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Broaden Your Router’s Signal Using the Best Wireless Extender

A wireless extender (also known as a range extender or repeater) is a device that helps broaden the range of a wireless signal from a modem or router. These devices allow you to connect wireless devices to a network from long ranges, including those outside the maximum range of the source modem or router. One of the main things you should look for in these devices is the integration of dual-band technology which helps diminish some of the signal loss that most extenders create. Beyond that, it often comes down to a reasonable price and overall reliable performance to ensure an uninterrupted connection.

We chose the following best wireless extenders in 2021 because they offer the best signal quality and technology thanks to support for Wireless-AC standards which are the fastest Wi-Fi standards currently available. All of these models support a minimum of Wireless AC750, although some of them offer even higher data speeds. These are all dual-band models so they have amplifiers for both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz which helps ensure optimal performance and signal clarity. You get indicator LEDs on all of these extenders as well so can tell when these devices are working properly at a quick glance. They have at least one Ethernet port for a wired network connection, and they all support 64-bit and 128-bit encryption to keep your data secure.

Comparing the Best Wireless Extender for 2021

Linksys AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Wireless Extender - Best Wireless Extender Overall

This model uses dual-band technology which helps extend its range and also keep the signal running strong. While this extender works with older wireless standards, it also complies with the latest wireless AC1200 standards so if you have one of the fastest modems or routers on the market, this can extend your wireless signal even more. You get two antennas on this model which increase range and help ensure signal quality and clarity throughout your work area.

This model can extend range up to 10,000 square feet, though practical issues in your particular set up can reduce that a bit. There’s also four Ethernet ports for additional connectivity options as well as LEDs to indicate when power and Ethernet ports are in use. This is a great option for most setups and wireless networks, though if you have a wireless AC1900 network, then the Amped Wireless TITAN-EX may be a better option for you.

Amped Wireless Athena-EX, High Power AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Wireless Extender - Runner Up

Here is a wireless extender which goes above and beyond what’s strictly necessary to produce a great signal at very high speeds. This model supports up to Wireless AC1900, which is some of the fastest wireless performance you can find. This also ensures it functions well with a wide range of older hardware with previous wireless specifications. It has four detachable antennas which ensure the best speed and signal quality in addition to 14 amplifiers, three for each band plus another eight designed to amplify the signal with a minimal amount of noise.

This model has a dual-core processor and 128MB of RAM which keeps this extender running fast and reduces the potential for bottlenecking. It includes a pair of USB ports for storage along with five Ethernet ports for additional connectivity. All of these features come together to make for an excellent extender that works well in most environments.

Zyxel WRE2206 N300 Range Wireless Extender - Consider

This wireless extender works well in some situations, but there are a few issues to consider before picking it as your choice. If space is an issue and you need a small model, then this is a great choice as it plugs directly into a wall outlet and stays in that location during use. However, the small size can be an issue as this pick lacks any external antennas which lowers the level of signal quality and performance some of our other picks offer.

|You get support for wireless AC750 with this extender which is excellent for older wireless networks, but not the absolute best wireless performance on the market. There’s only a single Ethernet port for a physical connection, so keep that in mind if you need to set up some wired networking as well with this device. As with our other picks, this extender integrates LED indicator lights for signal quality and power.

Buyer's Guide

Having a reliable wireless connection is essential for work and home life. A good internet connection ensures effective online communication, easy connection to smart devices, gaming, printers, and appliances. With routers only being able to cast their Wi-Fi net within a limited range, wireless extenders can stabilize your connection and boost the signal.

If you live in a big house with thick walls, a wireless extender can solve all your connection problems. In this guide, we will point out the things you need to consider when buying a wireless extender. We simplify all the technical jargon, helping you choose the best option to meet your connection requirements.

What Does a Wireless Extender Do?

A wireless extender links the router to the end points by rebroadcasting the signal both ways. These points include the devices you are connecting such as your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This does mean that your living space is surrounded by more radio signals and busier airwaves. The end result is, however, better coverage where it is needed.

How to Choose the Right Wireless Extender

There are several factors to take into account when choosing an extender. The following considerations may influence signal quality and pricing.

Frequency

This can be single 2.4GHz or Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support. Most wireless extenders work on the single 2.4GHz frequency spectrum. More expensive extenders support Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Regardless of whether your router supports single or Dual Band, you can opt to save money by using a single frequency spectrum if your budget is a determining factor.

Standards Compatibility

Standards compatibility is linked to the frequency and age of your wireless router. To make it simple, look at the specifications of your router. You want to check the standards that it supports. It is generally safest to go with a universal extender that works with any 802.11 a/b/n/ac routers as compatibility is essential between the router and the range extender.

Profile


The Wi-Fi extender can be desktop-based or plugged into a wall socket. Wall plug range extenders take the least amount of space and only require a free socket on the wall. They are a similar size to a battery charger and convenient to use anywhere. More advanced extenders are intended for the desktop. These devices have the same look as a regular router. They can have external antennas or built-in antennas. They require slightly more space than the plug extender but are still fairly compact.

Security

Most range extenders support the highest level of security available to private users. To verify this check that the wireless extender supports WPA2-PSK security protocol.

Manufacturer

For the best outcome, purchase the router and extender with the same specifications from a single manufacturer. If your router works on Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, an extender from the same manufacturer that works on those frequencies would pair well together.

Cost

Wi-Fi extender pricing depends on the range you need to cover as well as single or Dual Band specifications. Pricing varies from $40 up to $260. You need to choose an option that is compatible with your router. More expensive routers can sometimes be better quality and require less adjusting.

Ports

Most plug-based Wi-Fi extenders have one or two ethernet ports. Desktop extenders can have up to five ethernet ports. These are suitable for devices that do not have wireless connectivity such as old desktops, printers, or an IP camera.

Performance

The performance of a wireless extender will be partly determined by the range and the limitations of what the router can provide. Extender performance can be identified by the maximum throughput and bandwidth they are capable of supporting.

Wireless Extender FAQ

Q: Do Wi-Fi extenders work?

A: Yes, wireless extenders do work. The degree to which they are effective will depend on the setting of your home or building. Homes with thick walls and copper pipes reduce the efficiency of the signal repeaters. Modern buildings with thinner walls and modern pipes will result in better signal transmission.

Q: How can I boost Wi-Fi signal?

A: Boosting the Wi-Fi range is achievable by installing a repeater or wireless extender. If you want to boost the Wi-Fi speed itself your options may be limited depending on where you live. One option is to manually change your Wi-Fi channel or pay for an upgrade. Certain areas, however, get different Wi-Fi speeds depending on the infrastructure and availability of fiber optic cabling.

Q: Will using a wireless extender slow down my internet?

A: No, a wireless extender will not slow down the connection. Extenders are intended to boost the current signal emitting from a modem. This signal may be improved to certain areas of the house by using an extender. The speed will, however, stay the same.

Q: How far do wireless extenders reach?

A: The distance may vary per brand or product but will be in the range of 50-75ft. for effective wireless extender use. It is not recommended to use more than one extender. Although theoretically, you should be able to extend as many as you like, the truth of the matter is that too much signal is lost when trying to use more than one which makes it ineffective.

Q: Are Wi-Fi extenders and repeaters the same thing?

A: Wireless boosters, extenders, and repeaters are all referred to as a device used to improve Wi-Fi signal coverage. Although all devices don’t necessarily work in the same way, there is no specific differentiation by manufacturers between devices labeled as ‘repeaters’ or ‘extenders’.

Q: What is a mesh Wi-Fi extender?

A: Unlike wireless extenders that are added to existing Wi-Fi networks, mesh systems are a complete replacement of the home wireless setup. They replace the router-and-extender setup with multiple identical units. These units are placed around your house with nodes communicating with each other to amplify the Wi-Fi signal and extend the coverage.

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