Wi-Fi range extenders improve the strength of the wireless connection produced by a router affording you internet access in areas of your home or office where the signal is weak. In most homes and offices, poor connection happens when the router is out of range in certain areas. But it can also be caused by obstructions like walls or furniture getting in between the signal and your device. A Wi-Fi booster helps eliminate this problem by capturing the wireless signal from your router and transmitting it to your device. This article will explain which is the best Wifi range extender for your necessities.
However, before you decide to dive into your pockets and get yourself a Wi-Fi extender, there are a number of considerations you should make. First, is your router optimally placed? You should make sure the router is at or near the center of your living space and not hidden in a cupboard or behind a desk. Again when was the last time you upgraded your router? If you have used the same router for a long time it’s a new router that you may be needing and not actually a Wi-Fi extender. If everything else checks out, then a Wi-Fi might be exactly what you need.
Factors to consider when looking for the best Wifi range extender
There are a number of important factors that you should consider when choosing the right router for your home or office.
The range of the Wi-Fi extender itself is very important as it determines the extent to which your Wi-Fi signal can go. For instance, if the distance between your device and where the router is located is 400 feet and your router can only be able to send reliable signals up to 200 feet, then ideally you want an extender that can make up the difference. If the extender falls short of the distance, you will still be left with a WiFi dead zone.
Mbps & Bands
When it comes to choosing the best Wi-Fi extender the theoretical data rate, measured in Mbps, and the bands, measured in gigahertz (GHz) are important factors that you need to consider. It’s important to notice that with any Wi-Fi extender you purchase the theoretical throughput speed can be reduced significantly by interferences.
The type of frequency your router broadcast will determine the bands you choose for your extender. The amount interferences in your home should also guide this choice. Unlike the 2.4 GHz which uses the same frequency band most other electronics use, the 5GHz frequency is less susceptible to interference.
The antennas on an extender serve to capture and rebroadcast the signals produced by your router. Almost all have two antennas, one to broadcast and one to transmit. Some, however, have three antennas. One of the antennas works to capture wireless signals, while the other two broadcast the captured signals away from the booster. This helps to increase its range. The antennas on these devices can be external or internal.
Number of Ethernet Ports
Wi-Fi Extenders vary greatly in the number of Ethernet ports they provide. Some offer one port while others offer up to five. The higher the number of Ethernet ports, the higher the wireless signal is amplified. Connecting devices such as gaming consoles directly can help establish a better connection producing the best throughput data rate. If you choose a router with too few ports, obtaining a wired connection may be difficult.
You should look for the latest Wi-Fi Protected Access version, which is WPA2-PSK (AES). You’re looking for AES, as opposed to TKIP. This will effectively prevent unauthorized users from accessing your network.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to get a decent Wi-Fi extender. Remember, price is what you pay, value is what you get. All in all, the market is saturated with great Wi-Fi range extenders that are sure to meet everyone’s needs and budget. Usually, prices start at around $30 and can go past $150 for the highly priced ones. As with all other networking devices, you can always find discounted prices online.
All electronic devices are prone to defects and as such the warranty is an important consideration. It helps protect you from manufacturer related defects. While some Wi-Fi extenders offer two or even three-year warranties, most come with a one-year warranty. In this period you can access technical support and repairs at no extra cost.
Once you understand the needs of your home or office network, then you can choose the Wi-Fi extender best suited to your needs. To help you pick the best Wi-Fi extender, we took the time to research and test a number of the leading names in the market.
TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE450
The TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi booster is a more than capable device and it ranks among the best-selling on Amazon. The Wi-Fi extender offers the best combination of range, speed, portability and great physical connections.
The device offers expanded 450Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz. Thanks to the incorporation of three adjustable external antennas provide users with optimal Wi-Fi coverage and reliable connections. More than that, the TP-Link AC1750 has an Ethernet port that acts as a wireless adapter to connect wired devices (Gaming devices, smart TVs, Blu-ray players etc.) to your network at gigabit speed. Some of the other key features include;
- Intelligent signal light helps to find the best location for optimal Wi-Fi coverage by showing the signal strength Works with any Wi-Fi router or wireless access points
- Next generation 802.11AC Wi-Fi technology, 3 times faster than the standard 802.11n speeds.
- Easy Installation & Quick Position
- Quick Positioning with Intelligent Signal Indicator
- 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support
If you are looking for a device that can deliver unmatched speeds and reliable connections for bandwidth-intensive tasks like HD/4K streaming, lag free gaming, and large file downloads, then the RE450 may just be the device you need.
D-Link Wi-Fi AC750 Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1520)
The D-Link AC750 provides a good range with speeds of up to 750 Mbps. The device is bundled with the dual-band technology which helps reduce interference from nearby wireless signals in the home. It also helps turn your single band router into a dual band connection.
One of the great things about the extender is how easy it is to set up. You can complete the entire configuration by simply pushing the WPS push button on the booster or the router you want to extend. The DAP-1520 will then automatically configure itself for you. You can also use the supported QRS Mobile app on your iOS or Android mobile device to set up the DAP-1520 easily or the built-in setup wizard that lets you configure it wirelessly with a PC using any supported browser.
Key features include;
- Speeds of up to 750 Mbps (300 Mbps – 2.4GHz / 433 Mbps – 5GHz)
- Compatibility with any wireless router brand
- Compact and portal design
- Wireless 802.11n/g/b/a backward compatibility
- WPA2/WPA wireless encryption to keep your wireless connection secure
- Backward Compatible
The D-Link Wi-Fi AC750 is a more affordable option for many consumers. It is a compact device that is ideal for use at home or a small office, as it does not take up much space and its sleek, unobtrusive appearance blends easily into the decor of your home or office.
NETGEAR EX3700 Wi-Fi Range Extender (AC750)
The NETGEAR EX3700 is one of the popular Wi-Fi range extenders in the market. However, it can be a little bit pricey for the average consumer. The device is a suitable device if you are looking to extend your network range to the region of 100 feet.
The NETGEAR EX37000 delivers AC750 dual band Wi-Fi up to 750Mbps. It works with any router and provides sufficient speeds for HD video streaming and gaming even in the remote places of your home.
Key features of the NetGear AC750 include;
- Dual band capability
- 802.11ac support
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Easy setup
- Useful LEDs for optimizing and troubleshooting
- Powerful external antennas
- Convenient wall plug design
- Compatibility with a wide range of routers
- FastLane technology – Makes use of both bands to establish one super high speed connection.
- Fast Ethernet Port enabling users to connect a wired device like a Blu-ray® player, game console, TV or streaming player to your WiFi network.
With the device, you can get the efficient and reliable connectivity you need for iPads, smartphones, laptops and more.
Linksys RE6500 WiFi Range Extender (AC1200)
The Linksys RE6500 is another robust and versatile option for users who want to get a lot out of a WiFi extension. With Wireless-AC compatibility and up to 1200Mbps of throughput, the RE6500 can extend your home’s wireless coverage area by up to 10,000 square feet. However, do note that this is just the theoretical value given by the manufacturer. Either way, the AC1200 is a pretty powerful device.
Key features include;
- AC/DC Power Supply
- Two Dipole Antennas
- Ethernet ports
- Quick Installation Guide
- Crossband technology
The RE6500 lets you to easily extend the range of your existing wireless router to create a strong Wi-Fi signal for all the devices in and around your home, including smartphones, tablets, Blu-rays, and more. Linksys Crossband technology enables the dual wireless bands to receive information on one band and transmit on the other, reducing dropped data packets and delivering a stronger, more consistent signal throughout your home. Quite impressive, right? Add to that its great compatibility with different routers and gateways and the booster and the price may seem fair.
The Wi-Fi extender features AC technology and dual bands allowing you to stream HD-quality movies and games without interference. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports enable wired connections, while an audio jack lets you connect speakers for streaming music. The simple setup is just but one of the many pluses when it comes to the Linksys RE6500.
The device is well suited for large homes with multiple devices and heavy data usage. Dual wireless bands of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz can deliver data transfer speeds of up to N300 Mbps + AC867 Mbps for seamless HD streaming without interruptions.
Additionally, Linksys offers security support to protect your data with up to 128-bit encryption (WEP, WPA, and WPA2) and has a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button, allowing you to establish a connection easily and securely with a wireless router or access point to keep your network and your data safe. What more could you need from a router?
The Linksys RE6500 works in smaller and larger locations. It has a lot of features for the price tag, making it one of the best Wi-Fi extenders available.
D-LINK DAP-1520 AC750 WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER
Next in line is the D-Link DAP-1520 AC750 Wi-Fi range extender. Key features include:
- Dual-band Wi-Fi extension
- AC750 speeds
- Easy WPS setup
The D-Link DAP-1520 is among the simplest and cheapest. For that, you still get a dual-band extender capable of reaching theoretical speeds of up to 300Mbps over the 2.4GHz band and 433Mbps over 5GHz.
However, with its compact form comes a modest feature set. There’s no Ethernet port for connecting wired devices to the extended network; no off switch for the extender; and, most importantly, there’s less room inside for more powerful aerials, therefore resulting in reduced speed and range.
When it comes to performance, the DAP-1520 inevitably can’t keep up with more expensive extenders, but it still puts in a decent set of results. At 5GHz, it can still deliver 69.8Mbpps in the short-range test, and 43.5Mbps in the long-range test.
At 2.4GHz, it hit a reasonable 32.9Mbps at short-range but it struggled at long range, managing only 14.5Mbps. Most of the extenders were pretty close to their limit in the long-range test – only a few steps further away and they all struggled – but the D-Link was noticeably closer to its limit.
Overall, though, the DAP-1520 does what it needs to. It’s easy to setup, works reliably and provides enough speed and range to get the basics done.
Amped TAP-EX3 (AC1750)
The Amped TAP-EX3 is one of the best Wi-Fi extenders on Amazon, especially for larger homes and families that want an easy solution. We’re talking about a lot of range here, around 12,000 extra square feet of coverage for your network and some of the highest speeds we’ve seen in an extender with its AC1750 rating. The TAP-EX3 contains 12 amplifiers in all, designed to broadcast a dual-band Wi-Fi signal powerful enough to stream 4K content and play demanding online games without a stutter.
The standout feature here, however, is the touchscreen. While small, it allows for easy setup procedures. If anything goes wrong, the touchscreen makes a great focal point to locate the problem, reset, or find a resolution. There are also five Gigabit Ethernet ports for directly connecting devices like smart TVs or gaming consoles for a more straightforward connection – these setups are handy if you don’t mind putting the extender right by your TV and the router at the other end of your house, a placement that may seem counter-intuitive at first.
On the downside, the price for the TAP-EX3 may be a little high for some homeowners, and its capabilities are overkill for a typical family home.
NETGEAR N300 Wall Plug Version Wi-Fi Range Extender (WN3000RP)
The NETGEAR N300 is an ideal device for extending Wi-Fi signals throughout your home or office.
Key features include;
- Extends wireless coverage, universal compatibility
- Easy to install – no CD required
- Fast Ethernet port to connect home A/V devices to the network
- Smart LED indicators helps find the best location for optimal Wi-Fi coverage
- External antennas for better Wi-Fi coverage
- Reduce mobile data plan charges by connecting to Wi-Fi
- Extends wireless coverage, universal compatibility
- Works with any standard Wi-Fi router.
- Wi-Fi up to 300Mbps.
- External antennas for better performance.
- Convenient wall-plug design.
- Design that delivers high availability, scalability, and for maximum flexibility and price/performance.
- External antennas give you the extra range to put your connection over the top.
- Extends wireless coverage
- Universal compatibility
- Smart LED indicators
The NETGEAR N300 features a Push ‘N’ Connect function that connects computers and routers to the Extender quickly and securely using Wi-Fi Protected Setup® (WPS). Its high compatibility with wireless routers or gateways is a pull for many consumers.
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (EX7000-100NAS)
Netgear’s EX700 range extender boasts a sleek design as the Nighthawk routers on which it is based. But that’s not the best thing about this device. It extreme dual band Wi-Fi speed of up to 1900 Mbps is simply unrivalled.
Key features include;
- 700 mW high-power amplifiers & high-gain 5dBi antennas for maximum WiFi coverage
- 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect all your wired devices
- FastLane Technology – Use both Wi-Fi bands to establish one super high-speed connection; ideal for HD streaming & gaming
- 3 external antennas for max signal coverage.
- Access Point mode creates a Wi-Fi hotspot using a wired Ethernet connection.
- USB 3.0 for up to 10x faster access to your stored media.
- DLNA server to play your media on TVs and game consoles.
- Access scheduling for parental controls.
- Compatibility with the Wi-Fi Analytics app for android
The NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi Range Extender is easy to setup and works with any standard Wi-Fi router & is ideal for HD video streaming & gaming. However he price can be discouraging for many users.
Still, if you are looking for a multifunctional device with top-shelf performance then this is the Extender for you. It comes with multiple connectivity ports and offers Media Server and access-control features. While you can mount it horizontally, the freestanding base included in the box will let you stand it up vertically too.
TP-Link AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE580D)
The Tp-Link AC1900 is one of the powerful Wi-Fi range extenders currently in the market. The device provides fast, reliable connections to multiple users with a 1GHz duo-core processor. With speeds of up to 1900 Mbps, you can simultaneously enjoy gaming and 4K HD streaming.
- 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- High dual band speeds (600Mbps on 2.4GHz + 1300Mbps on 5GHz totals 1.9Gbps)
- Smart Signal Indicator
- Three external dual band antennas with 700mW high-powered amplifiers help boost Wi-Fi range
- Universal compatibility
- Industry-leading 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support
- Beamforming technology – delivers highly targeted and efficient connections
- 802.11 b/g/n/ac support
The RE580D enables users to expand and improve the Wi-Fi range up to 10,000 square feet. Through the inbuilt beamforming technology, the booster locates and targets wireless devices with a more focused signal ensuring that the connection is stabilized.
Another of the many pluses of this Extender is the easy setup process. Users are able to manage the TP-LINK Tether App on both Android and iOS. In addition, the device is bundled with advanced security encryptions to keep your data safe. The device is a bit expensive for the average consumer. However, it’s fair to say that the robust feature set makes it worth every dollar.
TRENDnet AC1200 WiFi Range Extender (TEW-822DRE)
Having a strong and consistent Internet connection is crucial with any Wi-Fi extender. The TRENDnet’s AC1200 offers extreme great wireless coverage with speeds high enough for buffer-free 4K/3D/HD video streaming. The booster supports the latest encryption standards ensuring you are secured.
- Gigabit wired port
- Supports Access Point modes
- External antennas and high power amplifiers
- Beamforming & MIMO technology
- AC and N network compatibility
The setup takes minutes with no drivers to install and connects to either a Wi-Fi AC or Wi-Fi N network and adopts existing Wi-Fi settings. The device also avoids unnecessary clutter by plugging directly into an outlet. Connect to either an existing Wi-Fi N or Wi-Fi AC router and extend concurrent Wi-Fi N and AC networks into an area with low or no wireless. The dual-band connectivity makes it highly versatile for a device in its price range.
With any of these routers, you can completely transform your home network. If you chose the best Wifi range extender for your conditions and set it up in the right place, you can ensure that every room will be covered with plenty of signal.