- A range extender is cheaper than a mesh router.
- Anyone can easily install a wireless range extender.
- When installed, a range extender doesnât take up much space.
- They provide ample coverage for wireless dead zones in your home.
- Some wireless range extenders come with support for modern Wi-Fi protocols.
Are you looking for reasons to buy a wireless range extender? An extender is one of the more cost-effective ways to increase the wireless coverage in your home. It isn’t always a surefire method of improving the overall signal reception in your home, but it can be significantly cheaper.
There are a number of different approaches to getting wireless access to your home. Today’s guide will focus on the humble wireless extender and the reasons why you might want to integrate one into your home network today.
What Is a Wireless Range Extender?
A wireless range extender is a device that goes by a lot of different names. You might see them referred to online as a repeater, but that’s not exactly true. An extender takes a broadcasted signal and amplifies it to other parts of the house, usually needing to be placed in a central location to provide better wireless coverage.
Now, there are more elegant solutions with better coverage than a wireless extender. However, when it gets down to it, you’ll be spending a lot more integrating a mesh network in your home. If you do have the budget to spare, a mesh network is preferred since you get a cohesive setup across the network.
If you’ve got spotty coverage in one area of your home, a wireless range extender makes sense. It isn’t complete overkill like a complete mesh network.
Reasons to Buy a Wireless Range Extender
If you’re thinking about buying a wireless range extender, here are some great reasons why you should.
#1: They’re Cheaper than Mesh Routers
One of the best reasons to buy a wireless range extender simply comes down to cost. You can easily get a budget range extender for under $100. Getting a mesh network integrated into your home can be a far pricier endeavor. For starters, you have to get a mesh-compatible router, which usually runs more than a standard dual or tri-band setup.
Further, you’ll have to purchase additional mesh nodes. In some cases, a full complement of mesh nodes can run as much as the router itself. You could be looking at $300 to $600 easily, as opposed to a dual-band router and wireless range extender for well under $300.
#2: An Extender Is Easily Installed
When you look at installing a mesh network, it’s usually a cinch. Now, the same ease of setup wasn’t always the case for a wireless range extender. However, the overall simplicity of setting one up now is one of the best reasons to buy a wireless range extender.
Installation for most of the units featured in this guide requires a smartphone app and a few minutes of your time. You’re no longer playing technical support while you try to sort out why an extender just lacks functionality. Wireless items as a whole are a lot simpler to integrate into a home network, and you can readily get more coverage with a range extender.
#3: Wireless Extenders Don’t Take Up Much Space
Do you have a spare power outlet in a room? If so, then you’re in luck, because that’s about as much space as you’ll need for an extender. One of the best reasons to buy a wireless range extender comes down to the lack of a massive footprint in your home. Yes, mesh nodes are equally light in terms of space.
Space concerns just aren’t necessary with a wireless range extender. You’ve got a good amount of flexibility as to where you can actually install the device itself. Really, it’ll be more of a question of determining where in your home will benefit from the coverage rather than trying to find a free space for the network device itself.
#4: They Provide Coverage for Dead Spots
One of the best reasons to buy a wireless range extender is just getting some extra coverage. Wireless routers are more powerful than ever, especially if you’ve got a dual or tri-band model. However, coverage isn’t going to be great in every home. There are a number of reasons for this, like the material of the walls and other appliances you might have in your home.
However, you can negate some of this with a range extender. Once installed, you get the benefit of more coverage to get access to ideal wireless speeds. You might still get the 2.4GHz band everywhere in the home, but you might want to let a streaming device in another room take advantage of the full speed offered up by the likes of a 5GHz or 6GHz band.
#5: You Can Still Use Newer Wi-Fi Protocols
One of the final reasons to buy a wireless range extender relates directly to the protocols used. You might be concerned about not getting access to Wi-Fi 6 speeds, but the models selected for your use should be more than ready to handle the likes of Wi-Fi 5 and 6. You’ll find pricier models that are compatible with 6E, and eventually, commercially available devices running version 7 of the wireless standard.
You aren’t going to be stuck with suboptimal performance, to keep things more succinct. If you have a Wi-Fi 6 router, you can readily use a Wi-Fi 6 wireless range extender and still maintain the same level of connectivity.
The Best Wireless Range Extenders
Here are a few of our favorite wireless range extenders for use in your home network.
The TP-Link AX1800 is probably the best overall choice for a wireless range extender. It is on the pricier side, with a suggested retail price of $89.95. However, you’ve got access to an additional 1500 square feet of coverage and up to 30 devices can connect at the same time.
The AX1800 uses 802.11ac as the primary wireless protocol, so you’re stuck with Wi-Fi 5. However, this should be plenty of speed and bandwidth for streaming 4K media and playing your favorite games. You might notice a bit of a squeeze depending on your internet plan’s optimal speed. However, this is an easy extender to use.
Setup is done via TP-Link’s own smartphone app, and you should be up and running in minutes. The signal provided by this wireless range extender is strong and consistent. You should have zero issues trusting the AX1800 to provide the connectivity you need.
If you’re after blazing speeds, then the Linksys RE7310 is going to be your best bet. This affordable wireless range extender comes fully equipped with 2000 square feet of coverage while using 802.11ax connectivity.
This is a larger overall wireless extender, so you’ll likely need to carve out a bit of space for it. However, what you get with this is one of the best extenders on the market. Linksys has made a name for itself in providing reliable and trustworthy home networking products, and the RE7310 is no exception.
The RE220 is a budget choice but isn’t skimping on any features. You’ve got less square footage covered, with a maximum of 1200. However, you do get the option of using two separate frequency bands for wireless connectivity, meaning you have access to both 5GHz and 2.4GHz for your Wi-Fi needs.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, this device uses 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5. These are going to be less common to see in the wild as time marches on, but there’s still plenty of life in the older standard. As mentioned with the other TP-Link extender, this should be more than enough for streaming 4K media or playing your favorite online games.
D-Link EaglePro AI
Last, but certainly not least, is the D-Link EaglePro AI. The EaglePro AI is the most compact device on this list, looking more like a plug-in air freshener than a fully functional wireless range extender. You’ve got access to Wi-Fi 6 when using the 802.11ax wireless protocol included with D-Link’s extender, so speed isn’t an issue.
The coverage for this little device is also quite remarkable, with up to 2600 square feet in ideal conditions. It also utilizes some interesting features like MU-MIMO, which should be more than enough to accommodate the 30 devices it can support at a single time. If you’re using an EaglePro router you can also use this as a mesh node.
A wireless range extender is a great way to get extra coverage in your home. They might not be as stable as a mesh network, but they will keep the costs far lower. Mesh networks are the absolute best solution when it comes to providing ample network availability within your home. However, if you just need an extra jolt to your network, then a wireless range extender might be the ticket.
|Reasons to Buy a Wireless Range Extender
|1. A range extender is cheaper than a mesh router.
|2. Anyone can easily install a wireless range extender.
|3. When installed, a range extender doesn’t take up much space.
|4. They provide ample coverage for wireless dead zones in your home.
|5. Some wireless range extenders come with support for modern Wi-Fi protocols.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com.