20JUN2016: This is now updated.
Configuring TPLink MR3020 and MR3040 as Wifi Repeater can be quite cumbersome. I wrote this guide long back and now it is updated with some changes after previous MR3020 setup guide and MR3020 review. I have configured both, MR3020 and MR3040 as repeater and tested them. I tested this process with Win XP , Win 7, Ubuntu, and CentOS and now Windows 10.
You will be able to repeat any network for which you know the SSID (Network name) or at least scan it. So, let’s go through the steps.
Configure TPLink MR3020, MR3040 as repeater
First thing to do, is a backup of current router config. Do it by using admin console on router from option System Tools (sidebar) -> Backup.
Step 1: Prepare your MR3020 and MR3040 Router
Power on your MR3020 or MR3040 router and disconnect any network connection currently connected to. Now, set the hardware switch of router on ‘AP (Access Point) mode’. Wait for some minutes till the hardware reconfigures itself.
Next, you will need to hard reset your router. Just press and hold the WPS/RESET button for around 6-8 seconds. MR3040 has a dedicated Reset switch (pin-hole) just near USB port. When lights blink, release the button. Your router will switch to factory settings and you will see SSID something like “TP-LINK_POCKET_3020_xxxxxx” in Wi-fi setting of your PC.
Obvious question: Why I need to reset the router?
Answer: Random behaviour of router. Sometime, things will go well with current SSID and settings but sometimes they will not. It’s better to avoid the headache.
Step 2: Prepare your computer
1. Go to wireless settings and remove previous networks related to this router and main network. It is not mandatory but may conflict if you are using same SSIDs across many devices.
Caution: You must have all the network keys or just remove the network related to this TP-Link router.
Next step is the most important. You can’t connect to a router in AP mode without a dedicated IP. In this case it is router’s IP. If you try to connect without configuring IP address, you may see Limited or No Connectivity as shown,
2. Configuring IP address for Wi-fi adapter.
For Windows XP:
Go to Control panel and then Network Connections. You can also use, Start Menu → Connect to → Show all network connections.
For Windows 7:
Control Panel → View network status and tasks → Manage network connection
For Windows 10:
Click on Network icon in taskbar-> Network Connections -> Manage network.
You can directly click on Wi-fi adapter sign and select properties from Status/Task bar.
Now, find your Wi-fi adapter. It will be named as Wireless Network Connection. Right click it and select properties.
For Win XP, scroll down in list and find ‘Internet protocol TCP/IP’. In Win 7 and Windows 10, it might be named as ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 TCP/IP’. Select properties or double click.
Select ‘Use the following IP address’ and enter an IP address as 198.168.0.XXX. Here XXX can be anything from 1 to 253, your choice but keep first three subset as said.
Next, set the subnet mask to 255.255.255.0
Now, default gateway. People fails from here and further as they put 192.168.0.254. For some people it will work and for others it will not. Reason is that this gateway is actually IP address of your router. It may vary in models. You can find yours printed on router or under battery cover.
Leave the DNS server settings as it is. We don’t have one.
So, in the end, my config looked like as below, (you can use the same, just make sure your router IP = default gateway)
Hit OK and again OK.
Your Wi-fi will try to reconnect and this time it will show ‘Connected‘ instead of ‘Limited Connectivity‘.
Step 3: Configuring router to repeat SSID/Network
I hope you are already have another Wifi or mobile Wifi hotspot. This one will be the network you want to repeat. Or why we might be doing this?
Fire up your favorite browser and type in your router’s IP in address bar (Default gateway IP) and hit enter. You will be welcomed with login prompt. As we did a reset the login and password will be ‘admin’ in most cases. Refer your Wi-fi device or its manual, if it’s not.
Enter login details and enter the admin panel. Now, go to Quick Setup and Select the Repeater mode as shown. Click Next.
Next screen will ask you SSID and other settings. You can enter manually but I prefer to Survey. Click Survey button. Your router will show any existing network it can see. It will also show some other details. Select ‘Choose’ at the end of table.
The details will be filled up automatically. Just check them to make sure they are correct. Leave the security settings as it is or configure them, your choice. You can configure this later also.
Note: Security settings shown here are not of your parent network. They are for this router MR3020 or MR3040.
So, hit next and you will be told that setup completed and now connecting. You will see that now there is only one network i.e. your original network with change in signal strength – means it’s extended. Great!
Only thing is that, it will simply fail to connect right now. Reasons are fairly simple,
1. You will still need your parent network key or say password in lame language.
2. Remember, you had bind your adapter to a specific IP address which is not an IP of your parent device/router but of repeater router.
So, simply go back to Wireless adapter settings and select ‘Obtain IP address automatically’. Hit Ok and again Ok.
Try to reconnect now and it will ask keys for original network. Enter your password (lame lingo) and it will connect to your repeated network. You may need to wait for long time; say, 3-4 minutes (at least in XP, I saw this).
If you get ‘Acquiring Network Address’ or ‘Limited connectivity’ even after finishing everything then you can do the following,
1. Right click on Wi-fi icon from taskbar (near clock) and select repair. Many times Windows will offer itself. After repair, Cache will be cleared, IP will be renewed and you will be able to connect.
2. Switch off Wi-fi on system, repeater and main device. Start in this order; System Wi-fi -> Repeater router -> Main device (parent network) at last.
3. Restart the system and run following commands one by one from dos prompt (type cmd in Start -> Run to get MS-Dos prompt);
It should work now. Enjoy. Who said that configuring TPLink MR3020/3040 as Wifi Repeater would be an easy job.
Comments, queries and issues are welcome as always.