Most helpful critical review
335 of 342 people found the following review helpful
Hard to configure, a charm once its done
on December 18, 2007
I have shared the same experience as the most helpful reviews here: this is a pain to install when you want to configure this Extender to be secure (so strangers can't mooch off of your internet or worse). On the other hand, once you have it set up, it works like a charm.
It's possible, but prepare to burn an hour or three. I would like to add some instructional steps, which are a variation of the very helpful ones already present here on Amazon.
Dummies Guide on How to set up the Extender with security turned on:
1. Completely ignore the instruction sheet that comes with the product. At first, I tried following it stubbornly despite reading these Amazon reviews, and I found that it is an embarrassment. Shame on you Belkin, for giving us so much unnecessary grief.
2. Find a computer in your home to use for this setup. Any computer (that isn't Vista) will do.
3. If this computer happens to be plugged into your router (I'm not talking about not the Extender), unplug it from the router. If this computer happens to have a wireless connection, disable the wireless connection.
4. Plug in the power cord for the Extender into the wall, then connect an ethernet cord (looks like a fat telephone cord) into the back of the Extender, then stick the other end into your computer. The "LAN" light will now light up. Just in case you're concerned, you can ignore the red "search" light that may blink.
5. Install the "Belkin Range Extender Utility" onto this computer. The installation CD will place a program in your Start->Programs menu once you run the install.
6. Go to start->settings->network connections. At this point the only enabled network connection should be Local Area Network (or Local Connection... the name may differ slightly for you). If anything else is enabled, disable it. Right click Local Area Network and select Properties. You're now looking for a new window to pop up that lists a bunch of internet-sounding words like Network or QoS. Look for the item called Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Double click that.
7. Select manual IP, and enter 192.168.2.100
8. The subnet mask will get filled out automatically. Ignore the gateway. Hit OK, you're finished.
9. Start up the Belkin utility, and hit "refresh" if nothing shows up on the list of detected Extenders. If you're lucky, you will see the Extender show up, and you can now click "Web Management".
10. If no items show up on the Belkin Utility's list, or an item does show up but the "web management" icon is unclickable, then repeat steps 6-9 but enter the IP address 192.168.1.100 instead. Then the Extender should show up.
11. Finally, once you are able to click "Web Management", it will bring you to a webpage that is very much like a Router setup page. The details of what you need to do here can be found in instructional docs on the web elsewhere. The basic idea is that you want to copy pretty much everything over to be identical to what your router settings are. The only exception is possibly the SSID of the Belkin Extender. Depending on your preference, you may want to choose a different name for it just so you can confirm that its really working later on.
12. Save those settings (there's a systems tab at the bottom of the web management panel that allows you to save the settings into a file as a backup).
13. Unplug the Extender from the computer, unplug the power for the Extender, and move the extender to wherever you want. Plug the power back in.
14. Go back to steps 6-9. Remove the manual IP configuration for your Local Area Connection, and revert the panels back to the way they were (which is probably "automatically obtain ip address"). Hit OK. Enable all your network connections if you disabled them in step 6.
15. You should now be able to use your wireless connection to see the Extender under its fresh new SSID. Enjoy.
A version of the above for those that are network-saavy:
1. Disconnect all wireless from your computer, then connect your computer directly to the Extender as if it were a router. Power up the Extender.
2. Manually specify your computer's IP address to be 192.168.2.xxx with subnet mask 255.255.255.0. Yes, I know this step is weird. I'll explain the reason for it in step#4.
3. Install the Belkin Network utility. Its a simple executable. Start it up. It's purpose is to scan for the Extender, provided that your Extender is directly wired to your computer (which we did in step 1).
4. You should see your Extender show up in the utility. If the Extender does not show up or the "Web Management" button is greyed out, this is because your computer and the Belkin Extender are on different subnets. The Belkin Extender is usually shipped from the warehouse hardwired to the IP Address 192.168.2.254. What??? When you plug your computer into the Extender, you need to hardwire your computer to be on the same subnet so the stupid utility will work. Hence, since the factory setting for the Extender is 192.168.2.254, hardwiring your computer's IP to 192.168.2.100 will get the utility to connect to the Extender. However, if for some awful reason your Extender is hardwired to some other IP Address (which is configurable once you get to step#5), you need to change your computer's IP Address to have a value that matches the Extender's new subnet. In other words, if the Extender IP somehow changes to 192.168.5.254, you should change your computer IP address to 192.168.5.100
5. Once you click "Web Management" you can configure the Extender via a browser window. Replicate your router's settings here (they all need to match the original router's, with the exception of the Extender's SSID).
6. Hit Save, then unplug the Extender's power cord and ethernet, and then move it to wherever you would like. Power it up again.
7. Remove your computer's manual IP address. You're now officially done.
*As a note, I had occasional connection problems when I had my Belkin router & extender encryption set to WPA-PSK. I just switched my encryption to WEP and now it is fine. Not everyone has this problem.
Up this review, if you found it useful. I want to see other people spared from the excessive pain the rest of us have already experienced!