHeadley,

      Thanks for the feedback, although I’m afraid that I don’t have any help to offer. My guess is that how well anything DD-WRT related works depends somewhat on how well optimized the version of DD-WRT that you are running is for your particular model of router.

  2. Jon says:

    Thank you Douglas f or a very accurate and precise setup guide, I’d been struggling to follow at least 2 other guides that were misleading. I thank you 🙂

  3. Brando says:

    Looks like you addressed above but want to clarify. I my repeater router is a Buffalo like yours with DDWRT, but the main router does NOT have DDWRT, will this be an issue? Looking as ways to save cost, and didn’t utilize features as much as I would have liked with DDWRT such as guest wifi and VPN.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Brando,

      Yes – that should work fine. All you need from the main router is the ability to see its IP address and network security settings.

  4. David says:

    You have my serious thanks, we were robbed yesterday and left with an old router, desktop, and some crappy monitors. Thanks to your guide we can at least watch Netflix in the shambles of our house!

  5. Manish says:

    Hi, I am facing an issue. I could successfully change the firmware of my TP-Link WDR4300 to DD WRT. I want to use it as Repeater and when I follow this instructions, I cant even find Repeater option under wireless. I can only see AP, Client Bridge, Client Bridge (Route), Adhoc,
    Pls advise if I am doing something wrong. Request your kind help. Thanks

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Manish,

      If you look through the comments here, I think you will find the answer to your problem has been supplied by some of our amazing readers..

      Adam Smith

      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 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!

    2. D C says:

      Hi to anyone who also faced this problem. I just tried “Client Bridge (Routed)” in the dropdown menu and this works as a wireless repeater and allows me to use the ethernet ports as well.

      When analysing the network it seems that only one pair of the TxRx atennas in my WNR2200 is being used but the unit has two. You do lose half the bandwidth, but this router can achieve 300Mbps. My internet connection if fibre but still much less than 150Mbps so it’s not a problem for me.

      I did google’s “Internet Speed Test” and it shows no bottleneck in speed. My latency went from 11ms to 57ms though. I just need this for a smart TV, but it might be a consideration if you need the repeater for gaming.

      Thank you for an excellent and easy way of doing this.

  6. Richard says:

    Hi. Would this method suit connecting a Huawei E5776 Mifi to an old Linksys WRT54g3g router? I would like a wifi range extender, but also the ability to attach the router to a PVR device for internet access. Would that work, or just the range extender bit?

    Many thanks

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Richard,

      Using the Huawei E5776 Mifi as the modem and the Linksys WRT54g3g (flashed with DD-WRT) as a repeater? Yes, I would think that would work (can’t see any reason why not). I can make no promises, however.

  7. Flavio says:

    Genius Genius Genius!!!
    Many thanks!!!!!!! It worked like a charm!!!

  8. stockholm ridge says:

    yes, now my old legendary Linksys router can function like new device

  9. Venkat says:

    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.

  10. Adi says:


    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. Peter Selmeczy says:

      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.

  11. nick says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  12. Glenn says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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?

  13. Jacco says:

    Great tutorial! Many thanks

  14. Fred says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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…

  15. B says:

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

  16. Martin Rubenstein says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  17. Uber Nemo says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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!

  18. ThrowBackDewd says:

    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!

  19. Bruce Whitesell says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  20. Rafael Macieira says:

    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!!!

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Rafeal,

      Have you used a WiFi analysis took to see check for channel interference?

  21. Senad says:


    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?


  22. Internet179 says:

    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. Peter Selmeczy says:

      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.

  23. dazed says:

    Once the repeater is working, can you set it up with a “guest network”?

    1. Peter Selmeczy says:

      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.

  24. Joel says:

    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. Peter Selmeczy says:

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

  25. Philip Ruiz says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  26. Francis says:

    thank you for this post it help me a lot . Everything is working fine

  27. Eric says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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!

  28. A. Hung says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  29. A. Hung says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  30. James says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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. Ashley says:

      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. Adam Smith says:

      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.

  31. chris c says:

    thank you it help me a lot and it works with openwrt to

  32. Martin says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  33. Peter says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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…

  34. Bosco says:

    Great tutorial… but how can you tell when you are using the repeater and not the primary router?

  35. Bosco says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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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