Table of Contents
- The Best Choice – NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh WiFi Extender
- Value-for-Money – TP-Link TL-WPA4220T KIT 2-Port Powerline Adapter WiFi Starter Kit
- The Cheap Choice – Folme WiFi Extender, 2.4G
- UTOPB WiFi Range Extender Repeater
- JOOWIN 1200Mbps WiFi Extender
- TP-Link TL-WPA7510KIT Dual Band Gigabit AC750 Wi-Fi Extender
- NETGEAR Mesh WiFi Extender EX7700 (AC 2200)
- WiFi Extender Buying Guide
Top 3 WiFi Extenders right now
- Super-fast powerline Speed – HomePlug AV standard compliant, stable and high-speed data transfer...
- WiFi booster – extend up to 300 Mbps Wireless connections to previously hard-to-reach areas of...
- Multiple Ethernet ports – provide reliable high-speed wired connection for game consoles, smart...
- One Touch for super range extension - Wi-Fi Clone button simplifies your WiFi configuration and...
- EXTENDED WIRELESS COVERAGE: Adds Wi-Fi range coverage up to 600 sq ft, and connects up to 10 devices...
- N300 WI-FI SPEED: Provides up to 300Mbps performance.
- UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY: Works with any wireless router, gateway, or cable modem with Wi-Fi.
- WIRED ETHERNET PORT: Simply plug in game consoles, streaming players, or other nearby wired devices...
- Boosts wireless signal to previously unreachable or hard-to-wire areas flawlessly
- Compatible with 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices
- Dual band speeds up to 750Mbps
- Miniature size and wall-mounted design make it easy to deploy and move flexibly
1. Folme WiFi Extender, 2.4G – The Cheap Choice
Folme 2.4G WiFi Extender is the first pick of our 7 best list for two reasons. It is cheap and delivers exactly what promised – nothing more, nothing less.
At a Glance
- Brand: FOLME
- Manufacturer reference: 02
- Weight: 8 g
- Dimensions: 11.6 x 11.4 x 6.8 cm
- Colour: white
Repeater Mode: used to extend the WiFi coverage of existing wireless networks.
AP Mode: converts a wired network to a wireless network without the need to set up plug and play
- Standards Compatibility: IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b
- Maximum Transmission Rate: up to 300Mbps
- It Supports 2.4 GHz WLAN networks
- Maximum WLAN security: WPA2, WPA and WEP (128/64)
- Software wizard for simple setup
- 2dBi antennas integrated
- Provides one 10/100Mbps Auto-Negotiation Ethernet LAN ports
- Package contains:
1 x Wireless WiFi Extender Repeater
1 x Networking Cable
1 x English Installation Manual
Folme 2.4G is the very definition of an “entry-level” WiFi extender. Designed for homeowners who simply wish to boost the WiFi connectivity to a few more rooms in their house or offices, it is a breeze to install (all you have to do is press the WPS button and get a safe encryption) and set up.
Compatibility is not an issue with this model. Compatible with 802.11n/g/b devices, it will work with almost any wireless network, router and Wi-Fi enabled devices including iPhone, iPad, Tablet, Laptop, Desktop, Smart TV, TV BOX, etc. You also get a single Ethernet port to connect wired devices – pretty standard for low-budget WiFi extenders.
Providing decent security for a home network (it supports WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA/WPA2 encryption), it protects you from common unauthorized access attempts and monitoring and comes with the two standard modes of operation: Repeater Mode, extending the WiFi coverage of your existing wireless network, and the AP Mode, which converts a wired network to a wireless one.
As to network speed, you can expect up to 300Mbps for 2.4GHz – but please note the “up to” part. Indeed, you cannot expect great speeds from such a low-priced option.
The same applies to its reliability, especially at the edges of its signal range. The manufacturer claims that the signal can be transmitted across walls and at least one floor. We found the first to be accurate, the second one optimistic. If you truly want good coverage to more than one floors, you should probably pick a more expensive model. Otherwise, across the same level, coverage was good. But blind spots surrounded by thick brick or concrete walls will not be properly covered – not to mention basements. The exterior of a house, like your porch, yard or balcony will not be an issue – the coverage in open spaces like these reaches 150 feet.
As to construction quality, we haven’t used it for a considerable amount of time to check its durability and long-term efficiency, but we wouldn’t expect much on this regard from an entry-level pick.
If you are looking for something cheap that will boost your existing network’s coverage inside a single floor house or business, then Folme’s 2.4G WiFi extender is a great choice.
Our next pick is the UTOPB WiFi Range Extender Repeater. Still well-within the cheap WiFi boosters’ solution, it comes with Dual Band technology and three operation modes and offers improved speed, coverage and reliability compared to cheaper models. Let’s take a closer look.
At a Glance
- Brand: UTOPB
- Manufacturer reference: UT-DVR9849-1
- Weight: 249 g
- Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.8 x 8.2 cm
- Colour: black
WiFi Range Extender (Repeater) – Extend WiFi coverage of an existing wireless network
Wireless Access Point – Convert a wired network to a wireless network
Wireless Router – Create an instant private wireless AC1200 network
- Easy wireless security encryption at a push of the WPS button
- LEDs indicator, Sharing the working conditions of the device at any time.
- Function selection button – Multi-function operating selection
- RJ-45 Ethernet ports – 2x 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN/WAN ports
- It supports 2.4G and 5G wireless network connection
- Maximum Transmission Speed: up to 1200Mbps
- Isolated heat dissipation design, preventing the intrusion of dust and quickly dissipating heat, ensuring stable operation
- Fully compatible with any devices like iOS, Android devices, Echo/Alexa devices, PCs, PlayStation, etc.
- System Requirements:
A router supporting WPA encryption standard
WLAN access point and the WLAN client with automatic IP address assignment (DHCP)
Forwarding of IPv4-based protocols/Address Resolution Protocol
The network name (SSID) of the WLAN access point must be set to “visible”
- Package Includes:
1 x Wireless WIFI Range Extender Repeater
1 x RJ-45 Ethernet Cable
1 x User Manual
Designed for large homes with multiple devices and heavy online media usage and compatible with all routers, the UTOPB WiFi Range Extender Repeater promises to boost your network’s coverage and security, prevent others from stealing your net, shield you against unauthorized access. And you know what? It delivers.
Installing and setting it up is easy and simple for people with some prior experience. Newbies may find it a bit hard (especially if they rely on the instruction manual), but some really handy videos on the YouTube will make things easy for you.
Design-wise, its two pairs of high gain external antennas, which may seem a bit “too much” but they are not just for show. They ensure a 360o coverage, extending the wireless signal to blind spots and minimising the risk of interruptions. Coverage proved good even through brick walls and at least to two floors.
Its dual-band technology affords it much greater speed and reliability. Single-band repeaters receive the wireless signal and retransmit it using the same radio and channel, which gravely affects their bandwidth (reducing it by 50%) and, consequently, the overall speed of their network. Dual-band repeaters, on the other hand, use one band for receiving the signal and another for transmitting it, thus offering greater speeds.
Indeed, UTOPB runs on dual bands at a combined speed of up to 1200Mbps, including 900Mbps on its 5GHz channel and 300Mbps on its 2.4GHz channel. For its price, this performance is excellent.
Another extra feature is the Wireless Router mode, which allows you to create a private wireless AC1200 network – a capability not found in cheaper models. We also loved the smart LED signal indicator, designed to help you pick the best location for the extender.
Wired connectivity is possible with its single Ethernet port, enabling you to connect a smart TV, an old printer or other wired devices.
Offering much better coverage, speeds and reliability than cheaper WiFi extenders, UTOPB may give you some trouble during set-up, but it will certainly not let you down – especially at this price.
JOOWIN’s winning traits are efficiency and reliability. While you can find most of its features in slightly cheaper WiFi extenders, few can match its might even and coverage range, even in houses with thick concrete or brick walls.
At a Glance
- Brand: JOOWIN
- Manufacturer reference: JW-WR758AC-UKYY3
- Weight: 181 g
- Dimensions: 20.4 x 9.8 x 6.6 cm
- Standards Compatibility: 802.11ac, 802.11a/b/g/n
- Dual-Band High-Speed Stable Signal
Speed: 300Mbps for 2.4GHz and 867Mbps for 5GHz
Combined dual-band speeds of up to 1167 Mbps
Automatically switches to the high-quality band for better performance (ideal for HD video streaming and online gaming)
- Ethernet port
- AP/Repeater/Router Mode
Increase the heat dissipation of the ventilation holes on both sides
- Smart Indicator with Three Lights
Three Lights: Strong Signal
Two Lights: General Signal
One Light: Weak Signal
- 4 High-Performance Antennas for 360° full coverage without WiFi dead zones
- AC1200 Dual Band Extender
- Repeater Mode: Receives and transmits the existing wireless signal to extend WiFi coverage of the existing wireless network
- Router Mode: Creates an instant private wireless network and enable multiple devices to share it
- Access Point Mode: Transforms your existing wired network into a wireless network
- Package Includes:
1 x WiFi Extender
1 x Networking Cable
1 x Quick Installation Guide
Easily catering to the needs of large homes and families (and small businesses) with heavy use of online media, Joowin’s WiFi extender first undeniable trait is its universal compatibility; it will work without issues with all kinds of routers.
Again, installation and setting up will be a breeze for anyone that has done it before. As for the rest, just make sure to follow carefully the instructions. They could be a bit more straightforward, but in time you will get it right.
This model also uses four high gain external antennas, ensuring an all-around coverage and keeping the signal strong, even across walls or floors. This is actually Joowin’s strongest point. Everywhere we tried it, including corridors, basements, and attics, coverage was excellent, no matter the thickness of the wall or its construction material.
Speed and reliability are great too, mostly because of the dual-band technology. As mentioned, instead of receiving the wireless signal and transmitting it in a single radio and channel, it uses one band for receiving the signal and another for transmitting it, which means that its bandwidth is scarcely affected. Running on dual bands at a combined speed of almost 1200Mbps, including 300Mbps for 2.4GHz and 867Mbps for 5GHz, it will surely not let you down, no matter how many people or devices use its network within its range.
Also, note that this model is designed to automatically switch to high-quality band whenever possible – a great feature for HD video streaming and online gaming.
As we would expect at this price range, aside from the standard Repeater Mode (extending WiFi coverage) and Router Mode (for instant private wireless networks shared by multiple devices), it has an Access Point Mode, designed to transform your existing wired network into a wireless network.
Joowin also has a LED indicator, helping you understand where the signal is stronger or weaker. Last, we should mention the Ethernet port, enabling you to connect a smart TV, an old printer or other wired devices.
Delivering the best possible coverage and signal for its price range, excellent speed and zero interruptions, Joowin is perfect for large households and small businesses.
Going up the quality (and price) scale, we come at one of the most well-known and reputable WiFi extender brands – TP-Link. TL-WPA 7510 is actually a WiFi booster Kit (that is multiple devices) that ensure both a wider coverage and a stronger signal.
At a Glance
- Brand: TP-Link
- Weight: 390 g
- Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.9 x 13.6 cm
- Model (manufacturer reference): TL-WPA7510KIT
- Standards Compatibility: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
- Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi – 2.4GHz (300Mbps) + 5GHz (433Mbps)
- Data transfer rates of up to 1000Mbps
- Voltage: 230 volts
- Maximum Powerline Speed: AV1000
- Wi-Fi Speed up to: 2.4GHz (300Mbps) + 5GHz (433Mbps)
- Connection Speed: Faster
- 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Universal Compatibility
- Ease of Use: Wi-Fi Auto-Sync, TP-Link tpPLC, Plug Pair Play
- Free App Control
- Speed: Wireless AC Standard, HomePlug AV2, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, Speed Optimization
- Security: Pair Button, Parental Controls, Encryptions for Secure Network
- Range: Up to 300 meters / 1000 feet range over the existing household power circuit
- Energy Saving: Power Saving Mode
- Box Contains
Gigabit powerline AC Wi-Fi kit (TL-WPA7510KIT)
RJ-45 Ethernet cable
Quick installation guide
As mentioned TL-WPA 7510 Kit utilises two devices to boost your existing network’s signal: first, you have to plug the TL-PA7010 (the smaller of the two adapters) in the wall. Next, use one of the supplied Ethernet cables to connect it with your broadband router (or network switch/patch panel, whatever applies). Then, all you have to do is to plug the TL-WPA7510 in a preferred power outlet in the area suffering from poor WiFi signal and press the ‘Pair’ buttons on both adapters (both adapters must be connected to the same electrical circuit). You have just created a secure network, offering high speeds and zero interruptions in a surprisingly extensive range.
So, if we were asked to highlight two of its strong points, we would surely mention both its efficiency and ease of use. You don’t have to meddle in complicated configurations and setups. Just plug the adapters and you will be ready. You can also use the free TP PLC app, via which you can access the network settings and manage them from your smartphone (both Android and iOS).
Providing up to 1000Mbps high-speed data transfer rates through your home’s existing electrical wiring (Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi – 2.4GHz (300Mbps) + 5GHz (433Mbps), it effectively eliminates Wi-Fi dead zones and buffering, while the Gigabit Ethernet port allows you to connect smart TVs, game consoles and computers to your wired network.
The whole system excelled in our tests. It is ideal for homeowners that wish to have a strong WiFi signal across large households or estates with WiFi smart devices (like doorbells, intercoms, or security systems). Its effective range is amazing.
We tried hard to find something to scorn in this kit. Well, we are not network technicians, but a versed friend commented that if someone does wish to make some improvements or changes in the configuration, then he’d better know what he is doing – cause it is not going to be easy. The kit was designed for users that will simply plug and use it as is, and does not make things easier for perfection seekers.
Still, that’s hardly a deal-breaker for us.
TP-Link TL-WPA7510KIT is indeed an excellent WiFi extender solution, offered at a more than reasonable price, from one of the most reliable brands in the market.
5. TP-Link TL-WPA4220T KIT 2-Port Powerline Adapter WiFi Starter Kit – Value-for-Money
Another Powerline kit by TP-Link, slightly more expensive – reasonably so, since it comes with two Ethernet ports instead of one.
At a Glance
- Brand: TP-Link
- Model (manufacturer reference): TL-WPA4220KIT
- Weight: 231 g
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.4 x 4 cm
- Standards Compatibility: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
- Maximum Powerline Speed: AV600
- Wi-Fi Speed up to 300Mbps
- Powerline speed: up to 500 Mbps
- Wi-Fi Auto-Sync
- Ethernet Ports: 2 X 10/100Mbps Ethernet Port
- Universal Compatibility
- Plug and Play
- Free App Control
- Fast HD Streaming and Online/Cloud Gaming
- Wi-Fi hotspot
- Wired connection to multiple devices: 2
- Extra power outlet
- HD/3D streaming
- Range: 300 Meters over electrical circuit
- Frequency: 2.4-2.4835GHz
- Wireless Security: 64/128-bit WEP / WPA / WPA2, WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK
- Advanced Functions: Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, WMM, Wireless Statistics
- Transmission Power: CE:<20dBm (2.4GHz)
- Box Contains
Powerline Ethernet adapter 2 × TL-WPA4220 and 1 × TL-PA4010
3 × 6.5 ft (2 m) Ethernet cable (RJ45)
Quick installation guide
The philosophy behind the TL-WPA4220T KIT is the same: offering great speed and coverage (almost 900 feet range) with zero need for complicated configurations. Again, all you have to do is plug the small adapter to your electric circuit, connect it to the router with an Ethernet cable, and then plug the adaptor and extender. Pair it with and that’s it. No software installation or configuration needed. Needless to say, it is compatible with all WiFi routers, as well as with other powerline extenders of all bands.
The kit also comes with improved network security and data protection – with one-touch 128-bit AES encryption. The Privacy Guest Network provides secure WiFi access to guests, while the Wi-Fi Auto-Sync makes it easy to unify your existing WiFi network to the extender and use the same SSID and password to access the Internet. The tpPLC Utility and tpPLC app make it easy to control wireless network settings, set schedules for WiFi availability and control the LED indicators on or off on your adaptors from any iOS or Android device.
As mentioned, one added feature is an extra Ethernet port for wired connection. If you have smart TVs, PCs, and game consoles or dated devices (like printers) that lack Bluetooth or wireless technology they can prove handy.
Versatility is another trait of this system. You can easily further expand your coverage to new areas just by adding more extenders – again, with zero configuration. The system can support up to 16 Powerline units, making it a nice solution for small businesses and offices.
Unfortunately, it only supports a 2.4Gz frequency band – which is a shame, since it gravely affects the extended network’s bandwidth and overall speed and transfer rate.
Easy to install and use, versatile, and reasonably priced, TP-Link’s TL-WPA4220T kit is certainly worth our consideration.
Our next pick is not exactly cheap but offers a combination of network security, speed and coverage that is far superior to anything we have seen till now, being a Mesh WiFi extender. Mesh routers could be described as a combination of several separate routers sharing a single, seamless Wi-Fi network.
At a Glance
- Brand: NETGEAR
- Manufacturer Reference: EX7700-100UKS
- Weight: 531 g
- Dimensions: 15.4 x 19.9 x 5.4 cm
- WiFi Range & Performance: Ultimate
- Added WiFi Coverage: 2,000 sq. ft.
- Number of Connected Devices: Up to 40
- Bandwidth: Tri-Band, Up to 2200Mbps
- Best for Internet Speed: Up to 2200Mbps
- HD Streaming: Ultimate
- Online Gaming: Best
- Seamless Roaming with One WiFi Name
- Tri-band for 2x Speed
- Universal Router Compatibility
- Box Contains:
1 x Nighthawk X6 AC2200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Mesh Extender (EX7700)
Quick Start Guide
Designed as desktop WiFi extender (unfortunately it cannot be mounted on a wall) NETGEAR EX7700 is mid-range Mesh Wi-Fi Extender, supporting 866Mbps on the 5GHz band and 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It also operates as a triband extender, which means that it can use one of its antennas just for back-end networking tasks, keeping the others free for speedy Wi-Fi coverage – making it ideal for large households and businesses that require 4K streaming.
Unfortunately, the X6 EX7700 doesn’t include the ability to mount the unit on the wall. But that’s a feature more likely to be used on an industrial tier router than the Nighthawk X6, so it’s easy to forgive.
We would expect more than two Ethernet ports from a model of this type, but few people need more than that.
Setting up a mesh WiFi extender is more complicated than the previous of our picks, but still nothing you cannot manage, even if you are relatively inexperienced, like us! Using a push-button setup, the EX7700 uses standard 802.11AC Wi-Fi. Note that EX7700 requires a certain software signed with NETGEAR to run properly.
EX7700 is an excellent access point for multiple wired devices, without affecting network performance. One of its most amazing traits though is its range: it boasts a radius of 2,000 square feet – which is great for this price range. On top of that, the tri-band AC2200 ensures steady performance wherever you stand within this radius.
A few words are due for the single most important feature, which actually boosts the network’s performance – its onboard quad-core processor, perfect for 4K streaming and hours of uninterrupted gaming sessions.
Another pro of this model is the manufacturer itself. NETGEAR constantly updates its software and upgrades its security protocols and boasts excellent customer service.
The EX7700’s tri-band Wi-Fi connection (of which one is a dedicated WiFi extender) and advanced quad-core processor ensure network, speed, performance, and coverage that is far superior to all of our previous picks – hence the premium. If you can afford it and you truly need such level of performance, don’t hesitate.
7. The Best WiFi Extender – NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh
Closing our list, we have an upgraded mesh WiFi extender, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 WiFi 6 (EAX80). It is not exactly cheap, and certainly not designed for the average homeowner that just wants to butch up a bit his home network; but if you are looking for a mighty WiFi booster to cover your personal and professional needs and you can afford it, then this a perfect pick for you.
At a Glance
- Brand: NETGEAR
- Model (manufacturer reference): EAX80-100EUS
- Series: EAX80
- Weight: 862 g
- Dimensions: 27.9 x 19.7 x 10.6 cm
- Colour: Black
- AC3000 Mbps Nighthawk Mesh X6S Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender, with FastLane3, 1 Wi-Fi Name and Access Point Mode (Smart Mesh Roaming for Any Router)
- One SSID: Nighthawk Wi-Fi Mesh Extenders combine the visible Wi-Fi networks into one
- Screen Size and RAM Size: 1
- Graphics Card Description: EAX80-100EUS
- Power Source: DC current
- Operating System: Ja
- WiFi Speed: WiFi 6 – AX6000 (up to 6Gbps)
- WiFi Coverage: Add up to 2500 sq. ft. coverage
- Universal WiFi Router Compatibility
- 8 Simultaneous Streams
- Wired Ethernet Ports: 4 x 1G
- USB Port for Shared Storage/Printer: 1 x 3.0
- Recommended Number of Connected Devices: 30+
- Network Security: WPA2
- Advanced Technology: Dual-band, Smart Connect, MU-MIMO, Beamforming+, OFDMA
Stylish and elegant, the EAX80 is a desktop WiFi extender with 4 Ethernet ports and uses smart roaming to preserve a strong connection to each device no matter its distance from the router. With a radius of 2,500 feet, I think that you are pretty much well-covered coverage-wise.
The EAX80 requires the Netgear Nighthawk app for its configuration, where you can pick either the extender or the Access point mode (which requires a wired connection with your existing router). Contrary to our previous and (considerably cheaper) pick, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 WiFi Mesh Extender comes with a dual-band Wi-Fi, which was indeed an unpleasant surprise.
Since you are interested primarily for its extender mode, you should also keep in mind that you get fewer features that the ones offered by a standard Nighthawk router regarding access control features; there is no guest network.
Enough with the cons though. Let’s dig in the reasons EAX80 is considered a good pick. Supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks (four 2.4GHz streams at a maximum of 1.2Gbps, and four 5GHz streams running at 4.8Gbps) offers truly amazing speeds and a vast range – easily beating most (if not all) of its similarly priced competitors and making it an excellent choice for anyone wishing to upgrade from a WiFi 5 to a WiFi 6 network.
Last, as mentioned in our previous pick, just the fact that is a Netgear model is a pro by itself. Reliable, great customer service with constant updates and upgrades of its software and security protocols – Netgear surely knows how to sweeten the deal.
There is no doubt that, at such a price, the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 WiFi 6 (EAX80) is a good pick only for people with high demands in terms of speed and coverage. If you are among them and wish a nice breakthrough to the WiFi 6 cosmos, then it is certainly worth your consideration.
Having trouble connecting to the internet? Well, a WiFi extender can surely solve it for you, provided you pick one that meets your needs and the layout of your personal space.
In this part of the article, we explain some basic facts about the WiFi extenders, certain key features, as well as give you a heads-up for certain technological jargon that may seem impressive and convincing, but actually have less value or offers things you don’t really need.
WiFi extenders come with different capabilities and features to serve different needs. Being able to understand these differences is the key to picking the right WiFi extender. To do that, first, you have to understand how does a WiFi extender work.
What is a WiFi extender?
A WiFi extender is a device designed to extend the coverage area of a WiFi network. It is also known as a WiFi repeater or WiFi booster, but often these terms denote the different type of technology used.
How does a WiFi extender work?
A WiFi extender basically receives the WiFi signal from the router, amplifies it and then transmits it. Its strength and coverage depend on its technology, design and features, but it usually doubles the area covered by the WiFi network, affording far better signal in much more rooms or different floors of a building, as well as to its exterior.
Most WiFi Repeaters use a pair of wireless routers, one for picking up the signal from your router, the other for receiving and transmitting it. This means that it creates a second network. Your devices will connect to it whenever they are unable to connect to the primary one. In some areas, of course, both networks will be available, allowing you to pick the one with the stronger signal.
How do I install a WiFi repeater?
It is easy to install a WiFi Repeater. First, pick a socket between the router and the area with poor signal reception. Next, log into the WiFi repeater and enter the required information of the existing WiFi network, thus allowing the WiFi repeater to connect to and boost its signal.
Are WiFi Repeater networks safe?
WiFi repeater networks provide the same level of security with the primary network of your router.
Are WiFi Repeater Networks fast?
WiFi repeater networks are not as fast as the primary network of the router, but much depends on their band and radios type.
Single-band repeaters receive the wireless signal and retransmit it using the same radio and channel, which gravely affects their bandwidth (reducing it by 50%) and, consequently, the overall speed of their network. Dual-band repeaters, on the other hand, use one band for receiving the signal and another for transmitting it, thus offering much better speed.
Dual radios WiFi repeaters offer greater speeds too. Dual-radio technology allows the repeater to connect with the main router on lower channels and transmit on higher ones.
How Can I Pick the Right WiFi Extender?
In order to pick the right WiFi extender, you should first study the layout of your personal space and determine your budget.
Next, familiarise with the following features and characteristics. Then you will be able to figure out each extender’s performance and see it meets your network range, speed and security needs.
The first thing you should ascertain is the standards compatibility of your router, which is always connected to other key features, especially the frequency. The last thing you need is to buy an extender that will not integrate properly with your router.
To do that check at the back of your reader for the following specifications:
- IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
- IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
- IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Before purchasing a WiFi extender, check its specifications and make sure it is compatible. If you are not certain about the standards compatibility of your router, better pick a so-called “universal” extender, which can work with any 802.11 a/b/n/ac routers.
Check also if you can pair your router with a WiFi extender of the same brand. This would be ideal.
You have two main options here: either a single 2.4GHz frequency or a Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support.
Most WiFi extenders come with a single 2.4GHz frequency range, and naturally, they are considerably cheaper – but their speed and performance may prove disappointing. If you need the WiFi extender network to be fast and reliable, better opt for a 2.4GHz and 5GHz pick – provided, of course, that your router supports it.
As already mentioned, WiFi extenders are usually as safe as the primary network. Most extenders nowadays support the WPA2-PSK security protocol, which is top-notch for homeowners. So, better avoid extenders offering anything less secure.
Most WiFi extenders nowadays come with at least one ethernet port, allowing a wired connection. Plug WiFi extenders seldom have more than two, while desktop extenders may have as much as five.
Make sure, though, whether you do need so many ports. In most cases, they are necessary only if you have dated devices, like printers IP cameras or scanners.
As mentioned, dual-band WiFi extenders offer much better speed, provided they are supported by your router. Check the bandwidth of the extender by looking at the specifications for one of the following readings:
- N300 – 802.11 bgn compliant with single band (up to 300MBps).
- AC750 – 802.11ac compliant with concurrent dual-band (300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 433Mbps on 5GHz).
- AC1200 – 802.11 compliant with concurrent dual-band (up to 1167Mbps).
- AC1750 – 802.11 complaint with concurrent dual-band (up to 1750Mbps – 450Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz).
- AC1900 – 802.11 compliant with concurrent dual-band (up to 1900Mbps).
- AC2200 – 802.11 compliant with concurrent dual-band (up to 2200Mbps).
Needless to say, the bigger the bandwidth, the higher the speed and performance of the extender – as well as its price.
WiFi extenders come in various design types. The most popular type is the plug extender, a device placed directly to a wall plug. They take minimum space are handy and practical, but are usually less advanced and offer lower speeds.
There are also the desktop extenders, designed to seat on a desk or table and powered by a power cable. Most of them also come with one or two external antennas. They take up more space, but they are usually more advanced and perform much better. They also have more ports for wired connections.
As to the cost, everything depends on what you need. Most WiFi extenders are affordable, and the best thing to do is to buy the best you can afford.