Today, so many of us rely on wireless internet to run businesses, connect with friends, catch up with our latest favourite shows and so on. For this, you need stable WiFi. Unfortunately, walls and other structures tend to absorb WiFi signals, which can reduce WiFi coverage. As such, people use WiFi extenders to speed up their surfing by extending and optimizing their Wi-Fi coverage.
A WiFi extender or repeater is a device that extends the range of your wireless internet’s coverage. It receives and enhances your existing signal before broadcasting the increased signal. You can easily quadruple the coverage range of your WiFi network with a WiFi repeater, reaching far corners of your home or business, multiple floors and even to your garden.
WiFi Booster, Repeater, or Extender – What’s the Difference?
WiFi extenders, repeaters, and boosters are all the same thing: devices that expand WiFi coverage. There isn’t a clear distinction between devices labelled as “repeaters” and devices labelled as “extenders” by manufacturers. Nevertheless, not all WiFi extenders work in the same way.
There are different types of devices available, and we’ll describe the differences and how they function below so you can pick the right WiFi repeater for your needs. But first, here are some questions you might be asking yourself:
• There Is Barely Any Network Coverage in Some Corners of My Home. What Should I Try First?
There are a few options to consider before purchasing a WiFi extender. The simplest solution is to relocate your WiFi router. It should be located as close to the heart of the city as possible. If it doesn’t work (or relocating isn’t an option), see if your router needs to be upgraded. It may be time to switch to a more powerful model if you’ve had an older model for a long time.
The TP-LINK Archer C9 AC1900 Router, which supports 802.11ac, the next generation of WiFi, is one of the best options for a new router. It’s a dual-band router with super-fast dual-core CPUs and four-gigabit ethernet ports for Smart TVs and gaming consoles. It has cutting-edge Beamforming technology. The routers use this technology to direct the WiFi signal to your WiFi devicesTo improve the speed and performance of your network, tailor your WiFi signal to where it is being used.
• My WiFi is in the best possible spot! My router has been updated! My coverage, however, is still unreliable! What is going on?
If you’ve asked yourself this one, a WiFi extender might be the way to go. There are a few distinct options available. A powerline ethernet kit, such as this Zyxel beginning kit, is one of the simplest straightforward wifi extenders. The kit allows you to send your internet signal via your home or office’s electrical line.
It comes with two adapters: one for plugging into a power outlet near your current router, and the other for plugging into a power outlet near the spot where you require a signal. Use an ethernet cable to connect the first to your router, and the second to an ethernet device (e.g. a Smart TV or games console). A second WiFi network could also be created by connecting the second adapter to a WiFi router.
The greatest bit to this solution is that it is fast. To begin with, it is simple to set up. You simply plug in and go. You could attempt recreating the kit with dozens of feet of ethernet cable, but it would require drilling holes in the walls and stringing cabling throughout the house, and you wouldn’t be able to easily unhook and move your setup around.
Second, in terms of bandwidth, it is quick. When using a WiFi extender, there will almost always be some speed reduction. Because they communicate with the router over Wi-Fi, if the extender talks to your devices on the same band it uses to communicate with the router, you’ll notice a significant speed difference. There are workarounds around this; however, the powerline ethernet kit eliminates the issue.
You can make a link from your WiFi router to your device that is quicker than WiFi and can be set up in just a few minutes by leveraging an existing electrical circuit in your home. This is a particularly good solution if, for example, you have a games console in the basement that isn’t getting a strong enough signal. The kit can be plugged directly into the console’s ethernet port and connected to a router in another room.
However, powerline ethernet adapters aren’t suitable for everyone. The distance between power outlets, as well as the type of wiring in your home, might have an impact on performance. If a powerline ethernet adapter isn’t suited for you, a WiFi repeater is a good alternative.
What Is A WiFi Repeater And How Does It Work?
A WiFi Repeater, like the wireless router you already have in your house or office, has two wireless routers. The existing WiFi network is picked up by one of these wireless routers. It then sends the signal to the other wireless router, which boosts the signal and sends it out.
How Do I Install A WiFi Repeater?
WiFi Repeaters are simple to set up. All you have to do now is connect the power supply and install the repeater in a spot that can receive your existing WiFi network. Following this, log into the WiFi repeater using your computer and enter the login information and password for your existing WiFi network. This allows the WiFi repeater to connect and extend.
Do you have a tricky scenario like extending coverage to your garden or a pool house? Don’t fret! How about a Hawking Outdoor Smart WiFi Repeater? Such Weatherproof WiFi repeaters can be installed outside to improve signal strength across your property. This kit is extremely adaptable and portable. For example, if you’re RVing and the campground’s WiFi signal is weak, you can mount this repeater on the roof of your RV to improve the signal inside.
Will My Laptop/Mobile Device Automatically Switch Networks?
Only if you leave the first network’s range totally. A WiFi repeater adds a second network to your existing one. As such, if the first network is unavailable, your device will connect to the second network. However, your device may be able to detect both networks simultaneously in some areas of your home. This implies you’ll have to disconnect and rejoin if you want to go from the original network to the boosted network.
Will the Repeated Network Be Secure?
Yes. WiFi repeaters are just like standard WiFi routers in terms of security (WEP, WPA, WPA2 etc).
What About The Speed Loss That We Mentioned Earlier?
There is some speed loss with all WiFi repeaters, although some are significantly worse than others. WiFi repeaters work by receiving and rebroadcasting wireless signals, whereas single band repeaters must receive and then retransmit each packet of data using the same radio on the same channel. As such, single-band repeaters may lose up to 50% of their bandwidth.
Dual-band repeaters work around this by connecting to the router on one frequency while simultaneously broadcasting a WiFi signal on the other. FastLane technology is used in the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Extender to boost performance on both WiFi bands. A fast processor (the Nighthawk features a Dual-core 1GHz processor) also helps by allowing for optimum WiFi throughput.
Dual radios also help prevent speed loss. If a device is equipped with dual radios, before broadcasting on higher channels, it communicates with the main router on lower channels. Two Wi-Fi radios are used in the Hawking Dual Radio Smart Repeater (HW2R1). The signal is received by one Wi-Fi radio, which then rebroadcasts the boosted signal to the other station. When compared to single radio repeaters, this smart design allows the boosted signal to use a different WiFi channel, substantially increasing performance.
The Smart Repeater Pro also contains a high-gain antenna that can pick up even the weakest WiFi signals and rebroadcasts them on two powerful 3dBi omnidirectional antennas.