How Do Wifi Extenders Work? [Detailed Guide]
Are your wi-fi signals limited to a particular space in your house or office? Does your internet connection weaken as you move away from the wifi router?
Since almost everything has gone online, now is not the time for an internet problem. However, if you constantly struggle with a weak wifi network at home, you need something to maximize your wifi signal potential.
But how can you get rid of the weak wifi signal?
Luckily, a Wifi extender is there to help you out. It extends the signals to areas your router can’t cover, making it easier for you to access the internet from anywhere in the house.
This article will discuss what wifi extenders are and how they work to improve wifi coverage.
What is a Wifi Extender?
Also known as wireless repeaters, wifi extenders help transmit wifi signals to the wi-fi dead zones in your home or office. They connect either wirelessly or with a wire to your router.
With wifi range extenders, the internet signal is stronger even if you are farther away from the wireless access point.
Modern wifi extenders connect wireless too to your home network. However, in case of their incorrect placement, their efficiency may decrease. But to overcome this, you can also connect them via a wire to the router.
If your office or home has rooms where the walls or furniture hamper the transmission of the wireless signal, using an extender can effectively enlarge the signal. Moreover, it is a cost-effective method and saves you from spending money on a new router.
Wifi Extender, Booster, and Repeater; Are They Same?
All these devices are pretty much the same with one common goal, i.e., to amplify the wifi signals and increase the wireless coverage area. However, not all of them have the same working pattern.
Wi-fi Range Extender
It is placed between your wireless router and the wifi dead zone for maximum efficiency. Typically, a wireless range extender takes an existing wifi signal and re-broadcasts it on a wireless channel different from the one used by your router.
A first-generation wifi extender, a wifi repeater works similarly to a wifi range extender. The repeaters forward the same frequency as they receive from the router. Simply put, they take the wifi signal and re-broadcast it to an extended area.
Unlike extenders, repeaters have only a wireless connection option. One downside is that they do not amplify the wi-fi signal strength. In addition, since they are wireless, many things in your home or office, including microwaves, thick walls, and electronic gadgets, can weaken the existing signal further.
Having a purpose similar to a wifi extender or repeater, wifi boosters are a more generic term. Both extenders and repeaters come under the category of wifi boosters. They are designed to extend the signal from your wireless router and transmit it to your desired location or a far-off place from the access point.
How Do Wifi Extenders work?
Simply put, a wifi extender links to your wireless network, catches the signal, and then re-broadcasts it to a broader area. You can connect them with an ethernet cable or wirelessly to the router.
Generally, finding the perfect location for placing the extender is sometimes troublesome. Ideally, you must set up the device between your wifi router and the place where the signal is weak. However, ensure it is not too far from the wireless device and the wifi dead zone to function correctly.
It is essential to remember that amplifying wireless signals is not one of the basic functionalities of an extender. After receiving the signal from the wifi network, it only enlarges the wifi coverage space.
Type of Wi-fi Extenders
Let’s look at what kinds of wi-fi range extenders are there.
Single-Band Wi-fi Extender
These are the essential wifi extenders that can broadcast 2.4 GHz frequencies. These frequency signals can travel through the barriers such as walls, furniture, and other equipment. Therefore, they are the optimum choice for a low-cost wifi extender.
Dual-Band Wifi Extender
They can transmit 2.4 GHZ or 5GHZ frequencies like a dual-band router. However, these extenders use one band to communicate with the router and the other to broadcast signals. Therefore, it stays free of interruption from other devices, and the network speed remains high.
How To Install Wifi Range Extenders?
Typically, every extender has a unique installation process. However, below is a general installation method that applies to most extenders.
Link Wifi Extender and Wireless Router
To begin with, you need to pair both extender and the router. To do so, connect one end of the ethernet cable to the ethernet port on the bottom of the Network Adapter. Moreover, plug the other end of the line into the high-speed internet router.
Now attach the Wifi extender to another electrical power plug in the same room as the router. The newer routers have a WPS button that makes this process quick. However, you still need to access the manufacturer’s application on your android device or computer to finish the process.
Lastly, ensure you keep the two devices, i.e., extender and router, in the exact location while linking them to make the procedure easier for yourself.
Place the Extender on the Location
Once the router and extender have paired, you can remove the extender from the power socket. In addition, you may move it to where you want fast speeds internet. You must set these wireless devices close enough to the router and far enough to broadcast the wifi network to a wifi dead area for its best performance.
Enjoy Extended Wifi Signal
After the procedure is complete, you can now get rid of slow speeds internet areas. The extender will act as a separate wireless access point (WAP) and broadcast its signals through antennas to the entire house. Hence, you can now connect gaming consoles, laptops, smart TVs, cordless phones, and other such devices to it.
As these extenders disseminate their separate signal, they behave like a new router in your home. In addition, each one of them has its network name or SSID.
Why Should You Use Wifi Extenders?
Wifi extenders make your life easy by increasing the coverage area of your original network.
Here are some of the advantages that you can reap by using a wifi extender.
One of the primary benefits of these wifi devices is that they help send wi-fi signals to low broadcast areas. Therefore, it is a simple fix to widen the wifi network range.
For instance, if your upstairs bedroom is a dead wifi zone, a wireless extender can effectively broadcast the network there. It just mimics the role of a wifi repeater and boosts the internet connection.
On top of everything, a wifi extender does not impact heavily on your pocket and is budget-friendly. It saves you the cost of buying another router having a wide range. In addition, since they are primarily wireless, you do not need to spend a hefty amount on buying wires or other installation costs.
Easy to Set-up
The modern routers come already configured with plug-and-play functionality. Therefore, you can easily install them without technical assistance, even if you are not tech-savvy.
Just take the device out of the box, plug it into the power socket, then you can get it going within minutes. You do not need long cords to connect it to the router or perform any complex software configuration.
You Can Reuse an Old Router
If you have an old router in your home, you can use a wifi extender to turn it into a repeater. It can effectively repeat the wifi signal in the areas where the signal strength is weak. The repeater will use the same network SSID.
In addition, you won’t have to go through the laborious effort of buying new equipment. Also, this way you can make the most of your old equipment which was useless otherwise.
Why Are WiFi Extenders Bad?
Although these are reliable wifi devices, they also have a few downsides. Unfortunately, an extender is not a one-stop solution for all your wireless signal issues.
While using this kind of wifi booster, you may encounter the following cons.
Slow Signal Speed
A wi-fi range extender receives the signal from the central location and extends its range. It does not amplify the signal itself. So, if the router emanates a weak signal, the extender will broadcast the same signal with an increased coverage area.
In addition, the extender works as a two-directional device, i.e., it sends the signal from the router to a device and vice versa. Hence, it leads to reduced overall signal speed.
Apart from the signal strength, other limitations also further decrease the value of wi-fi extenders. For instance, you can only connect two extenders to one router. Moreover, the original signal from the router will be shared between the two extenders, deterring the network speed.
A Wi-fi Extender is an excellent technology that helps transmit wifi signals to dead zones. It saves you from spending on a new wi-fi router and effectively increases the coverage area.
Typically, it acts as a separate router and broadcasts its signals. This allows multiple devices, including game consoles or smart tv, to connect to it. However, one major disadvantage of the extenders is that they may reduce network speed.