What is WiFi extender and how do they work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of various WiFi extenders that are available in the market?
WiFi extenders are one of the most commonly used networking devices in today’s era.
Reason for their so much popularity is their affordability and performance.
These WiFi extender devices are capable of resolving your network related problem with great ease and that too at low prices.
For instance, if you want to extend the network range of your existing network, then you will require to set up a new networking device.
In such a case, you can go for the network router, network switch, and any other network device, but they will hit hard on your pocket.
Whereas in case of WiFi extender devices, you can extend existing network coverage and that too with much lesser cost than in case of the network router or network switch.
Another advantage of these devices is that they come with varied sizes.
WiFi extenders are compact-sized devices, whereas other networking devices such as router or switch are comparatively larger.
At the same time setup process of WiFi range extenders are too simpler than that of other networking devices.
So we can easily conclude that these features make WiFi range extender as a preferred choice over other networking devices.
Now comes the second question that is for which extender to go with.
Answer to this is that you can choose among various WiFi range extenders available in the market as per your choice.
There are multiple brands which provide such devices with which you can go, such as
NETGEAR WiFi range extender, Linksys range extender, TP-Link WiFi range extender, D-Link WiFi range extender, Belkin range extender, and many other.
You can go for any brand as per your requirement whereas essential characteristics as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these different extenders we will discuss extensively in coming sections.
You can take reference of them while choosing among different extender devices.
But before that, let’s have a look at how these extenders work.
How WiFi Extender Works?
As the name suggests, these networking devices are tasked to extend the already existing network coverage. That is the reason why they are named as an extender.
Thus their working will also depend on any primary device, whose signal they are going to extend.
For example, let’s say you have a network router in your network setup, which is transmitting network signal throughout your vicinity.
Then you add a WiFi extender in this setup.
Then this WiFi extender will be tasked to amplify the signal, which is coming from your network router. Then it will send this amplified signal to other networking devices that are present in your network.
Thus we can say that these extender devices work as an amplifier.
On the other hand, this amplified signal will be capable of being transmitted to quite a far end of your vicinity, thus will eliminate all dead ends or dead spots present in your network.
Reason for the same is that this amplified signal becomes capable of withstanding against penetration losses.
(Penetration losses are losses that are caused when a signal pass through various objects such as doors, walls, furniture, etc. which came in its way of transmission)
It also adds another benefit with it, and that is this amplified signal also reduce noises or disturbances that get induced in your signal during transmission.
So we can easily conclude that these WiFIextenders are although primarily tasked to amplify the signal but come with other advantages also such as noise reducer.
Now after understanding how these WiFi range extenders work, let’s move toward different WiFi extenders available under various brands.
We will discuss these extenders one by one.
So let’s get started.
1. Linksys WiFi range extender:-Linksys is one of the leading brands of WiFi range extenders.
They are well renowned for their excellent performances devices.
Some of the significant advantages with Linksys WiFI range extenders are:
Advantages of Linksys WiFi Range Extender
- Available in different ranges. Thus you can choose among them as per your network requirement.
- Very easy to setup Linksys WiFi range extender. Now you no more require to depend only on installation CD to setup Linksys range extender but can also go for alternate methods provided by Linksys for the same. These methods are:
- Browser-based utility, i.e., through http://extender.linksys.com webpage.
- WiFi Protected Setup(WPS) method:- Under this method press WPS button on both Linksys WiFi range extender and network router and your extender will be setup.
- Also available in dual-band, thus will enhance the performance of your WiFI network in a significant way.
- Many Linksys range extenders are capable of working as both access point and range extender. It provides the user with an opportunity to use it either an access point or range extender.
- Linksys provides a highly user-friendly interface that is http://extender.linksys.com through which you can easily change any configuration of your Linksys WiFi range extender in the way you want. For this, you will not be required to go into any technicality of them.
There are many other advantages also.
But as there are two faces of every coin, so is the case with almost everything in this world.
Linksys WiFI range extenders are no exemption to them. That means they also have some drawbacks.
Let’s have a look at these drawbacks/disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Linksys WIFI Range Extender
There is one prime disadvantage with almost every WiFi range extender, and that is a reduction in speed. If your extender is not dual-band, then there are high chances that this will affect the workability of the extender in a significant way.
Reason for the same is its workability as an amplifier. About this, we had already discussed.
We all know there is a vast difference between the speed of the router and extender.
And if in case your extender is using the same frequency band to receive a signal and transmit the amplified signal, then this may reduce the signal speed in a significant way.
But you can override this issue by going for dual-band WiFi range extender.
Another disadvantage is that the name of your extender network and router network will be the same just with the difference of _Ext as a suffix in case of WiFi range extender network.
It may cause a roaming issue in some cases.
If you are using any local router, then there may arise the issue of compatibility.
Not ideal for large setups
2. NETGEAR WiFi range extender:-
NETGEAR is also among one of the leading brands in the field of networking devices.
Their higher performance and world-class quality products speak for themselves.
Let’s discuss the significant advantages as well as disadvantages of these WiFi range extender.
There is one point worth mentioning here, that is NETGEAR WiFi extenders are entitled to both advantages and disadvantages
Let us discuss their benefits first.
Advantages of Netgear WiFi Range Extender
- Highly flexible with their size. Thus you can choose a large WiFi extender or small and compact extender, as per your requirement.
- Pocket efficient. That means It add lighter strain on your pocket because NETGEAR WiFi extenders are available in the market in many different ranges.
- Come along with adjustable antennas. So if you want to focus your WiFI signal in any particular direction, then you can do so by moving the direction of antennas.
- You will get NETGEAR WiFI extender with as much as four high-speed Gigabit Ethernet port or as low as one ethernet port. SO you are provided with a choice among which you can choose as per your network requirements.
- NETGEAR provides you highly user-friendly interface with URL http://www.mywifiext.net. Using this web interface, you can do almost all tasks related to your NETGEAR WiFI extender and that too, with great ease.
- One of the most crucial thing with almost all WiFI extenders is their setup process. Whether you will love the extender or hate the extender, this all depends solely on the fact how easy its setup has been.
NETGEAR WiFI extender setup is too easy that anyone can complete it just by following the steps mentioned in the user manual.
Another important thing is that NETGEAR provides its user with alternative methods of setting up extender without using a setup CD.
It also gives you sigh of relief if you had misplaced your setup CD.
To know more about how to set up NETGEAR WiFi extender do follow our article Netgear Extender Setup.
- Another unique feature with NETGEAR extender is its FastLane technology.
This technology helps in dealing with one of the major drawbacks related to WiFI extender that is an issue of speed.
As we had already discussed that your network speed would tend to be reduced while using an extender in the network, due to the variability of delivery speed provided by network router and WiFI extender.
At the same time, there exist the issue of bandwidth with WiFi range extender.
All of these issues get tackled by just this FastLane technology. To know more about FastLane technology do follow NETGEAR EXTENDER SETUP.
- NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-band WiFi extenders are specially designed for large networks. They come along with smart roaming technology, which enables you to have uninterrupted WiFi signal throughout your network. To know more about NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-band WiFi extender do follow our other article
These are some of the prime features of NETGEAR extenders. However, there are numerous other advantages also associated with NETGEAR extender devices.
But as every coin has two faces, in the same way, NETGEAR WiFi extender also has two faces, first being advantages, which we had previously discussed, and other being disadvantages.
Now let’s take a look at this other face that is of disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Netgear WiFi Range Extender
- First and principal disadvantage is that you will get technical support over the phone for NETGEAR extender only for 90 days.
- Another disadvantage remains the same in case of other WiFI extenders, and that is of bandwidth and signal speed which we had already discussed above in the disadvantages of Linksys range extender.
Although FastLane technology overcomes these disadvantages, FastLane technology does not apply to all NETGEAR extender devices.
- Although NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-band extenders are ideal for large setup, other NETGEAR extenders are not capable of working in more extensive networks.
3. TP-Link WiFi extender:- TP-Link WiFi extenders are also among top 5 trustable brands in the field of extenders.
Their task remains almost the same as discussed above, that is to extend the existing WiFi network.
Advantages of TP-Link WiFi extender
Advantages for TP-Link extenders are almost the same as that in the case of Linksys and NETGEAR extenders that are
- Easy setup
- Available in all sizes. That means if you want to go for compact-sized extender, then you can go for extender such as TP-Link N300 WiFi range extender. Whereas if you’re looking for an average-sized extender, then you can go for extender such as TP-Link AC1900 extender.
- Highly reliable performance.
- Available as both single-band extender as well as dual-band extenders.
- But the most crucial advantage of TP-Link extenders is their cost-effectiveness. That means by buying a TP-Link extender such as N300 extender and AC1900 extender; you will receive a high yield performance and that too with investing less money.
Now comes the second part of the story, and that is of disadvantages.
Disadvantages of TP-Link WiFi extender
- Not ideal for large setups.
- TP-Link N300 extender has no USB port.
- In some cases, even no Ethernet port supports gigabit speed. It, in turn, reduces your extender’s performance.
4. D-Link WiFi extender:-D-Link is also one of the leading brands in the field of extender devices.
The most crucial characteristic of D-Link is its wide range of products.
You can choose these products as per your requirement.
For instance, they provide with different extenders for home networks, business network, and so on.
Thus you need not compromise on any part for your requirements of WiFi extender.
Another beautiful thing with D-Link is its affordability.
Price of extender changes as per your network requirements changes.
Let’s say you want a simple operable extender using which you can deal with your small network’s dead spots. Then for this, you can get an extender as cheap as a few dollars.
This feature adds to choosing D-Link extender over others.
But there also exist issue with these extenders.
For example, certain extenders do not provide as much speed as they promise. We can take the example of D-Link DAP 1720 extender, it promises to deliver the speed of 315-450 Mbps, but in reality, it provides the speed of just 20 Mbps in an extended network.
Although this case does not apply to all D-Link extenders, there exist issues with specific model numbers of D-Link extenders.
5. Belkin Wi-Fi extender:-
Belkin extenders are the front runner in the race of WiFi extender devices. They are well renowned for their high-quality products.
These Belkin extenders come with almost all characteristics or advantages that other leading brands provide.
For instance Setup of Belkin, extenders are as comfortable as in case of other WiFI extenders such as NETGEAR extender or Linksys extender.
They are also available in all categories that mean different model numbers of Belkin extenders specifies different sets of features.
Among these extenders, you can choose that one suits your requirement.
Belkin also provides a highly user-friendly interface.
You name it, and you will find that characteristic in Belkin extenders.
Whereas if you ask for disadvantages, then we can say that disadvantages in case of Belkin extenders are also almost the same as in case of other leading extender brands.
Such as bandwidth issue, network speed issue and even you will find that sometimes Belkin extenders cost you more than other extenders.
But this drawback gets compensated by their world-class performance.
By this, we sum up our discussion about various leading WiFi extender brands along with their corresponding advantages and disadvantages.
We had tried to cover almost all aspects of this article.
I hope this article will prove to be beneficial for all those who are struggling to know with which WiFI extender they should go.