Wi-Fi Extender vs Repeater vs Booster | What the Difference?

Wi-Fi is a big blessing. Without it, none of us would be able to operate and carry out our day to day activities. The reality is that we live in a digital world where everything is connected via the internet. So every dead internet zone we encounter feels like a different place to us.

Whether these dead zones are in offices or your homes, you want to overcome them. But the problem is that internet routers only come with a limited signal range. Thus it is often hard for them to cover all corners of the house. But not to worry because technology has advanced, and now we have devices that can help us extend our Wi-Fi signals to all the dead zones until there are none left.

These devices are often called Wi-Fi extender. The term is used for every device that helps you enhance your Wi-Fi signal. Thus, there are multiple names to it, such as a repeater, booster, etc. All these devices serve the same purpose, with just a bit of technical differences.

So if you are planning on getting one of them and don’t know which one to get then, you have come to the right spot. Today in this article, we are going to be discussing the differences between an extender, booster, and repeater so you can clearly understand the difference between them and choose the one that you believe is best suited for you. So let us go ahead and jump right into it.

What is a Wi-Fi Extender, and How does it work?

A Wi-Fi extender is the most commonly used signal boosting technology used by homeowners. An extender is much like an additional router, which is added to the network to enhance the signal range in the problematic area and give it its private network to access.

The thing about an extender is that it comes with both wired and wireless technologies. But the good thing about wired extenders is that they don’t need any additional wiring to function. You can use your home’s existing wiring, such as coax cabling for MoCA-based solutions and electric wiring for Power line solutions.

Simply connect the extender to the coax jack or power outlet in the problematic area, and you will have zero dead ends. The extender will convert the internet signal coming directly from the wired connection into a new wireless network for the area.

The benefit of using a Wi-Fi extender is that it takes the signal directly from the primary source. Instead of relying on a wireless signal, you get to benefit from the high speed and reliability of the cables.  This means no installation cost. Simply get an extender and plug it in, and that it.

What is a Wi-Fi Repeater, and How does it work?

Wifi Repeater example

A repeater is a device that intercepts an existing signal and retransmits the same signal with more power to extend its geographical location. In simple terms, it means that a Wi-Fi repeater is a device that extends the signal range of your existing router so that it can provide you with more coverage and leave no dead zones in the topological network boundary.

A repeater works much like your laptop or mobile devices, which can provide their hotspots for other devices to connect. Thus a repeater depends on two wireless signals. Firstly, it receives a signal directly from the primary router, which is connected to the modem. Then the repeater uses that signal to create its signal and extend it within its surroundings.

The thing about repeaters is that you can easily carry them around and use them in the problematic areas or the area where you wish to boost the signal. Simply plug in the repeater in the area and access it via your computer to add in the username and password details so it can connect to your existing Wi-Fi.

The repeater connects to your existing Wi-Fi and uses it as a source to create another Wi0Fi network in the problematic area. So you can easily connect to your smart devices to your repeater. In short, it works much like a wireless device that further extends your internet signal.

What is a Wi-Fi Booster, and How does it work?

A Wi-Fi booster works differently than a repeater and an extender. Both the extender and the repeat create their network, whereas a booster doesn’t work that way. A regular Wi-Fi setup consists of a high-speed modem that is connected to a wall socket to receive broadband data from the ISP. The modem is further connected to a router that comes with an antenna. Once the signal travels from the modem to the router, it is converted into radio signals. These signals are transmitted by the antenna attached to the router.

The antennas come with limited remote range. Instead of creating a new network, a booster adopts the same concept as the regular Wi-Fi setup and enhances the signal of the existing router. The booster is connected directed to the primary router and comes with a large antenna that extends the Wi-Fi range in the area.

In short, a booster amplifies the existing Wi-Fi signal by attaching to the router. Imagine as if the router had an additional antenna that comes with a better range than the existing antennas. Boosters work great for homeowners who are looking to strengthen the signal within a limited range.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although the guide clearly explains the difference between a Wi-Fi booster, extender, and repeater. But individuals still have a few queries which are quite common. So we decided to address them here. If you have the same queries, then make sure to read below as the answers might help you.

Why does one need a Wi-Fi Range Extender?

One would require a Wi-Fi range extender if he wants to cover a dead zone in the house or house and give that area it’s very own private network. For instance, if you wish to have an internet connection in your garage or the basement where most router’s signals fail to transmit the signal. Then you would plug in a range extender there to give the place its very own Wi-Fi connection, which would be directly connected to the modem via your home’s existing wiring.

Can I connect a repeater to another repeater?

Yes, you can connect a repeater to another repeater. You can connect multiple repeaters to one primary router, but they won’t give you the same performance as your router. One or two repeaters might be fine. But more than that, you will be just adding overheads, which will affect the speed and performance of the internet connection. Instead of adding additional repeaters, place your router in a more optimum position in your house.

Does a Wi-Fi extender slow down Internet speed?

No, that is the good thing about a Wi-Fi extender. Unlike a repeater, it doesn’t slow down the internet speed. The reason behind it is that an extender is directly connected to the main modem or the source of the internet via wired cables. This cabled connection gives you speed and reliability, which a wireless connection fails to promise.

How many extenders can you use on one router?

You can connect multiple extenders to one router, but it is recommended that you connect two to keep the performance uptight. Also, make sure to connect the extenders to the router via Ethernet cables and not via the wireless network as it would give unsatisfactory performance.

Do wireless boosters work?

Yes, a Wi-Fi booster is a great investment. Not only does it cover your dead ends, but it can also provide faster speed to your existing Wi-Fi network. It rebroadcasts your signal with more power and strength cover more range and provide more speed as compared to your average router. Plus, they are quite simple to connect and require no setup cost.

What is better, a Wi-Fi extender or repeater?

Both a Wi-Fi extender and a repeater come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. There is no simple answer to which one is best and which isn’t. It all depends on your requirements so that an extender might be best for you but not for someone else.

If you ask us, then an extender works best in situations where the dead zone is located in an area of your house, not even the slightest of your Wi-Fi signal is reachable. In such a case, you can use the extender and connect it via cables to your router to create a separate network in that dead zone.

Final Words

Whether you choose a booster, repeater, or an extender to extend your Wi-Fi signal depends on your personal preference. Plus, it is always better to take other Wi-Fi improvement steps before you invest in a signal boosting technology. Choose the one that you believe would be best suited for your situation as it is an investment that is going to last you for years.

By James Klett

James Klett a senior editor at GeekyMag focused on computer hardware and gadgets, offers a wide range of information in this field. Have a question, need some help, or want to give your opinion? Drop us a comment below!

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