Can a TP-Link router be used as a repeater?

A repeater can be defined as a device that assists a computer to maintain stronger wireless signals by receiving information from a router and retransmitting them. Sometimes, you can use your router as a repeater to help extend the range which your Wi-Fi network reaches. So, let us find out how you can use your TP-Link router as a repeater.

Based on your routers Wi-Fi range coverage, your signal may not always reach other rooms in your house that you may want to frequently make use of. Aside from purchasing Wi-Fi extenders, powerline adapters or even new repeaters, you can make use of your already existing TP-Link router and convert it into a repeater. To answer the question, your TP-Link can certainly be used as a repeater wirelessly, by using a powerline or Ethernet adapter or by installing custom firmware.

Before all else, how do repeaters work to extend your Wi-Fi signal?

extend your Wi-Fi signal

A repeater works to regenerate your Wi-Fi signal over the same network your using before the signal becomes too weak in order to extend the length to which the signal can be transmitted over the same network. Repeaters are simply used to boost the Wi-Fi signal in your devices and extend the connection in your home.

If you want to increase your network in areas that are not suitable for installing cables, you can make use of a repeater. However, repeaters don’t work in areas that do not have a strong connection.

How to use your TP-Link router as a repeater

Here, we will look at the different ways that you can use your router as a repeater.

Using your TP-Link router wirelessly

When you are converting your TP-Link router into a repeater, the main factor is to look into its Wireless Distribution System (WDS). A wireless distribution system is one that enables wireless bridging of different access points that are in an IEEE 802 network. It permits the creation as an extending network using Wi-Fi access points without having to use powerline adapters or network cables and turns it into a single network.

If your TP-Link router is featured with the WDS system, then all you need to do is find the repeater or bridge mode in the configuration tool, select the option, key in the requested information and fully work around the information that you have been provided with. It could possibly as you for the SSID, security mode, MAC address and the spectrum brand of your router.

For this process to work out successfully, the TP-Link router you intend to use as a repeater and your main TP-Link router should both be able to connect to each other across a wireless signal.

The downside of using repeater mode and WDS, is that it tampers with the performance and speed of your Wi-Fi. There is a downside to using a wireless bridge in repeater mode and WDS mode. This is because when the secondary router repeats the wireless signal, the wireless throughput speed in that particular area will be reduced by half.

Making use of Ethernet or powerline adapters

aTP-Link router

 Connecting your TP-Link routers with an Ethernet cable or powerline adapter creates a second access point that in turn extends your Wi-Fi signal. For this to work out effectively, your household needs to have already existing Ethernet cables.

The first thing you need to do is connect the WAN port on your older TP-Link router to the LAN port on the TP-Link router that you are currently using. In your older routers settings, select the access point/bridge mode option. The next thing would be to disable the DCHP server on your router. The DCHP server determines how your connected devices are able to receive an internal IP address from your TP-Link router. By doing this, you are able to change your IP address and access the settings of your router from the browser you are using and you can afterwards reset your router and switch the Ethernet cable between the ports (WAN and LAN).

After this step, you need to ensure that when you pull up your older routers configuration you are able to access its new IP address and it should be displayed on the list of connected devices. Once all this is done, you should set up your router in a convenient environment in your house, ensure your Ethernet cable is in place and set up the repeater with the same network name and password as the main router.

Installing custom firmware

Important custom firmware such as OpenWRT, Tomato or DD-WRT are important when your TP-Link router does not have built-in WDS but would like to turn it into a repeater. You need to install these by following the instructions in their different websites. However, to do this, you need to have proper technical knowledge for this to be a successful procedure.

The process that you use to install custom firmware into your router is known as flashing. This is different from how it is installed in a computer. Before starting the flashing process, you need to check online to understand whether your TP-Link router can allow for the installation of a custom firmware. In short, your TP-link router needs to be compatible with OpenWRT, Tomato OR DD-WRT then the next process would be to read all the information on how to install the firmware into your router. Once you have done this, your router begins to function as a repeater.

A summary of using your TP-Link router as an extender

Connection type
Ethernet or powerline adapter
Installing custom firmware
Important features to consider
Existence of Wireless Distribution System (WDS)
Disabling the router’s DCHP server
Compatibility with OpenWRT, DD-WRT or Tomato


Out of all the three ways of using your TP-Link router as a repeater, connecting it to your primary router using Ethernet or powerline adapters gives better results when it comes to performance and speed. Always ensure to disable the routing capabilities of your previous router for the process to work entirely. Lastly, converting your old TP-Link router into a repeater is a cheaper alternative as compared to purchasing new devices to help you extend the Wi-Fi signal across your household.


Which is better between a router set as an access point or as a repeater?

Routers that have been set as access points are better that routers set as repeaters because as access points, the radios can work full time to serve your connected devices at the same time and you would get much better speeds.

Where can I find the firmware of my TP-Link router when trying to change it into a repeater?

To locate the firmware of your router you can check the label at the back of your router or check from the TP-Link tether app on your mobile device.

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