It is a common misconception that a WiFi repeater increases the signal of every
wireless network that your laptop detects, but in reality a WiFi repeater such
as implemented by DD-WRT will only connect to one distant wireless network at a
An implementation commonly used for a mobile repeater that needs to connect to
many different networks is called an AutoAP. This is a configuration for
Broadcom based DD-WRT routers where the
unit will automatically detect and connect to the strongest open/unsecured WiFi
signal in range in repeater mode. This method does not require you specify the
network name to repeat, and is desirable for implementations such as a repeater
in an RV visiting various campsites. It is not desirable to set up AutoAP when
you are trying to establish a long distance point to point link, or for when the
router is not going to be moved from place to place. For those implementations
you would want to configure as a normal repeater.
A repeater bridge is essentially the same as a repeater, however a repeater
bridge uses the DHCP server of the existing network so that all computers are on
the same subnet. In most cases a normal repeater is fine and a more desirable
setup, but some networks may have resources such as network storage or print
servers that will not function correctly with devices on different IP networks.
To configure these modes, use the links at the top of the page under
Another popular implementation is setting up a DD-WRT router as a VPN client. This
use is becoming quite common as services such as Hulu and Netflix have became
popular. These types of services can only be used in the United States, however.
In order to circumvent this limitation, many people are using services such as
StrongVPN when overseas to acquire a United States IP address, so that these
services may be used. VPN is also used by many companies and universities so
that users may access company resources from home. DD-WRT routers may be
configured to use a VPN service so that any laptop or desktop connected to the
router is connected to the VPN, and thus has the benefits of VPN connectivity.
Setting up VPN requires an account with a VPN service. Usually, your VPN
provider will have set up instructions specific to their service. In the DD-WRT
setup pages you can configure the router as a VPN Client on the Services>VPN
tab by enabling the appropriate client configuration.
Further modes and implementations are discussed on dd-wrt.com
A few more tips..
Feel free to explore the DD-WRT setup page on your own, but be sure to make a
backup when you get a working configuration for your implementation. This is done under
and will allow you to restore your configuration in
the event something goes awry.
If you really mess up the configuration or forget a password, you can always
reset the unit back to the default configuration. This is done by powering up
the unit, then holding the reset button on the back of the router with a pen for
about 20 seconds or until the power light flashes at a regular interval. About a
minute later the unit will have rebooted and be accessible again.
One thing that can mess up or 'brick' the router rendering it useless such that
you cannot simply reset the unit is reflashing the unit with the wrong firmware.
Typically there is no reason to reflash a router, unless you intend on using a
specific firmware version or intend on using a firmware other than DD-WRT. Even
then, the version shipped with your router is typically the best to use. It is a
common misconception that it is best to upgrade the router to the latest version
of DD-WRT, but in reality more recent versions may be more unstable and less
functional than older versions which have undergone extensive testing and were
developed specifically for the router upon which they are installed. If you
intend to reflash the unit be absolutely sure you know what your doing, and have
checked that you have selected a compatible version.