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Turn your Android device into a Wi-Fi extender

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It’s frustrating when a Wi-Fi signal is nearby, but it’s just out of reach. Maybe your router doesn’t cover the whole of your home, or you want to surf in your garden. Whatever the reason, if your Wi-Fi isn’t stretching as far as you’d like, you can extend its reach by using your Android device as a Wi-Fi repeater, also known as a Wi-Fi extender. This is where your Android device picks up your Wi-Fi signal, and repeats this signal, so your Wi-Fi is extended over a greater distance. You can then tap into this repeated signal, via another device such as
your PC.

This trick does require a rooted device, but if your smartphone or tablet isn’t rooted, you still have some options for getting online when you’re struggling to find a reliable Wi-Fi signal. One option is using your Android device as a portable hotspot, a process known as tethering. Tethering lets you share your Android’s data connection wirelessly with other devices. Alternatively, you can use a USB cable to tether your device. Be aware that your carrier may charge a fee for using your device’s hotspot feature, so always check your contract.

This tutorial shows you how to use your Android device as a Wi-Fi extender, before sharing a few tricks for getting online, even if you don’t have a rooted device.

For more expert tutorials, make sure you pick up the new issue of Android Magazine.

  1. Step1

    Download fqrouter2

    fqrouter2 is an application that makes it easy to turn your Android device into a Wi-Fi extender. Download fqrouter2 from the Google Play store, and then launch the app on your device. If fqrouter2 prompts you to update to a newer version, follow the instructions to ensure you’re running the right version.

  2. Step2

    Enable Wifi Repeater

    Check your device’s Wi-Fi is on and connected. Then, launch the fqrouter2 app, and scroll down to the Wifi Repeater section. Tap the Off slider, and wait a few seconds until the slider turns green and displays the On label. Your device is now repeating your Wi-Fi signal.

  3. Step3

    Customise your signal

    You can customise your repeated signal, by tapping the Config button. Next, enter a new name for your signal and change the password you use to access it. Once you’re happy with your changes, tap Save. You’re now ready to start using this repeated signal!

  4. Step4

    Test your signal

    Put your Wi-Fi extender to the test by using a second device to perform a search for nearby Wi-Fi. You should spot the signal that’s being repeated by your Android smartphone or tablet. Connect to this repeated signal, and check that the internet is now available on your second device.

  5. Step5

    Wi-Fi hotspots

    If your device isn’t rooted, you can still turn it into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and then share its connection with other devices. Make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi, then open its Settings, tap More followed by Tethering & portable hotspot. Finally, give Portable Wi-Fi hotspot a tap.

  6. Step6

    Customise your portable hotspot

    After creating your hotspot, customise it by scrolling down and selecting Set up Wi-Fi hotspot. Now you can change your signal’s name and create a password. If you haven’t already, check your carrier’s policy, to see whether tethering incurs any additional charges.

  7. Step7

    USB tethering

    You can also tether your Android device via USB. ClockworkMod Tether is a free app that can be downloaded from the Play store, and doesn’t require root. Download the app, and then install and unzip the accompanying tether software on your computer, using the links in the app’s Play listing.

  8. Step8

    Connect up your device

    Connect your Android device to your computer using its USB cable. Make sure your device is either connected to Wi-Fi, or its mobile internet is switched on. On your computer, launch the Tether software and grant it any permissions it requires to run.

  9. Step9

    Start tethering

    Once the Tether program has loaded, click Start. When you see a ‘Tether has connected’ message, you’re ready to access the internet on your computer, using the signal from your Android device. You can use Tether for 14 days without limits, after which you’re restricted to 20MB a day.

  10. Step10

    Troubleshooting

    If you’re a Windows user, you’ll need to install the drivers for your smartphone, before it can connect to your PC, so head over to www.clockworkmod.com/tether/drivers. If you’re encountering slow speeds with Tether, make sure your Android device is the only thing plugged into your PC’s USB ports.

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