WIFI Extenders and Repeater: A wireless connection to your home network is essential for the modern household, and many people experience inconsistent and slow access in various parts of their homes. Two potential solutions to the common wireless problems people deal with are Wi-Fi repeaters and Wi-Fi extenders.
Wi-Fi repeaters are called such because they repeat the signal from your router. In other words, repeaters rebroadcast the signal. Once rebroadcasted, the signal has the strength it originally had when sent from the origin router. Repeaters are essentially secondary routers that are bridged to the primary router and serve as a relay. They can receive data from your devices as well and then pass those packets on to the main router, which will then send them out to the Internet. While you can have multiple repeaters, you cannot daisy chain them. All repeaters must connect to the main router.
Wi-Fi extenders are designed to extend the range of your home network. Wi-fi extenders are recommended specially if you enjoy streaming movies or playing games on your bedroom, and routers are normally set up in the living room. Extenders have traditionally been connected to their networks via physical ports, such as an Ethernet port or even an electrical outlet. While there are now wireless Wi-Fi extenders available as well, wired extenders are generally preferred because they do not reduce the bandwidth of the network. An important distinction between an extender and a repeater is that the extender is an actual extension of your home network. In other words, it does not create another connection point. This is not the case with repeaters, which do create a distinct connection point and transfer data from that access point to the main router.
What Is a Wi-Fi Booster?
Wi-Fi booster is a marketing term, and it used to refer to both Wi-Fi repeaters and Wi-Fi extenders. You cannot evaluate a product based on the term booster. You should also not take marketing usage of the terms repeater and extender at face value. They are often misused.
Do You Need a Repeater or an Extender?
Wired Wi-Fi extenders are the superior technology and generally your best bet. If you have a larger home that your main router cannot fully cover, then an extender is an obvious choice unless you are willing to upgrade to a mesh network. Most of the internet providerssuch as Spectrum; offers extenders for a larger homes. Repeaters are generally less expensive and may be the more practical option if you are just dealing with a spotty connection in one area due to an obstruction or interference. Repeaters are also easier to set up and may be the more user-friendly options for those who are not tech savvy. While there may be exceptions, wireless extenders are typically just glorified repeaters. They tend to cost more but usually do not provide any performance benefits.
Are Repeaters and Extenders Worth It?
Yes, but… Before investing in an extender or a repeater, ensure that your fast internet connection and home network are working as well as they should. With that out of the way, evaluate your router. There is no point investing in extenders and repeaters if you do not have a high-quality router with antenna upgrades. If after those upgrades you still have a dead zone, then yes, they are absolutely worth it.
Do Repeaters and Extenders Lower Your Internet Speeds?
A wired extender should not decrease your bandwidth, which is a big reason why it is the preferable option in most cases. A repeater will decrease bandwidth for those devices connected to it. Be mindful that not all repeaters are created equal. Purchasing a high-quality dual-band repeater will minimize the bandwidth reduction that you experience.