What is the Difference Between Wi-Fi boosters: Extenders and Repeaters?

What is the Difference Between Wi-Fi Extenders, Repeaters, and Boosters?

Devices such as Wi-Fi boosters; extenders, and repeaters are pervasive. Most people love using them when boosting the internet, but they tend to confuse them. They all play a significant role in ensuring that the coverage of your connection is enhanced and stable.

The major difference between Wi-Fi Extenders and Repeaters which are all Wi-Fi boosters is that they boost the internet differently. You will therefore need to do some thorough research to understand the specific device that will serve you.

The Wi-Fi boosters which include Wi-Fi Extenders and repeaters are all devices to improve the Wi-Fi coverage. Thus even though we will make some clear exploration of their differences, you should know that they are all devices meant to increase your network coverage.

Our article covers the aspects of the three devices including mesh devices and their major differences, making your decision-making quick and sound.

How do I get the best Wi-Fi coverage in my home?

If you are having trouble getting the best signal in every corner of your home, then you better start by understanding the things that interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. These include the location of the router, interference from other radio devices, materials blocking the signal, the distance between your router and the devices among others.

So if you are having a challenge with your Wi-Fi connection, the first thing to consider is to move your router to a better location. You can explore the most central location and also ensure that there are no walls or metallic objects blocking the signals.

The second thing you can try is to upgrade your router. There are exceptional routers going for under 150 dollars or even lower that you can try to get the best from your network. These ensure that you get the best coverage and can connect the desired number of devices.

If you are still having a challenge with your range, then it’s time to consider Wi-Fi boosters. In this case, you can select either a Wi-Fi extender, Wi-Fi repeater, or mesh extender for your home. These devices will kill off the dead zones in your home making it a truly smart home.

How do Wi-Fi boosters work?

One thing most people fail to understand is that all devices that extend the connection are Wi-Fi boosters. A Wi-Fi booster is a device that helps in improving the range your internet covers.

When you add a booster to your network, it amplifies the existing signal with specific coverage and maintains its speed and stability of the connection.

Wi-Fi repeater

A Wi-Fi repeater contains the same features as your internet devices that help in boosting the connection. They employ the same wireless technology as your routers and extenders do. A repeater’s work is to connect wirelessly to your existing device and bring the connection to a new place.

The range coverage increases depending on the area it covers. If there is an area with a poor signal or no signal completely, a repeater will address the challenge with some long-lasting solution. Placing it at a strategic point will ensure that the coverage reaches the dead zones and supplies many internet stability.

The internet performance greatly improves when the repeater is placed half the distance from the router and the connected devices. Your connected internet devices will have a stable and more reliable connection as the signal performs to its best.

Repeaters do not increase the speed of the connection but make it stable. It also weakens the Wi-Fi signal from your router even though you will get better coverage. Therefore, for the repeater’s Wi-Fi coverage, you will most of the time get 50% bandwidth as compared to the router’s performance.

Installing a Wi-Fi repeater

Installing a Wi-Fi repeater is one of the simplest things you can do when boosting your connection.  You will buy a device that works with the device that you want to extend the connection from. It is good to look at the specifications in terms of range coverage and the bands.

When installing the repeater, you will place it at a convenient point that makes the signal movement swift. After fixing the device, you will connect it to the power source.

On your computer, you will then log in to the service provider’s site and implement the settings of the device. Using the details of the existing network will make the repeater connect and extend. You can use the device even in the garden as it is waterproof.

The repeated connection is secure and will allow your devices to connect to the repeater once the other network’s signal gets poor.

Key pointers for Wi-Fi repeaters

  • Wi-Fi repeaters extend the coverage of your Wi-Fi network
  • They reduce the Wi-Fi signal
  • You will get approximately 50% of your router’s network bandwidth
  • The signals are affected by thick walls and other objects placed between the router and the repeater
  • The repeater signals are also affected by the radio devices such as microwaves, walkie-talkies, and other metallic objects
  • A repeater works by plugging into an outlet in an area with stable Wi-Fi signals

Wi-Fi extenders

The significant difference between repeaters and extenders is that a repeater connects wirelessly, while the extender uses a cable for connection. This means that you can place it in a dead zone since it works like another router.

When you boost your connection using a Wi-Fi extender, you will have a stronger connection and excellent speed. You can extend the connection to a specific place as per your needs.

An extender creates an entirely new network that covers its area and range. If you have two houses that need an internet connection, an extender will perfectly make the connection available. There can be a difference in the broadband that an extender uses from the one the mother router uses.

Wi-Fi extenders cover the specific area that you want to have the connection. If you want an area with a wide range of connections, you can place the extender such that it will cover the area that the signal becomes poor.

The major challenge of using extenders is that they will cost you purchasing the cables. In addition, laying of the cables is taxing and reduces the aesthetics of your home. Connections are straightforward as you will connect and then configure.

Installing a Wi-Fi extender

The process of installing the Wi-Fi extender is slightly complicated, although it is straightforward. You will buy the Wi-Fi extender and the Ethernet cables that you need to effect the connection.

Get a good extender that works with the service providers such as the best extender for spectrum. When buying the cable, you need to measure the distance between the area you are taking the connection to and the connection source.

When installing, you will start by laying the cable using a proper route. The cable should extend from the existing router to where you want to have the extender installed. Always ensure that the power cable and the internet cable do not share the same path.

Mount the Wi-Fi extender and connect the Ethernet cable to the extender and the source router. Connect the extender to the power source and configure the settings if there are any. Your device shall be ready to work.

Differences between Wi-Fi extenders and repeaters

WiFi extendersWiFi repeaters
Use an Ethernet cable for connectionUse wireless technology for connection
Creates an entirely new connection with different broadband and range coverageAmplifies the existing connection and retains the speed and stability of the connection
Simple configuration process as you plug and useThey have a slight complexity as you need to ensure that the p2p configuration pairs the devices
Challenging to install as they need cabling and complex installation of the wiresSimple installation as you will connect the device and ensure that it faces the existing device
Wi-Fi extenders are costly to install as you will buy devices and cablesLess costly to install as you will only buy the devices
They provide a more robust, stable, and fast connection as they use cables that provide uninterrupted internet supplyLess stable connections as the wireless connection get affected by obstructions such as neighboring connections and walls
Focus on specific areas ad can cover long distances so long as you have adequate cables to cover the areaIt needs strategic positioning and not very far from the router; hence not best for long distances and specific focuses
Ideal for houses that have floors and multiple housesNot ideal for floors and multiple houses as it needs clarity and lack of obstructions
Serves smart devices as they have Ethernet ports  that allow channeling a stable connection to the gaming consoles, computers, and other wired devicesIdeal for wireless devices only as they have receivers that pick the wireless signal and broadcasts that project the signal. Wired devices do not have room under these devices
Reliable extendibility is another feature of Wi-Fi extenders. No matter how long  the distance of extension is, the devices serve without a hassleExtendibility for Wi-Fi repeaters is not quite reliable, especially when the distance keeps increasing. The internet stability and the speeds lower with the increase in extendibility

Wi-Fi repeater and mesh Wi-Fi

Mesh Wi-Fi is another type of Wi-Fi booster whose role is almost similar to a Wi-Fi repeater. We have a router that acts as the main source for the internet connection in connecting mesh Wi-Fi. Then some satellites connect to the main device hence boosting the connection.

When you use a mesh connection, and you have a large house, you will have the connection reaching all ends. The home gets blanketed with a robust and reliable signal which may not be the case with repeaters.

The significant difference that brings about the effect is the channeling of the signals. When using Wi-Fi repeaters, the signal comes on a straight path and a specific direction from the repeating device’s router. It, therefore, eliminates the other close areas making them still have a poor signal.

The signal takes the shortest route to the devices under mesh Wi-Fi, and the signal bounces back. All the surrounding areas end up getting covered by the connection.

Sharing between mesh devices is also easy as they keep sending signals to each other hence making centerfield with a very stable connection.

If a Wi-Fi repeater gets an obstacle such as a wall, it will struggle to penetrate through the wall hence lowering the signal strength.

On the other hand, the best mesh Wi-Fi will take another route with less interference, removing dead zones conveniently and the connection more pronounced.

How do you choose a booster?

You know to understand how each device works and know which one will meet your home’s needs. Some features determine what booster to use and the conditions that need it.

The things you will look at in determining the booster to use are highlighted below:

  • Does your house or office have multiple dead- zones?
  • Is the Wi-Fi connection in your house slow while there is still a connection?
  • Are your devices in need of some faster speed?
  • Is your home large with multiple houses or floors?
  • Is your intention to cover an extended range both inside and outside?
  • Do you have areas that get a low signal or completely no signal but are open?

After doing such analysis, you will assess each device’s features and choose one to serve you. For open areas, a Wi-Fi repeater will serve best. For floors and multiple houses, a Wi-Fi extender will serve you best.

Conclusion

Wi-Fi boosters; extenders and repeaters are devices that serve a major role in internet networking. A booster can either be a Wi-Fi extender or a Wi-Fi repeater.  Both repeaters and extenders play a role in boosting the Wi-Fi connection, although the boosted connection will differ from the two devices.

A Wi-Fi extender boost will have a stable connection and can be taken to any point so long as the cables allow. In case a Wi-Fi repeater is used, then the connection may not be stable, and the speeds will be affected. Covering large areas using Wi-Fi repeaters can be quite challenging. And this is the main difference between Wi-fi boosters; extenders and repeaters.

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