How to Choose a WiFi Extender

Having an issue in internet coverage at your home? Thinking of buying a new wifi router again? 

Before going shopping for a new router, have you considered the option of wifi extender? Let us guide you on how to choose an ideal wifi extender for your need.

Like all homes are different, same is the case with the WiFi routers. If you have a big house or have lots of walls, chances are you may not receive proper WiFi signals in some part of your home. If that is the case, you require a WiFi repeater or WiFi booster or WiFi extender. Different manufacturers call it with different names, but the functionality is the same. Similar to routers, extenders are also of different types. So, how to choose a WiFi extender that is apt for your needs.

Before we help you choose the right WiFi extender, let us first understand what an extender does and how it works. As the name suggests, the WiFi extender catches the signals from the router and retransmits the signals in the room and flooding it. This pool of signals allows you to get better coverage for your mobile phone, laptops and other streaming devices in areas where connectivity was becoming an issue.

Identifying the right WiFi extender for your home

Below are some key points you should keep in mind while buying the right WiFi extender/ repeater/ broadcaster that can work with your router.

FREQUENCY

Frequency Wifi

Internet these days has two bandwidths. The single band that falls in the 2.4GHz frequency spectrum and dual-band that works in 2.4GHz frequency as well as 5GHz frequency. Most of the extenders are single still work on single-band 2.4GHz frequency. However, the newer ones are supporting dual-band but they will dig a hole in your pocket. Although if you wish to utilize the maximum speed from your dual-band WiFi router in every corner of your house, you should go for dual-band WiFi extenders.

COMPATIBILITY

It is something that is related to the age of your router and the frequency it supports. The best and easiest way is to check the standards that support the specifications of the WiFi router that you have. If this is too much for you, just buy a universal extender. The universal extender supports all 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. Compatibility is nothing but ensuring that your wifi router and your wifi extender are integrated properly and giving the desired results.

PROFILE

The physical appearance of the device is known as the profile of the wifi extender. It focuses on elements like should it be a plug(socket) based device or it should be desktop(USB) based, should it have external antennas or no antennas, etc. Plug-based wifi extender is the best option, as all, it takes is a free socket to use. However, if you are one of those who need the best connectivity while working on the desktop or laptop you should use the much-advanced extenders which you have to plugin into the USB port of the device. This device looks like a dongle or an additional router, occupying space and a USB slot.

SECURITY

Keep your network secured!

With hacking becoming a big threat these days as hackers are becoming more advanced and are stealing your entire data by just using your WiFi. The highest available security protocol for home users is WPA2-PSK, this is supported by most of the wifi extenders. However, it is advisable to have your keep your network secured.

MANUFACTURER

The whole point of having a wifi extender is that it should work best with your wifi router, to do this what better than having the same manufacturer for both the devices. However, having the same manufacturer is not enough you also need to focus on the above-mentioned points. Say for example if your router is dual-band and the wifi extender you are eyeing on works on 2.4GHz and 5GHz and is made by the same manufacturer, it would be a deadly combo. But, if the extender you want is from a different company but is compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, you can still go for it.

ETHERNET PORTS

One of the important things to keep in mind while purchasing a wifi extender is the ethernet ports. You need to check out whether the extender has ethernet ports or not. Not all plug based extenders have ethernet ports as they are mainly used for extending the wifi range. On the other hand, there are up to five Ethernet ports available on desktop-based wifi extenders. That is because there are many printers, IP cameras, and even old desktop which do not have wifi connectivity.

PRICING

Every individual has his/her budget in mind while buying anything they want. Same applies while shopping for an extender. We would suggest going for a wifi extender that is compatible with your router and has good performance in terms of speed and coverage. 

PERFORMANCE

This brings us to the last but one of the most important point you should keep in mind while buying a wifi repeater. The range is not the only thing that you have to consider, you also have to check for the bandwidth. Though the bandwidth is limited to your router, you have to check for the maximum speed that the extender is capable of throwing. Below are the labels that can help you understand this better:

  • N300 – is a single band extender offering speed up to 300Mbps and is compatible with routers having version 802.11b/g/n
  • AC750 – is a dual-band repeater offering speeds of 300Mbps and 433Mbps in 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency respectively. Compatible with version 802.11ac
  • AC1200 – is an extender offering max speed of 1167Mbps. Compatible with concurrent dual-band.
  • AC1750 – is an extender offering max speed of 1750Mbps with 450Mbps and 1300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz respectively. Compatible with concurrent dual-band.
  • AC1900 – is a booster offering max speed of 1900Mbps. Compatible with concurrent dual-band.

AC2200 – is a repeater offering max speed of 2200Mbps. Compatible with concurrent dual-band.

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