Asus RT-N66U as extender

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Maynard65

New Around Here
I am attempting to add an old RT-N66U router to my network to act as an extender. I'm a noob with this stuff so please bear with me.

My xfinity supplied network currently utilized a RT-N56U router. It is located at one end of the house. I have an ethernet wire strung from that point to where I want to add some kind of extension. I have done this before where I connect the two routers via cable and the extension works.

This RT-N66U was modified by an expert a few years ago to use something called tomato. I do not remember any of the passwords so I attempted to reset. When I first attempted to use, it did connect and provide an internet signal but without any security. My first problem is that I can't access this router because when I attempt, I get the RT-N56U site. I tried to install this router directly to the modem but I couldn't get the internet to connect.

I guess my second problem/question... can I add this RT-N66U to my network and use as an extender? If that answer is yes, help me figure out how to add security to it.

Thanks
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I am attempting to add an old RT-N66U router to my network to act as an extender. I'm a noob with this stuff so please bear with me.

My xfinity supplied network currently utilized a RT-N56U router. It is located at one end of the house. I have an ethernet wire strung from that point to where I want to add some kind of extension. I have done this before where I connect the two routers via cable and the extension works.

This RT-N66U was modified by an expert a few years ago to use something called tomato. I do not remember any of the passwords so I attempted to reset. When I first attempted to use, it did connect and provide an internet signal but without any security. My first problem is that I can't access this router because when I attempt, I get the RT-N56U site. I tried to install this router directly to the modem but I couldn't get the internet to connect.

I guess my second problem/question... can I add this RT-N66U to my network and use as an extender? If that answer is yes, help me figure out how to add security to it.

Thanks

I do not know about your third party firmware, but basically... you need to reset it to gain default login credentials access, and login to it to configure it to be an extender/repeater of one of your router's WiFi signals. There may also be the option to reload and use Asuswrt firmware, subject to any peculiar demands of flashing over the current third party firmware.

Ignoring your circumstances, you'd be better off installing a new AC router in place of your N56U. One RT-AC86U or AX86U could serve better than what you have and are proposing.

Regarding security, your network router firewall secures your WAN connection. Your router and extender/repeater WLAN credentials secure your WiFi.

OE
 

wh7qq

Senior Member
You specified an RT-N66U and Tomato never supported the 56U so my comments are based on that. By the way, Tomato has not been supported or updated for years now. I agree with the reset suggestion and there are quite a few tutorials on-line for doing that. It will establish factory default credentials...if I recall, admin/admin or admin/password.

Once you have gained admission to the web page (probably located at 192.168.1.1 (with no connection to or bypassing the upstream router), new and more secure firmware can be installed. I suggest "John's Fork" of AsusWRT/Merlin (https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=!AAkJBWoo-OiyKJo&id=9332FC159A7E129!241&cid=09332FC159A7E129). It is a currently maintained fork with a user interface very much like Merlin or the factory interface but upgraded to deal with current threats. Neither Asus or Merlin provide current upgrades. The tomato firmware has a firmware upgrade feature but I don't recall its location...explore the pages.

Once the new firmware is installed, select "Administration" and you can then select from various operating modes and you will likely want "bridge mode" or "access point" mode...not sure which is better for your needs. The "Administration" page also has a tab for "firmware upgrade".

A brief note on firmware: installation of the late AsusWRT and Merlin firmware locks out upgrades to earlier versions and John's Fork in order to prevent unauthorize power level selection (FCC Requirement). John uses an earlier kernel with supposedly better wifi performance. Going back requires the use of the "CFE mini-web server". Drill down a bit through other topics to find the CFE remarks in https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/bootloader/cfe. It applies to the RT-N66 also.

By the way, I am currently using the 66U with a 500 Mb/sec broadband fiber connection and have returned the telco supplied Zyxel router to use the old RT-N66. As I don't game or stream movies it seems to do fine. Saves the "Gateway Fee". When the 66U eventually dies, the AC68 sounds like a good replacement.
 
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wh7qq

Senior Member
Not sure why I didn't mention it before, but the 66 is a more powerful router than the 56 and might be a better choice up front. The suggestions for upgrade (John"s fork) apply only to the 66 and NOT to the 56. The 56 is pretty much orphaned (unsupported). The 56 and 66 probably use the same default IP address (192.168.1.1) and will result in the 56 coming up instead of the 66. Take the 56 out of the network and plug the 66 in instead, reset it to factory defaults and apply the upgrade to the firmware. If tomato was installed, it should be easy to upgrade to John's fork but DO NOT install recent Merlin or ASUSWrt firmware as they will lock out other open source firmware. Use the 56U as the extender. On the other hand, the AC68 might obviate the need for an extender.
 

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