In the previous section I showed you how to install the TP Link WA830RE Wireless Signal Range Extender as a Wireless Signal Extender (booster), as opposed to an Access Point with a separate network name. This was because the device installs as a wireless signal extender by default (normal behaviour). Once installed as an extender, in extender operating mode, it is then up to you to switch its operating mode over to Access Point mode. And it is this Access Point mode I will be showing you in a minute, but first I will clarify the roles (jobs) of the extender and the access point.
NOTE: This article was created for Windows 7 and therefore its wordings and screenshots relate to the Windows 7 operating system. Where possible I have updated the wordings to relate to the Windows 10 operating system. Either way, the information is very relevant regardless of what Windows operating system you are using.
The extender has the job of boosting your router's original wireless broadband internet signal when it (the extender) is placed inside another room that normally has a weak wireless internet signal. The extender is plugged into the mains only, but quite near to the router (within one floor) - There is no need for an ethernet cable to be connected from the router to the extender. This is because the extender gets the router's original wireless internet signal, wirelessly, and then boosts it; when the extender is placed inside a room with natural, weak, wireless signal problems. That strengthened/boosted (extended) wireless internet signal is then used by your computer, wirelessly.
In contrast to the just said; a Wireless Access Point (WAP) relies on the extender being connected to your wireless router via an ethernet cable at all times. This could be a short ethernet cable or a long one. Either way, once the router and extender are connected via that ethernet cable the extender then uses the broadband internet connection passing through that ethernet cable to turn it into a wireless internet signal whereby it can then create a wireless network out of it.
This means you could have your wireless router downstairs with its wireless network name as HOME and then have the extender upstairs, in a weak wireless signal room,
with its wireless network name as OFFICE. Anyone in the office, upstairs, could then connect to the wireless network called OFFICE wirelessly because the extender
would be using the internet connection of the router downstairs via the ethernet cable. So the job of the extender is to turn itself into a WAP and the job of the
WAP is to give you another wireless network; in this case known as another access point - Another point (location) of access to your wireless internet connection.
Don't worry if you didn't understand the above! because towards the end of this section you will realise how it all works and more importantly how an access point can help you; both as a wireless signal solution and a business solution. So assuming you have installed the extender as an extender in Extender operating mode (see the previous section), and have the extender connected to your computer via its ethernet cable, the first you need to do is temporarily change your computer's IP Address so that you can get into the extender's control panel (as mentioned in the previous section).
To temporarily change your computer's IP Address first go to the NETWORK AND SHARING CENTER control panel and click on the MANAGE WIRELESS NETWORKS link. Doing so will bring up the Manage Wireless Network window (Fig 1.1) whereby you then need to click on its ADAPTOR PROPERTIES button to continue.
Fig 1.0 - Click on the MANAGE WIRELESS NETWORKS link to continue
Fig 1.1 - Click on the ADAPTOR PROPERTIES button to continue
Clicking on the ADAPTOR PROPERTIES button (above) brings up the Wireless Network Connection Properties window (below). On that window you need to select the setting called INTERNET PROTOCOL VERSION 4 (TCP/IPv4), which will be ticked by default, before clicking on the PROPERTIES button.
Fig 1.2 - Select the INTERNET PROTOCOL VERSION 4 (TCP/IPv4) setting and then click on the PROPERTIES button to continue
After clicking the PROPERTIES button the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties window will appear (below). Click on its radio
(circle/dot) button called USE THE FOLLOWING IP ADDRESS and then enter 192, 168, 0 and 10 into the four separate IP ADDRESS edit boxes. When
you have done that enter 255, 255, 255 and 0 into the four separate SUB-MASK edit boxes. Leave the DEFAULT GATEWAY edit boxes empty and then click
on the OK button to apply the new IP ADDRESS settings. Now close any other control panel windows that may still be open.
If you are currently connected to the internet clicking on the OK button will disconnect you.....until you change the above IP ADDRESS settings back to their original state (explained later). This disconnection is quite normal in these circumstances, so don't worry; you will get your connection working again.
Fig 1.3 - Enter the above IP ADDRESS settings before clicking on the OK button
With the ip address settings changed you can now log-in to the extender's control panel whereby you can then change the extender's operating mode from Extender to Access Point.
To change the extender's operating mode from Extender to Access Point begin by typing its IP Address of 192.168.0.254 into your web browser's Address Bar edit box and then press the ENTER keyboard key. You should then see the Log-In message requester (Fig 1.5 below) that asks for a User Name and Password. If that Log-In message requester doesn't appear you will see the This Webpage Is Not Available message instead (Fig 1.4 below). This is normally an indication that the above IP Address changes did not work, for whatever reason(s), in which case you would need to follow the above steps again until the Log-In message requester does appear.
Fig 1.4 - Type the extender's IP Address of 192.168.0.254 into your web browser's Address Bar edit box and then press ENTER
When the Log-In message requester does appear enter the word admin for both the User Name and Password entries and then click on the LOG IN button to log-in to the control panel (Fig 1.6).
Fig 1.5 - Enter the word "admin" for both the User Name and Password entries and then click on LOG IN
Fig 1.6 - The control panel and its Extender settings
When you first log-in to the control panel the Extender operating mode settings will be displayed (above), and not the Access Point operating mode settings, simply
because you have not set up the extender as an access point yet. So at this point you need to make sure the router, extender and computer are close to each other
before you can then configure the control panel; change the extender's operating mode into access point operating mode.
Ignore the technicals! Begin by changing the OPERATING MODE drop-down menu to ACCESS POINT (Fig 1.7 below) - It is currently set to RANGE EXTENDER (Fig 1.6 above). When you have changed the operating mode to ACCESS POINT the next setting you might want to change is the SSID setting. This is your extender's unique, but default, wireless network name (in this example: TP-LINK_BF8552) which you should change to something more meaningful like: OFFICE or HOME.
Fig 1.7 - The OPERATING MODE drop-down menu should be changed to ACCESS POINT
In the above example I am setting the access point's wireless network name to YoingcoAP (yoingco access point) so that my router uses the wireless network name Yoingco and my access point (extender device) uses YoingcoAP.
The last setting to change is the REGION setting (below), which is your Country settings. In this example it was on United States by default but I changed it to United Kingdom. Simply change the REGION drop-down menu to the country where the extender device is and then click on the SAVE button to save all the settings you have just changed. As you change the region setting you will be asked if you really want to change that setting (not shown here). Just click on its OK button to continue.
Fig 1.8 - Click on the SAVE button to save all the settings you have just changed
After clicking on the SAVE button a message, in red, will appear at the bottom of the window stating that your changes will not take effects until you CLICK HERE. So the next step is to click on that CLICK HERE link in order to reboot the extender device and change its settings; so that upon reboot it becomes an Access Point. From there it's just a case of following the instructions until you see the Completed! message (Fig 1.13 below).
Fig 1.9 - Click on the CLICK HERE link to continue
Fig 1.10 - Click on the REBOOT button to continue
Fig 1.11 - Click on the OK button to continue
Fig 1.12 - The extender device is now rebooting (changing into an Access Point)
Fig 1.13 - Ignore the above message - That action will never happen!
At this point the extender device is now acting as an access point and not as a wireless signal extender as explained in the previous section. To see the access
point in action you first need to unplug the ethernet cable from your computer. Make sure that ethernet cable is now plugged into the back of your router and not
in the back of your computer. The other end of that ethernet cable should still be plugged in the back of the extender device.
Once the ethernet cable has been adjusted you then need to change your computer's IP Address setting back to its original setting. You will need to follow the above steps in Figures 1.0 to 1.3, but instead of applying the setting called USE THE FOLLOWING IP ADDRESS in Fig 1.3 you need to apply the OBTAIN AN IP ADDRESS AUTOMATICALLY setting instead.
Fig 1.14 - Select the OBTAIN AN IP ADDRESS AUTOMATICALLY option and then click on the OK button
With the ethernet cable connected between the extender device and router and your computer's IP Address back to its original state, the last step is to connect to the access point's wireless network. In this example to the YoingcoAP wireless network. This is done in the same way as you normally connect to a wireless network.
Fig 1.15 - Click on your access point's wireless network name to continue
Fig 1.16 - The computer is now connected to the YoingcoAP wireless network
As you can see from the above; Both my router's wireless network name (Yoingco) and my access point's wireless network name (YoingcoAP) are available for connection.
Ironically, the extender device (access point) is beaming a stronger signal than my router! But to be fair, the extender device does have a wireless signal booster
inside it and my TalkTalk router is getting old.
The new wireless network, belonging to the access point, can be used as a HOME Network or PUBLIC Network just like any other network. In other words, its status can be changed via the NETWORK AND SHARING CENTER control panel.
Fig 1.17 - Select the network type for this new, YoingcoAP, wireless network
Fig 1.18 - Change the network settings for the new access point, if need be.
Hopefully you can see the benefits of an access point, especially if you had more than one of them; using HomePlugs and/or Ethernet Hubs to connect (bridge) them together. With wireless devices becoming easier to install, now is a great time to have a D.I.Y office set up.