WIFI Extender vs. WIFI Repeater vs. WIFI Booster
Know the differences
With the internet being a must these days, you might have already heard and seen the terms Wi-Fi extender, repeater, and booster especially if you have had troubles with your Wi-Fi coverage or if you are thinking about improving and upgrading it. These terms are often referred to interchangeably but they have differences in how they work and as to their main goal.
What is a Wi-Fi Extender?
Wi-Fi extenders, as the name suggests, extend the main router’s signal to another area that has no signal or what is called a “dead zone”. These are mostly used in places where there are too much interferences or in buildings with thick walls. Because they are wired, the bandwidth is not affected which means you will have almost the same quality of signal that you are getting from the main router regardless of how far your extender is. Note though that the maximum length of a cat6 ethernet cable is 100 meters from device to device.
Most extenders are still using the wired connection which can be through an ethernet cable or for some, powerlines, although, some manufacturers have already started offering wireless extenders.
What is a Wi-Fi Repeater?
Wi-Fi repeaters, on the other hand, are more of a plug-and-play. You just have to plug it in an area where there is Wi-Fi, then configure it to connect to the existing Wi-Fi signal that you want to rebroadcast. The repeater will extend the coverage by creating a second network and broadcast a repeated signal from the main Wi-Fi signal to cover the area that is unreachable.
While it is easy to set up, it also makes the Wi-Fi signal weaker. Due to the connection being wireless, it is prone to interferences from other electronic devices such as microwaves, baby monitors, and Bluetooth gadgets. Where you position the repeater is also something that needs to be considered, it should be in a place where it can receive uninterrupted Wi-Fi signal, it is highly recommended that it be placed halfway between the main router and the area where you want to have a signal. In addition, Wi-Fi repeaters connect to the main router and to your devices on the same frequency so the bandwidth is cut in half, slowing down your connection speed.
What is a WiFi Booster?
Wi-Fi boosters connect directly to a router and strengthen the router’s signal. It does this with the use of antennas. It is more like a repeater but it amplifies the Wi-Fi signal that it broadcasts.
What are the Differences?
To summarize, all three of them aim to give you a better internet connection, however, we have to keep in mind the differences.
⦁ Wi-Fi extenders are more stable than Wi-Fi repeaters since they are connected via cable meaning it is less susceptible to interferences. If you are planning to install it in a place where there are a lot of other electronic devices or in a concrete structure, then maybe an extender is a better option.
⦁ Wi-Fi repeaters are more affordable than Wi-Fi extenders since you just need to buy the device then plug it. Because it is wireless, you have more freedom on where you can install it and it is easy to relocate. You have to keep in mind though that wireless repeaters give you slower internet speeds which means if you heavily rely on the internet, and do a lot of downloading and uploading, this might not be the option for you.
⦁ Although you can install a repeater anywhere you want, there is a limit to this, since you still have to make sure that it is getting a good signal from the main router, unlike the extender where you can install it in a different floor of a building or an entirely different building as long as you can set up the wired connection properly.
Lastly, with the advancement in technology, some routers already have these three as their features which gives you an option to use the router as an extender, repeater, or access point. The catch is, that you can only use one feature at a time.