You may have heard about the many Wi-Fi extenders available, such as range extenders, mesh Wi-Fi, and repeaters, but you’re unsure which one will work best in your home or office. Wi-Fi extenders, repeaters, and boosters are basically the same: devices that expand Wi-Fi coverage. There isn’t a clear distinction between devices labeled as “repeaters” and devices labeled as “extenders” by manufacturers. Not all Wi-Fi extenders, however, work in the same way. There are various types of devices available, and we’ll describe the differences and how they function below so you can pick the right Wi-Fi repeater for your needs.
Wi-Fi Extender vs. Booster: Side to Side Comparison
|What it is||A networking device that helps signals reach dead network zones||A wireless range extender|
|Primary Use||Amplifying existing network signal||Acquires an existing signal from wireless access point and rebroadcasts it to create a second network|
|Utilization||Mostly work best for large organizations||Utilization depends on the organization type. Can work for a small office to large organization|
|Influential developers||TP-link, Alcatel-Lucent S.A||Nutgear, Inc, Motorola Solutions. Inc, Ruckus Wireless, Inc, Cisco Systems, Ericsson|
|Price||Setup is costly||Relatively cheaper than extenders|
|Installation||Has a complex setup procedure||Easier to set up|
Wi-Fi Extender vs. Booster: 5 Must-Know Facts
- These two devices are very different in the performance they offer. Wi-Fi booster enhances the Wi-Fi signal within your home or office without any hassles as you have to take care only of setting up one device. The Wi-Fi extender can be more complex as it involves setting multiple units around your home to build a strong network. However, the latter will not just improve the existing connection but add additional ones and make them reach further with better power over the existing connection.
- Although a Wi-Fi booster, network extender, and repeater are all designed to improve Wi-Fi coverage, the methods by which they do so differ.
- Wi-Fi boosters are great for boosting Wi-Fi signals in dead regions, but they can also help with improving Wi-Fi speed. This implies that if you want faster Internet, you don’t have to buy a new router.
- A wireless booster is required when two or more hosts need to be connected through the IEEE 802.11 protocol, but the distance between them is too great to establish a direct connection.
- TP-link was one of the first companies to produce Wi-Fi range extenders in 1999. Today, Wireless range extenders are available that support all 802.11 protocols. Backward compatibility is common among 802.11 compliant devices. 802.11ac, on the other hand, operates at 5 GHz and requires a 5 GHz-capable access point. 802.11ac is the most modern and third-generation Wi-Fi standard for wireless home networking. Backward compatibility exists between 802.11ac and 802.11n, 802.11g, and 802.11b technology.
Wi-Fi Extender vs. Booster: Summary
The best way to think about extenders and boosters is to picture them as part of a spectrum. On one end, there are mesh Wi-Fi systems like Eero or Orbi, which blanket your home in Wi-Fi. On the other end, a simple range extender can boost weak signals from your wireless router. So it all comes down to two big questions: How big is your house? And how bad is your wireless coverage issue? If you want a seamless experience across multiple rooms and floors in large houses (more than 3,000 square feet), you need something more advanced, like a mesh system.
Mesh Wi-Fi (also called whole-home Wi-Fi) and range extenders differ in that range extenders attempt to boost one weak spot at a time, while mesh systems are designed to blanket your entire house with strong Internet. The benefit of using a mesh system is that you can use a single network name and password throughout your entire house, whereas each spot with an extender requires its network name and password. Setting up a mesh system isn’t much more difficult, but it takes more time and involves connecting multiple devices simultaneously.
Wi-Fi Extender vs. Booster: Which is Better?
The choice of Wi-Fi extenders and boosters depends on your budget and demand. Consider how many additional rooms you’d like the extender to accommodate. Any basic Wi-Fi extension should suffice if it’s only a single small room. A dual-band Wi-Fi extender that supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz is required if you wish to cover a big area with a robust Wi-Fi signal. In addition, the extender should be compatible with the most recent Wi-Fi standards and technology.
A good range extender can help increase your Wi-Fi coverage without breaking your wallet if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking to cover a big area, mesh Wi-Fi will be better in most cases. Ultimately, if you want better Wi-Fi coverage and don’t mind paying extra, opt for mesh; if budget is more important to you and you have smaller spaces to cover, range extenders are your best bet. However, even though there are differences between these two technologies, they both serve similar purposes: extending your home network to reach every corner of your house.
The biggest difference between them is that while range extenders operate at 2.4GHz like traditional routers do, mesh Wi-Fi systems operate at 5GHz—which means they’ll provide faster speeds and work with more devices simultaneously than an extender would. Additionally, while some range extenders include access points (APs) that must be plugged into power outlets around your home or office—which can get expensive over time—mesh systems typically require only one AP plugged into an outlet near you already have a router set up.