In such cases, you might be dealing with WiFi dead zones in your home. It could be due to the large size of your house or unfavorable indoor layouts that hinder signal propagation.
If adjusting the router's position and other steps don't improve the situation, purchasing a WiFi extender and plugging it into an electrical outlet might be the solution.
How Does a WiFi Extender Work?
A WiFi extender, also known as a Range Extender or WiFi Booster, is a wireless repeater designed to extend the coverage range of a wireless network. It can be used to remedy areas in your home like bedrooms, garages, and yards that are prone to wireless coverage blind spots.
When you plug in a WiFi extender between your router and the dead zone's power outlet, it receives the wireless signal from your main router, amplifies it, and rebroadcasts it, allowing the signal to reach areas that were previously out of coverage.
Do You Need a WiFi Extender?
If you often experience weak or unreliable signals in specific areas of your home or office, using a WiFi extender can be a cost-effective solution. It only requires a small investment, typically just a few tens of dollars, and doesn't necessitate additional expenses like buying hubs, switches, or wiring.
However, before making a decision, you can also consider other factors. For instance, if your router has been in use for more than 3-4 years and network issues are frequent, it might be time to consider upgrading to a newer, more capable router. Simply adding a WiFi extender might not significantly improve your overall network performance.
Choosing a WiFi Extender
Next-generation WiFi extenders, like modern routers, support WiFi 6 technology standards, offering both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz frequency bands and MU-MIMO capabilities. While WiFi extenders can expand the coverage range, they won't enhance your home's internet access speed or alter the router's inherent speed and features. If your router is WiFi 5, you can purchase a WiFi 5 extender or opt for a WiFi 6 extender for future-proofing. However, if your router is WiFi 6, selecting a WiFi 6 extender is a straightforward choice.
How to Set Up a WiFi Extender
Installing a WiFi extender is quite simple. Typically, you just need to plug it into an electrical outlet and press the WPS button to connect it to your router. The best placement is usually somewhere between the router and the area you want to cover, avoiding thick walls and obstacles.
WiFi Extender vs. Access Point
Both WiFi extenders and WiFi Access Points (AP) serve the purpose of expanding wireless network coverage, but they differ in functionality. Extenders only amplify your existing router's signal, while AP can create a separate wireless network.
Extenders offer more flexible installation and usage but don't increase bandwidth and may slow down when too many devices are connected. AP, on the other hand, can support more simultaneous device connections, making them suitable for office and commercial environments. APs typically require physical cable connections to the router, which adds complexity to installation.
Some of the latest extender devices on the market have Extender/AP mode switching capabilities. For example, the Wavlink WiFi 6 AX1800 extender comes with an AP mode feature and Gigabit LAN ports, allowing it to function as both a quick extender deployment and a WiFi AP device.
Additionally, this product can serve as a mesh router when paired with Wavlink AX routers, such as the WL-WN531AX2 WiFi 6 AX1800, offering a comprehensive solution to address whole-home wireless coverage issues.