Router extender appearing on wi-fi list as unsecured
April 5, 2021 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Should I be concerned about this?

I recently added a wi-fi extender to our home network, as my husband is working from home, connecting for many hours each day remotely to his work computer, and uses a lot of our bandwidth. The wi-fi extender appears on the list as "unsecured." Should I be concerned about this, and, if so, what can I do to minimize any risks? I drove a very short distance away from our house and checked, and, although the wi-fi extender still appeared, the signal was too weak for anyone to use. So it is ok to leave it as it is?

Thank you, tech people, we truly appreciate any help!
posted by ragtimepiano to Technology (15 answers total)
Uh, wifi extender does not increase bandwidth. It increases COVERAGE, i.e. eliminates deadspots in your house.

How did you add it? Brand name and model if possible?
posted by kschang at 9:18 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: RANGEXTD
Oh, I see. Well, we needed to have more coverage in some areas of our house.
posted by ragtimepiano at 9:25 AM on April 5

So how did you set it up? With the WPS button, or with the browser? Did you use Wifi Repeater mode, or something else? The device is capable of repeater mode, AP mode, or router mode. Which is it set on?
posted by kschang at 10:40 AM on April 5

A range extender, if set up correctly, shouldn't appear as a separate network at all. You should only see your original network -- just with better signal in the direction of the extender.

So if your network was named MYNETWORK, and previously the signal was weak (or nonexistent) in the upstairs office, if you placed an extender in the hallway on the way upstairs, you'd now see MYNETWORK in the office. (Assuming you placed the extender close enough to the router to do its business). And you'd connect to it with the exact same password as the original network. (Because in a sense it is the original network, just extended, hence the name of the product.)

I'm not familiar with your specific brand to be able to tell you how to fix it, but if you're seeing it as a totally separate network something's not set up correctly.
posted by dorothy hawk at 10:41 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Lots of range extenders are really just repeaters. They create a new AP, like mynetwork2 that connects to mynetwork as a client. The higher end ones can mesh your whole wifi network into one thing where you just connect to mynetwork but it figures out which actual AP you should use based on signal quality.

I don't know which "list" OP is looking at that is describing it as unsecured - knowing that might help

It's possible the extender isn't connected to anything or doing anything useful - they have to be set up to connect to your network and typically at the same time you set up the name they should appear as and probably also what password they should have. I have one like this, it's basically a wall wart with an antenna. I had to connect to it by either wifi or eth, don't remember now, and configure it via a web interface. They usually come with instructions on how to do it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:02 AM on April 5

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. The network is set on repeater mode. It appears in the wi-fi with the router address, plus _EXT added at the end.
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:14 PM on April 5

OK, so in the setup of it, it's almost surely possible to set a username and password for it, or maybe a setting to duplicate the one from master wifi router or something. I don't know this device but google gets me to here
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:22 PM on April 5

Hmmm... Generally, the "_EXT" SSID should use the same password as your normal SSID that it's repeating.

Which is confirmed by the manual / brochure of your item...
posted by kschang at 12:39 PM on April 5

Response by poster: Yes. The booster manual says it will use the same password and settings. But it appears in the settings of my devices as "unsecured," and that is what is puzzling and concerning. Should I be concerned?
posted by ragtimepiano at 1:21 PM on April 9

Does it require the username and password to let you in?
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:57 PM on April 9

Response by poster: Yes. when I first set it up, I had to sign in with the password. Yet it appears in the wi-fi of my devices as the netword name plus _EXT, and it appears as unsecured....?
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:08 AM on April 10

Right but when you attach to the EXT wifi, does it require a username and password (i.e. the same one as your regular wifi?
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:07 PM on April 10

Response by poster: No. It sometimes switches to the _EXT wifi, without a password.
posted by ragtimepiano at 7:27 PM on April 11

Response by poster: Also, when I try to follow the instructions on the "Google gets me to here" link to you tube video, and I type in the 192 address for my router network, I cannot access it?
posted by ragtimepiano at 7:35 PM on April 11

Response by poster: How do I reset the password and/ or user name in order to access my trendnet router account? The router is working fine, but I can't access the settings online....
posted by ragtimepiano at 7:52 PM on April 11

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