Easiest way to wireless repeater mode?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by cobrax2, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. cobrax2

    cobrax2 Serious Server Member

    Hey guys!
    I'm going on holiday soon, and, as we all know the wifi at the hotels has very poor signal.
    I'm going to take with me a router and try to boost its signal.
    So how can i do this the easiest way? i want to use my router to connect to the hotel's router as a client, and then re-emit as an access point for my phone.
    thank you!
  2. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    If they have a LAN connection available, that's always the better option. But if it's only wifi ...

    On the Basic->Network page, configure Wireless Client mode under the WAN w/ your choice of freqs for the wireless client connection to the hotel wifi. Then goto to the wireless section for that freq (on the same page) and configure it as Wireless Client (it will be greyed out and disabled if you don't first enable Wireless Client on the WAN).

    What this does is convert that radio (AP) into a wireless client and virtualizes the WAN over it, thus replacing the wired WAN (you'll then notice you can optionally reassign the WAN port to the LAN). From that point on, you configure the router just as if it was using the wired WAN (configure a DHCP server, DNS, etc.). Just make sure the local IP network on your own router doesn't conflict w/ that of the hotel's local IP network. IOW, if the hotel is using 192.168.1.x, perhap uses 192.168.2.x. Or just pick something obscure and unlikely to be used by the hotel (e.g., 10.39.81.x).

    Depending on the wireless chipset, you may be able to virtualize that same freq into an VAP, which would be helpful if the hotel only supports 2.4GHz, thus leaving you w/ only the 5GHz for your own AP. You just have to try it and find out.
  3. maurer

    maurer Network Guru Member

    don't forget that wireless repeater in tomato is vulnerable to KRACK - not that it would matter in hotels where almost everyone knows the password :)
  4. Sean B.

    Sean B. LI Guru Member

    This may be trickier than it seems, as most hotels use a captive portal for their wifi logins. Hotel AP's usually associate a devices MAC to a successful portal login thereby eliminating the need for a guest to re-login to the portal each time their device leaves and returns to the premises ( IE: cell phone or laptop leaves the building in morning and returns in evening ). On my last hotel stay, a single portal login ( per device ) with the provided credentials was valid until checkout time on the last day of my stay.

    Perhaps using a client connected to your router of which has already been connected to the hotel's AP could validate the router's connection, but I get the feeling it won't. Depending on what AP's/software the hotel is using, the client may not even be able to access the portals login page to begin with. What I would suggest is before you connect your router to the hotel's AP:

    1.) Connect your laptop or cell phone to the hotel's AP first, login to the portal with the credentials you were provided + verify internet access.

    2.) Power up your router and configure it as needed for the connection but do not connect it to the hotels AP yet.

    3.) Using the same laptop or cell phone you used in step 1, connect to your routers web interface and go to Advanced->MAC Address. Click the "Clone PC" button to the right of the wireless interface you'll be using to connect the router to the hotel's AP ( eth1 = 2.4ghz , eth2 = 5ghz ), then click save. The router should reboot on it's own, if not then reboot it manually.

    4.) Connect router to hotel's AP.

    This should allow the router to jump onto the hotels network as an already validated device and not be trapped by the captive portal to begin with.

    **NOTE** Make sure you change the MAC address of the correct interface on the router ( IE: do not change the MAC address of an interface your devices will be connecting to, only the MAC of the interface that will be used to connect the router to the hotel AP ). Otherwise, the portal login validity will not roll over to the router and the laptop/cell phone used in steps 1 & 3 will not be able to connect to the router via that interface until the MAC is again changed.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  5. cobrax2

    cobrax2 Serious Server Member

    thanks. i didnt get a chance to configure my spare router for repeater mode (linksys wrt160n) until i left. tried a few times, didnt work. oh well. when i got to the hotel, indeed, it had a captive portal, so it wouldnt have been an easy task even if it wouldve worked. but, on the upside, i had strong signal in the room, so i was ok :)
    thansk again
    Sean B. likes this.
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