Wireless booster or WiFi extender
Does your network signal extend as far as you want it to with all the fancy fiber-optic connection and a router that cost you an arm and a leg? When it doesn’t it can be pretty frustrating.
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Whenever you are struggling to get a decent (or outstanding even) Wi-Fi signal at a certain spot without any signal losses you’ll appreciate a Wi-Fi range extender.
WiFi Range Extender will push the WiFi connection up by receiving the wireless signals from your router and then repeating them through the powerful antennas and amplifiers going to the farthest corners of your space, be it a home or an office.
IMPORTANT NOTE! Before setting up a WiFi Range Extender or a WiFi Repeater, download NetSpot to test the strength of WiFi signal. This way you will be already aware of the weak and strong spots of the coverage and can work out a very efficient strategy.
NetSpot is also a big help in smart placement of your new Wi-Fi extender.
The difference between WiFi extender (Wireless booster) and WiFi repeater
WiFi repeaters, boosters and extenders are pretty much the same thing — devices to improve WiFi coverage. Even though you won’t find a clear difference between “repeaters” and “extenders” not all of them will work the exact same way. We’ll do our best to look into and explain those differences for different types of available devices. Follow along and choose the best WiFi extender for your needs!
Wi-Fi Extender (AP mode)
An extender intercepts the signal of your WiFi router/switch, magnifies and retransmits it. You can extend a wire from the main router to a spot you want a network signal at and plug in your WiFi extender. This way main router is sending network signal via the wire to the extender. The latter will have a new WiFi name.
This plug-and-go solution is easy and fast to set up providing the fast connection you wanted. An extender using WiFi instead of a wire may experience some loss of speed. If such extender talks to your devices on the same band it’s using to talk to the router there will be a speed drop obviously.
In case of powerline Ethernet adapters the distance between power outlets as well as the type of wiring you are using can impact the overall performance. A WiFi repeater is an alternative to a powerline Ethernet adapter.
How to Choose a WiFi Extender?
Choosing a WiFi extender boils down to your needs and budget. As yourself how many additional rooms would you like the extender to cover. If it’s just one small room, just about any basic WiFi extender should do the trick.
However, if you want to cover a large area with a strong WiFi signal, you need a dual-band WiFi extender with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support. The extender should also be compatible with the latest WiFi standards and support technologies such as beamforming and MU-MIMO, which stands for multi-user, multiple input, multiple output.
To help you select the best WiFi extender for your needs, here’s a list of the top 3 best WiFi extenders that you can buy right now.
Best WiFi Extenders
The D-Link DAP-1650 is an impressive WiFi extender that provides dual-band connectivity and 802.11ac support in an elegant package that would be easy to mistake for a smart speaker. As you might expect from a high-end WiFi extender, the D-Link DAP-1650 delivers strong performance (up to 1200 Mbps) thanks to MU-MIMO.
You can connect up to four devices to its Gigabit LAN ports for high-speed wired connections or instantly pair any device wirelessly with a single press of the WPS button.
- Great price
- Strong performance
- Extensive configuration options
- No USB 3.0 ports
If you’re looking for a compact WiFi extender capable of covering up to 10,000 square feet with a strong WiFi signal, the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ is a great choice. Despite its small size, it supports the Wireless-AC technology for simultaneously streaming and gaming on multiple devices. Even 4K streaming isn’t an issue for this WiFi extender.
Finding the right place for the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ is a breeze thanks to the Spot Finder feature, which visually indicates the right spot between the router and the area to which you want to extend your network.
- Elegant design
- Dual-band support
- Easy to configure
- Average performance
As far as plug-in WiFi range extenders go, only a few models offer as impressive performance and features as the Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2200. After a breezy set up, this WiFi extender can create a whole-home mesh WiFi using your existing gateway or router or extend 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi signals from existing WiFi routers for better range.
Unlike many other plug-in WiFi range extenders, it features a Gigabit port to connect wired devices like smart TVs and game consoles without the risk of wireless interference.
- Supports MU-MIMO
- Provides up to 10,000 square feet of added coverage
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Larger size
WiFi repeaters are the devices that receive wireless signal and rebroadcast it. If your WiFi signal can’t reach some spots of your house or office, try a wireless repeater to boost the signal from the main router. A WiFi Repeater contains two wireless routers, similar to a wireless router you may already have at home or office. One of them takes up the WiFi connection that you already have and sends the signal to another wireless router. The latter produces the amplified signal.
Repeaters are aimed to let you keep the original network name. These devices are easy to set up with no wires stretched around. Sometimes repeaters may face the interference that may result in an unstable connection.
Did you know there are weatherproof WiFi repeaters? They are very helpful if you are trying to extend the signal outside, e.g. to the pool house on your property.
No WiFi repeaters are ideal. They do have some speed loss issues, some more others less.
Repeaters can be single band and dual band. The devices of first type receive, then retransmit each packet of data through the same WiFi channel, which may easily lose up to 50% of the bandwidth. Dual band repeaters get around this by having the router on one band and sending a WiFi signal on the other.
How to Choose a WiFi Repeater?
When choosing a WiFi repeater, you need to pay attention to the same things as when choosing a WiFi extender, including coverage and price. Because the purpose of a WiFi repeater is to receive wireless signals and rebroadcast them, you should select one that supports the same security protocol as your main router.
WiFi repeaters come in a variety of formats, ranging from desktop to plug based. Some WiFi repeaters have multiple external antennas, while others have no external antenna at all. Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter how many antennas a WiFi repeater has as long as it covers the entire area you want it to cover.
Let’s take a closer look at 3 best WiFi repeaters so that you have something to choose from without having to first read length reviews and comparisons.
Best WiFi Repeaters
Regardless of if you want to repeat your existing WiFi network and extend its connectivity to eliminate all signal weak spots or deliver fast and reliable wired internet access to your smart TV or gaming console, the TP-Link TL-WA855RE is a solid choice that won’t break your bank. Even though it doesn’t have a Gigabit Ethernet port, the device is more than capable of handling even bandwidth-intensive 4K streaming.
In wireless mode, it can deliver speeds of up to 300 Mbps and keep all your favorite devices running as fast as possible with MIMO technology.
- Simple setup
- Reliable performance
- No Gigabit Ethernet option
This weatherproof WiFi repeater WAVLINK AC1200 can cover a large outdoor area with dual-band speeds up to 300 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. It features a special RJ45 connector that makes it impossible for water or dust to get inside the repeater and cause damage.
The manufacturer of this WiFi repeater even integrated a lighting arrester, so you don’t need to worry about a lightning strike causing damage to the repeater or any device connected to it.
- Up to 1000mW of power
- Build-in lightning arrester
The Linksys RE6250 is an affordable dual-band WiFi repeater that features the company’s signature Spot Finder technology for mobile-guided setup.
It’s compatible with any modern router and designed for people who are looking for a hassle-free way how to eliminate dead zones and improve wireless performance. Because the WiFi repeater receives automatic firmware updates from Linksys as soon as they are released, you can simply set it up and forget about it.
- Simple WPS setup
- Provides surprisingly strong signal
- Spot Finder technology
- Doesn’t support Access Point mode
Hopefully the comparison above helped you make a choice and you are improving your network right now. Don’t forget to use NetSpot again to test the signal strength and see how your connection speed improved.
Download Netspot for free and get the most of your WiFi network!
A WiFi Range Extender literally extends your WiFi signal by receiving the signal from your router and then retransmitting it further thanks to its powerful antennas and amplifiers reaching tucked away corners and spaces lacking good signal.
A WiFi extender is usually connected through Ethernet and extends the network to other areas of your office or house. A WiFi repeater connects to your WiFi network wirelessly and rebroadcasts the signal to a larger area.
A WiFi extender intercepts your router signal and retransmits it. As these devices are connected via wired connection, the bandwidth stays unaffected and has the same potential.
A WiFi repeater receives wireless signal from a router and rebroadcasts it. A typical repeater contains two wireless routers; one of them receives the WiFi signal and transfers it to the second router. The latter produces and retransmits the amplified signal.
If you want to get more information about Wi-Fi, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi Extenders, Boosters etc.