What is a Wi-Fi Extender? Which Ones Are the Best Ones?

Mohammed Emran /
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Did you know that your Wi-Fi doesn’t always extend to all the corners of your house? 

Depending on where your router is, you might experience delays in connection or a lack of connection in certain parts of your household. 

Believe it or not, this is something that happens often in households. Remember that routers are devices that are very sensitive to their location. If they’re not high enough, they might slow down the connection. If they’re not in a central point in the house, then you might not be maximizing their functionality. 

Households have certain dead zones in which there is hardly any connection. This might be the case of your basement or garage. What if you want to extend your connection into your backyard? Are there ways to do that? 

Yes, there most definitely are. They are Wi-Fi extenders and they help boost and extend your Internet connection into the most remote corners of your household. 

The set up is easy, they are affordable, and they will give you one less thing to worry about with Internet connection. 

What Is a Wi-Fi Extender?

A Wi-Fi extender is in charge of extending the range of your Wi-Fi across your entire household. 

An extender uses both wired and wireless connections to extend coverage. The reason Wi-Fi extenders are so great is because, by connecting to a wired connection, they can help the connection travel through the home with the reliability of high-speed cables.

If you’re in the market for something to enhance your Wi-Fi coverage, you will notice that there are different names for Wi-Fi extenders, sometimes called Wi-Fi boosters or repeaters. Don’t fret about their differences because they all basically do the same thing and their differences are very subtle.

Wireless Repeaters

Wireless repeaters are the first generation of Wi-Fi extenders today. The way they work is by re-broadcasting Wi-Fi signals to a particular area of the house. 

For example, let’s say that your main Internet router is in your office, which is on the second floor of your home. But, you’d like to have a better Wi-Fi connection in your garage. The Wi-Fi repeater will take the connection coming from your main router and repeat it in the garage so that it comes in stronger. 

A Wi-Fi repeater will usually improve latency issues and network response times. However, a repeater will not work if you have over five devices connected at one time. Remember, this was the first generation of the extenders so its capabilities are limited. 

Wi-Fi Boosters

Wi-Fi booster refers to a device that can extend a Wi-Fi signal. However, the term itself is actually outdated. Wi-Fi boosters are now more commonly called a Wireless Range Extender. 

In terms of functionality, a wireless range extender is a stand-alone type of equipment that is placed somewhere between your router and the place where you’re looking to extend Wi-Fi connections into. 

The range extender is like a repeater in that it takes the same connection coming through your home router and rebroadcasts it to spots farthest away from the location of the main router. 

The fundamental difference is that the range extender will use a different channel to rebroadcast instead of using the same channel connected to the main router. 

The key thing with range extenders is their placement. The equipment has to be at the perfect midway point in order for it to get enough signal from the main router and rebroadcast it to the new location. Otherwise, you might as well just stay with the same router and not add any boosters to your family.

Desktop vs. Plug-In Wi-Fi Extenders

There are two options for extenders. You can either have a desktop extender, similar to your home router, that you would place on a shelf or desk, or you can purchase an extender that you can plug in directly into a wall outlet in the area where you’re looking to have a better Wi-Fi connection.

  • Desktop Wi-Fi Extender
    The significant thing about this kind of extender is that it is easy to install, as you only have to worry about the length of the power cable and which shelf you want to place it on. The desktop extenders have better coverage than the plug-ins because you can position them away from walls, which interrupt coverage often, and other obstacles around the house. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably end up with an extender in the middle of a room and it might not go with your décor.
  • Plug-In Wi-Fi Extender
    This is actually the more common type of extender, as most of the new ones can be plugged in directly into a wall, which makes them incredibly flexible as far as placement. The major downside with this type of extender is the fact that it’s always on a wall, which can sometimes obstruct coverage by default. However, they’re still very popular in the market and very affordable. 

What Is the Strongest Wi-Fi Extender?

Now that you have a better understanding of a Wi-Fi extender, it is time to look at what is available in the market when you want to expand your coverage within the household. 

D-Link DAP-1650 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC1200)

If you want the absolute best, the D-Link DAP-1650 is the extender for you. The reason this extender is so great is that it’s compatible with older devices that are prone to slower Wi-Fi connections. 

The D-Link features four different ethernet ports for high-speed connections and it’s very user-friendly and easy to set up. Though it’s a little more on the expensive side, users really find the purchase to be worth it for what the extender provides and improves in their Wi-Fi connections. 

Which Wi-Fi Extender Has the Best Value?

If you are concerned about price but would still like to invest in a good option to extend the coverage range in your household, then the TP-Link RE220 is the one for you.

TP-Link RE220

The TP-Link is one of the least expensive extenders out in the market right now. It also helps that it works well, it’s reliable, and it’s fast. So, you’re really getting the most bang for your buck. 

It’s also worth noting that this extender is a plug-in and not a desktop one, which makes it much more flexible and mobile than others—offering users a wide range of spots to place it in. As far as speeds, the TP-Link offers an average download speed of at least 75Mbps which works well with multiple devices, apps, and streaming services. 

This is the perfect extender to enhance signal to a room that’s far away or places like the garage or backyard. Overall, users describe a positive experience with this booster. 

What Is the Best Extender Overall?

For the users that would prefer to get the best of both worlds as far as capabilities and cost, then the best extender is the TP-Link RE505X.

TP-Link RE505X

Not only is this one of the most affordable extenders out there right now, but it’s also one of the best, encompassing the best of both worlds. 

The TP-Link supports Wi-Fi 6, which basically means that it supports faster speeds from the routers available now, and that includes fiber Internet connections that can go up to 300Mbps. That’s not even included what this extender can do in dead zones around your house, taking them from zero to 50Mbps in no time.

If you feel like binge-watching an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy in your garage, you can now do that with the TP-Link RE5050X. This type of speed is also fast enough for HD video calls and any uploading and downloading. 

You can purchase it through Amazon and it’s very user-friendly with an easy setup. 

Final Takeaway

Despite technology advancing at the speed of light and new products coming out every day that demand faster, more reliable Internet connections, something like a Wi-Fi extender can make a substantial difference in your Internet experience.

Everybody works too hard for their money, it only makes sense that by the time we get home, we’re able to indulge in all the TV shows we might want to binge or video calling family and friends. 

Sometimes, it just takes a little extra help from a Wi-Fi extender to accomplish everything we want out of our Internet experience. It’s a worthy investment.