Hardwares TP-LINK 300Mbps Wireless N Range Extender: TL-WA850RE

TP-LINK Wireless N Range Extender TL-WA850RE

TP-LINK Wireless N Range Extender TL-WA850RE

Finally a Wireless Range Extender which is as nice as cheap and easy to configure!

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My wifi router is on the first floor and wifi connections from both the ground floor and the second floor are really poor due to the large concrete slab between each floor.

I didn't want to pay (a lot) for a new wifi routers which would offer much more features than actually required, have useless Ethernet ports (switch), be large and ugly/inappropriate in the landscape, ...

So, I decided to give a try to the nice and discrete TL-WA850RE sold for 38€.

The connection with my Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH was straightforward and went seamlessly.

  1. Plug the TL-WA850RE in a electrical outlet close to the wifi router to be extended
  2. On a laptop, open the pane to select a Wifi Network and pick the "TP-LINK_Extender_xxxxxx network"
  3. Start a browser and navigate to "http://tplinkextender.net". It's the url of the embedded administration website.
  4. Log in using the username 'admin' and password 'admin'
  5. Follow the wizard to configure the TP-LINK Range Extender as described in the Quick Installation Guide. PAY ATTENTION: you have to disable your popup blocker or allow that website. Otherwise, the final status windows will be blocked and the process won't complete.
  6. Once the wizard completed, go to the router configuration website and look for the IP assigned to the TP-Link device (on the WOL page of my Buffalo, I found it's IP for the hostname = *). The best would be to assign a fix IP to the TP-Link's Mac Address!
  7. Restart a Browser and navigate to the TP-Link's IP address.
  8. Back to the TP-Link administration website, change the default username/password via System Tools > Password.
  9. Now, the device can be unplugged and moved into a electrical outlet of a room where the wifi signal is currently poor.

There is a DHCP server embedded in the device as well as some other basic wireless features (relate to security, statistics...) that I won't use as far as everything is managed by/on my Buffalo.

So far, the TP-Link works really well to extend the range of my Buffalo :)

The only "issue" is the blue leds shining too much in the dark which prevent me to sleep in my room if I use the repeater there :(

TP-Link: http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?model=TL-WA850RE

Hardwares Upgrade firmware of Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH

Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH v1

Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH v1

I have upgraded the firmware of my Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH (v1) with the latest version of dd-wrt... seamlessly !

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My Buffalo bought end of 2010 was pre-installed with a version of dd-wrt (a.k.a the "Pro" firmware of Buffalo which was installed by default as of the second half of 2010 instead of their 'friendly' firmware).

  1. In the dd-wrt router database, I have searched for WZR-HP-G300H and found it was supported by v24-preSP2.
  2. I went to the file server where dd-wrt firmwares v24-preSP2 are available.
  3. On that file server, I went to the more recent sub-folder (/2013/02-11-2013-r20675) and looked for the folder "buffalo_wzr-hp-g300nh" and fetched the firmware "wzr-hp-g300nh-dd-wrt-webupgrade-MULTI.bin" (The other one "buffalo_to_ddwrt_webflash-MULTI.bin" is to upgrade from the Buffalo 'Friendly' firmware - which used to be installed by default before the second half of 2010).
  4. Using my laptop connected via wifi, I went to the "firmware update" page of my Buffalo, via its web interface menu "Administration > Firmware Upgrade".
  5. I chose "don't reset"  after flashing, selected the firmware downloaded previously on my laptop and clicked "Upgrade". It took quite a few minutes.
  6. Next, the countdown being completed, I have refreshed my browser and the new interface appeared. The previous one was red with "Buffalo" displayed on top. The new one is mainly black/blue and yellow without Buffalo displayed anymore.

Everything was still working fine immediately after the upgrade, without any lost of settings. I.e. mainly (from my point of view):

  • The Buffalo IP address, which was a custom one, didn't change.
  • The Port Forwarding where still configured in NAT/QoS > Port Forwarding.
  • The wol addresses where still available in Administration > Wol.
  • The Static Leases of the DHCP Server where still configured in Services > Services.

dd-wrt wiki for WZR-HP-G300NH : http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Buffalo_WZR-HP-G300NH

Buffalo : http://www.buffalotech.com/products/wireless/single-band-wireless-routers/airstation-highpower-n300-gigabit-dd-wrt-wireless-router