We move around our house, from room to room, with our mobile in hand praying for just a slightly stronger WiFi signal. Are you familiar with this situation? It’s actually a lot more common than you’d think. In many homes, WiFi just simply doesn’t reach everywhere at the same strength. What’s the solution? Get yourself a powerful booster which will improve the distance and strength of the WiFi signal in your home.

No matter what type of internet connection you have, you’re not going to be able to use it properly if your WiFi signal only works in certain areas of your house. To fix this problem you should definitely think about buying a WiFi extender. If you want to know more about how they work and which model would be best for you, keep reading this guide.

Key Facts

  • WiFi extenders, also called boosters and signal amplifiers, allow us to amplify the reach of our internet connection using a totally wireless method. There are also models available that will allow a physical connection to a router using cables and an Ethernet port.
  • The main use of these devices, and the main advantage they offer, is to cover dead zones. Or to put it in another way, they improve the quality and the stability of the WiFi signal in areas where it is weak or deficient.
  • The two main reasons why WiFi extenders are so popular (in addition to the obvious benefit they provide people who depend on a reliable internet connection as part of their daily lives) are the easy installation process and the very cheap purchase price. Using these boosters is a very simple and straightforward process for people of any age.

Ranking: The best WiFi extenders on the Australian market

Some people have thick walls in their homes, others have basements or garages that are difficult to access. The truth is that we all suffer from having dead zones or places where the WiFi doesn’t reach or is deficient. WiFi boosters can be useful to extend the rage of the signal, however you need to know which model to chose. To help you make the right choice, we have prepared this list of the best products on the market.

No. 1:  NETGEAR AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender

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The NETGEAR AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender easily boosts your range to every corner of your home with maximum network power. Establish a super high-speed connection with the dual WiFi bands for your HD streaming and gaming needs. Now with MU-MIMO for simultaneously streaming to multiple devices. Compatible with any standard WiFi router and is ideal for large homes, small offices and if you want frustration free HD video streaming and gaming.

This is the most popular product on our list and has positive overall reviews from buyers. It is easy to setup and does the job perfectly. The only issue mentioned by users is that this product ships with a US wall plug (Australian adaptor included), which possibly can make it a little flimsy when plugged in.

No. 2: NETGEAR EX6100-AC750 Essentials Edition

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Dual Band 802.11AC Gigaport Ethernet port x 1 WiFi Range Extender speed up to 750 Mbps External antennas for better performance. Convenient plug in design and enjoy your favourite entertainment at home. Optimise your existing WiFi network and extend it to hard-to-reach places with the next generation AC WiFi technology. The EX6100-AC750 WiFi Extender delivers fast WiFi speed and connectivity for smartphones, tablets, laptops and more – allowing you to enjoy your favourite entertainment throughout your home or office.

This device, like its big brother the AC1200, also has fantastic reviews from buyers. This option would be better suited for someone in a medium sized home, as it is not quite as powerful as the slightly more expensive option at the top of our list.

No. 3: Coredy E300 Universal WiFi Range Extender

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Say goodbye to WiFi dead zones! The Coredy E300 Universal WiFi Range Extender is designed to conveniently extend the coverage and improve the signal strength of an existing wireless network and eliminate dead zones. Small size with better performance and wider coverage. Compact wall-plug design, works with any standard router or gateway.

Cheaper again than the top two options on our list, but still does a great job. Buyers report significant increase in the WiFi signal around the home and even outside in the garden.

No. 4: NETGEAR EX3700-100NAS

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Here we have the third product from NETGEAR on our list, which is unsurprising as they are the leaders in the industry. This model is the smallest of the three we have reviewed, and is not as powerful as the other models. However, you might want to consider buying two of these units rather than one of the larger options. This would be especially beneficial if you are experiencing dead zones at opposite ends of your home, you could place one in each area.

As with all NETGEAR products, they are easy to use and widely trusted and loved by users.

No. 5: Xiaomi WiFi Range Extender

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Want something simple that does the job for a rock bottom price? This WiFi extender from Xiaomi is definitely worth a look. Very positive reviews over all, however it’s hard to believe that this unit will last as long as the high-end NETGEAR models. As this option is so cheap, you could also afford to buy two units and spread them around your home.

It is tiny in size and very convenient, fast to setup and easy to use.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about WiFi extenders

If you have decided to purchase a WiFi extender, then the first step towards achieving 100% signal coverage in your home has already been made. When you then start looking at the enormous range of products available on the market, it is only natural to have some doubts about the perfect model for your needs. Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered! The following section, which goes over the most frequently asked questions about WiFi extenders, will help you make the right choice.

You need to make sure there is a stable connection between your WiFi extender and the router.
(Source: Wavemovies: 93704088/ 123rf.com)

What is a WiFi extender exactly?

A WiFi extender, or WiFi booster, is a device which operates by taking the original signal from the wireless router and then retransmitting it from wherever it has been placed. Its purpose is to extend the WiFi coverage to all devices that are far away from the original source, and as a result are not receiving a signal of sufficient intensity.

How does a WiFi extender work?

These devices function by capturing a WiFi signal generated from a router and extending it to a larger area. By definition, a WiFi repeater acts as a bridge between an area where there is adequate coverage and another area you want to reach which has a weak signal. You must therefore set your booster up between your router and this dead zone, in order to extend the coverage.

What functions does a WiFi extender have?

As the popular names for these devices (extender and booster) suggest, the reality is that the vast majority of models of these types of devices that are out on the market only retransmit an existing WiFi signal to a larger area. As the following table shows, almost all WiFi extenders are capable of performing at least three functions.

Function What does it do?
Access point (AP) AP mode allows the booster to act as a wireless adaptor which can connect to other devices with a cable. This is achieved via the Ethernet port, and it is still possible to share the wireless connectivity with other devices simultaneously.
Extender As we have explained, this device increases the range of your WiFi signal. You can connect it by using a WiFi connection or a LAN port.
Router This mode allows us to connect to the device with a cable or DSL modem (asymmetric digital subscriber line), which makes it work almost like a router.

What internet speed can a WiFi extender reach?

WiFi boosters include their maximum speed in the product description. This value refers to the maximum speed of data transfer. However, this measurement is relative, as the maximum speed that the booster will be able to reach will depend on the distance it is placed from the router.

A WiFi extender will receive a signal which is then repeated or retransmitted. What this means is that the existing speed of your WiFi cannot be increased by using one of these devices. It simply allows the signal to reach places where it was not strong enough, and allow optimal connectivity throughout your entire home. The transfer speed is extremely important and should, at the very least, be equal to the speed of the router. Buying devices that have a speed of less than 300 Mbps is not recommended.

Is it advisable to use multiple WiFi extenders at the same time?

The simple answer is no. In general, the use of multiple extenders can increase latency, which is the amount of delay in the transmission of data within the network. This is a key factor for achieving an optimal internet connection. If you are using lots of boosters that are place close to each other, they can generate interference and negatively affect performance. However, if you have a large house with dead zones at either ends, you should try placing one device in each area. Just make sure the boosters are placed as far apart as possible.

Steve MaraboliBehavioural Scientist

“How a person handles poor cell service, traffic, and spotty WiFi is a good indicator of how they’ll behave during relationship challenges.”

What is the difference between a power line adaptor and a WiFi extender?

Although many people use these terms indiscriminately, a WiFi extender and a power line adaptor are not the same, nor do they perform the same function. They do, however, serve the same purpose of achieving a superior internet signal throughout your entire home.

The following table shows us the difference between the two.

WiFi extender Power line adaptor
What functions does it have? It increases the range of an existing WiFi connection. Transmits the internet connection through your home’s electrical wiring.
How many devices are included? One single device which acts as an extender and a power cable. As it is only a single device, the prices is often less A minimum of two devices: the central device, connected to the router, and the extender.

Includes an Ethernet cable.

Using more devices, the price can be more expensive.

What connection speed can be reached? It will depend on your existing network.

In general, starting at 300 Mbps.

It will depend on the power line adaptor that you purchase.

In general, they reach up to 1000 Mbps.

How is a WiFi extender configured?

Installing a WiFi extender is quick and easy. Although, it is most likely that some models will include an installation guide, in general they all follow a process which is very similar. In the following section, we go into detail about this installation process, so that you will be able to configure your device without any issues.

  • Check that the router is functioning properly and that the transmitted signal is strong.
  • Connect the power supply of the booster with the correct cable. Firstly the cable should be connected to the device, and secondly into the power supply via a wall plug. Using an extension cable is not recommended.
  • Turn the extender on, in the case that this is not done automatically. In general, it is enough to simply push the WPS (Wifi Protected Setup) button.

What are the advantages of a WiFi extender?

As we have already seen, using a WiFi booster will greatly improve the WiFi signal in our home or office. However, there are many ways of improving your coverage and an extender is only one of them. The following table shows the advantages and disadvantages, so that you can have all the information at your fingertips.

Advantages
  • It is a unique device
  • Very affordable price
  • Very easy configuration and installation
  • Doesn’t need to use a power plug for transmission
Disadvantages
  • The range of coverage will not be as big
  • Sometimes the speed is decreased
  • It depends on the signal from the router

Where is the best place to situate a WiFi extender?

The reach of a WiFi extender is limited. Therefore, if we do not situate it correctly and instead place it outside the optimum zone, to try and gain a few extra meters, it could end up being counterproductive. To choose the best place where we will get the most out of the WiFi signal, it is important to decide the location of the router. This should be somewhere in the centre of the house or office.

Dead zones, where the WiFi doesn’t reach, are the perfect places to setup the booster. However, you need to make sure that a stable connection is established. There are models which include indicators, showing the signal strength, to help to find the best possible spot. This way we can avoid locating them so far away that it reduces the intensity of the boosted signal.

A stable connection will let you browse the internet without any interruptions.
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Is the design of the WiFi extender important?

Naturally, the design is always one of the main features that jump out at us when we are comparing different WiFi extenders. However, if truth be told it is not a factor which has any influence on the functionality of the device whatsoever. Although we will have them connected all the time and in constant use, they are basically just tools in the end, and their main function is to go unnoticed.

On the other hand, what is actually important is that the design facilitates an easy installation and that it is simple to connect to the power plug on a wall – if that is where we want to set the extender up.There are models that are overly simplistic and some that have way too many buttons, lights and antennas. These designs can be annoying to install.

Shopping criteria

Choosing a WiFi extender can seem like a simple task. In the end, they all perform the same function. However certain models include specific features, which for the most part, may be more or less suitable depending on your needs. This section presents the essential criteria you need to keep in mind so that you can choose the WiFi booster that will give you the best coverage.

  • Transfer speed
  • Triple function
  • Power cost savings
  • Compact design
  • Smartphones apps

Transfer speed

While the speed of the WiFi extender will ultimately depend on the router and the internet service we have signed up to, a booster with a fast transfer speed is still super important. Otherwise, the boosted signal won’t be strong enough for the desired result. Following this, it is recommended purchasing a device that at the very least can reach a speed of 300 Mbps.

Bill GatesMicrosoft founder

“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.”

Triple function

Although the main function of a WiFi booster it to simply extend or amplify an existing signal, the fact that they can also function as an access point and like a router is a huge plus. As we often own multiple devices that work by WiFi, triple function boosters are very advantageous for all of our gadgets.

Power cost savings

These days it is often the small electric devices that we use on a daily basis that take up a large percentage of our power consumption. So choosing a power saving booster is a great idea. If we check the indicated power rating, and it is not greater than 3 watts, then you can be sure that it is not drawing too much power and adding a significant amount to your electricity bill.

Compact design

Rather than simply focusing on the aesthetics of a WiFi extender, it is more important to check what sort of facilities are offered for mounting it on a wall, or wherever else we would like to have it positioned. With the large amount of devices we often have around the house these days, ultimately we want the booster to be placed somewhere that is discreet but also not too difficult to access.

You should get a booster that has a minimum capacity of 300 Mbps.
(Source: Kittichai Boonpong: 75433405/ 123rf.com)

Smartphone apps

In today’s world in which we use smartphones just like handheld computers, it is a serious bonus if the WiFi booster that we purchase can also be operated by using an application. In general, these apps are very easy and intuitive to use. Additionally, we can configure all the settings that best suit our needs, all from the palm of our hand.

Summary

In an increasingly digital world, browsing the internet without a decent connection is something that we really want to avoid. WiFi boosters help to amplify the WiFi signal so that it can reach dead zones where the coverage is weak or nonexistent. This is done completely wirelessly and these devices ensure a stable connection in every part of our home where it is required.

WiFi extenders are hugely popular because they are easy to configure, safe and inexpensive to buy. The majority of these devices, can also function as an access point and as a router. This is a big advantage for people who have multiple devices which all require a stable, fast WiFi connection that covers a large area.

If you have enjoyed this article, please share it on social media so that others can find out everything they need to know about WiFi extenders. If you would like to, please leave us a comment. Thanks!

(Source of feature image: Kirill Makarov: 11272798/ 123rf.com)

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