You’ve most likely seen the phrases Wi-Fi extender, booster, and repeater thrown about a lot recently. These gadgets all function to increase the range of your Wi-Fi, but they each operate in a slightly different way. Here’s all you need to know about the situation.
What Is a Wi-Fi Extender?
A Wi-Fi extender, as the name indicates, extends the range of your Wi-Fi network, but it does it in a unique way: through the use of a cable. This may be accomplished by using a coaxial cable, an ethernet cable, or even Powerline networking to connect many computers together. Powerline networking is characterized by a wide range of standards and designations that vary depending on the vendor.
“What’s the purpose of having a Wi-Fi router if I’m going to have to connect to it with a wire anyway?” you might be wondering.
Most importantly, utilizing an Ethernet or coaxial cable will not slow down your internet speed or introduce delay into the equation. Powerline is a bit more of a mixed bag since the quality of the electrical wiring that you have in your home has a significant impact on how well it performs. With a physical wire to extend your Wi-Fi, you will get almost the same quality of internet service regardless of how far away the extender is located from you.
If you have the ability to run a cable, you could even locate your Wi-Fi extender in a whole other structure—for example, extending a wire from your home to a separate building across a yard.
What Is a Wi-Fi Booster?
For the most part, the phrase “Wi-Fi booster” refers to both an extension and a repeater in the context of Wi-Fi networks. What makes matters even more perplexing is that businesses frequently use the three phrases in the same sentence as one another. To make matters even more complex, many Wi-Fi repeaters may also be used as Wi-Fi extenders if you connect them through a wire to your network.
How to Tell Boosters, Repeaters, and Extenders Apart
When explaining your requirements, the phrase “boosters” may be overly broad. Boosters can refer to any equipment that accelerates or increases the performance of a wireless network signal. An example of a “booster” is a WiFi wireless network extender, which is the traditional definition. Alternatively, a wired extension may be required in some instances.
In certain cases, boosters or extenders can “expand” the coverage area, but in most cases, one booster or extender is insufficient to cover the entire home and lawn area, especially if your home is large in size.
Repeaters are, by definition, purely “signal extenders,” which means that they rebroadcast the WiFi signal to a certain geographic location. The signal is just repeated, rather than amplified, and as a result, for many homes, a repeater is only suitable if their internet demands are quite limited.
According to their definition, extenders should only be used in conjunction with wireless range extenders since they are standalone devices that connect a router to the place where an enhanced signal is required. Range extenders are similar to wireless repeaters in that they capture a WiFi signal from the router and rebroadcast it to the rest of the network.
They do, however, rebroadcast the signal on a separate channel than the wireless router, which is advantageous. Since a wired extender transmits a stronger signal than a wireless extender, it may be better in many situations.