How to Set Up a Belkin Range Extender
A variety of setup options are available for Belkin's range extenders, which help transmit your home's Wi-Fi signal to eliminate dead spots.
Things You'll Need
- Ethernet cable
- Small pin
In an ideal world, your personal Wi-Fi network would transmit an adequately strong signal to every corner of your home. You'd enjoy the same connectivity, whether you're in the immediate area of your router, moving upstairs or lounging on your back porch. Even across the house from your router, you'd enjoy streamed videos that don't skip, downloads that never drag on, and a Web surfing experience that's perfectly seamless.
Unfortunately, that's not the way it typically works. Even in an apartment or smaller home, it's not uncommon to find a dead spot or two where your Wi-Fi signal weakens or, worse, becomes entirely non-existent. A Belkin Wi-Fi range extender -- also known as a wireless repeater -- can solve this problem by extending the range of your router's signal without the need for any cables. In most cases, setup is as simple as pushing a button or visiting a website.
In an open floor plan, you can typically expect your home's Wi-Fi signal to reach anywhere from a 300 to 500-foot radius. Any type of construction material -- like concrete, metal or drywall -- can lower this substantially. Keep this in mind when placing your extender, and try to avoid plugging it into a outlet where there's a wall or another obstruction blocking it from the router's range.
A wireless installation that relies on WPS or "Wi-Fi Protected Setup" is your easiest option, especially if you aren't particularly tech savvy. This network security standard was initially developed to easily secure a wireless home network and to allow the connection of Web-enabled devices without having to access the router's configuration screens or the network's security key.
All of Belkin's range extenders come standard with this feature, but you'll need to ensure that your router also sports a WPS button.
Push and hold the WPS button on your Belkin range extender for two seconds, and then release the button when the WPS LED light starts to flash, indicating WPS has been initiated. Push and hold the WPS button on your home's router within two minutes of initiating WPS on the extender.
Final configuration will be completed automatically between the two devices from there.
If you're not sure what to look for on your router, the WPS button is typically labeled with two rotating arrows.
WarningWhile the idea behind WPS is to simplify connectivity while maintaining network security, a 2011 report from the Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team warns that its PIN authentication leaves it vulnerable to hacking. Within that report, it is also suggested that users disable the feature within the router's configuration menu. For more information about disabling this on your router, check your manufacturer's user manual.
All of Belkin's Wi-Fi extenders also support wireless Web setup. In addition to your router and extender, you'll also need a Web-enabled device -- like a laptop or tablet -- with Web browsing capabilities.
- Plug the Belkin range extender into a power outlet that's within the full-strength signal of your home's Wi-Fi network.
- Use your mobile device or computer to browse the available networks and select Belkin.setup from the list.
- Launch your Web browser and navigate to http://Belkin.range.
- Click Get Started on Belkin's setup Web page and then select your home's Wi-Fi name from the list of available networks.
- Enter your Wi-Fi network's password when prompted and select Next.
- Select your Wi-Fi network once again, click Next, and then click Create Extended Network.
A cabled setup is also possible on all but the N300 F9K1015 model of Belkin range extenders. To complete this type of configuration, you'll need to connect the range extender to your computer using an Ethernet cable. Then, plug the range extender into any power outlet and disable the Wi-Fi on your computer. From there, simply follow Steps 3 through 6, above, to complete setup.
WPS PIN Setup
If your router supports it, you can also set up your Belkin extender using the WPS Personal Identification Number (PIN) of your router. If your device supports it, you'll typically find this PIN either on the product label -- usually on the back or bottom of the router itself -- or within your router's configuration utility. Since it varies based on manufacturer and model, refer to your product's documentation for more information.
- Launch the Web browser on your computer or mobile device and navigate to http://Belkin.range.
- Click Wi-Fi Protected (WPS) under Extended Network Settings, and then enter your device's WPS PIN in the Enter Client Device PIN field.
- Click Enroll to complete the configuration.
The push-to-connect WPS button is not alone in its security vulnerability. The 2011 warning issued by the Department of Homeland Security also applies to its WPS PIN counterpart.
References & Resources
- Netgear: What is Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)/Push 'n' Connect?
- Belkin: N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender F9K1015 User Guide
- Belkin: N300 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender F9K1111 User Guide [PDF]
- Belkin: N600 Dual-Band Plug-In Wi-Fi Range Extender F9K1122 User Guide [PDF]
- Google Support: Optimize Your Wireless Network
- Ars Technica: Researchers Publish Open-Source Tool for Hacking WiFi Protected Setup
- Department of Homeland Security: Vulnerability Note VU#723755: WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) PIN Brute Force Vulnerability
- Belkin: Product Comparison Between the Belkin F9K1015 and F9K1122
- Belkin: Dual-Band Wireless Range Extender F9K1106 [PDF]