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Wi-Fi Range Extender: How to Pick and Setup?

Wi-Fi Range Extender

Struggling with wireless signal in the dead spots of your home is real when your home is much more spacious. Your router might not be strong enough to support seamless streaming at each corner of your home. It’s irritating if you have to change your or your router’s placement every time you face a slow internet connection.

The best and permanent way to get rid of this is to bridge the gap between your router’s signal range and your mobile device. Only a Wi-Fi Range Extender can rebroadcast the wireless signal from your router and serve you in every corner you want. 

Before you purchase and try setting up a Wi-Fi extender, you should be aware of what a Wi-Fi extender is, how it works, and how you should set it up to get a fresh wireless connection. Especially, Wi-Fi extender setup and placement can be a bit confusing. 

Let’s get started with this easy-to-understand simple guide on basic Wi-Fi extender setup and much more.

Wi-Fi Extender: What is it?

Multiple networking technologies have evolved so far to fill in the connectivity gaps, and a Wi-Fi extender is one of them. You might be confused about Wi-Fi boosters, extenders, and repeaters because they focus on almost the same objective. And, that is improving Wi-Fi coverage. 

However, a Wi-Fi extender or range extender concentrates on extending the wireless signal range. Users need to place it somewhere in the middle of the primary access point or router and an end-client mobile device that is too far from the router. The Wi-Fi range extender seizes the wireless connection of the main router and magnifies it. So, the fresh wireless signal with a broader coverage can reach the intended devices.

What devices should you use Wi-Fi range extenders for? 

You can install and set up a Wi-Fi range extender for any remote devices that situate in the furthest corner of your home. It can be your smart TV, gaming consoles such as Xbox, PS5, or anything else, usual laptops, printers, or any mobile devices, like iPhones, Android smartphones, tablets, etc. Any network-enabled device can join the extended range of signals that connects to the originating network from the router.

Working Mechanism of the Wi-Fi Range Extender

Basically, Wi-Fi range extenders are a typical category of wireless repeaters. The Wi-Fi range extender first receives wireless signals from the main router. Then, the extender repeats and retransmits the wireless signals into your home. 

Nowadays, Wi-Fi range extenders are quite affordable. You can plug them in and connect the furthest mobile device to the internet.

Yet, network area coverage through Wi-Fi range extenders can result in overlapping common functional areas of the router and the extender. Therefore, wireless performance issues can be evident because the same frequency and channel are present in both transmissions.

How is a signal booster any different from a Wi-Fi range extender? Signal boosters don’t work independently. They come as an attachment to computer devices or routers to amplify the signal strength instead of extending the range. Whereas Wi-Fi range extenders can work on their own and they extend the wireless coverage by repeating the same signal transmitted by the router.

On the other hand, signal boosters are not an ideal option for two-way transmission. For instance, signal boosters might be powerful enough for the router to send the transmission to client devices. 

However, the end-client device can’t transmit back the data to the router in the same way. In addition, signal boosters are not much efficient in eliminating network hurdles, such as multiple devices, walls, and metals.

Hence, you might encounter a weak wireless signal even if you install a signal booster. If you want to defeat the connectivity range issues, then it’s best to go for a Wi-Fi range extender. 

Do You Really Need a Wi-Fi Range Extender?

In case you are confused between a Wi-Fi Range Extender or any other alternatives, then this section is helpful. As an alternative to a Wi-Fi range extender, you can consider a signal booster, a new router replacement, or an upgrade. 

Which one should you pick up?

We think that a Wi-Fi range extender can actually help you to recover from network dead ends. You can purchase an extender if your router is in a good position and doesn’t need a replacement. 

However, you can upgrade your existing router, if the source router is old or outdated. Setting up an extender would be no good when the router is not working. If you add an extender to the picture, then you might suffer from a slower Wi-Fi performance.

Therefore, you should upgrade your old router if needed and check if it solves the current connectivity issue. Make sure that you find a compatible router for the upgrade and check if the issue is resolved with only the router replacement. Otherwise, you can consider getting an extender.

What is the Best Extender for Your Home Network?

It’s difficult to recommend a specific model of a Wi-Fi range extender for every household network. The thumb rule for getting a Wi-Fi range extender is to pick the same brand that your router is from. For example, if you are going for a brand-new Motorola router, choose an extender from Motorola.

Or, you can pick up a Netgear extender if you already have a router from that brand. We recommend you choose the same brand because of the match in Wi-Fi standards. Different brands might use the same technology, but their code might vary a little bit. Therefore, you might encounter differences in the performance of the extender and router when they are not from the same manufacturer.

After all, compatibility plays a great role in delivering you an uninterrupted wireless signal throughout your home. If any error occurs to your router or extender, you can contact the same helpline as you have chosen the same brand. Make sure to check the compatibility of extenders when you have to rent a router or modem from cable companies, like AT&T’s U-Verse, Time Warner, or Comcast.

In addition, you have to take care of the speed rating of the extender. It should be in between the same as your router has. Go for an extender from N or higher Wi-Fi standard if you own an 802.11N router. Likewise, go for an AC-enabled extender if your router runs on an 802.11AC network.

Placement is the Key to Achieving the Perfect Bandwidth

Hopefully, you have got a clear idea regarding which Wi-Fi extender you should buy. The next step after you purchase the extender is to place it in a rightful position. An incorrect physical placement might lead to frequent drops in the connection. Thus, the purpose of getting an extender completely fails.

Initiate with a sketch that tells you about the current locations of your router and mobile devices, power outlets, and dead zones. Now, locate a power outlet that is roughly in the middle between your router and those dead ends. Now, that can be the right place to plug in the extender and complete the setup.

Next, you can connect your devices to the extender and measure the network speed. If it’s not satisfactory try changing the extender’s position. Basically, finding an optimum location for the extender can demand a couple of trial-and-error methods.

Additionally, you should avoid huge walls, closets, and reflecting surfaces while deciding on the best spot for your Wi-Fi range extender. Keep your extender away from the interference of cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, and refrigerators. For better identification and discovery, name your extender while setting it up.

How to Set up a Wi-Fi Range Extender?

Honestly speaking, setting up extenders from different brands requires distinguished steps. Thus, you should stick to the user guide of the Wi-Fi range extender for a successful setup. 

Generally, you have to plug the extender into an electrical outlet and press the WPS buttons on both the router and extender at the same time. This will let the entender connect to the router and intercept the main wireless signal.

You can dodge the WPS connectivity if your router comes with an Ethernet port. You can connect the router to the Wi-Fi range extender with an Ethernet cable. After all, wired connections are better, more secure, and more stable compared to wireless connections.

More Tips on Optimised Use of Wi-Fi Range Extenders

For your Wi-Fi range extender, it’s better to use a different name other than what your router has. This will save you from forcing the connection to the extender whenever you need to use it. 

If your router and extender are transmitting wireless signals with the same strength, then you should connect to the main router. This is applicable when you are not roaming from one spot to another.

If you can’t improve the networking experience with a single extender, then you can try a meat networking kit. This is the best possible solution for multi-storied buildings where you need a reliable network from the basement to the attic.