Reconfig Home WIFI

We’ve had issues with our wifi connection for a while. We live in a two-floor house and with our router sitting in our bedroom, all the way on the farthest end on the second floor. Our living TV had been having issues, dropping connection in the middle of watching Tiger King… Markie ordered a wifi extender from Amazon. According to him the extender connected to the our original router right away –

Except for one problem!

Our original router is named “CadianGate”. Our extender is now a separate wifi called “CadianGate_EXT”. Although they share the same password, we’d switch from one to the other manually…

Markie insists that the extender has to be different from the router, but I know that is NOT true because my dad set up our home wifi in China that way – the extender extends the router, instead of creating a new connection to switch back and force. I found this TP-LINK article that proves my point.

Since Markie is not cooperative and does not remember our router password, I did more research on whether I can bypass logging into the original router.

We have 4 wifi names…

When going into 192.168.0.1 – I see the login for the router. Tried looking into what’s the IP address for the extender without much luck. Came to realize that the easiest way to do this is through TP-LINK Tether. The only thing you need to do is rename the CadianGate_EXT to be CadianGate, and same goes to the 5G version.

SSID Choice: Unique Wifi Names vs. Universal Wifi Name

Using unique names for each router and extender is call using custom SSID (Service Set ID, the name for a Wifi network). Having one single name for multiple router and extenders requires each extender to cloning host SSID.

Benefits of using custom SSID include – (1) it is easy to identify which router / extender your device is connected to, and (2) it is possible to manually set which router / extender you connects to (not clear to me why this would be necessary, but maybe handy in controlling smart home devices?). Downsides are (1) there will be a list of networks popping up, (2) you might need to manually switch, (3) one would need to enter password multiple times.

Benefits of cloning host SSID when setting extender up include – (1) universal name and password, which is awesome when you have multiple extenders, and (2) seamless transition among router and extender. One major downside listed by multiple articles is that older devices without AP roaming built in may be stuck to one access point (connecting to one specific router or extender and cannot get out).

A good explanation comparing the two naming methodologies can be found here: https://community.tp-link.com/us/home/forum/topic/160871

Mode Choice: Access Point Mode vs. Range Extender Mode

Another set of terminology that came up was access point mode and range extender mode. The different between the two mode is how the extender connects to the Internet. Access point mode suggests there is an Ethernet cable that connects to the extender, and range extender mode suggests the extender receives host router’s wifi signal.

Most wifi extenders (our included) support both modes. For home usage, range extender mode is easier to set up and sufficient to use. For businesses, one might want to consider connecting extenders through an cable to be faster.

I found the following two articles helpful on the topic –
https://community.tp-link.com/us/home/forum/topic/160871
https://eu.dlink.com/uk/en/support/faq/access-points-and-range-extenders/what-do-the-modes-mean-on-my-ap.

Tip: If you are looking to set up Wifi for your house…

I highly recommend getting router and extender from the same company. TP-LINK’s app Tether is making Wifi configuration and device management very easy. LinkSys and D-Link also have their own app to help with home wifi management.

The router we have is TP-LINK Arch A7 and it costs us $70. The extender we recently bought is TP-LINK RE220 and it costs us $30.

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