Written by Uhro

Advice on WiFi repeaters

A WiFi repeater is also called a (wireless) range extender. A WiFi repeater extends the existing WiFi signal to increase the range. Want to use WiFi way out in your garden and on the second floor of your house without any problems too? Read on.

1. How to extend the range of a WiFi signal?

  • Easy in adjacent rooms for your router signal.
  • A WiFi repeater won't create a signal in a room if it wasn't there in the first place.
    A WiFi repeater receives the wireless signal from your router and forwards it. This is useful, but there are some disadvantages. The speed of your wireless network is reduced by half, since the WiFi repeater uses a part of the available speed to communicate with the router or modem. Besides, you only install a WiFi repeater in a spot where the WiFi signal is still sufficient. If you don't have a signal in the attic, you can't create one using a WiFi repeater.

Better solutions

A router has a maximum wireless range. That range differs per router, but is generally about 10/15 meters. This has to do with different factors in your home or office. Think for instance of the structures inside the walls (wiring), other devices (microwave, DECT phone) in the house, and the thickness of the walls. A better router can be the solution for a stronger signal in your home. The signal of a router is usually aimed on horizontal range. A router alone often isn't enough for good WiFi range if you have a home with multiple floors.

Multi-room WiFi

  • Stable network anywhere in the house
  • 1 home network A router with strong antennas might be enough if you want to expand the reach of your WiFi signal just a little. This way, you can expand the range. Do you want the same WiFi network in the whole house? Choose a router with Multi-room WiFi.

Powerline adapter with WiFi

  • Stable connection
  • No loss of speed A powerline adapter allows you to send the internet signal via your existing power network. Plug the adapter into a socket together with your router, and connect it to your router via a network cable. Plug the other WiFi powerline in the socket in a room you want to use WiFi. For instance in the attic or in your study. This way, you create a stable second network.

Access point

  • Very stable connection
  • You can only connect it with a network cable An access point is connected to your router via a network cable. This way, the speed remains the same and the connection remains stable. You can place an access point in a room where you don't have WiFi yet, or you can link multiple access points together to create 1 large network.

2. Where do you place a WiFi repeater?

The location where you place a WiFi repeater is very important for the range you'll actually get from the WiFi signal that you want to expand.

Where shouldn't I place it?

You don't actually put the WiFi repeater where you don't have a signal (like in the attic), as there won't be a WiFi signal for the repeater to amplify.

Where should I place it?

As you can see in the picture below, you put it at the limit of the existing WiFi signal (dark green in the picture). There, the WiFi signal is still powerful enough to be extended by the repeater. You can find this overlap with a mobile phone. Turn on WiFi on your phone and look for the places where you're still getting a signal. For instance, when you're walking up to the attic. Place the repeater where the signal is still powerful enough. After you've set up the repeater, the signal will be extended, giving you coverage in the attic.

3. What determines a WiFi repeater's speed?

The speed of your WiFi repeater depends on your router. The original signal comes from your router, and the repeater then extends the range. The speed of the router – and the WiFi repeater too – is measured in in Mbit/s (megabits per second). Do you have a dual-band router or want to get the most out of Wireless AC? Read more about WiFi repeaters that support these features.

WiFi frequency bands A standard WiFi signal is sent via the 2.4GHz frequency band (single-band). This frequency is very busy as a result of, for example, microwaves, drones, baby monitors, and DECT phones. In order to get around all this traffic, use of the 5GHz frequency band was implemented. This makes it possible to use wireless internet for online gaming, streaming HD video, and streaming music without interference from other devices. This dual-band solution is only available on a dual-band routers and dual-band WiFi repeaters. All receiving devices (iPad, laptop) will also need to support 5GHz.

Wireless AC

As is the case with everything related to technology, the WiFi standard is also developing. In order to identity the different versions, each WiFi standard uses letters. The newest and fastest WiFi standard available at the moment is Wireless AC. The speeds you can achieve with Wireless AC are high enough for the use of wireless internet on multiple devices simultaneously with high bandwidth. That way, you can stream a movie on your iPad, while also playing an online game on your PlayStation and downloading something on your laptop. If you have a router with Wireless AC, you need a Wireless AC WiFi repeater to extend its signal.

4. What does this mean for the wireless networks in my house?

When you use a WiFi repeater, you create an extra WiFi network in your home. In addition to your current router's network, you'll also have a network created by the WiFi repeater. The second one will have a different name. In order to enjoy a powerful wireless network all throughout your home, you need to set up both networks on your laptop or smartphone. Your devices will connect to the new network when the old one is out of range. That means that you'll lose your internet connection for a few seconds as you walk through the house.

5. Can you connect wired devices to a repeater?

If you have a PC or another device that's located far away from your router, you can use a WiFi repeater with a network connection.

You can set up the WiFi repeater just like you would any repeater. The difference is the network connection(s) on the repeater. It allows you to connect a repeater in the attic to receive a wireless signal. In addition, you can also create wired connections to the internet for devices via the WiFi repeater by using an Ethernet cable.

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