Can You Use a Router as a WiFi Extender?

While most users choose to use a WiFi extender for all of their internet range needs, a router can also become an extender in a few easy steps.

I’ve used various routers throughout my life, and I’ve set them up in various ways. My own personal experience with the technology, as well as extra research on the devices, allowed me to understand the different ways they can be used.

To take a closer look at the devices, this guide breaks down the best ways to expand your home network, how routers play a role in that process, and the different ways they can be turned into extenders.

Key Takeaways

  • With just a few simple steps any user can turn a second or extra router into a reliable WiFi extender.
  • There are different ways to extend WiFi through a router, and they can be done either wirelessly or with a wired connection.
  • Upgrading your router, putting it into a better position, creating a mesh network, or even getting a second one are all non-extender ways to get a better wireless range.

A Second Use for a Router

Even the strongest WiFi routers, for all of their capabilities, don’t have the power to serve extremely large homes or spacious residences. There are many obstacles that can get in their way, and even basic electronics can hinder their ability to work to full capacity.

There are a few ways you can get around such issues, but one of the most effective is to use a WiFi extender. The devices, as their name suggests, expand your wireless coverage. In doing so they eliminate dead zones and bring your network coverage to all parts of your home.

However, you don’t always need an actual WiFi extender to get its benefits. You can use a second router as well. Most modern devices support WiFi extension capabilities, which means they allow boosting. That’s not true of all older models, but it’s more common on new ones.

Just be aware of that differentiation. Every router is unique. Some might not work in the way you need them to, while some will give you exactly what you need. Always check first.

How To Turn a Router Into an Extender

Once you find a router that you can use as an extender, the next step is to actually turn it into a usable device. To do that, you first want to update the firmware on your old router in order to improve both the connectivity and security features.

After that, connect an Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on your main router and then plug the other side into the WAN port on your secondary device. Log into the second one’s admin settings and switch it over to AP mode. That will turn it into an access point and extend the WiFi.

You can also use your router as a repeater if you so desire. To do that, follow the first instructions outlined above by updating your second router’s firmware and logging into the admin settings. 

Next, check the bottom of your router for login information and use that to switch the model into repeating mode. That may also be called Wireless Bridge Mode, Extender Mode, or Repeater Mode. Select the WiFi network being created by your primary one and connect to it.

That’s a great way to create an extender-like setup without needing any physical cables.

The Best Ways to Extend WiFi Signal

The primary reason to use an extender is to get a better WiFi range. The devices are extremely effective at what they do. However, they are far from the only way you can get a better signal.

If you don’t want to use one as an extender, you can always get a second router. Two working at the same time will greatly increase your WiFi range and make your network much more effective over a bigger area. It can help increase speed on your devices too.

Of course, repositioning or upgrading your router are both good routes to take as well. Moving your router into a clear space creates a better signal, especially if you can get it away from problematic devices like microwaves or bulky obstacles like large furniture.

If you do your research, it’s hard to go wrong with newer or more effective equipment. This route is one of the most costly, but it’s also simple compared to other solutions and takes minimal effort. 

You can set up a mesh system as well. Such networks are when two or more routers work together to provide excellent coverage no matter the size of the space. They replace your existing WiFi and are easy to set up regardless of your tech experience.


This section tackles some of the biggest WiFi router related questions.

What’s the Best Place for a Router in a Two-Story House?

If you have a large residence, it’s best to place your router near the ceiling of the first story or on the floor of the second story. That will give you the widest coverage.

Is It Better To Place Your WiFi Router Higher or Lower?

Though you don’t need your router to be up near the ceiling, it’s almost always more effective to put your router a few feet off the floor.

Do WiFi Extenders Work?

Yes. Both traditional extenders and routers turned into extenders both do a great job of increasing your wireless signal. 

Final Words

Wifi extenders are great, but you don’t need one to actually increase your coverage. A router will do. Follow the above steps, understand where you need the extra coverage, and you’ll be able to use a router to get your wireless signal to all parts of your home.

Have you ever used a WiFi router as an extender? Why did you do it and was it effective? Let us know below!

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