A WiFi extender (also known as a WiFi booster, WiFi repeater, and WiFi amplifier) is an electronic device with two WiFi antennas. One of the two antennas receives a signal from a wireless router, and the other antenna broadcasts it after it has been amplified.
When placed correctly, a WiFi extender can help you extend your WiFi network to cover your entire home.
To know whether you’re better off replacing your WiFi router with a more capable model or purchasing one of the wireless extenders mentioned in this article, we recommend you download and use NetSpot to analyze your wireless network.
NetSpot is a professional app for wireless site surveys, Wi-Fi analysis, and troubleshooting. You can download it for free, and it works on both Windows and macOS. Even though NetSpot is praised by professional network administrators, its simple user interface makes it suitable even for regular home users.
Your WiFi range extender should support the same WiFi standards as your WiFi router. At the moment, the latest WiFi standard in use is IEEE 802.11ad, which provides data throughput rates of up to 6 Gbps. If you have an older router, it most likely supports only the IEEE 802.11n WiFi standard, also known as Wireless N.
This earlier standard can provide data throughput rates of up to 300 Mbps, making it considerably slower than the newest standard but still fast enough even for larger households.
You should also decide whether you need a dual-band WiFi extender or not. A dual-band WiFi extender can broadcast either on the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz band. A single-band WiFi extender can only broadcast on the 2.4 GHz band.
If you live in a densely populated area, the chances are there are many wireless routers in your vicinity that broadcast on the 2.4 GHz band, causing network congestions, which lead to lag spikes and slowdowns. Switching to the 5 GHz band is an easy way how you can avoid these issues and often even enjoy faster speeds and a more stable signal.
When determining which WiFi extenders are the best in 2020, we’ve taken into consideration not just features and performance, but also reliability and user reviews. At the same time, we’ve tried to keep our selection as varied as possible to include something for everyone.
The NETGEAR EX3700 is an easy-to-use WiFi extender with support for dual-band WiFi and the 802.11ac standard. It has a convenient wall-plug design with two adjustable antennas and one fast Ethernet port for connecting a desktop computer, game console, or TV.
The NETGEAR EX3700 features the company’s FastLane technology, which allows it to broadcast a single WiFi network simultaneously on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz band.
NETGEAR has released a handy smartphone app, called WiFi Analytics, that you can use to test WiFi strength in rooms throughout your home. The app does what it’s supposed to do, but it leaves something to be desired when compared to professional WiFi analysis solutions such as NetSpot.
Depending on how your electrical wiring is set up in your house or apartment, the NETGEAR PowerLINE 1000 might be the best solution how to broaden the reach of your wireless network. This rather unique NETGEAR WiFi extender consists of two units: one plugs into your modem or router, and the other one plugs into an electrical outlet.
The two units then transmit Internet signal over your existing electrical wiring, helping you expand your network even if there are several thick brick walls making things more difficult for you.
The connection between the two units is securely encrypted, and the NETGEAR PowerLINE 1000 is using the latest Homeplug AV technology to achieve Gigabit speeds through your electrical outlets.
This powerful WiFi extender from Linksys stands out with its four Gigabit Ethernet ports that ensure high-speed connectivity for wired devices. The extender utilizes Cross-Band technology to broadcast a single WiFi network simultaneously on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz band, achieving stable and high-speed transfers of data even during the heaviest workloads.
The Linksys RE6500 also boasts the ability to connect directly to a stereo system or audio speaker and stream music to it from a smart device or computer. Its two antennas are removable, so you can replace them with larger ones should you ever need even better performance.
The TP-Link RE650 is the best WiFi extender on the market in the high-end category. It immediately attracts the eye with its four external antennas, which are capable of transmitting simultaneous 800 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1733 Mbps on 5 GHz. On the bottom side of this WiFi extender is a single Gigabit Ethernet port that can provide a fast wired connection to your computer or TV.
Thanks to the Intelligent Signal Light feature, the TP-Link RE650 automatically determines where’s the ideal location for optimal wireless coverage, and it then uses Beamforming technology to deliver wireless signal to where it’s needed the most. The TP-Link RE650 can be conveniently managed from the TP-LINK Tether app for iOS and Android devices.
With its four antennas, two LAN ports, and support for the 802.11ac standard, the Coredy E120 is an undisputed king of the budget category of WiFi extenders. The Coredy E120 is actually not just a WiFi extender as it can function also as an access point and router.
Regardless of how you use this handy device, the Coredy E120 will always be able to deliver fast wireless speeds of up to 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.