I am running a powerline signal extender. Without further modification I now have two access points, one at the router and one at the extender, with different SSIDs.

I want to clone the router so that wherever I am in the house, my devices connect the the access point with the strongest signal without having to change networks. I followed some instructions involving the WPS button on the router but nothing happened. I'm also curious about how cloning works.

I assume just setting the same SSID and password is insufficient. What settings do I need to copy across to clone the original access point? Are there any security considerations to bear in mind?

  • You need to configure it as a repeater instead of a new AP. "Cloning" is incorrect terminology and you won't anything even remotely similar in the settings. – user772515 Feb 28 '18 at 14:01
  • @MichaelBay: On the contrary, I'd say "repeater" mode is not useful at all here (since a wired uplink is present); "AP" is the correct mode nearly everywhere, since it means a plain bridge – except in DD-WRT (where the term is misused for router mode); and the term "cloning" is very frequently used for automatically copying a SSID and preshared key from another network. – grawity Feb 28 '18 at 14:09
  • 1
    This looks like a duplicate to me. superuser.com/questions/1298611/… – Tim_Stewart Feb 28 '18 at 18:23
  • @Grawity you are mistaken sir. AP-mode in DD-wrt is synonymous with "infrastructure-mode". the settings that make it a router would be under setup > basic setup > connection type (enable=L3/disable=L2). and under security > SPI firewall enable/disable. – Tim_Stewart Mar 1 '18 at 0:44
  • @Tim_Stewart: Must be a difference between firmware versions; I don't use DD-WRT myself, but I've heard reports that selecting "AP mode" (vs "repeater mode", IIRC) automatically enables routing. – grawity Mar 1 '18 at 5:25

I assume just setting the same SSID and password is insufficient.

That in fact should be enough, as long as the new AP is actually bridged to the same network. But also double-check the security mode (open/WPA/WPA2) – some devices completely refuse to automatically roam between APs which use different security levels.

(I've only used powerline devices from TP-Link, and that's the only mode they support. But it's possible that some devices can be switched between bridge and router modes, and it's the latter that would cause you problems here.)

(Quick check: connect to your "extender" network, and check whether your computer's ARP cache still shows the main router's MAC address. If the gateway IP is different, or if it has a different MAC, that means you've created different subnets and roaming will be troublesome.)

Note that even if you have everything configured correctly, devices might still be reluctant to roam between different APs unless the current signal is very poor. (Roaming causes a short interruption which might annoy VoIP users or online gaming players. More expensive APs have features like 802.11r or proprietary alternatives to avoid this delay.) Some Windows wireless drivers let you configure the roaming "sensitivity" or "aggressiveness". macOS prefers 5 GHz as long as it's usable.

I'm also curious about how cloning works.

"Cloning" simply makes the device act as a WPS client, and copies three parameters from the network that currently has WPS active: the network name (SSID), the security mode (WPA/WPA2), and the passphrase (or at least the hashed version called the PSK).

It does not do anything else – it's still up to you to physically connect everything.

  • 1
    You may want to add in the config of non-overlapping channels on the two. It's a pretty basic and important step. – Tim_Stewart Feb 28 '18 at 18:34
  • you can also set up android devices to roam a little more or less aggressively. YMMV of course. – Journeyman Geek Mar 1 '18 at 0:04

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.