A WiFi extender is a device that you use with a router to increase its range, improve its speed, and enhance its performance. But before discussing the role of a WiFi extender, it would best to establish what we understand by the Internet and by WiFi and why it might be necessary to use an extender with your WiFi.
Best for Large Homes
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
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Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender
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1. Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender
“It maintains the high speed throughout and doesn’t drop away at critical moments.”
Lives up to its name with a reasonably fast speed of 750 Mbps. It maintains the high speed throughout and doesn’t drop away at critical moments.
It does not provide an extensive area of coverage. It is better where only a small range needs boosting.
The dual-band guarantees that speed is maintained when there is a massive load to be accommodated.
Occasionally it will drop the connection, which can be quite annoying.
The two external antennas allow for adjustments when targeting devices in dead zones or slow spots.
It is a versatile extender, as it is compatible with all routers and can also work with a wide range of devices.
Particularly useful if smartphones are the primary devices to be targeted.
The AC750 is an extender that is easy to install. It just has to be plugged into a wall electrical socket, and that’s that.
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Netgear has a reputation in the technical community for innovative designs and reliable technology. This WiFi extender does not disappoint on quality and comes up to the standards Netgear sets for its products.
The majority of people looking for a WiFi extender will be concerned with two things – price and performance. For an ordinary house with the usual problems of dead zones and inadequate signal strength, this is an ideal extender. Its performance is impressive, and it has all the main features that you would expect from a basic extender. It is a cheap option but doesn’t sacrifice any of the features that one would expect of a decent quality device.
The boffins at Netgear developed the AC750 for use with devices like iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. However, it can be connected to an extensive range of other devices too. It is a dual-band WiFi extender, so it will not lose speed when loaded with additional items.
2. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
Best for Large Homes
“Will extend coverage up to 10,000 square feet, which is quite something.”
The dual-core 1 GHz processor ensures brilliant, uninterrupted performance.
The AC1900 is such a good WiFi extender that finding fault with it is hard, although the price may be a concern for some people.
The AC1900 will extend coverage up to 10,000 square feet, which is quite something.
The installation procedure and subsequent management are a bit complicated.
Fast Lane Technology maintains top speeds at all times.
The maximum speed of 1.9Gbps is awe-inspiring.
It is additionally equipped with 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing cable connection to devices where appropriate.
It will support lots of devices simultaneously.
This extender is particularly suitable for video streaming and gaming.
Those five Gigabit Ethernet ports will come in handy when it is better to connect some devices by wire.
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My second recommendation also comes from Netgear, but is from further up the price range, and so has higher specifications. In the AC1900, Netgear has managed to produce a very powerful extender, and it is difficult to find fault with it.
Designed to sit on a shelf, it looks sleek and stylish with three external antennas. It has dual bands and a dual-core 1 GHz processor. It features Fast Lane Technology, thus allowing high-speed connections, a significant advantage when HD streaming and video gaming. There are also 5 Gigabit Ethernet connections.
There are potent amplifiers to boost the range of any router, and the three antennas point that power in the right direction. With speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps, just keeping up with it may prove difficult! The potent core processor enables the signal to be delivered to many devices with little effort and, importantly, without any lagging or interference.
Like other Netgear extenders, the AC1900 is designed to work with smartphones, and also MacBook Pro computers. Different devices have not been ignored, though, as it can cope with almost all frequently used equipment.
With data transfer speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps, it would be a good idea to check that the router is capable of dealing with high rates of transfer. If it is not, then buying an AC1900 will be a waste of money.
3. Linksys AC1900 Gigabit Range Extender Max-Stream RE7000
Best for Large Properties
“The range of 10,000 square feet is ideal in large properties.”
This expander works on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands, so eliminating interference.
The only fault I can find is that the setup procedure might cause some people a few problems. It just requires a little bit of technical savvy.
The maximum speed of 1.9 Gbps is impressive.
The provision of Access Point Mode adds to the versatility of the extender.
The range of 10,000 square feet is ideal in large properties.
There is an Ethernet port that allows a wired connection should it be needed.
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The RE7000 has a long title that matches the superior performance of the product. It will repay the investment needed to buy it many times over.
This WiFi extender will increase WiFi coverage up to 10,000 square feet. The Cross-Band and Beamforming technology the extender incorporates guarantees a steady and reliable connection. The combination of both of these technologies means that the signal from the extender can be sent very quickly to an Internet-enabled device.
Signal interference can be a problem for many WiFi users, leading to connection problems and disappointingly frustrating time-wasting. As the RE7000 has dual-bands, it will work with no problem on the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands. This provision means no more interference problems. Speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps are achievable, and this can be gratifying when using most applications.
It is possible to set up the extender as a second access point by switching over to Access Point Mode. This mode will make the WiFi signal reach even further, and mean no more dead zones in the furthest areas of the property. Position the extender where it can be most beneficial, and let it do the rest.
The RE7000 is a very powerful, fast, and, above all, reliable WiFi extender that I can highly recommend. It has an admirable versatility and is an excellent buy for the price.
4. TP-Link AC1200
Best for Non-Tech Savvy
“The procedure for setting up the WiFi extender is straightforward and should cause no problems.”
The procedure for setting up the WiFi extender is straightforward and should cause no problems.
It is hard to find faults in the performance of this WiFi extender, although it does tend to slight variations in speed.
The maximum speeds of 1.20 Gbps are respectable and should be sufficient for most users.
The WiFi Auto-Sync feature makes the addition of extra extenders easy.
The dual-band capability allows the addition of more devices without affecting speed and reliability.
There is a 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
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TP-Link is a growing presence in the technology market. Their reputation has grown with each new product that they have produced. This WiFi extender will surely join the list of TP-Link products that have found favor with large numbers of consumers.
It is affordable and yet packs a powerful performance. The first thing the purchaser will notice once they have taken the extender out of its packaging is that it is effortless to set up. In some cases, setting up a new router or extender can be a challenging experience. Not, however, with the TP-Link AC1200.
First, plug the extender into the wall socket. Then link it with the home network, and that’s job done.
As the name shows, the AC1200 has a maximum speed of 1.2 Gbps. While not as fast as some extenders on the market, it is still a respectable speed. It does boast dual bands, with a maximum speed of 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency and 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency.
An extra feature is WiFi Auto-Sync, which is unique to this particular extender. This feature is particularly useful in a large building where it might be necessary to have several extenders in operation to cover the maximum range possible. With Auto-Sync, it is possible to automatically sync the WiFi settings from one extender to the next.
5. Prescitech AC1200 WiFi Range Extender
“Affordable WiFi extender that is an excellent performer for the section of the market at which it has been aimed.”
The Prescitech AC1200 is an affordable WiFi extender that is an excellent performer for the section of the market at which it has been aimed.
Quality Control leaves something to be desired. The units need to have checked before leaving the factory.
It is an excellent choice for the less technically minded as the setup procedure is easy to carry out.
A few more features could have been added without increasing the price too much.
This extender is compatible with a wide range of devices.
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I can recommend the Prescitech AC1200 as a reliable workhorse. There is nothing flashy or dramatic about it. It will just get on with the job efficiently and without a big layout of cash.
It is an extender that will do an adequate job of extending the range of any router across most average houses.
It also delivers a satisfactory speed of 1.2 Gbps supplying 900 Mbps in the 5 GHz band and 300 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band, and so it will provide a reliable connection with stability.
There are four powerful external antennas, allowing for directional targeting allied with excellent compatibility across a wide range of devices. It has compact styling and good looks.
While this WiFi extender won’t impress with additional features or incredible speeds, it will do an excellent job and provide good value for money.
6. D-Link DAP 1650
“Its good looks will satisfy the most house-proud user.”
The D-Link DAP 1650 provides excellent coverage, despite there being no external antennas.
The auto channel selection feature can mean there is interference.
Its good looks will satisfy the most house-proud user.
The D-Link DAP 1650 can struggle to achieve the speeds that the manufacturers claim for it.
With top speeds of 1.2 Gbps, it is fast enough for most purposes.
Occasionally it can drop connections, and this then requires a reboot to restore functioning.
The 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports are easy to access when wired connections are needed.
It is competitively priced, so buyers can feel that they are getting value for their money.
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The D-Link DAP1650 is a compact WiFi extender that has a distinctive compact drum-like design, not unlike a small speaker. It is reasonably priced, yet offers a host of features.
Dual-band frequencies allow for speeds up to 1.2 Gbps.
There are 4 Gigabit LAN ports enabling wired connectivity.
It will also function as a media bridge and an access point. It is possible to switch between modes depending on what the requirement is at the time. The DAP 1650 is compatible with all the most commonly used routers. It also provides 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
While there are no external antennas, the coverage is good with this device, so it is unlikely to be a problem. There is automatic channel detection, which sometimes picks up interference from other nearby routers working on the same channel.
The D-Link DAP 1650 is a good WiFi extender that provides the features needed to satisfy most users. It looks good, and the price is competitive.
7. Plume SuperPods
Best for Guests
“The Home Pass does enable guests to use the Internet while staying.”
The Plume Superpods have lots of security features, all of which are useful.
Having to purchase an annual subscription to access the security features could be a problem for some users.
The Home Pass does enable guests to use the Internet while staying.
The purchase price is very high compared to other WiFi extenders.
The use of AI to control bandwidth is a handy provision that will make the gaming experience particularly all the more pleasurable.
Each of the three pods has two Ethernet ports, adding to the versatility of the system.
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With the Plume SuperPods, we might well be seeing the future direction that the development of WiFi extenders will take. The target market for this set of three pods is the user who has security as a serious consideration.
Each of the three pods in the set can be plugged in to separate wall sockets in different locations throughout the house. They are simple in design but advanced in features. There is just one indicator light on each pod and two Ethernet ports. It is best to place each pod in a different room – say one in the kitchen, one in the living room and one in the study. It is relatively simple to set up the Plume using the Plume app on a smartphone. When doing this, it is possible to assign names to each pod, depending on where it has is positioned.
Now comes the clever bit, as once set up and positioned, the pods’ use AI software to work out usage habits for each location. Where usage is higher, especially game playing, they will assign more bandwidth. The result is a smoother experience and no risk of lagging. In addition to this, advanced parental controls give complete control over children’s activities on the Internet.
There are cloud-based security features but only in return for an annual membership fee. These are provided free for the first year, to prove just how valuable they are. Included in this package of extra features are ad blocking, protection against malware, and protection against cyberattacks.
Another feature is the Home Pass, which allows visitors to access the Internet without hindrance for a preset time. This provision is not a unique feature and does appear on many other WiFi extenders.
For the technically minded, the Plume SuperPods have three bandwidths at 2.4 GHz frequency, and with two at the 5 GHz frequency. The speed of data transfer is 1.2 Gbps.
Without the annual membership, Plume SuperPods is just another, rather ordinary, but very expensive, WiFi extender with a bit of added intelligent AI software. However, if purchasing an annual membership is not a problem, I would certainly recommend the Plume SuperPods as the best WiFi extender to a user who has security as a priority.
8. Securifi Almond
“Touchscreen makes for simple installation and setup and ease of management.”
There is excellent security coverage with the Securifi Almond.
Transmitting data at 300 Mbps is far too slow for a device in this price range.
It will function as both a router and an extender.
The coverage area is relatively weak compared to other extenders in this price range.
The provision of a touchscreen makes for simple installation and setup and ease of management.
Its ability to ‘talk’ to Amazon’s Alexa means it is possible to control smart devices using voice commands. Now there’s a taste of the future!
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The Securifi Almond is another WiFi extender that is pushing the technological boundaries by offering new and unique features. It is, firstly, not just an extender, as it can function as a router too. With two of these devices, it is possible to achieve improved performance without hassle as the two will be entirely in sync.
The Securifi Almond also offers a new type of interface for a WiFi extender. It brings touchscreen technology into play by providing the Almond with the world’s first touchscreen for a WiFi extender. Using smartphone and tablet technology, the installation and management of the extender are effortless. The Securifi Almond is compatible with most internet-enabled devices, and can also connect to Amazon’s Alexa.
As might be expected, the Securifi Almond is compatible with all routers. The data is transmitted at 300Mbps and has two external antennas as well as a very reliable security interface.
9. Linksys RE64000 Gigabit WiFi Range Extender (AC1200)
“The RE64000 is compact and is suitable where space is tight.”
Setup is made simple with the aid of the Spot Finder Technology.
Users have reported that this extender does occasionally heat up, which can be worrying.
The RE64000 is compact and is suitable where space is tight.
It does use beamforming technology to target the WiFi signal effectively.
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The RE64000 is a capable WiFi extender that plugs into a wall socket, and won’t take up very much space. Discretion is the watchword here, as someone passing by is unlikely even to notice its modest presence.
Despite being compact and rather unassuming, the RE64000 is a powerful extender. It is particularly suited to medium to large houses, with a data transfer speed of up to 1.2 Gbps. Dual-band frequencies prevent interference, and two external antennas allow for effective directional targeting.
The RE64000 boasts Spot Finder Technology, which is linked to an LED to help find the best spot in the house for the extender.
The RE64000 is a reasonably priced WiFi extender that will do a good job of boosting the WiFi signal around a larger house. I would recommend this extender for someone who needs to plug an extender in, in the best location, without the hassle of a complicated setup procedure.
10. TP-Link RE450
“The TP-RE450 provides excellent value for money in its price range.
The TP-RE450 is known as a reliable WiFi extender.
The TP-RE450 is bulky and top-heavy, making choosing a location for it trickier than need be.
It has three external antennas, which should boost the router signal quite effectively.
The three antennas only slide or flip-up, limiting their flexibility.
You can switch off the indicator lights if you don’t need them.
There is only one Gigabit Ethernet port, which limits flexibility when using wired devices.
The TP-RE450 has access point mode, which adds to its flexibility.
There is a smartphone app that is useful when setting up, monitoring or controlling the extender.
The TP-RE450 provides excellent value for money in its price range.
There is a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
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The TP-Link RE450 is the second TP-Link extender that I am recommending. It is a consistently high-performing WiFi extender, with a useful range of features that make it a must in any top ten of extenders.
The first thing to notice is that it is easy to set up, and it is easy to use. This advantage is due to the large RE button and the LED indicator lights that face front. Unfortunately, it is not a very elegant piece of kit, and as the plug pins are low down at the back of the device, it is top-heavy. This disadvantage means that if a pet or a passer-by knock it, it can easily fall out of the electric socket, thus cutting the signal and causing problems. As a result, there is a lack of flexibility when choosing an installation position. The first consideration has to be finding somewhere out of the way, where it will be safe. The ideal locations might not be the most practicable ones from a signal-boosting point of view.
However, the excellent features that the RE450 boasts outweigh the slight inconvenience of finding a safe place to install it. It has dual-band compatibility; WPS; an access point mode; a Gigabit Ethernet port; indicator lights which face front and three external antennas. It also has a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. The three external antennas only slide or flip-up. They cannot be adjusted any further, so there is a limitation build-in there.
The RE button enables WPS pairing and will glow either red or blue to indicate signal strength. It is also possible to switch the indicator lights off, and it may be worth doing this after the completion of set up.
The TP-Link RE450 also supports the Tether smartphone app, which allows set up, monitoring, and control of network preferences.
I would recommend the TP-Link RE450, an excellent mid-price range WiFi extender. It has excellent performance, several useful features, and a combined data transfer speed of 1.750 Gpbs across two bandwidths. It has a reputation as a reliable performer, and this is an important consideration.
HOW WiFi WORKS
WiFi is a way of accessing the Internet without the need for a series of physical links. It is necessary to have a router to access the Internet via WiFi. The router then connects to a telephone line. At the other end of the telephone line is an Internet Service Provider. They provide those services that allow a user to communicate with all the others on the Internet.
The router is the heart of a little network, which is a zone where computer devices can connect with the router and through it to the Internet. This zone is called a WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network. When this is a house, then the router will be able to talk to any devices that are there. These might include a computer, a cellphone, a games console, TV, or even a toaster! Each of them will have to be an internet-enabled device; otherwise, they won’t be able to receive a signal from the router.
The technical term that we use for WiFi is IEEE 802.11. It soon became clear that the name doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. So a company called Interbrand was called in, and they came up with the name ‘WiFi.’ It does not mean anything. It’s not short for Wireless-Fidelity, as some people think. It’s not an acronym. It’s just a catchy name that’s easy to remember.
GLOSSARY OF WiFi TERMS AND ACRONYMS
There are a lot of different terms and acronyms that will crop up during this article, so let’s have a look at them now and see what they all mean.
Also known as a ‘hub,’ this is the essential piece of kit that enables the connection with the Internet. It does two jobs. Firstly it makes that connection with the Internet, and secondly, it connects all the WiFi enabled devices near it to the Internet.
SSID is short for ‘set service identifier,’ which is the name of the network to which the router is connected. This network is usually the one that provides the telephone line down which the router will send its messages. One problem that can arise is that some WiFi extenders might have a different SSID to the one to which the router is linked.
A modem is a device that converts the digital data that comes from a computer into the analog signal that travels along the telephone line. The term combines two words – ‘modulator’ and ‘demodulator’ into the one word ‘modem.’ Usually, routers have modems incorporated within them.
IS is the shortened version of Internet Service Provider. The Internet Service Provider is the company that provides the services that enable a router to access the Internet. There are many such providers, often unique to the countries in which they operate.
Computers can be linked together so that they can share data; this is called a network. The connection can be wired or by WiFi. When limited to one property, they are called Local Area Networks (LANs). When the link is by WiFi, they are called WLANs or Wireless Local Area Networks.
Short for Megabits per second; this is the term used for the upload and download speed. The higher the number of Megabits per second, the faster the Internet speed will be — eight megabits = 1 byte.
This very similar acronym refers to Megabytes per second and indicates the amount of data that is being transmitted.
The term ‘bandwidth’ refers to the maximum speed that data transfer can take place. The higher the bandwidth, so the faster is the Internet connection.
WPS means ‘WiFi protected set up,’ which is an easy way to connect to the Internet through WiFi. When a password protects access to the Internet, you can by-pass it by pressing the WPS button on the router. Password protection will drop temporarily, and so allow other devices to connect through that router. WPS is useful when there are visitors who need to access the Internet, but who you do not want to know your password. Sometimes this will be called Guest Access.
Access Point (AP)
Usually, this refers to places where it is possible to access the Internet through a WiFi hotspot.
In an ordinary house, there will be one access point, which is the router.
Cross-band technology is found only in Linksys WiFi extenders, and it maximizes the use of both band frequencies simultaneously.
Beamforming is the ability of two devices, for example, a computer and a router, to focus the data that it is transmitting into direct beams. The provision of this facility improves network range and streaming quality by optimizing the signal for each task.
Routers deal with requests from the devices to which they are connected, in turn. MU-MIMO, which means Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output, technology allows the router to communicate with the devices simultaneously. Doing this speeds up the network as each device is linked much more quickly.
These letters stand for WiFi Protected Set up. WPS is a security standard that aims to provide secure wireless home networks. It aims to make the connections between a router and any wireless devices more quickly and easily and more securely. It only works when wireless networks are using passwords encrypted with the WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal security protocols.
ISSUES WITH WiFi ROUTERS
Routers are not perfect. They broadcast their WiFi signal over a quite small area. Many things can affect that signal, and I have explained them all here.
Within the WLAN, it is possible to link several devices to the router. However, the more devices that are connected, the slower will be the speed that the router can access the Internet and transmit the response back to the device. At the outer edge of the network area, this slow speed will be more noticeable.
These are the areas beyond the limit of the WLAN, where the signal does not reach. In an ordinary house, the dead zones might be in bedrooms or on an upper floor. Routers are usually placed in the hallway, as it is often the most central place. Alternatively, it might be in a living room where most devices will in use. As a result, distant corners of the house will, therefore, receive little or no signal.
In some buildings, some features can interfere with the signal from the router. Thick walls are a particular problem in older properties. Water pipes that run together in a cluster can also block the signal, as can clusters of electrical wiring. There are times when this type of interference can cause dead zones even within the range of the router.
Some routers send out a weaker signal than others, which means that the WLAN will be smaller than might be best. This weakness in the signal creates more dead zones.
At the edge of the WLAN, the signal may be prone to breaking up, causing problems when using particular devices. An intermittent signal is most noticeable with mobile devices, and it can be frustrating and annoying. Even with a static computer, a sudden loss of signal can cause work to be lost, links to sever, and conversations to end.
Before making a final decision about buying a WiFi extender, have a long, hard look at the router that needs the boost. If it is an old model, it might be a good idea to purchase an upgrade. A newer router will more than likely provide a better performance, a higher speed, and a more reliable signal. The downside is that it might not give a more extensive signal range than the current router does.
So, it might still be necessary to invest in a WiFi extender. If that is the case, then read on for more information about extenders, reviews of the top ten best extenders, and some tips on installing them to get the best results.
WHAT DOES A WiFi EXTENDER DO?
A WiFi extender grabs the signal coming from the main router nearby and boosts it before sending it on beyond the router’s existing range. In this way, the coverage of the router is made more extensive.
WiFi EXTENDERS SELECTION FACTORS
These are things you need to consider when choosing your new WiFi expander.
Inside every WiFi extender is a processor, which is the engine that runs the device. A dual-core processor is the best to have, as the more power the processor has, the better the performance. A less powerful processor means you will have more connection problems.
The number of band frequencies available in the extender is an important consideration. Most of today’s devices work on either the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz frequency bands. An extender with both these bands will mean that any additional load will not affect the connection speed.
A few WiFi extenders are Tri-band, which will give even better performance.
In most premises, there will be several devices connected to the Internet. It is essential, therefore, that the WiFi extender chosen is compatible with these devices. Most extenders on the market today are compatible with all the standard routers and devices. Some are not. In these cases, compatibility information will be available in the extender’s manual or online. It is worth checking compatibility before buying.
Anyone buying a WiFi extender will be looking for an easy setup procedure. In most cases, the setup process is straightforward and needs the extender to be plugged in. The device will do the rest automatically.
However, some of the more sophisticated extenders do require a more elaborate setup procedure. These extenders will come with a companion app. Set up then is a matter of following the instructions, but if any problems do come up, it will be necessary to contact the manufacturers’ technical support team.
Before choosing a WiFi extender, check the speed rating of the router to which it will be linked. By way of example, a router at the heart of an 802.11N network will need an extender rated N or higher. So an N300 router needs an N300 extender. For an N600 rated router, then the extender should also be rated N600. Remember that your network will only be able to run at the slowest link within it.
Desk Top or Wall Socket
Here is one issue that can decide which WiFi extender to choose. Whether it will plug into a wall socket, or whether it will sit on a desk or other flat surface. There are very many extenders to satisfy both of these preferences. Remember when choosing a wall socket extender, that it will use up one of the available sockets. Also, it will need to be slim and unobtrusive. Also, it will have to be sturdy enough to ensure the knocks that can occur at a low level in a busy house.
Desktop WiFi extenders will, of course, take up space on a desk or table. It will need to be in its place on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, so think about what it looks like if aesthetics are important to you. The desktop type of extender often has a broader range of features compared with the wall socket type.
Sophisticated equipment can sometimes cause problems. Having a warranty to fall back on gives customers both reassurance that their problem will be solved and the peace of mind that goes with that knowledge.
Some manufacturers do not provide any warranty, while others offer warranties ranging in length from one year to five years — the more extended the warranty, the better.
As I said, sophisticated equipment can be the cause of difficulties when being used. It is always good to have a source of support and information, so manufacturers’ technical support is a must. When buying a device, check that there is this support available. With some manufacturers, technical support is free; with others, there will be a fee.
COMMON FEATURES FOUND IN WiFi EXTENDERS
Any extra features that a WiFi expander offers will add to the great experience you can expect to get.
These allow wired connections between enabled devices and the router. It is handy to be able to plug a device into an Ethernet port, and so take it out of the WLAN. Doing this will reduce the load that the router has to carry wirelessly.
External Antenna and Amplifiers
The purpose of a WiFi extender is to increase the WiFi signal through a property. By focussing the adjustable external antennas on the dead zones and weak spots around the building, it is possible to concentrate the signal. Powerful amplifiers then push the signal further to increase coverage.
Guest Access is a useful feature where visitors to a house need to access the Internet, but should not be made aware of the network password. Several WiFi extenders allow the password to be bypassed temporarily, so allowing guest access but maintaining security at the same time.
Currently, only the Securifi Almond has a touchscreen control panel. I am sure that other manufacturers will soon be adopting this technology, as it does make the setup and control of the WiFi extender much easier.
Installing and setting up a new WiFi extender can be a hassle. Some manufacturers try to make this procedure simpler by the use of a smartphone app, which guides the new user through the whole process step-by-step.
TIPS ON SETTING UP A NEW WiFi EXTENDER
Once you have bought your WiFi extender and brought it home, you will need to set it up. Here are a few tips to help you get the best performance from your new piece of equipment.
Locate the WiFi extender in a place where you will get the best performance.
You have to consider two things with placement. Firstly, position the extender so it can easily pick up the signal from the main router. Secondly, it must also be able to reach the dead zones around the property. If the new extender has adjustable antennas, use them to reach those dead zones.
Wireless Frequency and Bandwidth Channel
The main router will already have had its wireless frequency and bandwidth channel selected and installed. It is best to use the same ones for your WiFi extender.
It is essential to make sure that the main router and the WiFi extender have the same security profile. Using the same password for both devices will make it easier to manage the network.
When a new WiFi extender has one or more Ethernet ports, place it close to devices with Ethernet capabilities. You can then easily connect those devices to the WiFi extender. Hardwiring in this way can remove the pressure on the router and also speed up the whole network.
Follow this good advice where there is an overlap between the router’s range and the range of the extender. To prevent duplicate signals from being sent, hardwiring any device within that overlap zone can prevent the slowing of the network.
Some WiFi extenders give the choice of using the same SSID as the router or a different one.
This choice is an important consideration. Some mobile devices, such as the iPhone, will pick up the stronger signal when it first comes into the house. It will then stick to it even though it is the weakest signal in the property. A WiFi extender elsewhere in the house with the same SSID will be ignored by the iPhone, which will prefer to stick to that weak signal. This failure to roam means the iPhone will underperform. By giving the extender a different SSID, this will encourage a mobile device to switch to the stronger signal, and the performance of the cellphone will be improved.
If you have read everything in this article, and especially the reviews, you are ready to go. Please use this information to make a more informed choice when buying a WiFi extender.