Improving wireless coverage in home using wireless repeater bridge

Do you have problem with WIFI signal coverage in home? You have good signal strength is some areas of home and flaky signal in other parts.  Poor wireless signal strength results in slow data speed and lost connections. In this section I will show you how to improve signal coverage in home by adding one  more router to your existing wireless router.


Signal distribution in the home can be greatly improved by placing the wireless router at a central location in the home. However it’s not always possible to keep the wireless router in the center of the home because, in many cases router is directly connected to a cable or dsl modem. Cable/dsl modem needs to be located where phone or cable port is accessible.

There can be many possible configuration to improve signal coverage through out the home. It can be done by running two wireless routers in access point mode and connecting them with wired Ethernet cable. However this is not an option for most homes because it needs physical connection between two routers.

It’s still possible to connect two wireless routers as if they are connected through wires. Each router can connect to several WIFI clients in addition to clients directly connected to their LAN ports.  For this type of connection one of the routers needs be running latest DD-WRT firmware (v2.24). DD-WRT supports wireless repeater mode starting from firmware version 2.24. Wireless repeater mode lets wired and wireless clients on the secondary router to connect to primary router through inter router wireless link as shown in the picture.

Wireless Routers ,Wireless Repeater Bridge

In order to improve signal coverage one of the routers must act as wireless repeater.  Other router which is the primary router in the picture can be any normal router. Router with wireless repeater bridge can connect its local LAN devices along with wireless clients to remote primary wireless router. Wireless repeater bridge is  not commonly available feature on most of the routers . You need to make sure that the router you are considering supports it. If the your router is capable of running DD-WRT open source firmware, you can use it as a wireless repeater bridge. Here is the list of some of the popular  wireless routers which can run DD-WRT Firmware. Follow the instructions given  here to install dd-wrt firmware on the wireless router.

Setting up wireless repeater bridge using dd-wrt

Follow instructions below to connect two routers to improve signal strength in the home.

Step I: Setup primary wireless gateway router

Wireless gateway router, is the router which directly connected to Internet through a DSL or Cable Modem. There is no special requirement for this router. Any router can act as gateway router. This router can run in default access point mode. Enable DHCP server on this router, configure in a 192.168.1.X subnet and leases DHCP address in the same pool. This router will be the only router with DHCP server in entire network.  Setup the security. Note the SSID and Security key. Secondary router will connect to this router using same SSID.

Step II :  Setup secondary dd-wrt router

Secondary router will act as a repeater for wireless and LAN clients. It will replay wireless signal to and from its clients to the primary gateway router.

  1. First reset the router to factory defaults. Go to the router admin page. Disable the DHCP server on Setup,Basic Setup page as shown in the image below .
  2. On the Setup,Basic Setup page,choose a IP address for the router.  Assuming that gateway router IP address is give this router IP address Enter gateway and LOcal DNS as Select save settings.dd-wrt-54g-stepii
  3. Because IP address has changed in the previous step, log on to the router using its new IP address
  4. On the Wireless,Basic Settings page, select Wireless Mode:Repeater Bridge,Wireless network mode:Mixed,SSID(same as main router ssid),Network Configuration:Bridged. Select Save. In the virtual interface click on add. Enter wireless network name  same as the main router ssid. Enable SSID broadcast, network configuration bridged. Save,Apply Settings.



  5. Go to Security Firewall, Uncheck all boxes,except Filter Multicast. Disable SPI firewall and Save, Apply Settings.
  6. Go to Wireless,Wireless Security . Enter the security mode and security key. The security mode and security key must match security mode and security key of the gateway router. Select Save Settings. Similarly enable security on virtual interface. Select security and security mode same as main interface. Keeping this same helps in roaming.dd-wrt-54g-wireless-repeater-security
  7. Your wireless repeater bridge connection now must be all set. Check the signal connection by going to Status,Wireless page.
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17 Responses to “Improving wireless coverage in home using wireless repeater bridge”

  1. Same SSID for both physical and virtual interface works but many people have problem with this. If you have an issue with roaming try different SSIDs.

  2. […] Improving wireless coverage in home using two wireless router … […]

  3. need wireless repeater

  4. Hi there – I set up my router as DD-WRT – as you suggested.. but here’s my question.. that router is displaying the Virtual SSID.. So – do I connect my “far away” machines to the virtual ssid – or just all to the original ssid?
    Thanks very much – MAggie

  5. I’m now reading above.. I followed the instructions for doing the wireless repeater from the DD-WRT site.. and it said to put in a different SSID for the other router.. the DD-WRT one.. so I did.. So when I “view wireless networks” I see both.. That’s why I don’t know which one to connect my “far away” devices to. I guess it’s easier having the SSID’s different.. then I know which router is which… but if I should change it – let me know and I will.. Thanks again.. Sorry for the two questions!!

  6. Maggie, any response or any solution you have about connecting to which SSID ?

  7. Have taken Internet to new level in home. No more DIrect TV!! Just internet. Since I’ve made change I’m pleased with livingroom viewing via computer Internet, Hulu, and Netflix. Using a three year old build desktop. With 2.0 dual processor. Platinum fatality sound blaster and ordered a new video card to hopefully better streams and refresh rates to Visio 55′ True LED TV. I have to say the streaming from Visio Technology 240 fps and smoothing technology is fantastic! Hoping the upgrade in Video Card made more for streaming will get computer up to par. I’m working on getting bedroom set up with older laptop and Dell 22′ monitor. Have ordered an used docking on eBay. I do need to get way better Ethernet to room though for streams to work worth watching. I have a Encore repeater I’m not using in garage being it interfered with controlling garage door opener. Going to try in bedroom to see if a repeater direct connect to laptop in bedroom. Right now through old Dell Laptop WIFI I am at 2 maybe three bars. I was debating just running Ethernet cable to each room through attic. Hoping to fi d info on a way to juice up connection through hub going through to rest of house. So far it seems limiting line trasmittance is a top priority. Is there anything brand or add on that would increase Internet flow from hub.

  8. You mentioned using two wireless routers in access point mode connected by ethernet — this is the configuration that would make the most sense for me, as I have a long ethernet cable spanning the length of the house. But how do I set this up? I don’t see instructions here. I’d like them to be on the same subnet so that wired or wireless devices on the second router can see wired or wireless devices (e.g. computers) on the first router.


  9. I will try to add an article on this topic, as I am getting several requests.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  10. yambu – here’s a great article. 😉

  11. […] Now when the main router gets weak, it drops the weak router and pick up the stronger one. Improving wireless coverage in home using two wireless router | Connected Home – Easy Home Networkin… […]

  12. well…all this is nice and good and right but you forgot to mention one think….the router with the custom firmware will give out at least the half speed from the gateway! You need more details about it?

  13. Very well said article.I’m pretty sure that anyone who are craving for something to intake their mind with wonderful thoughts will definitely learn out of reading this article. A job well done for you guys and keep up the good work! [ dsl modem guide (dOt) com ]

  14. I am using Linksys E4200 as repeater bridge with dd-wrt. Since it has two physical interfaces, is it ok/possible to use the second physical interface instead of creating an virtual interface of wl0 in this case? Thanks for help.

  15. Hiya! I simply want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice information you may have right here on this post. I will probably be coming again to your blog for more soon.

  16. This is the knowledge what I was searching for.Actually I have found an old router and I was unaware of setting it up. However I came to this post and set my router. Thanks for this help.

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