What frustration when, despite having Wi-Fi in your home, it doesn’t reach all places hard enough. And it is that many people do not have the router located where they should maximize their signal, either because they did not think about it before or because there was no alternative.
There is only one option for all of them: Wi-Fi repeaters, small and simple devices responsible for capturing the existing Wi-Fi signal and broadcasting it to reach you more strongly in the problem points. Besides, its installation is quite fast and simple. Now, which one to buy? What factors should we consider?
Do I really need a Wifi Range Extender?
Before you buy a Wi-Fi repeater because the signal is weak, you should keep an eye on your current router. If you are already a few years old, buying a new one is the most effective way to solve this problem. You could even use your old router as a Wi-Fi repeater with a wired connection.
Yes, wired connections are best from a speed point of view, but it’s not always possible for distance and the number of devices to connect. If you only needed the network to reach a particular device, you could also use a Wi-Fi-connected Ethernet adapter that uses your home’s power grid to broadcast the signal.
But this alternative is only feasible for a particular computer that you won’t move, not to increase the signal in areas of the house for mobile devices such as a tablet or smartphone. In these cases, only another additional Wi-Fi network remains, so don’t increase traffic on your current Wi-Fi network or a Wi-Fi repeater.
Buy a Wifi Range Extender: factors to consider
Before buying a Wi-Fi repeater, it is essential to consider aspects such as what our router is like – or if we do not have a router. We anticipate that it will be necessary a system that encompasses repeater and router -, ease of installation, security protocols, data transfer rates if we live in an area with little interference or very saturated or if we need something compactor, on the contrary, space is no problem.
Finally, we will consider the price. You do not need to make large disbursements to get hold of a decent Wi-Fi repeater: we can find them from just over 20 euros to 200 euros, although from that price, we can also find models that make up the router itself.
Ease of connection
Launching a Wi-Fi repeater is very simple. Basically, you will need to connect it to the stream and know both the network name and the password. But it can still be easier via protected setup – shortly called WPS – that will connect this repeater to your Wi-Fi by simply pressing a button on both devices.
The most common design of current repeaters is that of a small plastic block connected directly to a plug. They usually have a couple of LED lights so that we know with the naked eye that they are on and the strength of the signal and antennas.
Other Wi-Fi repeaters, usually more complex, have more ports, options, and more expensive and have an aesthetic similar to routers.
The Wi-Fi repeater model you purchase should integrate WPA2-PSK (AES), the latest and most secure standard to date. These standards refer to the encryption method used, which will prevent someone outside your network from accessing it. If you want to avoid intruders, choosing the best encryption system is one way to avoid it.
The available safety standards are ordered from best to worst:
- WPA2 + AES
- WPA + AES
- WPA + TKIP/AES
- WPA + TKIP
- Open network
Today, Wi-Fi repeaters for sale on the market support at least WPA. Again, if your router doesn’t support WPA, it’s time to update it and buy a new one.
Support for your Wi-Fi
The original 1997 IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi is currently obsolete. Since then, standards A, B, G, N and AC have been added. There is no point in buying a Wi-Fi repeater with the latest technology if it is not supported by your router, as you will not be able to take advantage of it. So before you buy a Wi-Fi repeater, first check your router, and in case it’s not at least N, rate replacing it.
These standards refer to the amount of data they can transfer, something that is measured in Mbps. Thus, 1Mbps equals 1,000,000 bits per second.
Starting with the Wi-Fi 5 or IEEE 802.11ac standard, it is possible to operate in the 5 GHz frequency band, a fairly clean channel of interference. There are no other technologies such as Bluetooth operating on it. However, the 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, and IEEE 802.11n standards work in the 2.4 GHz band, which is available on a universal scale.
A dual or simple band
Starting with the 802.11n standard, Wi-Fi introduced dual-band support, a technology that covers the traditional band of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
The 2.4GHz band has a higher range, but the 5 band allows for higher transmission speeds. In case you have a dual router, it’s a good idea to buy a repeater that’s also dual. Otherwise, single-band ones are cheaper and extend your Wi-Fi network whether your router is single-channel or dual-channel.
It’s best to opt for the 5 GHz precisely to avoid such interference in saturated places like a big city or an office. If there is not much traffic in the area in rural areas, the simple band will suffice.
A Wi-Fi repeater will improve the signal from our home’s Wi-Fi network. Still, it can also offer us more features, such as more Ethernet ports for you to connect your devices via cable or a jack to connect audio – usually speakers or headphones – to listen to music streaming from your mobile or computer.