How to choose Wi-Fi extender: Wi-Fi extender tips

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Hi Friends, We are going to discuss How to choose wi-fi extender

Is a Wi-Fi extender definitely the answer?

Before you buy an extender, check that it really is the performance of your wireless network that’s slowing you down and not just a slow internet connection. You can use a broadband speed checker to measure download speeds at different distances from your router, and see how the speed drops off as you move around your home.

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It’s also worth trying out a few different wireless settings. Such as switching radio bands, before you splash out on a new bit of kit. You might find that this gets you a better signal from your existing equipment and that there’s no need to buy an extender at all.

How to choose wi-fi extender
How to choose wi-fi extender

How to choose wi-fi extender : What speeds can I expect?

Some extenders promise data rates as high as 1,733Mbits/sec. Which is equivalent to around 216MB/sec and far faster than most broadband connections. In reality, for all sorts of technical and practical reasons, the speeds you see in your own home will be far, far lower.

As a rule, we’re happy with anything over 120Mbits/sec (15MB/sec). To put that into context, Netflix recommends a connection speed of at least 5Mbits/sec for HD streaming and 25Mbits/sec for 4K video. So a good, solid Wi-Fi network should easily be fast enough to cope with multiple simultaneous high-resolution video streams.

What’s the difference between a repeater and a power line extender?

These are the two main types of extender and they do the same basic job. However, they work in different ways. A Wi-Fi repeater is a single box that relays data back and forth between your router and your wireless devices using Wi-Fi signals alone. If – for example – your router is located at the front of the house, and your home office is at the rear, you can install a repeater at the midway point to boost the signal in the office.

A power line networking kit consists of two little boxes (sometimes more) that plug into mains sockets around your home. Box number one connects to your router via an Ethernet cable, while box number two broadcasts a wireless signal from wherever it happens to be situated and relays the data back to the first box over your mains electrical wiring.

Power line systems are often more expensive than repeaters. But they’re a fuss-free way to extend a network connection into places that are otherwise hard to reach and can be simpler to set up.

Might I be better off with a mesh Wi-Fi system?

Mesh networking systems work in a similar way to Wi-Fi repeaters. But they give you the option of placing multiple nodes all over your home to cover a larger area than a single extender could manage. You can learn more, and explore our recommended models, in our guide to the best mesh Wi-Fi routers.

If you don’t have a huge house, however, a mesh system may be overkill. A regular extender is a lot cheaper and a lot easier to install. Configuring a mesh system normally involves setting up a whole new routers. Whereas with most repeaters you can simply plug it in, press a button and that’s it.

Does my extender need Ethernet sockets?

In this wireless age, Ethernet sockets might seem a bit outdated. But some devices, such as printers and set-top TV boxes, only support wired connections, and connecting these or a PC to your extender via Ethernet will give you a more reliable and often faster connection than wireless.

Naturally, however, connecting devices to an extender via Ethernet won’t be as fast as a direct wired connection to the router. Because the signal still needs to travel from your router to the extender over the airwaves first.

What other features should I look for?

Most Wi-Fi extenders have what’s called a “web portal”, which offers a selection of advanced features (some offer a mobile app as well). This is accessed via a web browser, either on your phone or your laptop. Simply type in the address provided by the manufacturer – which is often printed on the extender itself or, failing that, it’ll be in the manual somewhere.

Some of these web portals will let you operate a guest network, with its own name and security settings, so visitors can connect to the internet without having access to your local devices. You might also get access controls, which let you decide exactly who can connect, while scheduling lets you shut off the connection at certain times – useful, perhaps, if you don’t want kids going online in the middle of the night.

Think about physical features when choosing your extender. Most units plug directly into a mains socket, and some models are so big that they block neighboring outlets from use. A mains pass-through socket on the front can also be very useful if you’re running low on mains sockets and this certainly isn’t something you can take for granted.

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