The Best Wi-Fi Range Extenders for 2022

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Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better bribe decisions. ( Read our editorial deputation. ) With so many of us working from home these days, we now have more apps than always careening across our family Wi-Fi networks. And some of these necessitate not alone a commodity come of bandwidth, but a steadily amount of bandwidth. When they do n’t get it, that chat you ‘re having with your emboss on your company ‘s voice over IP ( VoIP ) telephone organization on the spur of the moment sounds like one of you is subaqueous. The lapp goes for many consumer-grade apps, particularly video streaming services like Netflix, and surely the latest games. Most folks figure they need to upgrade their Wi-Fi in that site, so they either buy a new Wi-Fi router or upgrade their internet service ( or both ). Well, hang on before you do that, because for well under $ 100 in most cases you have another option. Chances are, a roll extender will get the job done. competently named, range extenders pick up your router ‘s Wi-Fi signal, amplify it, and rebroadcast the hike signal.

What makes them attractive is that they are comfortable to install and inexpensive. When paired with a budget-priced router, you can build a tandem arrangement that gets coverage a good as, or possibly better than, what you ‘d get from a single costly router. Range extenders come in diverse shapes, sizes, and speeds, but they have their limitations ; they are typically half a flying as your primary router, and they create a break extended network that makes seamless roaming difficult. Depending on the size and layout of your home, a mid-to-high-end router may provide all the Wi-Fi coverage you ‘ll need. But for homes built with dense materials like brick, concrete, plaster, and metal, some tied of signal abasement is about a certainty. Likewise, homes with multiple floors and many walls are more susceptible to signal loss than a one-story home with an open floor design. In some cases, you can relocate your router to a central localization to deliver a stronger bespeak to those dead zones that were previously out of pass. In most homes, however, the router ‘s localization is tied to the room where the internet enters the sign of the zodiac, which means relocating the router will probably require running an Ethernet cable to the craved area. Range extenders provide a relatively easy way to deliver Wi-Fi without having to run cables .

How to Find the Right Extender for Your Router

When shopping for a range extender, it ‘s significant to find one that matches your router ‘s specification. For exemplar, if you have a dual-band AC1900 router, get a dual-band AC1900 extender ( or better ). If your router supports Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output ( MU-MIMO ) data streaming, which provides enhance performance by sending data to compatible clients simultaneously rather than consecutive, expression for an extender that supports this technology if you want to extend your MU-MIMO network. The same goes for the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technologies. If you recently bought a new router that supports these standards, you ‘ll surely want to make certain any range extenders support them adenine well .

Do You Need a Desktop or Plug-In Extender?

There are two types of Wi-Fi range extenders : desktop and circuit board. Most desktop extenders look just like a radio receiver router and are typically equipped with external adjustable antennas, multiple LAN ports for connecting to devices like TVs and gaming consoles, and USB ports for attaching to peripherals such as storage drives and printers. circuit board extenders are much smaller than their desktop counterparts and are inserted right into a wall wall socket. Some models have external antennas, while others use inner antennas to present an unobtrusive profile. Due to their size, circuit board extenders normally have entirely a single LAN port and lack USB connectivity, making them less versatile but more low-cost than desktop extenders. If you ca n’t spare a rampart mercantile establishment, expect for a circuit board model that offers a pass-through mercantile establishment .

It ‘s besides worth noting that, if you ‘re having the rather specific issue of connecting a computer to Wi-Fi in a particular part of your home, you might be better served by a USB Wi-Fi adapter. For ampere little as $ 15, these adapters are basically antenna that plug directly into your calculator to help it pull in a better Wi-Fi signal .

How to Set Up a Wireless Range Extender

not very long ago, setting up a range extender required a act of technical expertness and a good deal of patience to find the best localization ( ideally center between the router and the dead zone ). But most of nowadays ‘s routers and range extenders support Wi-Fi Protected Setup ( WPS ), which makes pairing the two adenine simple as pressing a match of buttons, naming your new extend network, and creating a network password. furthermore, closely all manufacturers offer web-based setup wizards and illustrate instructions that will help you configure basic radio settings. Some ( but not all ) extenders are equipped with lead condition indicators that tell you if the extender is besides far from the router. Extenders can besides offer advanced router-like features such as guest network, entree schedule, and media server capabilities .

What Can’t Wi-Fi Range Extenders Do?

While reasonably easy to configure, range extenders have their limitations. They often use a discriminate network SSID that you have to log into as you move through the house, and Wi-Fi speeds are typically half of what you get from your main router. Most dual-band extenders use both radio bands to transmit data to and from the router, which means devices connecting to the extender are competing for bandwidth with the router. To help alleviate net congestion, some manufacturers let you dedicate a band for router-to-extender communications. Netgear ‘s Fastlane engineering and Amped Wireless ‘s BoostBand engineering are good examples. hush, possibly the fastest possible throughput is what you ‘re after. That could be because you ‘re running business applications across your network, or because you ‘re in the marketplace for a gambling router or specially a Wi-Fi 6 router. If indeed, be certain to test the connection between your endpoints to ensure you ‘re getting the maximal traffic speeds you can. PCMag thoroughly tests all routers and range extenders that come through its doors so you ‘ll have a good mind of what to expect before you buy .

Wireless Extenders vs. Wi-Fi Mesh Systems

If you ‘re considering upgrading your net with all new hardware, it ‘s deserving looking into a mesh-based Wi-Fi system before you spend money on a traditional router. Wi-Fi systems are designed to blanket your home with wireless coverage and are made up of respective network components, including a chief router and a series of satellite modules, or nodes, that you place throughout your home. They are all part of a single radio receiver net and share the lapp SSID and password, which means you can roam throughout your house without having to log into an extensive network. Whereas scope extenders communicate with the router via the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio bands, most Wi-Fi system satellites use enmesh engineering to talk to the router, and to each other. Each node serves as a hop sharpen for other nodes in the arrangement, which helps the nodes farthest from the router to deliver a impregnable Wi-Fi sign as they talk to other nodes and do n’t rely on one-to-one communications with the router.

Wi-Fi mesh systems are ideal for users with fiddling or no technical foul cognition. They can be installed in minutes and typically come with a user-friendly mobile app that walks you through the initiation march with easy-to-follow illustrate instructions. And their prices are coming down, excessively .

So, Which Wi-Fi Range Extender Should I Buy?

Check out our picks for the top extenders we have tested below. To get even more from your home plate Wi-Fi net, check out our guides to setting up your router, boosting your bespeak, and protecting your Wi-Fi network .

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