WiFi Extenders, also called WiFi Boosters, are a simple and economical way to end the mystery and bring dead zones to life.
The dead zone – that spot in your house where WiFi inexplicably seems to disappear. With all the devices, metal appliances, and architectural interference in the average home, even the fastest, most powerful WiFi router can miss a few spots.
Wireless repeaters are first generation WiFi signal extenders. As the name implies, wireless repeaters re-broadcast the WiFi signal received to a finite localized area. The quality of WiFi signal strength received by the wireless repeater will be the same WiFi signal strength distributed. Latency, or WiFi network response time, is typically increased. If you need a short hop, have less than 5 wireless devices and are not going to stream anything, a repeater might work – but I doubt it.
Wireless Range Extenders
Wireless range extenders are stand-alone equipment which sit between your wireless router and the location where you want better wireless coverage. Similar to a wireless repeater, a wireless range extender grabs existing WiFi signal from your wireless router and re-broadcasts it. Range extenders rebroadcast on a different wireless channel from the one used by your wireless router. The challenge with range-extenders is location.
Incorrect placement means a range extender may not obtain sufficient WiFi signal from your router to simultaneously rebroadcast, stream and engage in online gaming or watching a video.
WiFi Network Extenders
WiFi Network Extenders are the best WiFi boosters for consistent, reliable high speed WiFi to every floor and corner of your home. Unlike repeaters or range extenders that rebroadcast existing WiFi signals, Network Extenders communicate directly with your gateway or WiFi router using a wire.
Just like cellular towers, WiFi Network Extenders use a wire or cable as the means of communicating back to the router or source. Actiontec’s WiFi Network Extenders then use that “huge pipe” to create a second or third WiFi boosted network.
Not very long ago, setting up a range extender required a bit of technical expertise and a good deal of patience to find the best location (ideally halfway between the router and the dead zone). But most of today’s routers and range extenders support WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), which makes pairing the two as simple as pressing a couple of buttons, naming your new extended network, and creating a network password.
Moreover, nearly all manufacturers offer web-based setup wizards and illustrated instructions that will help you configure basic wireless settings. Some (but not all) extenders are equipped with LED status indicators that tell you if the extender is too far from the router.
Extenders can also offer advanced router-like features such as guest networking, access scheduling, and media server capabilities.
Wall-plug or Desktop Design?
WiFi extenders come in two types of form factors, ones that are meant for desktop placement and ones that plug directly in the wall, sometimes referred as wall-plugged.
If you want a less obtrusive, wire-free design that blends in nicely within your home environment a wall-plug extender is your best option.
A desktop extender is a great choice if you want up to five Ethernet ports to connect more network-ready wired devices and USB storage options.
WiFi Boosters take only a few minutes to install and can give you complete home WiFi coverage. It’s best to place the extender halfway between your router and the dead zone. Your signal strength and bandwidth will be immediately boosted and directed to the WiFi trouble spot.
For optimal performance you should at least match the WiFi speed of your new extender with your existing router’s WiFi. For example, if you have a dual band AC1200 router, choose a dual band AC1200 extender to maximize the boost in performance and range.
It also doesn’t matter if your Wifi Range Extender isn’t the same brand as your existing router, they all do pretty much the same thing. So if you’re using a Netgear router and have your eyes on a TP-Link Range Extender, get it. Treat yourself.
I hope that’s covered any confusion you may have about improving ythe Wifi around your home.
Check out our Wifi Range Extenders and find the right one for you.