Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
Timeshare1
Enthusiast - Level 2

I am a tech challenged 75 yr old lady who needs help connecting a Netgear extender to my Verizon G3100 router.  I have spent the last 2 hours reading online articles on how to link the extender to the router.  We are in a 3 level townhouse with the router located in the garage on the lower level.  In our main living room on the second level, the wifi signal is not stable, so while on a tablet, it is frequently reloading websites.

Both the extender and the Verizon router have a WPS button, so will try connecting them using this method with the devices next to each other.  Unfortunately, the LED status light on my Verizon G3100 router is extremely dim, so don't know if I will be able to see the blue light showing that they are pairing or connected.

Also, in my reading, I think that I will have a separate wifi network for the Netgear extender different from the Verizon G3100 router wifi network - is that correct?  Will I have to set up a different password for the Netgear extender network?   So any device using the enhanced wifi signal from the Netgear  extender will have to be connected to that new network - is that correct?

I also read that there is an option of using an Ethernet cable to pair the extender to the router.  If using this method, will there only be one wifi network and not two separate networks?

I do apologize for not really knowing what I am talking about and probably not using the proper tech terminology or even asking the right questions.   Frightened to try to set up any tech device when one is challenged.

Thanks for any comments or assistance.

 

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Re: Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
Capricorn1
Community Leader
Community Leader

I don't have a Netgear EX6120 Extender handy, so I'm going to be using what I found on the EX6120 at Netgear's website. Documentation links are available at the bottom of that page. Primarily, I will use the User Manual because it has more complete information. There is also a Quick Start guide from the Netgear website.  I noticed that the date in the title of both of the guides is from 2015, so I hope the information is still accurate.

The Connect by WPS Way


@Timeshare1 wrote:

I am a tech challenged 75 yr old lady who needs help connecting a Netgear extender to my Verizon G3100 router.  I have spent the last 2 hours reading online articles on how to link the extender to the router.  We are in a 3 level townhouse with the router located in the garage on the lower level.  In our main living room on the second level, the wifi signal is not stable, so while on a tablet, it is frequently reloading websites.


The User Manual says to set up the EX6120 extender while it is physically near the existing G3100 router. This is to ensure the signals between the two devices are strong while setting the extender up. Once it is set up, you would most likely put the extender somewhere on the second level. The Quick Setup guide says, "Unplug the extender and move it to a new location that is about halfway between your router and the area with a poor router WiFi signal." They have more to say later, but let's see if we can get it set up first.


@Timeshare1 wrote:

Both the extender and the Verizon router have a WPS button, so will try connecting them using this method with the devices next to each other. Unfortunately, the LED status light on my Verizon G3100 router is extremely dim, so don't know if I will be able to see the blue light showing that they are pairing or connected.


Ideally, this should work. It is the procedure outlined on page 10 of the User Manual under the heading Connect with WPS. If this works, you would just disconnect the extender and move it upstairs after the WPS setup.

It's a shame about the dim light on the G3100, but thankfully, it's the Router Link LED on the extender that matters. As you mentioned, start by pressing the WPS buttons on both devices (first on the EX6120 extender and then on the G3100 router) in Steps 1  and 2 on pages 10 and 11. Step 2 says, "The WPS LED on the extender lights solid green, the Router Link LED lights, and the extender connects to your existing WiFi network."

Unfortunately for me, at least, WPS setup successes are hit-and-miss. It works maybe half the time. Step 2 goes on to say if the Router Link LED does not light, try again. Sometimes, a second try will work.

Step 3 says that if your router supports the 5 GHz band, repeat the first two steps. The G3100 does support both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, so you would repeat these steps. I assume from this, that the EX6120 trains on the 2.4 GHz band during the first WPS setup and then trains on the 5 GHz band on the second WPS setup. 

If the WPS setup just doesn't seem to work, the User Manual says to jump to the Connect with Web Browser Setup on page 11. If I were setting the extender up, I'd start there and skip even trying the WPS setup, but maybe you'll have better luck than I have had.


@Timeshare1 wrote:

Also, in my reading, I think that I will have a separate wifi network for the Netgear extender different from the Verizon G3100 router wifi network - is that correct?  Will I have to set up a different password for the Netgear extender network?   So any device using the enhanced wifi signal from the Netgear  extender will have to be connected to that new network - is that correct?


If the Connect with WPS setup (or the Connect with Web Browser Setup for that matter) works, you end up with a separate Wi-Fi network. Two new networks, in fact. Step 4 (page 11) of the User Manual talks about this. The EX6120 sets up two new wireless networks with _2GEXT and _5GEXT appended onto the end of the SSID (i.e., the existing wireless network name) that the G3100 has. It will have the same Wi-Fi password as the wireless network on the G3100. (The G3100 uses one name for both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless networks.) So if you set the SSID of the 3100 to use the network name of I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK as the network name, the EX6120 should advertise new Wi-Fi network names of I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK_2GEXT for the 2.4 GHz network and I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK_5GEXT for the 5 GHz network.

In practice, this may be a slight bit of a hassle. If you are connected downstairs on I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK, but then walk upstairs to the third floor, a lot of devices will try to hold onto that connection even though the signal from I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK_5GEXT (or _2GEXT) is significantly stronger. Turning the Wi-Fi off and on will typically fix that as the device will then use the stronger signal. On some devices, switching happens automatically .. most of the time .. as soon as a stronger signal (for a network it has used before) is available. The advantage of having them named differently is you will always know which network a device is trying to use. You can switch to the one you know would be better based on location if the device is stubbornly holding on to a weaker network.


@Timeshare1 wrote:

I also read that there is an option of using an Ethernet cable to pair the extender to the router.  If using this method, will there only be one wifi network and not two separate networks?


That's actually kind of up to you. Page 14 of the User Manual goes into this a bit. If you use an Ethernet cable and choose to put the extender in Access Point mode, you can enter the same wireless network name that the G3100 has. Then, it would appear that you have one network. (You may still find that you need to stop and start the wireless network on a device to get it to attach to the strongest signal.) You could also enter a different name if you wish. 

The Old-Fashioned Way

So what happens if Connect by WPS doesn't work? Then we have to use Connect With Web Browser Setup, which starts on page 11 of the User Manual. When you plug the Netgear EX6120 in, it has a factory default setup that will begin to offer a wireless network named NETGEAR_EXT. Using a phone, laptop, tablet, etc., switch from the G3100's wireless network to the NETGEAR_EXT one.  That's Step 1 on page 11. The User Manual doesn't mention needing a password to get into the network nor does it say if it's on the 2.4 or 5 GHz band. (Perhaps the network is available on both.) (This assumes that the WPS setup didn't have any success changing the EX6120's factory defaults.)

In Steps 2 and 3, you browse to www.mywifiext.net using a web browser. The extender will intercept that request and use its built-in website to set up an account. At this point, the extender is probably not talking to Netgear, but it will probably use that information in Step 14. Continue setting up the account through Step 6.

In Step 7, choose WIFI RANGE EXTENDER. The EX6120 will then scan for available existing Wi-Fi networks in the area and then display them in a list. It doesn't say how it arranges the list, but it could be alphabetically or by the strongest signal first and descending to the weakest signal it could use. 

In Step 8, you pick your G3100's wireless network name (e.g., I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK) and click NEXT. (You want to extend both bands, so do not clear the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz check boxes.)

In Step 9, you will need to enter the password/passphrase for the G3100 router. (WPS would have done this for you, but since that didn't work, you need to enter it by hand.)

In Step 10, you choose your own name for the EX6120's new network and the password for that network. The User Manual doesn't say if it is going to append the _2GEXT and _5GEXT text to the name you choose. You could use the same network name as the G3100 if it doesn't. I would probably recommend using a different name so that you know at any time to which network you are connected.

You also enter the password. You can use a different password than the G3100, but I would just use the same one for simplicity. Click NEXT, and the new wireless network should be set up. The EX6120 can talk to the G3100, and devices can connect to the EX6120.

Step 11 is a bit confusing and seems out of order (in that Step 12 would seem to be the logical next step), but what I think Netgear is trying to do is to get the new wireless network set up as a "known" network on all devices that would use it in the future. You should try it on at least one device to ensure it works before you unplug and move the extender. You can set any other wireless devices to use the extender at a later time.

Step 12 is to click the CONTINUE button to finalize the setup portion of this procedure. Steps 13 and 14 are registering your extender with Netgear. Registering is optional, but I usually do it.

Steps 15 through 18 involve unplugging the extender and moving it to a "good" outlet away from the router and toward the area you are trying to get coverage in (which is the second level in your case). The Router Link LED (the signal strength indicator between the EX6120 Extender and the G3100 router) should be green when you plug it in, (and the extender reconnects to the router, which may take a minute).  If it is amber, it is either too far away from the router, or something in between the router and the extender is interfering with the signal. Things like refrigerators, furnaces, and large metal filing cabinets can all interfere with radio waves either because of the amount of metal in them or the electrical noise they generate. 

Steps 14 through 19 on pages 11 and 12 of the Quick Setup guide do a better job than the User Manual of explaining this. The goal is to find a location that gets the extender as close as possible to the area on the third level that you want the new wireless network to reach but still has a green Router Link LED (indicating a strong signal to the G3100). As those steps imply, there may be a bit of moving the extender around to find the best location.

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Tags (3)
Re: Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
Capricorn1
Community Leader
Community Leader

I don't have a Netgear EX6120 Extender handy, so I'm going to be using what I found on the EX6120 at Netgear's website. Documentation links are available at the bottom of that page. Primarily, I will use the User Manual because it has more complete information. There is also a Quick Start guide from the Netgear website.  I noticed that the date in the title of both of the guides is from 2015, so I hope the information is still accurate.

The Connect by WPS Way


@Timeshare1 wrote:

I am a tech challenged 75 yr old lady who needs help connecting a Netgear extender to my Verizon G3100 router.  I have spent the last 2 hours reading online articles on how to link the extender to the router.  We are in a 3 level townhouse with the router located in the garage on the lower level.  In our main living room on the second level, the wifi signal is not stable, so while on a tablet, it is frequently reloading websites.


The User Manual says to set up the EX6120 extender while it is physically near the existing G3100 router. This is to ensure the signals between the two devices are strong while setting the extender up. Once it is set up, you would most likely put the extender somewhere on the second level. The Quick Setup guide says, "Unplug the extender and move it to a new location that is about halfway between your router and the area with a poor router WiFi signal." They have more to say later, but let's see if we can get it set up first.


@Timeshare1 wrote:

Both the extender and the Verizon router have a WPS button, so will try connecting them using this method with the devices next to each other. Unfortunately, the LED status light on my Verizon G3100 router is extremely dim, so don't know if I will be able to see the blue light showing that they are pairing or connected.


Ideally, this should work. It is the procedure outlined on page 10 of the User Manual under the heading Connect with WPS. If this works, you would just disconnect the extender and move it upstairs after the WPS setup.

It's a shame about the dim light on the G3100, but thankfully, it's the Router Link LED on the extender that matters. As you mentioned, start by pressing the WPS buttons on both devices (first on the EX6120 extender and then on the G3100 router) in Steps 1  and 2 on pages 10 and 11. Step 2 says, "The WPS LED on the extender lights solid green, the Router Link LED lights, and the extender connects to your existing WiFi network."

Unfortunately for me, at least, WPS setup successes are hit-and-miss. It works maybe half the time. Step 2 goes on to say if the Router Link LED does not light, try again. Sometimes, a second try will work.

Step 3 says that if your router supports the 5 GHz band, repeat the first two steps. The G3100 does support both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, so you would repeat these steps. I assume from this, that the EX6120 trains on the 2.4 GHz band during the first WPS setup and then trains on the 5 GHz band on the second WPS setup. 

If the WPS setup just doesn't seem to work, the User Manual says to jump to the Connect with Web Browser Setup on page 11. If I were setting the extender up, I'd start there and skip even trying the WPS setup, but maybe you'll have better luck than I have had.


@Timeshare1 wrote:

Also, in my reading, I think that I will have a separate wifi network for the Netgear extender different from the Verizon G3100 router wifi network - is that correct?  Will I have to set up a different password for the Netgear extender network?   So any device using the enhanced wifi signal from the Netgear  extender will have to be connected to that new network - is that correct?


If the Connect with WPS setup (or the Connect with Web Browser Setup for that matter) works, you end up with a separate Wi-Fi network. Two new networks, in fact. Step 4 (page 11) of the User Manual talks about this. The EX6120 sets up two new wireless networks with _2GEXT and _5GEXT appended onto the end of the SSID (i.e., the existing wireless network name) that the G3100 has. It will have the same Wi-Fi password as the wireless network on the G3100. (The G3100 uses one name for both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless networks.) So if you set the SSID of the 3100 to use the network name of I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK as the network name, the EX6120 should advertise new Wi-Fi network names of I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK_2GEXT for the 2.4 GHz network and I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK_5GEXT for the 5 GHz network.

In practice, this may be a slight bit of a hassle. If you are connected downstairs on I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK, but then walk upstairs to the third floor, a lot of devices will try to hold onto that connection even though the signal from I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK_5GEXT (or _2GEXT) is significantly stronger. Turning the Wi-Fi off and on will typically fix that as the device will then use the stronger signal. On some devices, switching happens automatically .. most of the time .. as soon as a stronger signal (for a network it has used before) is available. The advantage of having them named differently is you will always know which network a device is trying to use. You can switch to the one you know would be better based on location if the device is stubbornly holding on to a weaker network.


@Timeshare1 wrote:

I also read that there is an option of using an Ethernet cable to pair the extender to the router.  If using this method, will there only be one wifi network and not two separate networks?


That's actually kind of up to you. Page 14 of the User Manual goes into this a bit. If you use an Ethernet cable and choose to put the extender in Access Point mode, you can enter the same wireless network name that the G3100 has. Then, it would appear that you have one network. (You may still find that you need to stop and start the wireless network on a device to get it to attach to the strongest signal.) You could also enter a different name if you wish. 

The Old-Fashioned Way

So what happens if Connect by WPS doesn't work? Then we have to use Connect With Web Browser Setup, which starts on page 11 of the User Manual. When you plug the Netgear EX6120 in, it has a factory default setup that will begin to offer a wireless network named NETGEAR_EXT. Using a phone, laptop, tablet, etc., switch from the G3100's wireless network to the NETGEAR_EXT one.  That's Step 1 on page 11. The User Manual doesn't mention needing a password to get into the network nor does it say if it's on the 2.4 or 5 GHz band. (Perhaps the network is available on both.) (This assumes that the WPS setup didn't have any success changing the EX6120's factory defaults.)

In Steps 2 and 3, you browse to www.mywifiext.net using a web browser. The extender will intercept that request and use its built-in website to set up an account. At this point, the extender is probably not talking to Netgear, but it will probably use that information in Step 14. Continue setting up the account through Step 6.

In Step 7, choose WIFI RANGE EXTENDER. The EX6120 will then scan for available existing Wi-Fi networks in the area and then display them in a list. It doesn't say how it arranges the list, but it could be alphabetically or by the strongest signal first and descending to the weakest signal it could use. 

In Step 8, you pick your G3100's wireless network name (e.g., I_MAY_BE_75_BUT_I_ROCK) and click NEXT. (You want to extend both bands, so do not clear the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz check boxes.)

In Step 9, you will need to enter the password/passphrase for the G3100 router. (WPS would have done this for you, but since that didn't work, you need to enter it by hand.)

In Step 10, you choose your own name for the EX6120's new network and the password for that network. The User Manual doesn't say if it is going to append the _2GEXT and _5GEXT text to the name you choose. You could use the same network name as the G3100 if it doesn't. I would probably recommend using a different name so that you know at any time to which network you are connected.

You also enter the password. You can use a different password than the G3100, but I would just use the same one for simplicity. Click NEXT, and the new wireless network should be set up. The EX6120 can talk to the G3100, and devices can connect to the EX6120.

Step 11 is a bit confusing and seems out of order (in that Step 12 would seem to be the logical next step), but what I think Netgear is trying to do is to get the new wireless network set up as a "known" network on all devices that would use it in the future. You should try it on at least one device to ensure it works before you unplug and move the extender. You can set any other wireless devices to use the extender at a later time.

Step 12 is to click the CONTINUE button to finalize the setup portion of this procedure. Steps 13 and 14 are registering your extender with Netgear. Registering is optional, but I usually do it.

Steps 15 through 18 involve unplugging the extender and moving it to a "good" outlet away from the router and toward the area you are trying to get coverage in (which is the second level in your case). The Router Link LED (the signal strength indicator between the EX6120 Extender and the G3100 router) should be green when you plug it in, (and the extender reconnects to the router, which may take a minute).  If it is amber, it is either too far away from the router, or something in between the router and the extender is interfering with the signal. Things like refrigerators, furnaces, and large metal filing cabinets can all interfere with radio waves either because of the amount of metal in them or the electrical noise they generate. 

Steps 14 through 19 on pages 11 and 12 of the Quick Setup guide do a better job than the User Manual of explaining this. The goal is to find a location that gets the extender as close as possible to the area on the third level that you want the new wireless network to reach but still has a green Router Link LED (indicating a strong signal to the G3100). As those steps imply, there may be a bit of moving the extender around to find the best location.

Tags (3)
Re: Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
Timeshare1
Enthusiast - Level 2

Hey Capricorn,

Thank you so much for the detailed directions.  I finally worked up the courage to setup the Netgear extender today using a web browser after reading the directions numerous times and watching a Utube video showing the exact steps.   Of course, there were some issues which I was surprisingly able to overcome - yahoo, always amazes me whenever I complete the installation of a tech device.

Unfortunately, the extender did NOT really take care of my major problem on the second level of our house (main living area).  My Fios wifi signal is unstable and remains so when I am connected to the new extender's 5G wifi network as well as the Fios router itself (we have gigabit speed).  When I am on my Samsung tablet, I can see the Wifi strength indicator fluctuating quite often.  Using a speed test, the speed ranges from 60 to 7 while tested from the same chair.  When on websites, the site will often reload - which is annoying. 

Are there any adjustments to make the wifi signal more stable?  Any help would be appreciated.

I guess that I will keep the new $35 Netgear extender - it seems to make the wifi signal stronger outside on the deck as well as on the third level. 

PS - If nothing else gained, I did learn today that our router has two separate networks - one 2.4G and another 5 G.  Wow, connecting to the 5G network increased my speeds into the 200s from around 50.   Stupid us - connected to the slower network all these years - very sad!

 

 

Re: Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
Capricorn1
Community Leader
Community Leader

I don't have a feel for how strong the G3100's Wi-Fi radios are. 5 GHz is faster than 2.4 GHz, but 5 GHz does worse with distance and at penetrating walls. If the router's radios aren't strong or the antennas are lacking, you might not get the signal that the extender needs to keep going.

You might want to consider turning off the Wi-Fi on the router and getting a separate set of mesh routers like the eero 6+ ones. I have an older version of the Netgear Orbi two-pack of mesh wireless nodes running in access point mode. Engadget and Wired recently posted articles on mesh Wi-Fi systems.

Re: Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
Timeshare1
Enthusiast - Level 2

Thank you for your comments - but don't even know what Mesh routers are.  I thought that there may be an easy solution.

We are okay!  Just two old folks searching the internet daily and streaming Netflix or Hulu - no gaming at all.  And my kids are able to telecommute when visiting and don't complain about the wifi - so must be fine for their remote access.

 

Re: Connect a Netgear EX6120 Extender
gs0b
Community Leader
Community Leader

Did you know Verizon sells extenders specifically designed to seamless work with their routers?  The extend the existing WiFi with minimal configuration required.  Here's a link to purchase one:

https://www.verizon.com/home/accessories/fios-extender/

Note that depending on your plan, Verizon may provide one at no extra charge.  They also rent them, but I don't recommend that as a year's rental usually costs more than buying one.  Contact Verizon to find out if you plan includes an extender or for additional purchase / rental options.