How to Build your own WiFi Range Extender

esp32

In this tutorial you will learn how to build your own WiFi range extender using an ESP8266 (NodeMCU development board).

I am pretty sure that many of you experienced bad WiFi coverage on some rooms in your home networks. There are plenty of WiFi range extenders you can buy these days. However, if you just have a NodeMCU at home and you want to build your own range extender from it, just try the following steps of this tutorial.

Parts Required

  • ESP8266 NodeMCU v1.0 (or other ESP8266 development boards)
  • Micro-USB to USB cable

Flashing NodeMCU

We will be using an implementation of a WiFi NAT router on the ESP8266, available on this Github repository: https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_wifi_repeater

This project also includes support for a packet filtering firewall with ACLs, port mapping, traffic shaping, hooks for remote monitoring (or packet sniffing), an MQTT management interface, simple GPIO interaction, and power management. For a setup with multiple routers in a mesh to cover a larger area, an “Automesh” mode is included. A similar NAT feature for the ESP32 boards can be found at: https://github.com/martin-ger/esp32_nat_router.

1. Download the binary files 0x00000.bin and 0x02000.bin from the firmware folder.

2. Download the software Flash Download Tools.

3. Plug your NodeMCU to your laptop using the USB cable. Open Flash Download Tools.

4. Using “…” search and select the 0x00000.bin. Repeat this step for 0x02000.bin.

5. Write the file names.

6. Check the two first checkboxes. Leave the other options as shown in the following image.

7. Select the COM port that represent your NodeMCU.

8. Press the START button.

Wait until the FINISH message appears. Unplug the USB cable and plug it again.

Configuring the WiFi Range Extender

9. The NodeMCU network will show up with the name “MyAP“. Press the Connect button.

10. Open you favourite browser and use the default IP address 192.168.4.1 to access the system configuration page. On the STA Settings use your home network SSID and Password credentials and press Connect.

11. On the AP Settings choose a SSID name and Password for your new range extender network and press Set.

12. Select the SSID network name and use the Password you defined on Step 11 and press Next.

Now you should be able to open your browser and use the Internet connection!

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