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Portable Wi-Fi Repeater using ESP8266 NodeMCU

We are from the Internet of Things (IoT) Generations. These days, we control our home appliances like air-conditioners, room heaters, water heaters, etc. remotely from anywhere. But for every Wi-Fi-based IoT-enabled device, we require uninterrupted Internet/Wi-Fi connectivity. The problem of Low Wi-Fi signal is very common due to interference from room to room or floor to floor. Many people face this problem in their daily lives. Everything needs the internet. Smart TV, smartphone, laptop, desktop computer, but you just have one router to provide a wireless connection on a house. Don’t worry we will build the cheapest and Portable Wi-Fi Repeater using ESP8266 NodeMCU.

So, the question is How can we access the internet in every corner of the house? If you have a big house single router is not enough to cover this range! Each footstep lowers the Wi-Fi signal. And it’s not good for a multi-story building So what solves this problem?

The one and only solution is Wi-Fi Repeater !!!!! Yes, repeater solves this problem.


What is Wi-Fi Repeater?

A Wi-Fi repeater or expander is used to expand the coverage area of ​​your Wi-Fi network. It works by receiving your existing Wi-Fi signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the enhanced signal. With a Wi-Fi repeater you can effectively double the coverage area of ​​your Wi-Fi network – to reach the far corners of your home or office, on different floors, or to expand coverage in your yard.

But it’s also too bulky, costly, and are not portable !!!! So what to do ?

Why not make your own Wi-Fi Repeater

We use NodeMCU ESP8266 (IoT) development board for our this project.

What is NodeMCU?

Introduction: The NodeMCU is an open-source firmware and development kit that helps you to Prototype your IoT product within a few Lua script lines. For more details, please visit https://github.com/nodemcu/nodemcu-firmware/wiki/…


Components Required

These are the list of the components required to build a powerful and Portable Wi-Fi Repeater using ESP8266 NodeMCU. 

S.NComponents NameDescriptionQuantityGet Products from Amazon
1NodeMCUESP8266 12E Board1https://amzn.to/3fbZHk5
2TP4056 ModuleCharging Module with protection1https://amzn.to/3aNUY5x
318650 Battery Rechargeable 3000mAh battery2https://amzn.to/3f6omWU
4Jumper cablesMale to Male Jumper Wires5https://amzn.to/2JWSR44
5Project boxPlastic Enclosure1https://amzn.to/398uPNn
6SPST SwitchRocker ON/OFF Switch1https://amzn.to/315ZTZB
Components required for Portable WiFi Repeater

Advantages of ESP8266 Repeater

  • Simple range expander for existing Wi-Fi networks
  • Battery-powered (can be used while charging)
  • Setting up an additional WiFi network with different SSIDs / passwords for guests
  • Establishing a secure and restricted network for IoT devices
  • Translating WPA2 PSK to WPA2 Enterprise Network
  • Monitor for Wi-Fi traffic analysis
  • Simple design and low cost

Disadvantages of ESP8266 Repeater

  • Due to the limitations of ESP’s SoftAP implementation, only 8 stations can be connected simultaneously.
  • The ESP8266 needs a good power supply as it produces a current spike of up to 1mA during transmission (normal average consumption is around 700 mA when WiFi is turned on).
  • Check the power supply first, if your ESP is unstable and reboots periodically. A large capacitor between VDD and GND can help if you experience problems here.
  • The maximum input voltage is only 8 V.
  • The maximum charging current is only 1A
  • Output charging voltage fixed at 4.2V (no alternative for different types of batteries – LiFe etc.)

Working of ESP8266 as Wi-Fi Repeater

By default, ESP acts as STA and forwards any IP traffic through it as a soft-AP and transparently. It does not require any routing entries as it uses NAT, either on the network side or on connected stations. The stations are configured via DHCP the 192.168.4.0/24 net and receive their DNS responding address from the existing Wi-Fi network.

Also, Read:


How to build your own Wi-Fi extender from a cheap ESP8266 Wi-Fi module?

Note: If the repeater is far from your router, it will have low connection speeds, but we do not require fast speed for most IoT projects. I needed an inexpensive way to increase the Wi-Fi range so that my IoT devices could connect to the Internet on a remote Wi-Fi router and send notifications to my phone. This ESP8266 repeater can extend your signal up to 300 feet with a good connection.

Download the .zip from the link below

It contains the firmware files and software tools you will need. Unzip the ZIP File and Browse the ESP8266 Repeater Folder.

About the sponsor: This article is sponsored by PCBway Company, one of the most experienced PCB and PCB assembly manufacturers. They produce high-quality PCBs at a reasonable price, only $5 for 10 PCBs and a total of $30 for 20 PCB assembly. In addition, new members also receive a $5 bonus.


Setting up NodeMCU ESP8266 for Flashing Wi-Fi Repeater Firmware

Install the NodeMCU ESP8266 Driver on PC. To get the USB adapter to communicate with the computer, you may need to install the CH340 driver. In the subfolder of ESP8266 Repeater from the zip, you downloaded. Open the NodeMCU Driver folder where you can find three more sub-folder “CH341SER_WINDOWS” for Windows “CH341SER_MAC” for Macs, and “CH341SER_LINUX for Linux”. Just open the program in the folder and install the drivers.

NodeMCU CH340 Driver

Flash the Repeater Firmware onto the ESP8266

Plug the ESP8266 NodeMCU into the USB adapter, plug it all into your computer. Open up the program in the sub-folder called “flash_download_tool_v3.8.5“. If you are on a Windows PC. Run the application called “flash_download_tool_3.8.5” and select “Developer Mode” after that select “ESP8266 Download Tool“.

Setup that program to the setting shown in the screenshot below.

Flashing ESP Repeater Firmware on NodeMCU

For the ESP8266 NodeMCU, under “Download Path Config“, click the three dots button for each section and browse to find the “firmware“. Click each one and type out their names to the right as shown in the screenshot e.g. “0x00000“, “0x10000” and “0x10000

Select the COM port of your NodeMCU ESP8266, and set the baud rate to “115200“, then click “start“.

When it says “finish“, unplug your adapter and ESP8266 module from your computer.


Configuring Portable Wi-Fi Repeater using ESP8266

You must connect a computer to your extender in order to configure it. You can do this by using a smartphone as well. After the first boot, it provides an open-AP and ssid “MyAP” a WiFi network. Connect to this WiFi network and perform basic configuration via a simple web interface.

The web interface allows for the configuration of all the parameters required for basic forwarding functionality. Open your web browser and enter the following address: “http://192.168.4.1“. Now you should see the following page.

WEB Configuration page for ESP Repeater

Firstly, in the “STA Settings” enter the correct WiFi credentials of your main WiFi network that you want to extend. Use password “none” for open networks. (Check the “Automesh” box if and only if you really want to use the automesh mode.) Click on “Connect“. The NodeMCU ESP8266 reboots and will connect to your WiFi router. You should see the status LED should be blinking after few seconds.

If you have selected automesh, you are done with configuration. Configuring the “AP Settings” is not required as in automesh mode these settings are identical to the “STA Settings“. The same ssid will be shown by all connected ESP8266 repeaters.

If you are not using automesh, you can now reload the page and change the “AP Settings“. Enter your Network SSID, Set Password choose security as WPA2. You can also change the subnet as your requirements. Finally, click “Set” and again the ESP reboots. Now it is ready for forwarding traffic over the newly configured Access Point.

ESP8266 NAT Router Config

Remember that these changes also affect the config interface, i.e. to do further configuration, enter the IP address of the newly configured Access point.

You can also click the “lock” checkbox and click “Lock“. This allows you to secure your configuration. Now, none can change the configuration without unlocking it with the main WiFi network’s password. (“password” is the default password if the network is open).

If you want to enter non-ASCII or special characters in the web interface you have to use HTTP-style hex encoding like “The%20IoT%20Projects“. This will result in a string “The IoT Projects“.

ESP NAT Router Config for Access Point

Assembling and testing ESP8266 Portable Wi-Fi Repeater

Now it’s time to assemble our portable powerful ESP8266 Wi-Fi repeater. You can use the following circuit diagram to connect each component together.

Circuit Diagram of Portable ESP8266 NAT Router

I have set up the components inside a waterproof case as shown in the images below. You can place this repeater in any corner of your home, office, or workspace.

ESP8266 Portable WiFi Repeater Assembly

The speed test measurement show, that we can achieve about 5 Mbps in both upload and download. So streaming is also possible for a single user. Like watching Netflix, YouTube, and Browsing the Internet.

ESP8266 NodeMCU WiFi Repeater Speed Test

Video Demonstration

Here we have a full video tutorial for portable Wi-Fi Repeater using ESP8266 NodeMCU

Conclusion

Finally, I hope you have built your own Portable Wi-Fi Repeater using ESP8266 NodeMCU. If you need any kind of help regarding this project please do let me know in the comment section below.

Recommended Readings:

Alsan Parajuli

I am a WordPress enthusiast, a hardworking and highly positive person. I always believes in practicality rather than theoretical knowledge. With my curiosity and fast learning skills, I managed to learn everything on my own. I love coding, editing, writing and rummaging around Internet. I am passionate about IoT Projects, Digital marketing, website designing, and reviewing. Moreover, I had been contributing to WordPress Biratnagar as an active member since 2018.

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