If your WiFi extender keeps disconnecting, it is usually easy to diagnose and fix the problem! All you need is a laptop, some patience, and a bit of your time.
I’m a techie and home networking hobbyist with over ten years of experience with all sorts of home networking devices. I know my way around Wi-Fi extenders and how to make them work better.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through all the possible causes and fixes for Wi-Fi extenders that keep disconnecting.
So keep reading to learn more!
Why Wi-Fi Extenders Disconnect and the Solutions
Wi-Fi extenders are great solutions for getting Wi-Fi coverage in hard-to-reach areas. They give you the convenience of getting a good Wi-Fi signal to an area that is unreachable by your router alone.
But, when you’re sipping your morning coffee and logging into your first Zoom meeting of a hectic day, the last thing you want is your Wi-Fi extender disconnecting. I know exactly how frustrating this can be because I’ve had these issues with my own Wi-Fi extender.
Here are all the reasons Wi-Fi extenders disconnect and how to fix them.
1. Bad Location
The best location for your Wi-Fi extender is about halfway between your router and the area in your home with spotty coverage.
So, let’s say your den has bad Wi-Fi coverage, and your router is in the office on the second floor. In that case, the best extender location would be at the top or bottom of the staircase (about halfway between).
No, you don’t need to pull out your measuring tape to get it exactly halfway. Just approximate the location. It doesn’t matter that much.
However, what you should avoid includes:
- Placing your extender in a room with a weak Wi-Fi signal – Since your Wi-Fi signal is spotty in a certain room, you might have thought placing the extender in the room would improve the coverage.
But that’s actually the worst place for the extender! Your router’s signal couldn’t reach that area in the first place. The extender will have a hard time connecting to the Wi-Fi from that room, too, just like your mobile devices.
- Avoid placing your extender in obstruction areas – Placing your Wi-Fi extender tucked away in a closet keeps it out of sight and reduces clutter.
But, you will significantly impede its signal strength. Instead, place it in a common area, like a hallway, great room, or loft.
- Avoid devices that interfere with Wi-Fi – Microwaves, mirrors, old cordless home phones, halogen lamps, power sources, and even Christmas lights can interfere with 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi signals.
Install your extender a reasonable distance away from these devices.
2. Wrong Wi-Fi Connection
When you first install a Wi-Fi extender in your home, it creates a new Wi-Fi network. The new Wi-Fi network is usually a variation of your original network’s name.
For example, if your original network has the name “Home_WiFi,” the extender’s network name will likely be “Home_WiFi_Ext” by default.
So, with a Wi-Fi extender, you now have two networks in your home. This means if you connect to the wrong network, you will have a poor connection if you’re too far away.
Always connect your device to the network you are physically closer to. To elaborate, if you’re streaming Netflix on your iPad in the bedroom, which is near your Wi-Fi extender, connect to the extender’s network – “Home_WiFi_Ext.”
But, if you decide to pick up your iPad and walk down to Kitchen near your router, change your connection to the router’s network – “Home_WiFi” for best performance.
Changing back and forth between the two networks can be a hassle. But, just remember this tip if you’re experiencing a slow connection or frequent disconnections with portable devices.
3. It’s Unplugged
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is worth mentioning. Since Wi-Fi extenders create a second network, it’s easy not to notice when it is completely offline.
The original network will still be around if the extender is unplugged. And if you’re in a dead spot, you will have a weak connection.
If you have this issue, always double-check that the extender is plugged in and receiving power.
4. Outdated Firmware
Outdated firmware can lead to connection issues with a Wi-Fi extender. Some Wi-Fi range extenders automatically update their firmware when available. But others do not, which means you will have to do it yourself.
You can update your extender’s firmware by accessing its setup page or GUI. To do this, you will have to connect your laptop to the extender with an ethernet cable. Then enter either a default IP address in a web browser or the extender’s domain name.
The default IP address and domain name vary by brand, so check your router’s instruction manual for more information.
5. Incomplete Setup
Perhaps after the initial setup, your Wi-Fi extender has intermittent connection issues. A common reason for this is an incomplete or improper setup.
To resolve this potential issue, reset the Wi-Fi extender. You can usually reset an extender by holding the “Reset” button. You may need a paperclip to do so, but this procedure varies by brand and model.
6. Device Issues
Sometimes the problem is not with your Wi-Fi extender at all. In some cases, it could be your device (laptop, phone, PC, etc.) that is having issues.
Troubleshooting is simple. Just try connecting another device to the extender’s network. If the second device connects fine, then your original device has a connectivity issue. You can try restarting the first device to resolve the problem.
7. Distance Limitations
Perhaps the distance in your home is too large for a Wi-Fi extender to be effective. Let’s examine what I mean with these made-up parameters:
- Your router creates a 100 feet wide Wi-Fi bubble
- Your Wi-Fi extender creates another 100 feet wide Wi-Fi bubble
- The distance from your router to the area you need Wi-Fi is 205 feet
In this hypothetical example, even with the Wi-Fi extender, you will not be able to get a strong Wi-Fi signal in your desired area. You’ll be outside of the range of both “Wi-Fi bubbles.”
Unfortunately, in this case, your best solution is to move closer to your Wi-Fi extender or router. You can also consider getting a second extender or a mesh network instead.
I hope this troubleshooting guide for disconnecting Wi-Fi extenders is helpful to you. When your home network isn’t working as it should, it is certainly frustrating. Thankfully, you can usually solve this problem with the fixes listed above.
If your Wi-Fi extender still does not work after these troubleshooting tips, it may be defective or broken. In that case, contact the manufacturer for warranty and replacement information.
Please leave your feedback and comment below with your Wi-Fi extender questions.