STOP making this mistake with your WiFi Range Extender!
“Just get a WiFi Extender” this is the solution you often hear when you need something to boost your WiFi signal in a particular room in the house. A quick Google search and you tend to find two devices: WiFi Extenders and WiFi Repeaters. Which one do you need to buy that will actually work? Are they the same thing or is a WiFi Extender different to a WiFi Repeater?
What makes it more confusing is that companies use these terms interchangeably, but there are in fact some differences between them. And those can be the difference between getting a good WiFi experience and a terrible one.
So let’s look at these devices closely and show you the biggest mistake you can make when using your Extender.
The difference between WiFi Extender and WiFi Repeater
The idea behind both the Extender and the Repeater is the same: get you WiFi where there is none. However, they both go about it differently so it’s important to under that they are not the same.
In order for a WiFi Extender to be effective, it should connect to your main router via a wired LAN connection. Most people simply don’t do this. An Extender that has a hard-wire connection becomes a powerful access point. This allows it to broadcast your WiFi signal but still gives you the speed you are looking for.
Typically a WiFi Extender creates a new WiFi Network which will have a EXT in the new WiFi name for eg. Home_EXT. You will need to connect your devices to that new WiFi whenever you are in the room where you are relying on the Extender.
On the other hand, a WiFi Repeater isn’t typically connected via a LAN cable. It picks up your existing WiFi signal and transmits it or re-broadcasts that signal. However, a WiFi repeater needs to receive a strong WiFi signal in order to repeat it. Therefore, the further it is away from your router the Repeater is, the weaker the signal is that it is trying to transmit which results in poo WiFi and Internet speed.
This new signal can reduce connectivity speed by as much as half!
Not all WiFi Repeaters are the same – some are built better than others. Good repeaters will have two or more antennas and have the tech to both listen and transmit at the same time. Cheap repeaters do one than the other so their performance is terrible.
More Extender vs Repeater confusion
Adding to the confusion is the fact that newer Extenders, the one that SHOULD be plugged in via LAN cable, will also work as Repeaters. In other words, you don’t have to pug the LAN cable in for it to work. Therefore, when you set it up, you simply follow the prompts, choose the WiFi option and wonder why your WiFi speed isn’t what it’s supposed to be.
By doing this, what you have done is purchased an Extender and instead of taking advantage of its full power, you have downgraded it to become a Repeater.
Choose between Extender and a Repeater
If you are able to hard-wire the Extender than that is ideal for the best performance. If you are not, then purchase the cheaper Repeater option. However, don’t place it right at the edge of your Wifi network for any decent speed.
Check this out if you want to see your WiFi Signal so you know where to place your router and Extender for optimal performance. If your WiFi is still slow and sluggish, perhaps its time to upgrade your router?