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What is the Difference Between a WiFi Extender and a WiFi Repeater?

What is the Difference Between a WiFi Extender and a WiFi Repeater

If you’re having trouble getting a strong WiFi signal in parts of your home, one of the best things you can do is to install a WiFi extender or a WiFi repeater. Both of these devices are designed to boost your WiFi signal. However, they each do this in completely different ways. Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between a WiFi extender Vs a WiFi repeater, and which one you should choose.

WiFi Extender Vs WiFi Repeater

While not everyone distinguishes between the two devices, a WiFi extender typically connects to your network through a wired connection and re-broadcasts your WiFi signal to areas in your house where the signal is low. On the other hand, a WiFi repeater picks up your existing WiFi signal wirelessly and transmits a boosted signal.

What is a WiFi Extender?

what is a wifi extender
(Image Source: Netgear)

WiFi extenders connect directly to your home network through a wired connection. This means you can extend the strong, reliable connection from your router to any room in your house.

You can use an existing coaxial cable or an Ethernet cable to connect to your router. Or, depending on your home, you might even be able to connect via powerline (just by plugging your device into an outlet). In fact, you can even connect an old router into your new one and use it as a WiFi extender.

Another difference between a WiFi extender and a WiFi repeater is that a repeater will repeat the same WiFi signal, while an extender will create a new WiFi network. Since this new network is created from your old one, it should have roughly the same speed and bandwidth. Also, your networks should not interfere with one another.

Also, WiFi extenders are usually more expensive than WiFi repeaters, and they are often more difficult to set up.

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What is a WiFi Repeater?

what is a wireless repeater
(Image Source: Netgear)

A WiFi repeater connects to your WiFi network wirelessly and re-broadcasts that signal. In this way, you can boost your WiFi signal to a location where it was weak. However, a WiFi repeater needs to receive a strong WiFi signal in order to transmit a signal. This means the further you place the WiFi repeater from your router, the weaker the signal will be.

Since WiFi repeaters connect to your router on the same frequency as your smartphones and other electronic devices, your bandwidth will automatically be cut in half. Plus, your WiFi will also be slowed down by any thick walls, floors, cordless phone signals, microwaves, radio waves, and other devices between your router and repeater.

A WiFi repeater is easy to set up. You can plug a WiFi repeater into any electrical wall outlet in your home. And, since it re-broadcasts your existing network, you don’t have to worry about signing into a new WiFi network when you move from room to room.

Should You Use a WiFi Extender or a WiFi Repeater?

Should You Use a WiFi Extender or a WiFi Repeater
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While you can use either device to boost your WiFi in your home or office, you should use a WiFi extender if you want to extend the same strong and reliable connection you get from your router. You can use a WiFi repeater if you want to bring WiFi to a location that is not suitable or convenient for cables, such as a backyard.

You should not use a WiFi repeater in a location that does not have a strong, reliable connection. If you want to know how fast your current WiFi connection is in any room, check out our article on how to test your WiFi speed.